DESTRUCTOR “Cleveland Screamers” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

Some might not know it, but Cleveland, OH has had a thriving heavy metal scene for more than 30 years. Standing at the pinnacle of Cleveland metal is the lethal DESTRUCTOR. They have been there since the beginning,  they are there now and they’ll probably be there until Lake Erie dries up. They hit the world with a thunderous smash in 1985 with “Maximum Destruction” and they’ve finally released a record to surpass it, the devastating “Decibel Casualties”.
The voice of Destructor is and always has been Dave Overkill. He’s survived a lot, including the murder of band member Dave Holocaust, numerous personnel changes and losing out on a major label record deal, but once you hear “Decibel Casualties” or better yet see Destructor live, you’ll see he’s not only survived but thrived.

It was a real honor and pleasure to talk to Mr. Overkill about the history of Destructor and the band’s future. Here’s the chat…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings, Dave! The new Destructor album “Decibel Casualties” has a phenomenal energy flowing through it.  What’s the secret of Destructor’s energy after so many years in the scene?

DAVE OVERKILL: Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that. Destructor have had many stages in 33 years but there has always been the same energy we have as if we were 30 years younger. This band has some sort of magic that happens when we get together to write. Jamie Boulder is a great writer and worked with us for 10 years and now I collaborate with Nick Annihilator for the music end . Matt has always been the same crazy madman behind the drums that brings each song to life with his style and spirit. Tim is a monster on the bass and has brought new ideas and life all his own.

WC: Are the tunes on “Decibel Casualties” relatively new or do they come from the band’s past?

DO: The songs on “Decibel Casualties” are newer songs written with Jamie, Pat and Matt over the past 6 years prior to Pat Rabid’s departure.  I say newer because at this time we are almost ready to begin recording of the follow up to this new release. The title on the other hand is a title we have had since 1987 and just now have a home for it.

WC: You come from the strong Cleveland metal scene. Tell us a little of what it was like back in the “glory days” of that time.

DO: Cleveland has always had a diverse musical culture and the talent seems to come out of the woodwork. Destructor enjoyed great times and parties with the band Purgatory and we are friends and know all of the bands from then and now.  It's kind of like one big family. It certainly was a bit more competitive back when we were young but now everyone seems to have settled in mutual respect and support.

WC: How would you rate the strength of the metal scene in Cleveland and Ohio today? 

DO: Pretty fucking strong. Like every city sometimes it's hard to get people to come out to see local shows but when we play other cities we are received in a different way. When you have been part of a scene this long you still fall into the category of “local band”. The crowds that come out to bigger events really lets you know how many metal music lovers there here in Cleveland Ohio.

WC: How are Destructor’s songs written? Are you the “general” that commands the troops or is it all done by committee?

DO:  Ha ha . No, usually one or two guys present riffs to each other and even in a band setting then the collaboration begins. A lot of times I hear a riff and instantly my mind starts working. Sometimes a lyrical idea comes or other times I have a riff or idea to contribute. It always is a bit different.

WC: Omitting “Decibel Casualties”, what Destructor album would you say is your favorite? Is there one that you feel has been overlooked?

DO:  Good question but I don't really have a good answer for it. I enjoy all of them. I was very happy that “Back in Bondage” came out after so many years but I think “Decibel Casualties” may be the best songs yet but the next record is pretty freaking great in my opinion. No, there is no title for that record as of yet I want to divulge.

WC: You’ve played with Matt Flammable since the very beginnings of the band. I would imagine you know each other like brothers by now? What’s the rapport like?

DO:  Love and hate.....haha, really Matt and I work well together. It's been a long road that sometimes seems so short yet we still have more to accomplish together. Matt has influenced and taught me many things over the years. He really is my older brother by 6 years. Sometimes I have to reign that crazy fucker in but I wouldn't change anything.

WC: It looks like you’ve got a good relationship with Pure Steel Records. Tell us a little about how you came to be with them and what kind of support they give you? 

DO: I initially approached pure steel records for my solo project VULGAR DEVILS. I wanted to write some songs all on my own after there was some down time with Destructor after Pat and Jamie left. Nick Annihilator who is the man behind the band WRETCH made me realize that Destructor needed to make a move for the future of this band. Pure Steel signed my solo band and at the same time inquired about Destructor. I didn't really have anything solid at the time with a label so I decided to sign with them and it has been very good, They are a great bunch of people and things have really started to progress for Destructor.

WC: What would you say have been the high and low points of Destructor so far? 

DO: The high point is that we are still alive and thriving with a bright future. The low point was losing Dave Iannicca (aka Dave Holocaust) in 1988 along with any promise to sigh with the major label ISLAND RECORDS at the time. Everything unraveled after Dave was murdered and it took years to regain any solid footing. In 1999 that all started to change for Destructor with the reunion.

WC: Was there a point when you were ready to stop the band for good?

DO:  I never wanted to but after Dave was gone and his replacement Brook Damage left and then Matt left we had to find 2 new guys…that was the lowest point. That lasted for two years and then I broke down and accepted that Destructor and any future for our kind of music in the USA was over. But in my heart I knew it would breathe again.  It is important to never let a dream die.

WC: I saw you guys play some great sets at NYDM Spring Bash and Metal Threat. What would you say your most memorable gig was? 

DO: They are all great times. That was a really good show and we enjoyed playing at Randy's festival. It's really hard to pin down a favorite show.

WC: Any plans for touring behind “Decibel Casualties”? 

DO: Destructor have shows in Portland Oregon, Chicago Ill, Cleveland Oh, and Lexington Ky . And we are working on more at this time. What we are really shooting for is a European tour in 2018. By then I think there will be some real momentum for this band.  We try to do as many shows as we can as often as possible.

WC: You guys seem to be very popular in Europe. What would you say your best market is over there? 

DO:  Europe is great and I think all metal bands would say Germany has the real meat for this music in terms of festivals but it's unfair to pin down one country. Leta's not forget about Asia and South America, Mexico and Canada. Metal has grown so much that there is seemingly no limit to the planet anymore. That is a beautiful thing.

WC: Do you have any other musical projects your involved with? 

DO: Vulgar Devils is the only other band that I have time for. I have another record ready for V.D. As well.

WC :If you could have dinner with any three people from history, who would they be? 

DO:  Ha... Wild Bill Hickok, Lemmy and Al Swearengen.

WC: What was the last release you got just because you wanted to hear the band?

DO:  Night Demon was my last purchase. Great record, ? Darkness Remains.”

WC: In the long history of Destructor, is there any “Spinal Tap” story where things went wrong that you could share with us?

DO:  Oh hell yeah. I fell over a stage monitor and hit the ground. I was locked out of a hotel room while I was naked and there was a house keeper 2 doors down. I was like Fred Flinstone banging the door trying to get back in. Once, Matt fell off a 5 foot high drum riser and almost pulled the stage curtain down at the Cleveland Agora.

WC:Last words for the faithful? 

DO: Thank you all who have stood by Heavy metal and to the fans of Destructor. We are nothing without you. Heavy metal for life, Metal til death.