KNAC.COM News Reviews and More Watch The Latest Videos Buy KNAC T-shirts and More

Overkill's Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth On The Thrill of the Kill

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Friday, January 12, 2007 @ 0:01 AM

We are looking for a springtim

- advertisement -
- advertisement -
It has been a long, exciting journey for one of the original, and enduring Thrash Metal bands. Jersey rockers, Overkill's most recent release Relix IV on Spitfire Records manages to capture the intensity and ferocious sound that has become their trademark.

Overkill started their career over 20 years ago in Brooklyn, NY. It wasn't long till their honest, hardcore approach to Thrash Metal exploded and garnered Overkill a huge following in the New York and Jersey area. Singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth says, “We were never really chasing some star. We are doing what we love to do. Come along if you will, if you don't that has nothing to do with how we are going change our attitude toward things."

Overkill performed on the Gigantour in 2006, and will kick off a Winter Tour on January 19 in Aurora, Colorado, make a special stop January 21 at The Whisky A Go-Go in Hollywood, California, and end the tour on January 28 at B.B.Kings in New York. Special guests at the B.B King show will include Metal Church and Meliah Rage.

In this Exclusive interview, for KNAC.COM, “Blitz" discusses the upcoming tour, latest news on Overkill's upcoming album release, his new project The Cursed, and Overkill…more than twenty years later.

KNAC.COM: Bobby, Happy New Year! Well the year is off to a great start for all the Overkill fans here at KNAC.COM. Tell me about your new tour.

ELLSWORTH: The tour starts on January 19th in Aurora, Colorado at Hubbas's House of Rock, and then we go to The Showbox in Seattle, Washington, which is a Metal Fest. Then we go down to Los Angeles on January 21st at The Whisky, then up in the New England area on January 23 in Worcester, at The Lucky Dog, and Mark's Showplace in Bedford, NH on January 24th, and the Webster Theatre on January 25, and then B.B.Kings in New York on January 28.

KNAC.COM: That is awesome that you are getting to play out in California at The Whisky. I know you usually play on the East Coast a lot. Are you looking forward to performing on the West Coast, this time around?

ELLSWORTH: We did a lot out there, a year ago last October 2005. We did play the Whisky, and have already been invited back. It is kind of a nice thing. In the interim, we were involved in The Gigantour, which I supposed raised our profile to some degree to regard, “Where are they now?" (Laughter) It is never, “Who are they now in Overkill?" Everybody unless you live in a cage, or you are seventeen and call yourself a metal head, you know who Overkill is and what we are. Usually, we have been playing the East Coast and Mid West like you said, but now it seems that The West Coast has opened again for us due to the tour in 05 and also due to the Gigantour.

KNAC.COM: I know a lot of fans were happy to see Overkill on a major tour like Gigantour. How did the tour go, and what was it like working with Dave Mustaine and Megadeth?

ELLSWORTH: It was really cool. You know, we toured with Dave and Megadeth back in 1987. This was strictly a no-brainer. I have to give him kudos. A lot of people will say they are part of the scene, and quite honestly Dave is. There are better of other bands that he could have taken with larger profiles, and quite honestly larger units sold. Dave said he wanted to bring some friends along. We lobbied for the tour, he said,” What a great idea." The next thing we know, we are in Boise, Idaho, and six weeks later, we are ending up in Florida. It was a great tour. It was really easy, we really befriended and vice versa the guys in Lamb of God. We found they were very much new fans of Overkill. Those guys were onstage very night singing, “Old School” and having a blast. So we were exposing ourselves to new people, and a really easy slide for us. Everyone was real easy to get along with; we don't like to make the road hard.

KNAC.COM: One of the greatest aspects of The Gigantour was that you had the opportunity to be exposed to a younger audience, many were probably seeing Overkill perform for the first time

ELLSWORTH: I walked out onstage and I said, “I’m probably older than half of you, so have a little respect." (Laughter)

KNAC.COM: That is cute. So the audience was a younger crowd, and a great opportunity for you then?

ELLSWORTH: Yes, it was a younger audience, but not all the demographic was like High School, that some of the younger bands bring in and Overkill fans, which are right now pushing Social Security. So it was quite obviously a large demographic. It was good exposure for us. We have been at this level; we have done it for a twenty-year period. We really never changed our philosophy over that period of time. With regard wearing the brass ring. It has really been about a selfish motive, this is what we love, love us or hate us, this is what we will do. I think that there is also some respect that comes with that.

KNAC.COM: I have noticed the respect that the fans especially on KNAC.COM have for you. Overkill has stuck to their guns and never compromised your musical values, even when the grunge scene push metal out of the spotlight, you guys were turning out some of your best albums, at that time.

ELLSWORTH: It's our thing again. Yes, and to change our philosophy would be wrong. The idea about this band is that it was originally founded by four members who love what they did. If those members and D.D and I stayed, the people that have replaced those people are guys like Dave Linsk, who is the longest standing guitarist in Overkill. He loves doing this. So it is really a no-brainer with regard to presentation. It is what we like to do. The other side of the coin is it is that it is all we can do. (Laugher) So that is kind of cool too, because we never have to wonder who we are. We always know that.

KNAC.COM: Well Bobby, you are man who knows who he is and knows where he is going. That is great. This tour is exciting too, because you are going to be playing some shows with Meliah Rage and Metal Church. I know everyone is looking forward to the B.B. Kings show on January 28.

ELLSWORTH: Yes that is correct. Meliah Rage out of the New England area. Metal Church is out of the Seattle area, which has reformed over the last few years. They have a release or a couple of releases out. We actually did a few shows with them in Germany and have a common business associate over there. In our opinion, they always were a good band and still are and it is always a pleasure to do shows with them and take them with us on tour.

KNAC.COM: Tell me a little bit about your set on the upcoming Overkill Tour. What do the Kill fans have to look forward to?

ELLSWORTH: The tour is really kind of short, we are only talking about ten days. It is going to be standards. The standards are songs like, "Fuck You", and "Elimination". We like to mix it up with what we have done in the past. Sure there will be some stuff from Relix lV. Sure there will be some stuff from Taking Over, and Years of Decay. Which songs, we are never quite sure; we have been doing this for so long. We just kind of pull them out of our hats. It is going to be standards, plus some Overkill surprises.

KNAC.COM: Are you in the studio recording a new Overkill album?

ELLSWORTH: Well vocals are next. Drums, guitars, bass are done. I go in within four or five days, actually right before the tour. Then I go out on the tour, come back and then finish the vocals. We are looking for a springtime release that will put us in favor for the European Festivals. That is always a blast to go over there. Every weekend there is two or three Festivals. It is mass exposure over that ten-day period. I really dig it.

KNAC.COM: Did you get to perform in Europe with Gigantour?

ELLSWORTH: We just did The States. It went to Australia and Japan, and in through Europe, but we just played here.

KNAC.COM: Now let's talk about Relix lV. Would you say the title has to do with the longevity of the band?

ELLSWORTH: I suppose. A relic is an old but yet valuable find. Again, we have always known what we are. It is not hard for us to think about where we stand with regard let's say being part of the scene. We have been here for a long, long period of time. We have known to some degree, we are relics. But that doesn't mean valueless. I think that it means let's say when uncovered, you find a valuable surprise. We have an Overkill way of doing things, and have a little bit of sense of humor about things. If you take yourself too seriously, it becomes unenjoyable. We always like rolling with the fun aspect of how seriously we take the music.

KNAC.COM: Yes, Overkill is kind of like that diamond in the rough. Let's talk about your show at B.B.Kings with Meliah Rage and Metal Church.

ELLSWORTH: It is on January 28th. It is always cool to play B.B.Kings's. It is right around the area in which we live. It is a show, where I remember walking on the stage and saying, I know half of you by the first name, and the other half I probably threw up on at some time in my life. It is that kind of relationship. I think that New York and New Jersey have always felt that with regard to metal, with regard to Overkill that we are theirs. Quite obviously, we are. (Laughter) We are a good representation of the area. It is really a full throttle approach that we have. I think that is why these shows, local shows like B.B.Kings, Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ are always over the top. They are always sold out. They are always right back to the stage diving, crowd surfing days that we had throughout our career.

KNAC.COM: Will KNAC.COM'S Eddie Trunk be coming down to the New York show?

ELLSWORTH: Eddie always comes. We have him up doing his part in "Old School". We always drag him up there to do his part.

(On Relix IV, Trunk makes a special appearance on the song, “Old School".)

KNAC.COM: The New York area is so thankful to Overkill for the benefit show that you did after 9/11 for the New York Steel Workers.

ELLSWORTH: Eddie put that show together with Mike Piazza, who was from the New York Mets at that time. Mike is a big metal head. It was with Twister Sister, and Ace Frehley, Anthrax, and ourselves. It was kind of nice to say, we are part of the giveback. It is not always about take. It was good to have someone like Eddie, at the helm bringing out the best in us, and all of the bands, and give them the opportunity to give back.

KNAC.COM: You have been really busy. You have another new project in the works called The Cursed.

ELLSWORTH: The album is just completed. It is going through the mastering stages right now. If you go to www.the-cursed.net, there are a few little 90 seconds clips of what to expect off of the record.

KNAC.COM: Yes, I heard it. You have a little bit of a Steven Tyler vocal thing going on there. I like the different approach.

ELLSWORTH: Oh really. Well you are just saying that because you are from Boston. (Laughter) I am from The Bronx, you know.

KNAC.COM: Yes, I know, but it is a good thing, I think…to be compared to Steven Tyler.

ELLSWORTH: Oh sure, and quite obviously, it is flattering to hear somebody compare my presentation on The Cursed, to someone as great as Steven Tyler. This was a fun record for me. I suppose, everything I do at some degree for me is fun. I don't have a lot of fuckin’ complaints. A guy came out to me one day and said, "Oh My God, Overkill is still around?" and I said, “How is the day gig going?" (Laughter)

KNAC.COM: That is what the fans love about Overkill. You are so direct and tell it like it is Bobby. That is too funny.

ELLSWORTH: The Cursed record was put together by Dan Lorenzo of Non-Fiction fame, and Hades fame. He is a riff monster. Also, he is a good friend of mine. We had Non-Fiction on the road with us in 1993. I thought they were just an absolute fantastic band. Dan has been hassling me to play with him for years. I did on a few riffs about a year ago, and wrote some lines for it. It just started taking off. We got Job The Raver from Murder 1 and Mike Cristi, also from Non-Fiction fame. Screaming Ferret Wreckords became interested in The Cursed. We said, "We know it is going to be say different from Overkill. It is way different from Dan's project Hades and Non-Fiction. Screaming Ferret Wreckords were real interested in seeing what happens, and gave us more that a development deal, in order to see us get going. They said, “We want what you guys come up with.” So we said, “Oh My God, it has actually turned into something. It was obviously started just for fun. It was a garage band, taken to the next level, like most bands start. For me to do it, as an absolute side project, it feels really good because it is not Overkill by any means. There are similarities with regards to vocals in some cases. The approach and the songwriting are taken from a much more rock and roll perspective. For the first time in my life, I was able to write lyrics about the softer sex. I don't think I have written a song about a woman in Overkill. I found out The Cursed have written eight songs on my perspective on the way I feel in different ways and what I have witnessed. So it really becomes in all senses, fresh material for me. The lyrical content, the subject matter, the approach to the singing, the type of songs that I am singing, too are much more melodic and just a hell of a lot of fun. It still has that dirty, don't play it for your mother kind of feel, behind the presentation of the record. The Cursed has been a lot of fun for me. We look forward to The Cursed Spring release, Room Full Of Sinners.

KNAC.COM: Do you think you will do a tour with The Cursed?

ELLSWORTH: I was talking with Dan and said maybe we ought to do a last appearance of The Cursed and have it also be our first one. The final appearance of The Cursed and then we will book it in New York in some sleazy 500 seat kind of a club. We are thinking of possibly doing something like that. It is too early to determine. I have tons of commitments from Overkill, which has always been my focus. It is something that I ever take lightly. I can't do everything.

KNAC.COM: The response to Overkill has been phenomenal over the past 20 years. When you were first playing clubs in Jersey, in the 80's did you ever think Overkill would still be touring in 2007?

ELLSWORTH: Put it this way, D.D. has more foresight that I have. I am really about the moment and taking the moment and philosophy to the next moment. The following moment actually takes care of itself. I didn't foresee it; I didn't foresee anything though. It wasn't a plan based on Overkill did all of this work. It was only really about squeezing the shit out of the moment. It is really important to put all that you have into something like this because it is obviously very precious. It is something as a kid, I can only imagine doing and as an adult through all that I have done feel satisfaction. I suppose that value to it and how precious I consider it. It is still at a high level. I am hopefully going to work toward a live record, and get no sleep until Social Security. (Laughter) So hopefully it will work, for as long as it is wanted.

KNAC.COM: Well look at The Rolling Stones, they are still going strong, and every year they say it is their last tour. It is like the endless tour, it goes on and on forever.

ELLSWORTH: I hear that anybody that makes it to thirty years gets invited to tour with Jagger. (Laughter)

KNAC.COM: Were you a big Stones fan growing up?

ELLSWORTH: I have different loves of music. I go anywhere from Harry Connick Jr., all the way to Napalm Death and everything in between. It is about moods for me. It was probably somewhere in the 90's, every time I would wrench my bikes, it always seemed like I had this four disc collection of The Stones number one hits. I had everything back from "Shattered", to early Stones. So yeah I am a Stones fan.

KNAC.COM: OK, Well are you a big fan of football too? I ask because it is Wild Card weekend and it is The Patriot versus the Jets. I know you are from Jersey.

ELLSWORTH: I am a big Giants fan, so there I am a Jets hater.

KNAC.COM: That is cool, Go Pats then.

ELLSWORTH: That is right, you are from Boston.

KNAC.COM: Is their anything else that you would like to say about the upcoming Overkill tour?

ELLSWORTH: I am always really happy about taking the stage. I am really happy that the West is opening up for us again. The Whisky sold out last time we were there. The Seattle show is close to sold out. We haven't been in Denver for quite some time. Even though we have been there before, it seems like that old MacArthur saying, "I Will Return." This great testimony to Overkill's tenacity. We are looking forward to doing these shows. They seem like, even though we have been there before Overkill has it's own approach. The idea is that Jersey has it's own approach and I would say it is that blue-collar approach. Love us or hate us, we are what we are. That is what we have always known about Overkill. We were never really chasing some star. We are doing what we love to do. Come along if you will, if you don't that has nothing to do with how we are going to change our attitude towards things.

KNAC.COM: Thanks Bobby, I hope to make it out to see you and Overkill perform in Worcester.

ELLSWORTH: As always, thank you for your support at KNAC.COM.

Back to Top



 Recent Features
Wheel Of Illusion: An Interview With ROGER NILSSON Of THE QUILL
Guitar Drama: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist MARTY FRIEDMAN
Always Believe: An Exclusive Interview With GIANCARLO FLORIDIA
From Hell I Rise: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist KERRY KING
Light 'Em Up!: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist DOUG ALDRICH Of THE DEAD DAISIES
JUNKMAN Recaps The 2024 'ROCK FOR RONNIE - Year Of The Dragon' Benefit Concert
Tattoo Me On You: An Interview With LEE AARON
A Symptom Of Being Human: An Exclusive Interview With BARRY KERCH Of SHINEDOWN
Beyond Shadowland: An Exclusive Interview With ROBERT BERRY Of SIX BY SIX
Fear No Evil: An Interview With REX CARROLL Of WHITECROSS
Cold Sweat: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist MARC FERRARI
Atomic Klok: An Exclusive Interview With Drummer GENE HOGLAN
No Crown In This Dead Town: An Exclusive Interview With HANNAH CUTT
Rome Wasn't Built In A Day: An Exclusive Interview With DEREK DAVIS Of BABYLON A.D.
Humanoid: An Exclusive Interview With WOLF HOFFMANN Of ACCEPT
Banished By Sin: An Exclusive Interview With GLEN BENTON Of DEICIDE
KEELWORLD: An Exclusive Interview With RON KEEL
Pollen Meets The Blacktop: An Exclusive Interview With MATT JAMES Of BLACKTOP MOJO
Reunited: An Exclusive Interview With RENA PETRUCCI, YAEL RALLIS Of MEANSTREAK
40 Years of Rage: An Exclusive Interview With PETER "PEAVY" WAGNER Of RAGE
The Storm Cometh: An Exclusive Interview With MATT PIKE And JEFF MATZ Of HIGH ON FIRE
From The Archives: JUNKMAN's 2011 Interview With DAVID COVERDALE
DJ WILL Recaps The 2024 HELL'S HEROES VI Festival
From Houston To Vegas: An Exclusive Interview With MARK KENDALL Of GREAT WHITE
Free Spirit Soar: An Exclusive Interview With MARK ZONDER Of WARLORD
Living Like A Sunburn: An Exclusive Interview With DANNY DOLL And CHAD MICHAEL Of WICKED
Roots & Shoots: An Interview With JIM PETERIK Of WORLD STAGE
Let There Be Anarchy: An Interview With JEFF SCOTT SOTO Of ART OF ANARCHY


©2024 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News