Interview with: Protector's (former vocalist) Martin Missy

Among the wave of German thrash bands to emerge in the 80's, Protector were among the heaviest. The band concocted a combination of fast thrash with death metal, and was responsible for some of the heaviest albums to emerge during that period. The band's original vocalist, Martin Missy, is the only ex-member still carrying the torch following the band's demise in 1994, Martin was kind enough to fill us in about the band's history:

Hi Martin! I'd like to start with the present, what are you up to these days?
I’m living in Stockholm/Sweden since 1997, and work at the German Tourist office here. Since 2004 I sing in a Death-Thrash-band called Phidion and since 2005 in a Thrash-band called Talion. I’ve also been doing guest vocals on the latest releases of Desaster and Devil Lee Rot.

Are you in contact with former the band members, and is there a chance of seeing a Protector reunion?
Yes, I still have some contact to the other Protector members. I send e-mails to them sometimes, and when I’m in my old hometown Wolfsburg, I sometimes visit them. Around 2003 I asked the others what they think about a reunion, but it seems as if they are not as interested in doing such a thing as I am. I now have contact with a Swedish guy, who wants to do a Protector-project with some Swedish musicians and me. If it works out we will call the whole thing “Martin Missy and The Protectors”, or something, and perform Protector-songs live at 2-3 gigs here in Sweden.

I understand some back catalogue was recently re-issued, can you tell us about it?
2-3 years ago the Swedish underground-label I Hate Records contacted me and asked me if they could release our first two albums ”Misanthropy” and “Golem” on one CD. I contacted my former band-colleagues and asked them what they think about it, and when they said that it was o.k., “I Hate” released “Echoes From The Past” in 2003. This year they have released the 3rd and 4th album of Protector (“Urm The Mad” and “Leviathans Desire”) on a CD called “Ominous Message of Brutality”.

What about your other material, is there a chance of re-releasing the entire back-catalogue?
Well, now there are only two more records left that are not re-released by “I Hate” yet - “A Shedding of Skin” and “The Heritage”. “I Hate”, the others in Protector and me haven’t talked about it yet, but I think it’s not impossible that these two records also will be re-released in the next 2-3 years.

Can you tell us about how you joined the band originally?
Back in the beginning of 1987 I sang in a Speed-Metal-band called “Inzest”. One day the guitarist of “Inzest” played one of our rehearsal room recordings to Michael, the drummer in Protector. After that, Michael asked me to join his band, which I did in March of 1987.

Can you tell us about the band's intentions and state of mind when recording your first EP, Misanthropy?
Of course it was very exciting to go into a studio for the first time. Michael and Hansi had been in a studio once, when they recorded the 2-track-demo, in the fall of 1986, but Ede and me had never been in a studio before. The “White Lines Studio” was located in Braunschweig, which is only 20 kilometres from Wolfsburg. I remember that I had some trouble with my voice in the beginning. But after a while it fortunately worked out. We were very proud when “Misnthropy” came out about 2-3 months later.

Your vocals were some of the heaviest in thrash, what were your influences when singing the way you did?
I think that my biggest influences were Jeff Becerra from Possessed, Tom Warrior from Celtic Frost and Mille from Kreator.

On “Golem”, your first full length, you had a guest appearance from Sodom's Tom Angel Ripper, how did that work out?
Michael knew Tom since 1985/1986, when he had managed the Sodom-Fan-Club, so when we had the idea with a guest vocalist, it felt naturally to contact him. He lived only about 20 kilometres from the studio in Bochum, where we were recording “Golem”, so it was no big problem for him to come by and record the vocals. Tom is a great guy.

How did you come up with the calling the album "Golem", an Hebrew word?
It must have been around 1987/1988, when I heard about this Jewish legend, the Golem. I was fascinated by the story and decided to name one of our songs after the creation of rabbi Löw. The song “Golem” became one of the favourite songs of our fans.

You left the band for a while after that, and then came back, what caused that?
In the beginning of 1989 I had some psychological problems, which were caused by drugs. At that time I couldn’t focus on the music, I needed all my strength for myself. Some months later, I felt much better, and returned to Protector.

You did tours with such bands as Napalm Death, Assassin, and Sodom, what are your recollections from that time?
Protector (with Olly on vocals) toured with Wehrmacht in 1989 and with Napalm Death in 1990. We never went on tour with Assassin and Sodom, but we played single gigs together with them. It was cool to get the opportunity to open for bands that you only knew from CDs and fanzines. The gig with Sodom in Braunschweig in 1987 was the coolest gig that I ever did with Protector. We had organized the concert ourselves, and over 400 Metalheads showed up. When Sodom played the fans were storming the stage. In the end you couldn’t see the band anymore, because there were so many fans on stage that wanted to be close to the band.

Why did you eventually leave the band?
Somehow, the chemistry between the others and me just wasn’t there anymore, as I returned in early summer of 1989. I probably had been out of the band for too long. When we finally realized that it wouldn’t work out between us anymore in the end of 1989, Hansi, Michael and Ede replaced me with Olly for the second time, and this time for good.

I know that Marco Pape has been working on and off under the Protector Moniker, was the idea of you working together on a new album brought up?
No, we never talked about that. The “new” Protector was completely Marcos’ own thing. I thought it was both cool and strange that he kept the band going. It was cool, because by that, the name Protector still lived on, but it was also strange, because he was the only member left from the last Protector album - “The Heritage” (1993).

What are your thoughts about the current comeback of thrash metal?
I think that every musical-style goes through different phases, that’s only natural. At some point it’s very popular to listen to Thrash Metal, and some years later it’s not. And then another six-seven-eight years later it’s popular again. I don’t care about if a special style is “in” or “out”. If I like the music, it doesn’t matter if it’s new or old, or if it’s Thrash, Death or Heavy Metal.

Any last words for the Protector fans?
Thanx for reading this interview! Stay Metal and check out my Protector-homepage!

Alon Miasnikov
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