Niclas Mller-Hansen of Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth of veteran New Jersey thrashers Overkill. A couple of Blabbermouth.net excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metalshrine: How long did you work on [the new Overkill album, "The Electric Age"]?
Blitz: You know, we're always working on stuff. We're very blue-collar. Nobody sits down and pines over how we're not being treated like pampered superstars. We're happy with our tools on and off. D.D. [Verni, bass] collects the riffs and I think if you're a riff collector, you never let one go by. I mean, the guy's always has some kinda recording device on him and he's either always humming into it or playing acoustic guitar into it or collecting a riff at a soundcheck or on the bus. That started as soon as "Ironbound" was released and we were on the road, he started collecting these things, but the actual assembly started in June 2011. That's when the demos started happening. Songs started developing from riffs into full songs, so from a period of June 2011 until we delivered in January 2012, this was the assembly process.
How do you usually write songs? Is it mainly you and D.D.?
Primarily. He starts them and I finish them. It goes through a metamorphosis at the center. You know, Dave Linsk is the longest-standing guitar player in this band and he's got great input. He's got almost the exact studio as D.D. has, in Florida. So D.D. is in Jersey and Dave's in Florida and they can exchange ideas via web, Wave files, but we also have to be in that room, I think. We're a combination of what was and what is. What was is, in a room I remember a boom box and somebody hitting record and the tape started rolling and that's how we started getting ideas. Now it's a little bit more advanced than that, but we have to be able to be in that room and sweat. But then afterwards we use that technology to trade ideas back and forth. I have a small home studio where I download the idea to my computer and boom, it's off to these two guys. I think we're a good balance between old and new.
I know you also shot a video recently. I'm thinking, videos these days gotta be mainly for YouTube, right? There are no other channels for it.
Absolutely! But isn't that what we talked about earlier with regard how bands write songs these days? It's really all about the Internet, isn't it. I'm sitting here thinking to myself some days, "I don't need cable TV or satellite. I can watch what I wanna watch on the Internet and then I can at least choose to do so." I think that's what it's about is that people can now choose to watch it when they want to watch it. It becomes even a more personal type of promotion with these videos because it's not jammed down your throat with regard to advertising. You actually have to log on or go to that site if I wanna see Overkill's "Electric Rattlesnake" to see what they came up with. I think it's a unique time right now when it comes to video and probably much more personal than it's been in the past. It's about choice.
I read that you're not an Obama fan. What do you think about the U.S. election?
It's unique. I can't say I'm not a fan. I mean, I never rooted for the guy to do not well. You want them to do well regardless of what they're political affiliation is. We also talked about me working for myself for a 20-year period of time and also my father. My father sat me down when I was about 17 and he goes, "You're gonna be able to vote next year." And he said to me, "I work for myself and it makes me a Republican. They want smaller government and they wanna take less of your money. If you're not like so, you probably wanna be a Democrat." As time went on, I started working for myself and saw that. I really have a distinct view of what Republicans and Democrats are and I'm really a blend of both. Obviously, I wanna help people and I don't wanna see people do bad. I do think a change is necessary. When a guy stands up and pounds his fist and says, "Not one dime will I raise your taxes!" and the first thing he does is do it. (laughs) It's just not fucking OK. (laughs) I think his attentions are correct, but I think a change is obviously necessary and to some degree I lean myself towards Ron Paul and doing this whole thing like a business.