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