After having played several festival shows over the last years and having with No Remorse Records a label that re-issued the Hittman debut album, a solid return of the US Metal veterans with a potential third album wasn’t an unimaginable thing anymore (also read the interview from two years ago). Things got shape and form over the last two years and on September a 27 years wait comes to an end. Hittman will release their third longplayer ‘Destroy All Humans’. To get a bit more insights into how the adventures journey looked like for the band and what finally sparked the idea of recording a new album is something MHMB asked Hittman guitarist Jim Bacchi.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Hello Jim, thanks for making some time for Markus‘ Heavy Music Blog. The last time we talked was a bit more than two years ago and at the time a new album was in your mind, but still far away. Now the third Hittman album is in the starting blocks, which is great news. Can you talk a bit about what was going on in the Hittman camp between June 2018 and now?
Jim Bacchi: Well…..We went to Athens in March, 2019 to perform at Up The Hammers. The Greek fans were amazing, and it once again revitalized the band for us personally, and the people that have been fans of the band and wondered where we’ve been all these years. So, it was an amazing experience. We also got a chance to really sit down and discuss the new album, and band with Chris Pappadatos from No Remorse Records. We visited his store and really got a feel for what the NWOTHM (New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal) scene is like. It was eye opening and it shaped the course of what the new album has become and how we will operate going forth.
MHMB: ‚Destroy All Humans‘ is the first Hittman album in 27 years. What sparked the idea of writing new songs and recording a new longplayer?
Jim B: When we committed to playing Keep It True, I immediately thought it would be great to start working on a new record. Now, that pretty much everyone can record from home, it was possible, even though we live in different states.
MHMB: The new record reflects 100% Hittman. How would you describe the new album in the context of the first two records?
Jim B: I would say, the actual material is more like the first album, but even beyond that, it really is more like what we were evolving into, in 1988, at the time that album was released. What ties it into the second album, is the fact that we had Bob St John (Producer, engineer and mixer on ’Vivas Machina’) mix the new album. Direction-wise, it’s not really anything like ’Vivas Machina’, but the sonic quality on that album was great, due to Bob’s work.
So, I’d say this is the album that would be come out right after the debut, even to the point of us including 2 songs written in that era….’Code of Honor’ and ’Out In the Cold’, done faithfully to the original versions of those songs. So, this is more like what the 2nd Hittman album would have sounded like, had we gotten to do one at that time….
MHMB: You mention ‚Out in the Cold‘ and ‚Code of Honour’, songs that have been written back in time. What are the reasons for re-activating them in 2020?
Jim B: Well, as I stated above, those songs were brought back for that reason, but also, they were songs that we really loved from back in the day, that never got properly recorded. So, I’m glad they’re seeing the light of day now. ’Code of Honour’ really shows where the band was going in 1988, after the debut album.
MHMB: The title ‚Destroy All Humans‘ gives the idea if a concept album. Are the songs connected theme-wise and what‘s the thought behind the title?
Jim B: I’d be lying if I said the title track wasn’t political. In the bigger, non-partisan picture, it’s really about how greed and massive corruption is destroying humanity, and that the uber wealthy, who are the ones in power, have no interest in preserving, defending or upholding humanity. We’re at a gross level of income inequality, where you have millions of people suffering, homeless, and hungry, and then, conversely, you have mega billionaires, where just one of them has more money than most of the population combined. Now, my point of reference is as an American, where, here, it’s at a disgusting level. America is a business, not a country anymore. Lives matter less than profit. The Government, just seek to own and control, not to serve, and as people, we all lose. Screw the environment, screw the health and well being of the populous, just make the money and own everything….It’s pretty vile. So, it’s an angry song 🙂
As far as it being a central theme for the album…not at all. Lyrically, the songs vary. Some of it is very personal, like ’The Ledge’,’Breathe’ and ’Total Amnesia’. So, there’s no central theme running though the album as a whole.
MHMB: It seems like the title being very relevant these days with an ongoing pandemic. Can you tell a bit about the impact of the pandemic on the return of Hittman?
Jim B: Well, it delayed our album release. The record was supposed to be released in May, and we discussed it with No Remorse, and we all decided to wait. The real issue is, when will the festivals start back up… So, this stupid thing impacts EVERYONE in the music business….it’s just awful.
MHMB: After such a long break, how did you guys approach work on the new album? Was it a challenge to get into the groove again after such a long time and how important were the live shows at festivals like Keep It True for creating new record?
Jim B: Well, the approach originally was “Hey Dirk, let’s just make music based on the influences we all had when we started the band…like pre-1984…CLASSIC metal”. So, a lot of the material that didn’t make the record had those older influences…Dio, Rainbow, Early Priest etc. but No Remorse convinced us that we should really sound more like we did on the first album, which was a it more contemporary mid-late 80’s metal.
Funny thing is, we didn’t think we actually HAD a sound of our own on that album. But 30 years later, there was a fanbase that told us otherwise. Chris from No Remorse, and Manolis from Up The Hammers were Hittman fans back in the day, and they kind of told us “Hey, you gotta sound like HITTMAN”. Sometimes, you’re just too close to something to see it for what it is, or was.
Also, hearing a few thousand people sing songs I wrote when I was in my early 20’s, 30 years later, VERY LOUDLY at the shows, kinda got the message across. That was pretty amazing.
So the shows really did make an impact on how the record (which we already had recorded a lot of) needed to be, going forward.
Getting back in the groove was a bit challenging, for sure, especially not having Mike Buccell (Mike passed away in 2013 at the age of 51 – R.I.P.) around anymore. He was a huge part of the direction of the band.
MHMB: With ‚The Ledge‘ a song made it on the track-listing, which fans know already from live shows, but I miss ‚No Time to Die‘? Any specific reason why the tune didn‘t make it on ‚Destroy All Humans’.
Jim B: Again, this goes back to the “You have to sound like HITTMAN!” thing. The obvious classic Priest overtones on “No Time To Die” were kinda frowned upon or, at least pointed out by the fans and reviewer.
No Remorse is releasing it as a special flexi disc for those who pre-ordered the album. So some people will get it, but I would love to properly release it at some point. I still really dig the song. It was the first new Hittman song I wrote, when we decided to start all this up again.
MHMB: As mentioned earlier, No Remorse is the label that releases ‚Destroy All Humans‘. How did the cooperation start and is it for more than just one album?
Jim B: Well, they approached us about re-releasing the debut album. So, after working with them on that, and liking how the final product came out, and what a pleasure they were to work with, it was a no brainier for me.
Again, Chris was a fan of the band back in the day, and to me, I think it’s way better to work with people who actually really like your music. We really got to communicate about what mattered to them about Hittman, and at the end of the day, it was the music. So, when it came time to do a new record, it’s best to go with people who actually like your band. And they’re super awesome people too.
MHMB: I guess what survived time is that “This album was made with absolutely no hair extensions.” too, as already stated on the debut?
Jim B.: Still, no hair extensions….but, not as much hair either 🙂 I don’t think I could deal with having hair down to my waist again.Luckily, I still have all my hair, and COULD grow it that long again…I just don’t want to.
MHMB: What are the future plans when it comes to Hittman. Usually live shows would be next, but nowadays things are different. Are there already plans for shows in 2021 and what can fans expect in the future?
Jim B: Honestly, I don’t know. This awful Covid seems to be ruining things for everyone, so we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m curious how this record will be received. I’m super proud of it, so I hope people dig it. We will go from there, I guess.
MHMB: Jim, is there anything special you would like to mention or share with the fans?
Just that it was an incredible thrill to play those shows, and find out that people remembered who we were, and still cared. I hope we get to do it again someday.
As far as “Destroy All Humans” goes….I hope you will give it a fair listen. If classic, traditional metal is your thing, I think you will dig it.
MHMB: Jim, thanks again for making time for Markus‘ Heavy Music Blog. It‘s great to have Hittman back with a new album and I hope that live shows are soon possible. Hope to see you on stage soon.