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Chad Ackerman Interview

A Conversation With The Chapter 14 and Former Destroy The Runner Vocalist

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Chad Ackerman

Chad Ackerman

Solid State Records
Updated May 20, 2010
Destroy The Runner had two albums under their belt and were working on their third, but recently announced they are splitting up. Vocalist Chad Ackerman (also the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Austrian Death Machine albums) fills us in on what happened, what his plans are, memories of his time in the band and other topics.

Chad Bowar: What led to Destroy The Runner's recent split?  Is it a hiatus or permanent breakup?
Chad Ackerman: Duane (Reed, guitarist) and Maldy (guitarist Nick Maldonado) wanted to have a meeting last week to talk about something with Tanner (Sparks, bassist) and me. When we met up last week, both Duane and Maldy told us that they were over with and done with Destroy The Runner. They also said that they wanted none of the new album to be released that we have been working on for the last 7 months. This was a huge disapointment and shock to both me and Tanner. At this point, I would say yes, this is a permanent break up.

What's next for you musically?
Tanner and I have started writing for our band Chapter 14. We started it before we joined DTR, but never did anything with it really. We will be releasing a Chapter 14 album this year, and we are very excited. Some parts will be very similar to DTR, but then again, there is a whole different style and feel to Chapter 14 entirely.

What will become of the tracks you had written for DTR's next album?
I really wish that we could release at least one or two songs from the album. This does not look like a possibility right now. Tanner and I really would love for all of our friends, family, and fans to hear it, but it is out of our hands.

Did you know going in that your May 8th show in Lancaster would be your last one?
Yes and no. My wife heard from Duane's girlfriend at our show at the Galaxy Theater, prior to the Lancaster show, that the Lancaster show would be Duane's last show. I immediately told Tanner the news. The warning signs definitely went up then. Those Lancaster people were amazing. If that is the last DTR show, that crowd really made a great last show. They were all singing along, dancing, and there were group hugs at the end of the set. Those are amazing people there in Lancaster.

Is there any archival DTR material that might be released in the future?
Again, I hope so, but it is not in my hands or Tanner's at this point. I am in the process of recording acoustic versions of I, Lucifer with my friends from Arkansas. These will be available for free download very soon. We are doing it for fun, and for the true I, Lucifer fans.

What were the highlights of  your time in the band?
Meeting all of the great people on tour, and realizing that the music and lyrics have made an impact on people around the world.

What lesson you learned with DTR will you take to your next band?
Well, there are many lessons that I have learned that I will take with me. I guess that a really good one is to stay truthful to what you love, to yourself, and it will come out in your music. Tanner and I will keep pressing on, and we are in the works of making a real kick ass record with Chapter 14.

What impact has working with other bands as a producer/engineer had on your own music?
That every band has potential and the ability to write an amazing song. You do not have to be a great musician or know music theory. If you have the ambition, and if you have the heart, you will make a great song and people will hear that. I get too picky sometimes, but I have learned now that less is sometimes more, and that if it sounds good......keep it.

Will there be another Austrian Death Machine album?
I believe Tim (Lambesis, also in As I Lay Dying) is working on a third ADM album. I have not talked to him yet about whether or not we will get together again to make people laugh and want to fight. I would love to do a third album with Tim and all of the ADM guys. That band is a great family. Maybe a world tour one day.

How did you get started in music?
My dad was an Elvis impersonator for 22 years. Seriously. I grew up watching him perform and sing. He bought me a guitar when I was 10 years old, and it has been up and downhill from there.

What was your first band, and what kind of music did they play?
My first band was called Broken Through. It was kind of like Creed meets Blink 182. We were awful, but we had a lot of fun.

What's was the first concert you attended as a fan?
A band from San Diego called Dogwood. They were on Tooth & Nail records, and are a huge reason why I am in music as well.

What was your most memorable Destroy The Runner show?
Our first tour, I was heavily promoting the nonprofit group Invisible Children. Every show on that tour was a chance for me to tell people about what is going on in Northern Uganda. This made every show on that tour memorable to me. There was at least one person at each show that would want to get involved, and it was amazing.

What fellow vocalists do you admire/respect?
Wow, this could go on forever. My top 5 are Bjork, Maynard James Keenan, Bono, Chino Moreno, and Ronnie James Dio. All are amazing, and have different styles.

What's currently in heavy rotation in your MP3/CD player?
The new Deftones album Diamond Eyes. It is amazing. The new Living Sacrifice album The Infinite Order and every Bjork album(really).

What are your all-time favorite albums?
Deftones - White Pony and Diamond Eyes Tool - Aenima, A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms, Living Sacrifice - Reborn, Dio - The Beast Of Dio, IAMX - Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction, Frou Frou - Details and U2 - The Joshua Tree and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. I could seriously go on forever.

What was your reaction to the death of Ronnie James Dio?
I got teary eyed. Dio is one of my all time favorite singers. Two days before his death my wife and I discussed seeing him before he stopped playing music. I had never seen him play live before. When I got the news, I was pretty devastated. I read Wendy's message of his death, and my heart and thoughts go out to her and their family. He is a true inspiration, and one of the greatest front men of all time.

Anything else you'd like to mention?
I just really want fans and everyone to know that I really wanted the 3rd DTR album to be released. If it was in my power or up to me, every song would be released to all of you. I apologize that this is not possible. I want to thank you Chad Bowar for giving me an opportunity to say goodbye and thank you to everyone. I truly am thankful. You all keep me pressing on and I appreciate every one of you. Be sure to look out for the Chapter 14 album later this year. Tanner and I will still be rocking our hearts out for all of you. Thank you.

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