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Destruction's Schmier on his love of Dean basses and how Born to Thrash was bought with Jack and Coke

Destruction
(Image credit: Destruction / Nuclear Blast)

Born To Thrash is our coronavirus album! We recorded it by accident at a show last year. A friend told us he’d recorded the audio of our set and that if we gave him some Jack and Coke we could have it. 

“We forgot about it until this year’s tours got canceled and everything was fucked up, so we scheduled the live album. We wanted it to be a quick digital release, with the vinyl and physical product coming later, and to make some live clips to promote it, we had the footage from a camera crew that was making a film about us. 

I tried a smaller bass once… I felt like a giant playing a baby’s guitar

“That’s on ice because we can’t travel right now, but we’ll get back to it. The idea is to make it not just about sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, but about all the hard work that goes into this band.

“I’ve been endorsed by Dean since 2002. I asked them for a Flying V shape, so they said they would make one for me and put it into production later on. Mine has EMG pickups and a custom EQ, and the production one is a little more affordable. We’ve been working on a special Destruction bass but that has been delayed for now.

“I prefer four strings; I’ve played fives before, but actually they’re not really needed for Destruction. We had one album where we tuned down on one song, and it was cool, but we don’t usually require it. I keep it old-school, with a long scale.

“I only play my Deans live; I was given a smaller bass to play once and I’m so tall that it looked ridiculous on me. I could barely play it. When I hung it low, it was in the wrong place and it was a total shock for me. I felt like a giant playing a baby’s guitar. So yes, I like to play my Dean because it’s a big piece of lumber.

“I use Dean basses in the studio too – it’s David Vincent’s model, the Demonator. It has Bartolini pickups, which are very nice for recording. It’s very comfortable to play seated, too. It’s the perfect studio bass for me. I always use Elixir strings – in fact, I was the guy who brought them into heavy metal, having played them since 1999 or thereabouts.

“I’ve been endorsed by Ampeg for years. I use the new Classic SVT models they made. I also used a Sansamp pedal for the longest time, and nowadays an Ampeg Scrambler DI. It’s a real crunch-maker.”

  • Destruction's new album, Born To Thrash, is out now on Nuclear Blast.

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