OVERKILL vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth was recently interviewed by "The Classic Metal Show". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On OVERKILL's momentum in recent years, when they've released numerous critically acclaimed albums and delivered strong live performances:
Bobby: "I think that for the 30-plus years that we've been in this mix, we've been always trying to succeed at a high level and accomplish it, but I agree — there seems to be a great chemistry with this lineup, and it seems like we're getting great results. I can't attribute it to anything else but that — it just seems to work under these conditions, so why fuck with it if it's not broken?"
On whether he feels that consistently working rather than taking long breaks between albums has benefited the band:
Bobby: "That's a two-fold reason for that. One of the reasons is that it's a big part of our visibility. We're not on the top of the heap when it comes to this — we're somewhere in the middle still fighting for our space, and there's a lot to be said for fighting for your space. It keeps you honest. Because of that visibility and focus, records seem to fly out of us on kind of a regular schedule, and I think it works for us. I don't know if it helps the process or is directly responsible for the recent string of success or good chemistry, but for sure, it keeps us focused."
On how he's changed over the years:
Bobby: "The person evolves. It doesn't necessarily mean that the goal is any different, but I think the internal workings of myself are quite different. There's something really genuine and charming about youthful chaos when you're trying to get it on tape, but there's also obviously good results this many years later, to use the dirty word of mature and evolution, to say, 'Hey, I can still get that chaos on tape, but we can do it more so methodically as chaos for the sake of chaos.'"
On the group's new DVD, "Live In Overhausen", on which they perform their first and fifth albums, "Feel The Fire" and "Horrorscope", in their entirety:
Bobby: "First and foremost, we were contracted to do a DVD. There was anniversaries of these records, one being 30, one being 25. I remember sitting in a dressing room with D.D. [Verni] in a festival in Belgium, and we were having a drink and talking about this. He said, 'What about one?' I said, 'Well, what about two?' He said, 'Done.' We're real deep thinkers. [Laughs] I mean, the name of the band is OVERKILL — let's double it up. I remember that same day, one of the Nuclear Blast guys came by, and we said, 'Hey, we got this idea for the DVD,' and we presented it that way. His eyes bugged out and he said, 'Two? That's fucking great! Nobody does two!' I said, 'That's kind of the point.' It just seemed like the right thing."
On how it felt to revisit lesser-known material from those two albums:
Bobby: "The songs have come and gone from our set. There's like a classic OVERKILL — I guess it's four or five cuts that are always played throughout our career: 'Fuck You'; 'Elimination'; 'Rotten To The Core'; maybe a couple of others. But other songs drift in and out of the set, so I was familiar with ninety percent of this, as were the other dudes, because they have played songs like 'Blood And Iron' from 'Feel The Fire'. We do 'Nice Day For A Funeral' sometimes from 'Horrorscope'. But I think the hero of the day was Eddy Garcia. Eddy stepped in to do drums for this specifically because Ron Lipnicki, our drummer at the time, said, 'I can't do this. I can't make the trip.' So he was really the focus for all of us, because he had to learn both records. I think that us concentrating on him learning it only brought us up to speed even faster."
On the importance of maintaining a "street-level credibility":
Bobby: "I don't think it's anything that's a business plan. I think it's really just the kind of people we are. We were metalheads before we were OVERKILL, and I think that there's always been something very special about that. I think the longevity of this band or of the scene itself is that it's an undisposable [sic] scene, or undisposable band, or people with a great amount of fortitude, conviction and heart. That goes much beyond the band. I meet a lot of people that are very much like me, and as human beings, we like that — being around people you can identify with. We have a commonality. We like the same shit. We're the same kind of people. It's not overthinking it – it's not, 'We're bigger than the rest,' or 'We have to keep our mystique.'"
On why he thinks former guitarist Bobby Gustafson is so upset by the release:
Bobby: "You know, I don't really think I could speak on it. I'm obviously aware of it, and we've always wished Bobby publicly the best and said that he was instrumental in helping this band get off the ground. That goes without a doubt. But this is not my problem. I can only make this my problem. [Laughs] If it's not my fuckin' problem, then I don't care about it. I like saying this when it comes to certain things that come up that, to a very large degree, to why you and I are talking. It's only really a sidebar to it, and that's that we grew up in New Jersey and the New York area. We're second-generation Americans... and it was real simple, what you learned when you were a kid – work hard, and keep your fuckin' mouth shut. [Laughs] To some degree, it's why OVERKILL — or this version of OVERKILL — has never aired its dirty laundry in public. I'm always willing to deal with issues, but not in the public eye. I just don't think it's the right thing to do. It's been a pure band up to this point; I would rather keep it that way."
On the status of the group's in-progress new album:
Bobby: "We're up to 11 pre-production demos. I think that probably what I'm most excited about for this record is that Jason Bittner is now part of that chemistry. Jason has been a long-standing friend of ours. We've known him from way back when Tim Mallare was in the band. He's cut for this, and always has been cut for this. He's in the top echelon of this stuff. I mean, no slag on Ron Lipnicki — Ron was a great drummer, and I'm not saying that is going to be better, but this is going to be different, and that's one of the things I'm looking forward to. We notice all those differences within the band, all those nuances. I think that probably the biggest surprise for me on this record or the highest excitement of motivation is having a different guy behind the kit, and a guy who's more than qualified to do it who's not just doing it, but wanting to do it. I think that we have something special in the very near future. We're slated for the end of February 2019."
"Live In Overhausen" will be released on May 18 via Nuclear Blast.