Overkill is bringing their battering ram of metal music for wrecking crews across the United States in support of their new album Wings Of War. This record finds Overkill doing what they do best; create devastating thrash metal. Metal Wani had the distinct honor and pleasure to talk with vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth before their show in Detroit, MI about the tour, their fans, their new drummer, and breakfast.
We started out our chat asking Bobby how the current leg of the USA tour with Death Angel and Mothership is going. Bobby replied “It seems to be accepted really well. I think it’s one of the things about Overkill; it’s always an event-like based on the energy for all these years, so I think people really look forward to it. One of the cool things is being able to add new songs which still have a, I don’t know, say a traditional feel to them. The new records have been accepted at a pretty high level and I think it’s based on the formula we’ve used all these years. So really successful to this point.”
Seeing as Overkill just finished up a European tour in March, we wondered the age-old question about what (if any) differences they see in fans in the USA and Europe? Bobby explained “Obviously there are differences in culture, but the world’s become much smaller through internet and commerce. You’re in contact overseas instantaneously since email and now through a variety of apps. The Europeans dress like the Americans and the Americans dress like the Europeans (laughs). There is less difference now than what I saw when we had originally started.” Adding “Even if there are differences in culture, food, religion, whatever it may be; as soon as the first note’s played, the commonality comes out in the people.”
Thrash seems to be as popular now as it was back in the day. We asked Bobby how does he compare the scene of today with the late ’80s. “Well as far as excitement goes, the excitement is still there” replied Bobby. “I run into some of the old timers sometimes and they say “Oh, it’s not like the good old days”, I’m like you are missing out bro; f*c*ing pay attention (laughs)” Bobby continued “I think the main difference is that in the 80’s it (thrash) was being created from day to day. I think that was a cool vibe about the entire scene. There was no template to go by”
The new album Wings of War is the first with drummer Jason Bittner behind the kit. We wanted to know how Bobby feels that Jason has impacted the dynamics of Overkill both in the studio and live. With a laugh, Bobby responds “We call him Smash (laughs)…first and foremost we are very comfortable with him on a personal level. You tour as long as I have, you don’t want to be surrounded by douche bags”.
Our talk continued with the dedication of Overkill fans and Bobby expressing his admiration. We also talked about Bobby’s life in metal and what he would be doing if he wasn’t in metal. Bobby also shared a great story about his dad and Mike Piazza at a New York Mets game. Thank you so much, Bobby, for the privilege of talking with you. Long live Overkill!