Vocalist Chad Ackerman Discusses The Destroy The Runner Breakup
Band Photo: As I Lay Dying (?)
Vocalist Chad Ackerman has been around the metalcore block, providing vocals for iconic act As I Lay Dying as well as Arnold impersonations for the governator themed band Austrian Death Machine. For the last three years Chad has been working full time with Destroy the Runner, which was in the process of recording a third full-length album and follow up to 2008's "I, Lucifer." The band then unexpectedly broke up after a period of relative quiet, leaving the fans wondering what happened and what the fate of the new album would be.
Chad took some time to discuss the breakup and the recording that had been done so far on the third album. An audibly emotional Ackerman commented, "It was just sad how everything went down. I really wish we could release that third album or even just a song or two to say goodbye to fans, like a farewell to let them know how it sounded. Everyone went through a lot of work and it would be awesome to give those fans who were there from day one something to part with." He also discussed his reactivated band Chapter 14 and the circumstances behind the band's decision not to release the new Destroy the Runner album.
xFiruath: For any of our fans who weren’t familiar with Destroy the Runner prior to the band breaking up, can you give me a history of what the group did?
Chad: Destroy the Runner used to be called Die Like Me. They were going for a couple of years and recorded some demos. They sent them off and got signed with Solid State Records. When they got signed with Solid State they decided to change the name to Destroy the Runner. The name comes from this 1980’s movie called “Logan’s Run.” All the guys were watching it one night and there’s a robot that says “Destroy the runner, destroy the runner,” so they thought it would be a sweet name. The debut album was entitled “Saints.” I wasn’t in the band yet then. The vocalist at that time was Kyle and they toured on that album with Haste the Day I think and August Burns Red. The vocalist left the band and I was friends with the drummer Marc Kohlbury. He was really depressed and I was talking to him one day at lunch. He was saying he thought the band was over with and asked if I was doing anything. I wasn’t really doing anything at the time so he asked me to join. We recorded the second album, which is entitled “I, Lucifer.” We toured on that for a couple of years and did three or four U.S. tours. In November we started recording a third full-length album.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about Destroy the Runner breaking up. How did the breakup occur?
Chad: We had been recording the third album and I was really excited about it. It was sounding great and we had a lot of guests coming in on it, vocalists and musicians that we have been friends with throughout the years. About a month ago the recording process started slowing down. I would call the guys and try to get some input and things were really slowing down but I didn’t know why. The show before our last show, Duane’s (guitar player) girlfriend mentioned to my wife that she was sad that she wouldn’t be able to see Duane’s last show. My wife told me that and the warning signs started going up and I was wondering about what was happening. I talked to our bassist Tanner and he didn’t know anything about it. Duane asked me and Tanner to have a band meeting. We were both kind of scared of what was going on and we agreed to meet, but we didn’t really know what was going to happen.
xFiruath: What happened at the meeting?
Chad: We went to the meeting and pretty much in a nutshell, Duane and Maldy (Guitarist Nick "Maldy" Maldonado) said they were done with Destroy the Runner. They wanted to quit but they wanted Destroy the Runner to be over. They didn’t want to release any of the new album at all and they wanted to call everything quits. They asked us if we personally wouldn’t try to release any songs and that we wouldn’t try to keep the name or keep the band going. We were really shocked and disappointed and it kind of felt like we were hired musicians for over three years. There was a lot on our plate there so we said we needed to think about things for awhile and get some advice and we’d get back with them. Tanner and I talked and we decided to respect their request not to continue the band and sadly not to release anything. Me and Tanner decided to go with our new band and move forward. It was strange because an hour after Tanner and I talked I got an email from Duane saying that due to suspicion of my behavior that they changed all the passwords to the MySpace and the Facebook just in case I tried to keep Destroy the Runner going. So I’ve been locked out of everything. It was just sad how everything went down. I really wish we could release that third album or even just a song or two to say goodbye to fans. Like a farewell to let them know how it sounded. Everyone went through a lot of work and it would be awesome to give those fans who were there from day one something to part with. It’s out of my hands now and I don’t think there’s really anything I can do. I really just wanted everyone to know that I wish things were different and I wanted that album to come out.
xFiruath: There was an update posted on the Destroy the Runner MySpace page about the breakup. You had mentioned how you’d been locked out of the MySpace page, so did you have anything to do with that statement?
Chad: No, not at all. I didn’t even know there was a statement being written. In that email that Duane wrote me about the passwords he said if I wanted to write a statement and send it to him he could look it over and post it for me. At that point I was kind of hurt and still shocked by the whole thing. My intentions were not at all to keep the band going without them and those weren’t Tanner’s intentions either.
xFiruath: In that statement they cited “compromise entering the creative process.” So between that and what you’ve said its sounding like the other members of the band were just tired of Destroy the Runner and wanted to do something else?
Chad: Yeah they said they just wanted to end it tonight at the meeting. They started the band in the beginning and it was a personal request that it end that night without us keeping it up. There were so many things going through my head when I heard that. Some people and fans might be really pissed or sad about the new album not coming out. I’m really excited about me and Tanner’s new band though, and we’re going to release an album later this year, so fans can look forward to that. I can’t say enough that I’m really sorry we can’t release this third Destroy the Runner album.
xFiruath: How much of the new album was recorded and had you settled on a title yet?
Chad: We had more than ten songs written but we decided on ten that would fit the best. In the middle there was an interlude, so not counting that was nine full songs. I was going to name the album, by the lyrics I was writing, “A Brave Heart.” I wish everyone could hear it.
xFiruath: Tell me about your new project coming up.
Chad: Tanner and I were in this band before Destroy the Runner but we never did anything with it. Now that all this has happened we thought we should get it going. Between the people we’ve met through being in Destroy the Runner and me being in Austrian Death Machine and As I Lay Dying I’ve met a lot of cool people who are interested in the album. We’re recording a full-length and we’ll release it later this year. I’m happy with it, it’s already sounding really good.
xFiruath: Did the other members of the band discuss with you what their projects would be in the future?
Chad: Duane and Maldy and the previous drummer Marc started another band. It’s really ambient and melodic. Kind of ambient, melodic, progressive rock and roll I guess. I think they’ve been recording with Teppei from Thrice, or maybe he mixed their songs. I don’t know when they are going to release anything but I know they’ve all been working with that as well.
xFiruath: You had mentioned earlier working with As I Lay Dying and Austrian Death Machine. Can you tell me about recording with Austrian Death Machine and are there plans for a third album?
Chad: I’m not on “Double Brutal,” I’m just on “Total Brutal” and “A Very Brutal Christmas.” I had a lot of fun doing that. Tim (Lambesis) asked me to do “Double Brutal” but I was really busy Destroy the Runner at the time. I just said I didn’t think I would be able to do it that time. He got Josh Robert Thompson and he did a great job. That guy is an amazing voice actor. Tim called and said a lot of fans were bummed out because our impersonations are so different. That got me thinking that I should get some more free time if Tim is going to do a third album. I don’t know if he’s recording it yet. I’m going to see him soon and maybe we’ll talk about it. I would like to do a third album and a tour or something, but we’ll see what happens.
xFiruath: Outside of the bands you have worked with, what are you listening to these days?
Chad: “Diamond Eyes,” the new Deftones is just phenomenal. I’m really confused because I’ve show a lot of people to it and a lot of them aren’t into it and that just baffles my mind. Everyone’s always raving about “White Pony” but I really think this is their best record and it’s blowing my mind. I love that album. The new Circa Survive I’ve been listening to a lot also. The latest “Living Sacrifice” album called “The Infinite Order,” that’s good stuff.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to say?
Chad: I want to thank everyone for their support over the years and I want everyone to know that I would have liked things to go down differently so everyone could hear the album. I’m really excited to hear the upcoming Chapter 14 and I’m glad I’ll get to share that with everyone.
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