May 25, 2013
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth
March 7, 2005
By Corey Bonnett
Thrash metal wasn't invented last year, and OVERKILL have been laying it down and tearing it up for over 20 years now. They've stayed true to their fans, their musical style, and most importantly, themselves. OVERKILL have now released 14 full-length albums since the band's inception, and they're showing no signs of slowing down. I had an opportunity to chat with founding member and frontman, Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth, and we discussed past members, band reunions, the difficult 90's, the new release "ReliXIV", the upcoming tour, as well as other matters relative to the metal machine that is OVERKILL.
After more than 20 years fronting OVERKILL and 14 studio albums, how many interviews do you think you've done?
Well, I know we've done approximately 2500 shows, (quietly calculating) so I'm going to say two interviews per show...I've probably done about 10,000 interviews.
WOW! (pauses) That's amazing...(Blitz laughs)
I think you guys should give me an award (laughs)...
Maybe...I'll see what I can arrange.
...At least a fuckin' parade (laughs)!
Would you say you're sick of doing interviews yet?
You know, it depends. If I got into a situation where it's not about the new record, then sometimes I am, and that's about as honest as I can be.
Well, that's understandable. What question do you feel you've been asked the most so maybe I can scratch it from my list?
(Laughs) There's probably two of them: "How did you get the nickname Blitz?" and the other was probably "Why did you throw Bobby Gustafson out of the band in 1990?"
I guessed the second one for sure, so I'm going to try to stay away from that.
(Laughs) Okay. It doesn't matter.
Do you keep in contact with any other members such as Sebastian (Marino) or Joe (Comeau)?
Joe, I don't really talk to too much. Sebastian actually helped when we did the DVD. The last time I spoke to him was approximately a year ago. I was looking for some equipment from him. He started a really nice sound company and I don't know if you're familiar with the DVD, but he brought in a lot of that sound production. He was actually on the side of the stage running the monitors for that whole thing. So we're in touch with him. Rat Skates is actually doing some editing for a thrash documentary we're involved in. Umm, who else? Sid (Falck) I'm not in touch with; (Rob) Cannevino I'm not in touch with. Merritt Gant I talk to here and there.
As a vocalist, what do you think of Joe's work with ANNIHILATOR?
Oh Joe's a great singer. There's no two ways about it. Joe's got a set of pipes on him. I mean, he was a great tool in this band from "The Killing Kind" through "Necroshine". In many cases, I wrote with Joe in mind because I knew that we had a whole other dimension vocally that was just something I couldn't do...something that would only add to the songs. There were songs like "From The Underground" with "I'm Alright" where Joe and I switch back and forth singing lead. I always accepted, acknowledged, and had a great amount of gratitude for having that voice in OVERKILL.
Yeah, it's handy to have a second set of pipes back there...
Well, it's unique. You know, it's really unique and a lot of bands don't realize and I don't think respected that the background vocals are more important for the guy to sing than like harmony, but to originally have a second lead singer in the band is really, really a unique situation to be in. In my case, right from the get-go, right with "Killing Kind", in songs like "Godlike", I said "this guy's gotta be heard when we're doing this stuff", and he was right up there singing choruses double with me and the whole nine. I think it added a whole new vocal dimension to OVERKILL.
Yes, I agree. I have to say I feel that Jeff Waters made a mistake letting him go.
Well, you know, there's plenty of mistakes in this musical world and in this business. You know Joe left this band - he wasn't asked to leave this band, but that was his decision. Quite obviously, I think he did the right thing because his work on, I think...I like "Carnival" better as a record but I like the follow-up more vocally...the name escapes me right now.
I'm looking forward to seeing what he's going to do next.
I'll spare you going into the Bobby Gustafson story, but I guess you don't keep in contact with him at all these days.
On and off he was in contact with us. Here and there kinda things...talking about money; talking about motorcycles. I haven't heard from him in over a year so I really don't know what he's up to. I know he started another band - I saw a link to it on our website. I read an interview with him, that's about it. That was my last contact with him.
I think his band is called RESPONSE NEGATIVE...so I guess you haven't heard them?
I heard something over the Internet. I heard some kind of an Mpeg or something over the Internet.
Any thoughts? Do you remember anything about it?
You know, honestly I don't. I remember it being kind of dessy (sp) and his guitar not sounding like him (laughs).
I guess that happens. It's been quite a while.
Sure. People change.
I know you're a PRIEST fan. Have you had the opportunity to hear "Angel Of Retribution" with Halford back in the fold yet?
You know...and I can't put my finger on the name of the song...but I did hear the lead track that they had. It sounded like old PRIEST to me. I don't own the record as of yet - I'm waiting for it. I'm like on that free list (laughs). You know the stuff comes in...I think you get it before me (laughs). But then again, I just heard the OVERKILL stuff yesterday, so I'm really way down on that list right now.
You better make a few calls!
But the production was cool I thought - what I heard from that PRIEST record and I thought it was cool. It's just exciting to hear Halford back in that band.
Oh, for sure. I think metalheads across North America...well probably worldwide...are pretty excited.
Hey, there's Comeau's mentor huh...speaking of originality (laughs).
METALLICA's direction on "St. Anger" wasn't received too well and I think they alienated a lot of fans - maybe the last nail in the coffin for most of them. OVERKILL doesn't plan on breaking the mold and doing an experimental record like that anytime soon, do you?
Well, isn't "ReliXIV" an experimental record (laughs)?
I don't think so (laughs).
You see, the thing is that we think we're progressing over these twenty years. It's you that don't (laughs). With regard to METALLICA and other people's households, they have to live in that house, not me, and that's really the simplest way of doing it. You know, it's the same thing they kind of lost on "Load", but there was some good songwriting on "Load" - not so much on "Reload" I don't think. But I thought there was good songwriting within that record; I thought that the production approach was different, and I thought that the performance approach was a little bit different throughout those records. But I really didn't think there was such a far departure, as the rest of the world thought, with regards to songwriting. I thought some of the songs were just great songs.
I agree. I actually really liked it and people look at me funny all the time. But...to each his own.
Well, you know, it's not sledgehammer production and that's what you really expected. People say the songs suffered, or the songwriting suffered. I really don't think so. I think it was natural progression to them, and this is me speaking as a fan. But I think the production itself - what you were always used to hearing - that kind of vacuum-tight assault was just lacking, and people confused that for the songs themselves. I mean, let's look at this in perspective here; you're talking about a band who owns fucking San Francisco. They must've done something right for somebody (laughs), just not for the people that put them on the map.
Recent reunions by bands like PRIEST and MÖTLEY CRÜE...any thoughts on those?
You know, I'm a little sick of the reunion. I think that in many cases it's for the sake of, as opposed to, adding something to music. What I mean by that is, "We're going to have a reunion because everybody else is having a reunion." It's just lost it's charm. In the PRIEST situation, I'm a PRIEST fan; I was never really a big MÖTLEY CRÜEhead. There's a couple songs I liked that MÖTLEY CRÜE had done, but I never really thought of it as this metal band. It's really more of a pop band. You know...a pop band that sells records and bad attitudes. I mean, that's really what it was. I never thought of it as heavy. The heaviest they ever got was parts of the "Dr. Feelgood" record. That is the way I felt. I'm just kinda done with the reunion. I mean, even some of these bands, they're like third-level bands. They're having reunions and they sucked in 1980. What the fuck is the status fifteen years later? Like how did you get any better?
"We haven't been honing our craft for these fifteen years but we're gonna have a reunion." I feel like jeez, come on! Work for your dad! (laughs)
That's always an option.
I mean, it's over saturated. This whole thing has just lost it's fuckin' sparkle with regard to reunions.
Alternatively, we've got really good releases by bands like DEATH ANGEL, KREATOR, and EXODUS, who, I don't know that they've made a reunion more that they've just come back. Do you feel that Thrash metal - a sound that I feel OVERKILL helped create - is making a comeback by introducing that style to new listeners?
Well, most certainly there's a newfound interest in it. A band like KREATOR has honed its craft over this twenty year period that we have also, and I have a lot of respect for a band like that whether I like every record or I don't. It's still nose to the grindstone for them. There was never really a departure for them with regard to visibility over that twenty years. EXODUS on the other hand, I really don't know what their story is. They just released one of the best thrash records that was ever written I think (laughs). I don't know if they ever went away officially, so it's really hard to put my finger on that whole...get a vibe for that whole...let's say, vibe of chaos around those guys whether it be professionally or musically or whatever it is. The DEATH ANGEL record I think is OK. I think it's a good band live. We just did some stuff with them.
I don't think it's groundbreaking by any means, but I think it's a good record. You know again, I don't know what the motivation is, and that's probably what I question sometimes and probably because of like KREATOR - been here through thick and through thin - that I kinda always question that, "Boy, you know, when it's easy, we're really committed to our music as long as it’s easy." (laughs) ...which kind of gives me that little crooked smile and say “Well, you know, my turn to drive the fucking ship." (laughs)
Back during the 90's, when many a metal band suffered and faded away thanks to the Seattle scene and sound, OVERKILL released 7 studio albums. Did you guys not get the memo indicating that metal was dead?
(Laughs "Yeah right") I've been asked this before and I don't know what it was, whether it was ignorance or some kind of secondary view we had of this because quite obviously, somewhere around '93 or so or '94, somebody should've released a record called "Grunge Eats Metal". Most everybody did go home and work for dad during that period of time and that was based on interest in those bands. OVERKILL always had a real blue-collar work ethic. It had nothing to do with how we were being treated by people, it had to do with the work we were creating and I think it worked to our advantage. We could never have seen it coming but the point is as more and more bands went away, a few stood who were still committed moreso to the work ethic and to the music or the value that that music had. I think people had the opportunity therefore to now look at what these bands stood for.
Us being one of them; KREATOR being another; TESTAMENT being a band like so; EXODUS could've been; they could've been around then - I don't even remember, cuz they come and go kind of thing.
I think it gave people the idea or now gave them the notion that commitment was real, that it had nothing to do with what the scene dictated. It had to do with what the individuals within these bands dictated for their own music. So we actually transcended this thing. It had nothing to do with it anymore. It had to do with the commitment you had when writing this music, and people took notice from a standpoint of, "These guys weren't kidding!" (laughs) So, I think that not getting the memo, we did. But quite obviously, we just rolled it up and tossed it in the outpile with a little laugh and said, "Like this fucking matters anyway." (laughs)
Well, I'm glad you did and probably most of your fans today are still here from way back in the 80's for that exact reason.
Well, you know...and I don't want to attribute us personally to doing that...but let's say the principle I talked about in that last answer and the bands I did mention within that last answer are directly responsible for why it exists now. Because there would have been a void and it's harder to come back from a void; then it just becomes retro, and this has never been retro because it always existed. If it's Classic rock, it's kind of retro because it goes away and then it comes back, but this was always there and always on a touring level. TESTAMENT was releasing year after year, as was KREATOR, as were other bands and I think that that makes it possible today, because it never went away.
There were always people listening to it and that kind of spread out into this whole thing that, "Oh, look at this new death scene! look at this new black scene!" - "Well, what about the thrash scene?" - "What thrash scene?" - "It's been around for twenty fucking years." - "Let me hear it...oh my God, this stuff is fucking awesome!" So, the point is that I think that there are bands directly responsible for let's say the resurgence of thrash and they're not the ones that are coming back.
I wasn't able to track down any figures for those releases, but do you know what album did the best during the 90's or if each successive album outsold its predecessor at all?
"I Hear Black".
These days, when you look out from the stage into the crowd at a show, do you still see the fans that have been around since the 80's and 90's or are you seeing a lot of new younger faces?
I actually come out and say "I fathered half of you!" (laughs) "What do you think of that?" and "No, I'm not paying!" (laughs) You know it' a mix and that's one of the great things about this too - it has transcended generations. If I'm playing to let's say my peer group in 1985 - that means I'm playing to 18-25 year olds - probably the same thing in '90 - but I'm moving out of that peer group. Somewhere around '95 when this thing died, other people started taking interest in it and as much as the bands that are responsible for keeping that going, so are the listeners during that period of time that we were talking about earlier. And I started seeing turns of this revolving door - we're losing like some of the older, but walking in are the newer. I say "Jeez, I'm seeing baggy pants at our shows! This is wrong." But it wasn't wrong. It was right. It was transcending different things. I was wrong.
I think the point is that OVERKILL, or this scene in general, transcends many generations. I go to Europe and I see guys who bring their children to this now, who are let's say, young teenagers or below that age. They say, "Hey, I want to expose you to the stuff I listen to because it's still around." Then you know maybe they're walking out with an OVERKILL girly shirt, or they're wearing a KREATOR shirt or TESTAMENT shirt or DESTRUCTION shirt or some other shirt. I think that it's value is in the fact that, to some degree, it's timeless, and anger should be timeless shouldn't it? (laughs)
Well, that's good! I'm happy your sound is appealing to today's youth.
To some degree I think...most certainly not on a wide scale. We're by no means setting records with the amount of units we're moving, but we're not really ever in a decline, which is kind of a good thing. So, as people kind of move out and stop buying, newer people move in and start and I think that my point is that it always keeps it constant and there's something to be said for that in a very positive way.
Yeah, I think "Create it and they will listen."
Yeah, it's kinda cool.
Tim Mallare - I guess he’'s getting up there as far as "years of OvVERKILL service" goes. What's he been there about thirteen years now?
Pretty close - he joined in '91 - so fourteen.
Does he contribute with the songwriting at all or does he stick to working behind the skins?
Mostly behind the skins - interpretation behind the skins. You know, Tim's been here a long time. He's an integral part of this band, but not really with regard to physically sitting down and hashing songs out, no.
He really is an underrated drummer, isn't he?
I think so. I think Tim is one of the people within this band that always progresses. The OVERKILL way of doing things - I think it's really evident on the new record - is that you don't lose your roots but at the same time you evolve. You don't evolve by leaps and bounds; evolution can be in small steps also. Tim has adapted throughout all these years. Tim's meat and potatoes is that blastbeat kind of a thing. Tim can play the groove and do a swing and Tim is the one that had to progress I think more so than the rest of the band from record to record to make that happen...to make that have continuity and believability and consistency from song to song and record to record. It's really all about what his contribution is to this band.
Well he's done a hell of a job - that's for sure.
Sure, sure. The perfect evidence, two worlds collide; let's say the world from where we began and the world from where we are today, and they meet in "ReliXIV", and the best example of that is track 4 into track 5 - track 4 being "Bats In The Belfry", which is more of a contemporary, slammin'-groove, sledgehammer OVERKILL with almost...vocally and melodically... a pop approach to something - always going back to the simple chorus. So it's really kind of unique. Well, let's say...an evolutionary song for us to do. Now when this song ends, it goes into track 5, which is called "A Pound Of Flesh". This thing is like an Uzi - it just takes off and never stops this thing and Tim is what makes these two things, or these two worlds, consistent, or cohesive to each other. That you could do two tracks back to back like that that come from two different worlds - they're both OVERKILL of course, but they're both OVERKILL because of Tim's contribution.
First "Killbox 13" and now "ReliXIV" - will OVERKILL continue to use these numbered album titles?
Well you know, we wanna know too. There's so many of them we have to keep track (laughs). "What album is this?" - "It's gotta be the fourteenth - look right here at the cover." - "Oh yeah." (laughs) We started using the number on thirteen just because of the thirteen, and decided to, when we were kicking the name "ReliXIV" around, quite obviously we have a certain sense of humor about ourselves naming an album "Relics", as we've been around for twenty years. We just traded the "c" for an "X" and added the roman "I" and "V", or 1 and 10, to make sure that it looked like it was fourteen.
You'll have to put some thought into fifteen.
Well, yeah. This is gonna be cool, huh? (laughs)
Are all the songs on "ReliXIV" written recently? I ask this because at least two or three of them, I feel, could've easily slipped into place on releases that are ten years old or more.
Yeah, sure...no, but they are. Everything you get from OVERKILL is fresh. But again, it's really about exploiting the characteristics that make up the band and sometimes that comes together and it came together on this record. The record shows those two worlds I was talking about. If I've done 2,500 shows and 10,000 interviews, I've probably played the song "Rotten To The Core" 2,500 times. The point is that it's in me - it's branded on me, like the other guys. So when the songwriting starts to evolve - even starts to let's say regress - into something like "Pound Of Flesh" or even "Loaded Rack", which could've been off one of those mid-OVERKILL chapters like "Horrorscope" or "The Years Of Decay". I think these are elements of us that we're just exploiting today, not necessarily saying the song is an old song...trying to give it a fresh face for 2005...but the song itself has that vibe...that older thing...but everything was new.
I have to say, I find "ReliXIV" to be a great album. Whenever I listen to it I can't help banging my head. The combination of the faster and slower songs on the album always seems to get my adrenaline going. You've told me a little bit about "Pound Of Flesh" and "Bats In The Belfry", but how about tunes like "Keeper", which was one that I was thinking could've been an older tune, and "Love", which obviously isn't a typical love song?
Well, you know, from a lyrical perspective, I started writing...I guess it got to me that it was twenty years, you know...it was whispered in my ear so many times, "What are you doing next year? What are you doing next year?" I started writing about...I suppose principals that we had, standards, values that we talked about earlier, and how we applied them to the band and to our life, and "Love" having nothing to do with love, but more so about let's say a disjointed love or control. The song itself was musically disjointed and this is part of that evolution I talk about with this band. It's really kind of an unexpected thing but still holds elements of what the band is about. When this song starts, it's OVERKILL. When the vocals begin in this song, it drops off of a cliff as if to go nowhere we've ever gone before with regard to songwriting, and then jump back into something that was more intense than we did even prior.
So, it became disjointed to me when I heard the song out in front of me and I was just trying to let it happen, and it wouldn't...because I was trying to smooth those rough edges or that disjointment out of it and I thought, "You know something? Fuck this! Just let it happen." If it happens, maybe that's the best thing I can do for this song - just let the song write itself. So "Love" becomes one of the unique qualities of OVERKILL evolution - not so far to the left or far to the right or far ahead, but something that's definitely different or a surprise for a band that's been making music for twenty years.
"Old School" to me seems like a song which would have typically been released as a B-side or a bonus track, yet you opted to close out the album with it. Can you tell me a little about this gem?
I tell ya, this is one of those songs - D.D. (Verni) probably has 15 of these in his head at any given moment. If you told him, "Hey D.D.! Play me something a little punky!", he could. This actually turns into a song and he sends it to me and it actually has the chorus in it as you hear it. I get on the phone with him and say, "Hey! I got your last little demo for me." and he starts laughing and goes, "I just did that because I was having a little fun and I wanted to see what your take would be on it. Maybe it could be something." - like you just said, "a B-side in the future." I started working with it and the next thing you know, I was laughing so hard while I was writing this song...it was done in a day. The idea for me was, "Hey, we've been around so long, we can do whatever the fuck we want to do." (laughs) So why not put this on it.
Quite obviously, OVERKILL was a band that did metal covers as well as punk covers in the early days, and I always believed personally, that we presented ourselves as a metal band, quite obviously, but we took that energy from those punk covers that we had. We always did...I mean it was always infused in it. It was an honest angst. It was an honest energy. It was always over the top. There was no such thing as a bad night. A bad night only made the show better. So, the idea was that the philosophy was always there, and we've covered punk stuff as B-sides for years, and why not write our own. So I think it turned out well. It's really a beer-stein kind of a song...swinging it back and forth in the pub and you know, everybody singing in the deep voice, and the idea is not to take yourself so seriously even though you take the music seriously. We had a great time making that song.
That shows, and it's just a fun song. The first time I listened to the album, I got to the end and was like, "What the hell?! I have to play that one again!" I think it was three times and I laughed the entire time.
Well, it's catchy and it's one of those things. We've been doing "Fuck You" as a cover for years. I mean, that's not our song and we've always said it. We did "Sonic Reducer" from the DEADBOYS on the first record as a bonus track for Europe. For "Bloodletting", we covered "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" by ERIC BURTON AND THE ANIMALS as a bonus track for Japan. The band has other interests; we just present it through a metallic perspective everytime. Let's say on this one we just flipped everything around and said, "Hey! Surprise!" You know, it's just that simple. So I suppose the evolution happened even in a regressive standpoint.
"ReliXIV" was self-produced by the band. Is the production process more work than you had expected?
Oh it always is. On "Killbox", Colin Richardson did it; we did the writing. Of course, we were there through the mix with regard and had input on the production. I mean, that was a cakewalk. I'd walk in there at noon with a cup of coffee and he'd have the mic ready and the whole bit. This way, doing it with "ReliXIV", you're doing all this stuff yourself. Sometimes, you lose that objective ear but we've known each other for such a long period of time that honesty is the flavor of the day when you're recording. I take it back to a part where we're doing "Keeper", I think, and I'm behind the glass singing and D.D. is sitting behind the board tracking me and I go, "Look, I'm gonna try this part again. I'm gonna put A on my chair. Give me the four count going up with the click track. I'm going to blast it in but play the other track with it."
I finish what I'm going to do, then I go, "Play that back for me." He plays it back for me and I go, "What'd you think?" - and I hear this through my headphones - "That really sucked!" (laughs) So, I think the fact is that we can kinda take it, if that makes sense. I mean, if we're going to sit there and kiss each other's ass over a two month period, we're probably gonna end up with a pile of shit at the end of those two months. But if we're gonna call it as we see it, we become our own objective opinions with regard to production and that did make it easier.
With the release of each new CD, how do you go about deciding what songs may be dropped from the live set to make room for some newer ones?
It's kind of hard...but you know, we like to play the new ones for sure. It's going to be a little weird this year because it's been 20 years and maybe we should do something which is "Feel The Fire" and go tour that record again. But lo and behold, "ReliXIV" comes up and it's a valuable piece of OVERKILL real estate. We're gonna play the new one because that's fun for us to do and that has to always remain as the primary focus of what this band is about. It's really been about how we like to present this band, not about what we should do. Maybe we're our own worst enemy when it comes to that, but the other side of it is that we have a great amount of satisfaction with this. I think by the end of the year we'll probably do a special show - one in the States, one in Europe, with regard to the "Feel The Fire" record and let's say...celebrate its birth and its twenty-year birthday.
Do you plan on cycling new songs in and out of the setlist to see how they're received by the fans?
Well, you know we've also been doing this long enough to know which ones are the great ones (laughs) or the ones that are going to work live, and quite obviously I think songs like "Pound Of Flesh", "Old School", and "Bats In The Belfry" will work. We already have "Love" in the set just because that's going to be fun for us to play. We'll probably open the set with "Within Your Eyes", which has a great build to it. They may be cycled in and out but I would think there will be some mainstays and they'll be there throughout the year.
You personally continue to remain in fantastic physical shape. Do you do anything particular to prepare for an extensive touring schedule?
I've been doing it for so long - like 2500 shows. Talk about a workout! I may release an exercise tape called "Bang Your Head to a Thinner Waist" (laughs) I workout, I eat well, and I still smoke, so I'm not the picture of what you would think health should be. But I really think the regimen I have is about doing shows. I don't drink and I don't do any dope ,so this probably contributes to me being able to do this for long periods of time and at a really high level. It's really not about anything except for the way I perceive things. I don't look at it as though it's evil alcohol and it will hurt me. I just look at it this way - I used up all my drink tickets back in the 80's. (laughs) So I've stopped now, and it's actually helped me, I suppose, to continue doing what I like doing best, and that's performing.
In April, the last I checked, OVERKILL has 17 straight nights booked. What is your routine as you prepare to hit the stage each night?
It's pretty simple. I mean, I'm not going to fix what's not broken. I warm up for a half hour, stretch out...you know, I've been up there times and I've banged that head and it just won't come up out of the banged position (laughs). I had to do the whole goddamn show with my chin resting on my shoulder (laughs). But that happens, you know. It happens to anybody. So I stretch it out, warm up the voice, eat good, and have a few laughs with the boys beforehand. Usually I have a nice hot cup of coffee before I go on and then just tear into it. It is what it is. I actually still, to this day, get a little bit nervous right before going on...just a little bit...and I really think, and it's honest...and I always say to myself, "Why do I do this? This is insane! I've been doing this for so long. Why five minutes before I'm going on am I feeling this in my gut?" And I say, "Probably because it's worth it!"
Well, maybe if you stop feeling that in your gut, that will be worse.
Yeah, that's a good point.
You're scheduled at a number of European festivals throughout the summer. Will you be filling in more U.S. and Canadian tour dates as time allows?
Where are you at?
Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Don't know if we have that in there. We haven't been out to the west coast in quite some time and they've actually filled in some dates out there and I actually saw some Canadian dates happening. They were on hold - nothing confirmed as of yet - but they were Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver - nothing in Thunder Bay right now.
Yeah, we're pretty small. We don’'t get too much here but we're starting to get more. Are the festivals as much fun as one might think, or are they pretty hectic?
It's pretty awesome. European festivals are really down to a science. They know how to run them - even the small ones are decent. They have two or three backlines that roll on and off. They have drums that roll on and off so everything is mic'd up ahead of time. Sure, I suppose there's a ten minute period where it's chaotic but aside from that, it usually goes down pretty well. It's a great Euro-value for people to come out - do three days of camping, spend a hundred euros, and get three days worth of bands. It's awesome. It's not about having to mortgage your house for a one day festival that the Osborne's are going to use toward their retirement account.
Right. I know if I had the chance I'd be at those festivals.
Well you know, if you think about it...if you go to something like Wacken where they expect 100,000 people this year, there's going to be multiple stages. You can pay like a hundred euros, bring your tent...really your only cost is food and your airline ticket. You could make the whole thing happen for under a grand. It's really a fantastic weekend and it's something I would recommend if you've never been there to really give it a shot.
Is there the big difference between North American and European fans that I read about so often?
You know, once everything starts going, music is music. It's really that simple. You know where you are maybe by seeing the flags waving at a festival or something. I think that by the third song into it - if you're in the middle of that third song - you could be anywhere in the world, except for differences in culture or people. You're going to know when you're in Asia for instance. I think that there's just a different mentality that surrounds the music in Europe. It's something that...I don't know...I think they always sustain the value with regard to longevity where the value here has to be proven on a day-to-day basis, or a show-to-show basis. Not that our approach is any different on any side, but really, that's my take on it. They saw this value with regard to let's say the German public, the Belgian public, the Austrian public, the Italian public, etc. years ago and that this should stay.
We were one of the lucky bands that were able to continue doing what we wanted to do on both sides of the ocean. We don't have to go into a reunion phase in 2005, but a lot of other bands lost this side of the ocean had to go away because Europe couldn't just support it, but they still saw the value in what the music was about.
OVERKILL has remained consistent and continued to create that "OVERKILL" sound all along, regardless of what's currently hot or not. As a longtime fan and metalhead in general, I applaud you and the band for that. Is there anything you'd like to add before we finish things up today?
I appreciate the applause. I'm not going to bow (laughs). I suppose it is about value and we saw the value in it a long time ago, and that's one of the standards that we've taken with us over all these years is that this is important. It's important to do it the way we saw it fit - not the way the greater public dictated it should be fit. It's really about paying attention to our own house and I think our satisfaction becomes contagious to the people who listen to it. If we're satisfied with a project like "ReliXIV", then they could see or hear that satisfaction within that project, therefore see its value. So I think that's how it's worked over all these years. I think probably the other key is to not take ourselves so seriously. There was never really any rock stars in this band and if they were, it was short-lived and it's something that has helped us stay grounded regardless, and be able to enjoy the satisfying moments of this span over a twenty-year period.
On behalf of myself and the entire staff at METALEATER, I'd like to thank you for taking time to speak with us today and wish you success with "ReliXIV" and your spring & summer tour.
Thanks Corey! [FIN]
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