Tag Archives: bodog music

PiercingMetal Talks To Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth from Overkill (1/18/2008)

Logo - Overkill

Overkill is one of the legends in the Thrash Metal annals of history and the band while going through a number of guitarist lineup changes has remained the core of D.D. Verni and Blitz for decades. Consistent touring and album releases prove that the band still has what it takes to entertain the fans. There are few bands like Overkill because not only are they able to say that they helped the genre form but they also never really swayed from the path since their inception in 1980. The band recently released their new album “Immortalis” on new label Bodog Music and they are seldom found off tour. Having just caught a smoldering gig at B.B. King Blues Club, we made plans to speak to the bands enigmatic front man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth at his earliest convenience. We caught up with him on the telephone in the beginning weeks of 2008 and found him eager to talk about a wide number of topics that ranged from the bands beginnings all the way up until today. We talked about a little bit of everything that Overkill was up to and even covered some of the singers other adventures in life and music. The transcription of our entire conversation is presented for you below.

PiercingMetal: As Metal history has documented quite well – Overkill was one of the very first Thrash Metal bands around so I am curious as to what it was like performing this type of Metal back when the genre itself was still in its formative stages.

Blitz: Stop, I think I’m popular but I think that what made it sell was the commitment to it. Not just by ourselves but by those who were also within the genre, those who believed. Obviously that following grew into legions at one point and still to some degree to this day. There was a great value to it and it was influenced by what had come out of the United Kingdom with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and with us stuff like the Dead Boys and The Ramones to a certain degree, Motorhead. It was different, it was new, but I think there was a great belief in it and that’s what sold it in time.

PiercingMetal: When the group first began what would you say appealed to you most about the kind of music you chose to do and what events led to the formation of Overkill.

Blitz: My Father sat me down I remember and I was in college but we were doing gigs at night and it was Overkill, rather a version of it and I think it was right before Bobby Gustafson had joined the band, and he said “so what do you think about this music thing?” and I replied that I think we have a great chance to make some noise and maybe get a deal etc.etc. and he goes “are you sure it’s not just about free beer and girls” (laughs). Years later I confessed to him that in those early days I had lied to him and that it was mainly about free beer and girls. But there was something different about it obviously and it was aggressive, it was action versus reaction and I think that this was the first time barring Punk that there was action versus reaction music. Definitely for the first time in Metal. Pits formed, and there was natural movement in the crowds, stage-diving started up. The Hardcore scene grew out of it so in some sense it was the planting of the seed that became the mighty oak. So it was really cool to be there at the beginning.
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“Live At Wacken Open Air 2007” by Overkill

Artist: Overkill
Title: “Live At Wacken Open Air 2007”
Label: Bodog Music
Release Date: 2/5/2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Wacken Open Air has long been considered the Metal Festival of note for many, many years and over the course of its three days plays host to tens of thousands of head bangers who get to indulge in the performances of dozens upon dozens of the worlds most popular Heavy Metal bands. Legendary Thrash Metal icons Overkill are no strangers to a stage like this one but it’s the first time that their fans are treated to the full set performed by the group on a DVD. It’s the perfect thing for those of us who have too many commitments to allow for a quick jaunt over to Germany to indulge in a hefty dose of Metal mayhem. “Live At Wacken Open Air 2007” presents to the home viewer just what it sets out to without the addition of any unnecessary bells and whistles. Instead it’s a full fifty minutes of head banging delight at the hands of the genres respected veterans. The group had just signed their deal with Bodog Music and delivered “Immortalis”, an album that not only found the band returning to a little more of their roots in terms of musical direction but also a move that paired them up again with Johnny and Marcia Zazula of Megaforce Records days gone by. This DVD is actually the second one from Overkill as the first was “Wrecking Everything”, a double DVD devastation from Asbury Park, NJ where you not only got the concert but a cool batch of additional features as well such as a band documentary. Such things can often be dreadful, but a band that was as do it yourself from the streets of the cities of New York and New Jersey like Overkill was sure makes for some interesting viewing.
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Overkill @ B.B. King Blues Club (10/21/2007)

Overkill are one of the truest legends of Thrash Metal and still deliver the goods in concert. This appearance found the band bringing along After Forever from Holland and they were another band that I really enjoy so I would not miss this show. If you want to read more just scroll past the logo.

Logo - Overkill

Artist: Overkill
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: After Forever
Date: 10/21/2007
Label: Bodog Music

Hot on the heels of the release of their latest slab of brutality, East Coast Thrash Metal veterans Overkill were on the road promoting it at New York City’s place for Metal B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. The band had performed earlier in the year on a spectacular bill that included Metal Church, Joey Belladonna and Meliah Rage and judging by the attendance observed as the night progressed no one seemed to mind that they had only caught the band a few months previous to this show. Tonight’s show would only find one band performing and it would be the Dutch sensation After Forever. Here’s a little bit about how the night went down.

After Forever: I’ve been fortunate enough to have had some experience and background with After Forever’s music and since the first time I heard them I have been a fan. The band isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination and has been around since 1995 delivering their very Melodic and often Dark Symphonic Metal. They are fronted by Soprano vocalist Floor Jansen who many might know from the works of Ayreon (another Dutch group of note). Tonight would be the bands very first time performing in NYC and this visit with Overkill would be part of the groups first ever visit to the USA. Oddly enough, as soon as the band arrived on US soil they would headline the ProgPower USA Festival as one of their first shows. The appeal in After Forever music is pretty wide because they are just such a “big” band in their overall sound. There is a healthy amount of melody going on and moments where they touch into darker territory via the use of growls and grunts on top of the crushing and powerful guitar riffs. The keyboards bring out the flourishing moments and the drumming is on the money as far as I have observed and this is what I had come to the conclusion of from only being exposed to a couple of their albums. Tonight would be a little bit of a celebration for After Forever as well, for it was not a month yet since their debut release was delivered on Nuclear Blast Records. They would leave the album as a self-titled one and having heard it already I knew the audience would be in for some thrilling music from these guys. They hit the stage like a hurricane with the opening track from their new album “Discord”, and when it came to “Transitory” you could feel that they meant business from the stage.
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“Immortalis” by Overkill

Artist: Overkill
Title: “Immortalis”
Label: Bodog Music”
Release Date: 10/9/2007
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

Now some twenty seven years into their career the guys in Overkill have little to prove about their mastery of the Thrash Metal movement that is now mainly considered a vital segment of the hallowed Old School sound that many of us grew up on. Despite this, the legendary Thrashers return with “Immortalis”, their 14th studio effort, and it is here that we find the band returning more to their classic sound with just enough of the Metal fury of today. It also found the band reunited with Johnny and Marsha Zazula who helped initially launch the Overkill name into the Metal stratosphere. As an album it’s solid and definitely shows the world that they are not relics from the past who don’t know the scene that is around in Metal’s present day. One of the songs that prove this quite clearly is “Skull And Bones” which offers up a duet between Blitz and Randy Blythe from that band they call Lamb Of God (perhaps some of you have heard of them :). The two bands shared the stage at the second Gigantour and it was a great way for the Old School to meet the New. When compared to their last studio release “ReliXIV”, I have to admit that I liked this one a little bit more because on top of the thrashing there was a little more musical experimentation than I expected to find Overkill doing. Of course the band could always play, but this time they showed different skills in my opinion and the signs of their being elder statesman of the genre were a little more visible.
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