Chris MacDermott of The Aquarian Weekly recently conducted an interview with vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth of New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Aquarian Weekly: The production on “The Electric Age” is brutally heavy. Who’s responsible for it?
Blitz: It’s produced by the band. We do all of our work since 2004 down at [bassist] D.D. Verni‘s studio. He’s down in the Red Bank area. When the studio’s in the family, the clock is not running. We can come in with ideas anytime we want. One of the things I’m most proud about with this record is its production. I think it’s a record that sounds loud at three.
The Aquarian Weekly: I read that you did tracking in between tours. Do you think that’s reason it’s so heavy and live sounding?
Blitz: I think so. We’d get the drums finished, then shoot over to Europe and do three shows. Then you come back and you’re adding guitars. Your last experience prior to recording has been on the stage. You can’t feign that type of energy. I think that when we do live shows in between tracking that it really seems to translate over to tape.
The Aquarian Weekly: You seem to be selling more concert tickets now and to younger fans of the new thrash bands.
Blitz: Yeah, no doubt. We’re selling more tickets because we’re incorporating younger people into this. On a tour like this, you get to see what was then and what is now at the same time. I think that’s where that interest comes from and therefore, selling more tickets. It’s cool. Plus it’s a great kick in the ass to the older guys. It works out to our advantage for motivation.
The Aquarian Weekly: The first time I saw OVERKILL at L’Amour in Brooklyn in 1984, you definitely raised the bar on what I expected from bands on stage, especially in terms of volume.
Blitz: We are an aptly named band. There’s always been a high quality of presentation. We were like the house band at L’Amour. We’d bring in all of our production and, let’s say, more power than was necessary. It was great to start with excess, not work our way up to it.
The Aquarian Weekly: One of the loudest things I’ve ever experienced was an explosion you guys let off on stage that was just terrifying.
Blitz: It scared the shit out of us, too. I remember this explosion. We had a guy working for us who loved doing “the bombs.” He had done it before in other places but this time he over packed it with gunpowder. If I remember correctly, it took a few minutes to get the P.A. back on because it was just so loud that it blanked out all the mics.
The Aquarian Weekly: How’s your hearing?
Blitz: What? [laughs] As loud as this band has always been, it’s much louder out front. I have some low and high-end loss, but the amount of shows I’ve done is in excess of 5,000. I should be deaf but I’m not and I suppose that’s because of where I’ve stood on the stage all these years, with the drums at my back and away from the audible death zone. I think I have more damage overall from individual shows I’ve attended out in front. Before we got into a band, we were fans of this. I would never go to a show and stand on the side of the stage and watch it. I wanted to see MOTÖRHEAD from the front of the stage, or METALLICA or ARMORED SAINT. I think that’s where my hearing loss comes from, being a fan.
Read the entire interview from The Aquarian Weekly.