The release of a new album by legendary New Jersey thrashers, OVERKILL, was a good reason to have a chat with the band’s frontman Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth to speak about “The Grinding Wheel” plus more news from the band. Several excerpts of this interview can be read below:
We were an unsigned cover band, we said that ‘they have Eddie, we need something like Eddie’. I remember D.D. drawing on a cocktail napkin, it looked like Popeye’s head with two wings on it. It was an awful rendition that actually made it to a few tshirts at the beginning, then we finally had an artist do it… Eddie came first, so I would think Eddie would be the father.”
At the end of the day when the mix is done, it says Overkill and I think that’s always our goal, to put our stamp on our performances.”
So Motorhead has been there for us as an influence or a love from the beginning. And I can probably say to this day that I’m still a Motorheadbanger. It’s what it was all about for us with one of our favourite bands. So I think that the influence is the rock ‘n’ roll influence that Overkill has, I think thrash is heavy metal with energy, but rock ‘n’ roll is not far away from it. I think it’s one of the characteristics that we’ve carried for many years.”
I changed the subject and brought “The Big Four” into our conversation, asking Bobby how he feels about his band not being classed as one of them and what were the facts behind the forming of The Big Four?
When you talk numbers, numbers make the world go around, numbers put food on your table and numbers put the Big 4 in arenas. For me, it’s not a concern. To even be asked the question from you is quite a compliment, but this is quite simply an accounting issue. He who sells the most gets to be in the Big 4.”
I asked “Blitz” about his favourite singles and albums but he preferred to speak about his favourite singers:
Other singers, let me see, Iggy Pop – but that’s more of a pop approach to things.
I was a big fan of Dee Snider, the reason is that I always thought he did more with less.
Rob Halford – to this day, this many years into it, I have a note that I use, a real high pitched scream. I always think when I’m doing it, if only I could do it as clear as Halford. To some degree he still inspires me this many years later.”
Back to “The Grinding Wheel“, Andy Sneap who seems to be one of the busiest people in this industry, was part of the production personnel on this album. So I asked Bobby‘s opinion on working with him:
“One of the things about Andy – he’s got a state of the art feel to understanding this type of music. I think he works within a template of how he does things. What I like about him is that he thinks out of the bounds, for instance, what I mean is making each band sound like that band. He’s got to give them individuality within that template.”
You can listen to the whole of this interview on the audio player below: