Overkill

 

 

Twinmusix Chat with Bobby Blitz from Overkill about their Australian Tour and new Album and Dvd that's  coming out Next Year

what can fans expect from your Sydney tour?


Overkill has always been about energy. I think one of the things that is the key factor to us lasting 35 years, is we treat every show as the most important show and I think if you take that over our 35 years, we don't expect to change that philosophy in Sydney. The point is about the pride we have for being able to deliver and we have for making every show the most important show. I think you are going to get pure overkill which is being enjoyed around the world let's make it happen in Sydney.

Do you have any advice for up and coming bands to stay in the music industry as long as Overkill have?

It's a different world now. When we were accepted in to the metal industry it was pre download. At one point when we were in there, there were no CDS it was cassette tapes and vinyls; it was a different world. I think that if I had to give any advice I would say first of all: write songs, when you think you have something great continue to write don't just say you have reached the epitome of what is great for you because it will always evolve. I also say surround yourself with good people and what I mean by that is if there is a buzz on you get the right legal representation, get the right booking agent, get the right management these are necessary factors to break into a crowded metal industry. I also say be prepared to suffer and move forward through that suffering to be able to look back on it with happiness.

You have had a lot of band members changed over 35 years do you think your sound has changed as you have been changing your members?

I think so I mean I think a lot of people will say we are as regular as the sun, just doing the same thing year in and year out but I think that after 35 years we have always kept the core of being a thrash band, but have New members who bring in nuance. How Jason Bittner plays for instance drums or Dave Links on rhythm guitar what Derek Taylor does with his right hand. I think having two constants in the band; D. D. Verni being my partner and one of the guys who started this band with me, gives it a feeling of longevity while maintaining the new feeling around it. I’m not saying we are miles from where we were in the beginning  as we really still have the same formula were not trying to re invent the wheel. We’re writing thrash songs we’re not trying to over think them; as soon as you try to over think it you fuck it up so it makes sense. I think the new members have given us different nuance but the fact that there are two core members in there keeps us to that same purity that we had in 1985.

You play Bass guitar Do you record the bass parts on your albums?

No it was never that far for me, when I mention Bass guitar; it's how I got into music and it was really simple for me, it's four strings not six so that's a lot raised and that's why my father got me one for my birthday when I was 13, he accidentally bought me a Hofner; the Paul McCartney Beatles bass. After that I had the Fender Mustang bass which has a short neck and looks very much like a Stratocaster or a shrunk down fender p bass. I played in bands in high school and college, playing bass and singing is just something I pick up every now and then and fool around with while I'm watching a hockey game it's not something I take seriously but rather just for my own enjoyment. 

You have toured with Lemmy from Motorhead is there any crazy stories you can share with us?

The last show I did with Lemmy was in 2008 in Berlin and we were direct support for them and we had this light man that everyone knows who's been throughout the industry for years called Big E and his heart is bigger than his body. He's about 6 foot 4 and a very large man with height and width and he comes in and goes “Blitz, Lemmy wants to talk to you” and I'm like this is going to be great and we have always been friendly; Lemmy and myself; and he goes “I want you to come up and sing Overkill”. I'm as high as a kite right and I'm like this is going to be fantastic But I get a little nervous so I write the first word of each verse on my forearm and a singer gets the first word and everything else follows that's why I had them written right on my forearm and as we are doing the song and we were sharing a Mic and he says “cheat notes you mother fucker, cheat notes” and I got so embarrassed that I dove off the stage into the audience and as I was held upside down by the crowd I could see him looking over grinning going cheat notes.

What stage gear do you use?

Jason is using Tama, D. D. Verni is using BC Rich basses he has a specific set up with a rack he uses usually using Peavey speakers or Ampeg when we rent, Derek Taylor usually uses dime 4×12 cabinets for his stage sound even though we like more cabinets around it and 100 watt heads and a effects rack on it, Dave Links uses orange amps which is a off shoot of Marshall and he uses a guitar company which builds to his specs called just Insane guitars, he just started using a new company.

While you tour do you write music?

 

I like to record demos while we are touring. If the guys demo something I like to fill in the blanks when I'm on the road. I've always felt that the live theatre is a place where it really happens. Say you come off stage in Cleveland Ohio at midnight, you are still going to be up till 5 am so every now and then I’ll have some recording gear with me. I have no problem going into the back of the bus sitting there jotting a few lyrics down putting a vocal line in because the last feeling I had for Overkill was a live feeling for example coming off that stage in Cleveland or in Sydney I went and wrote down ideas I had had on stage.

 

Who does the art works for your album's?

 

Since our record Necroshine in 1999, now an 18 year period, we worked with a company called ‘Scene Pieces Travis Smith’ and Travis has worked with a whole bunch of other bands as far back as Nevermore, Five Finger Death Punch all kinds of artists. He's out in San Diego on the East Coast where he's doing something for us now for a live DVD and album that we are getting ready to release right around the time we are coming to Australia. We have worked with him all this time. Many time's we work together and go back and forth sending pictures of things that we like or that we find on the internet. Frenchy, she liked the title Grinding Wheel. I think D.D and myself were googling grinding wheel images forever and D.D finally came out with these three gears that were locked in together but were stone gears and we said “woah, can you work around these stone gears?” It's not a grinding wheel but it looks as if it fits that motif and then Travis starts taking that and runs with the idea. We released a record in 2012 called the Electric Age and we told him we were calling it that, so he sent us something that he had this idea for and said “You guys what if I start putting this electric current through everything on this picture?” It was like working with someone thinking along the same lines as you. We work together but he will come up with ideas on his own as opposed to us just dictating stuff.

 

Do you still go back to early influences for creativity and inspection on your records?

 

I suppose so you know, for me personally in regard to influence I like singers. I've always inspired to be a better singer. If you listen to early Overkill compared to The Grinding Wheel there's an evolution there in regard to how I can handle my voice. It's not as youthful as it was in 1985 but the other side of it is, I can't sing better compared to other singers such as Ian Gillan from Deep Purple or Roger Daltrey from The Who. Those are the guys I would always think could turn those notes so I don't go back to be influenced by them but I go back to learn their tricks and try to incorporate it into what I think my point of view for Overkill in 2017.

 

 

 

What was the first gig you ever played in front of a crowd and what song did you play?

 

My father worked with handy capped old men, he (my father) was an attorney and he worked with an organisation that had men remanded to displace because they had no families and they were all between the ages of 50 and death, I mean that's how it was. I was 15 years old we played in a hall called Knights of Columbus and my father was a Knight of Columbus and since he worked with these people and a priest there so he said “I’m going to get you a gig”. He put me in front of these severely handicapped old guys and that was my first gig. The band was called Tempus Fugit and we did kiss and ZZ top covers. We didn't have a PA so we had two microphones taped together and two guitar amps so the vocals spread on each side. When the priest came up and grabbed both Microphones it shocked him and he said “shit! God dam it!” and I said I must be in rock and roll now and that was my first gig. No one could even applaudwhen we were done, that's the shape these guys we're in. It was a great thing to know that my father was still supporting that organization.

 

If you could have any band play one of your songs which band would it and would it be in your style or there's?

 

Oh jeeze how cool is that, I've never been asked this question after all these years. The band would have to be Judas Priest and the line up would be the traditional line up, but with Scott Travis on drums. The song I would like them to do something that's not just perfectly Priest but would like to hear how they did it would be the song Horoscope.

 

Is there anything else you would like to announce to your fans?

 

We are looking forward to coming to Australia! We have a gig with you guys in Sydney in March at The Factory Theatre. This is the second time we are double dipping for Australia, we were there back in 2012 for The Electric Age. Coming back this time I'm not going to beg, but I'm going to say don't miss it! Grab it while you have a chance.

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