OVERKILL Frontman Weighs In On Metal Reunions

OVERKILL frontman Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth recently spoke to MetalEater.com about the group's new album, "ReliXIV", and the current state of the metal scene. An excerpt from the interview follows:

MetalEater.com: Recent reunions by bands like PRIEST and MÖTLEY CRÜE...any thoughts on those?

Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "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)"

MetalEater.com: That's always an option.

Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "I mean, it's over-saturated. This whole thing has just lost it's fuckin' sparkle with regard to reunions."

MetalEater.com: 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?

Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "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)"

MetalEater.com: 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?

Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "(laughs) 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)"

Read the entire interview at this location.

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