Andrew McKaysmith of Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast recently conducted an interview with frontman Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth of New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL. You can listen to the entire chat via the audio widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what makes OVERKILL so consistently productive:
Bobby: "It was back in the '80s. They only gave us two years to live, but they just keep moving it. [Laughs] I think we're opportunists. I think that we're the kind of people who put the most into everything we can with regard to this band and it probably carries over to other aspects of our life. But when an opportunity arises, I think you put the most into it. And it's real simple: we'd rather be writing new material than not be. And it obviously works for us because it keeps us visible. We're not the go-to on the satellite radios or even on those who broadcast, but I think somewhere this works for us because it keeps us visible and it also keeps us fresh. It's not a matter of, 'Oh, what did we do on that record 10 years ago?' It's more like, 'What did we do two years ago, and let's try not to do that. Let's try to do something that's something a little more outside of the box for us.' Which I think we got on this one."
On how new drummer Jason Bittner (ex-SHADOWS FALL, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM) affected the sound of OVERKILL's new album, "The Wings Of War":
Bobby: "I think we actually inspired each other. And the reason I say that is because we played a year live with each other prior to recording. That is invaluable experience for both. We get to know him; he gets to know us. I think the changes that are made in the studio when recording is anticipated based on what you know of the other. When we started doing demos for this, Jason was the hardest-working one in the demos. I guess as it should be — he's the new guy. He's the one who has the excitement, then spreads that fire to everyone else. He was sending me and D.D. [Verni, bass] and Dave [Linsk, lead guitar], six, eight different cuts of each song: 'What do you think of this? What do you think of that? I changed this since the demo.' I said, 'Shit, we're gonna have to embrace this change.' And that will be what the chemistry change is. He's changed to us and we've changed to him and therefore, one plus one plus one equals a new OVERKILL."
On OVERKILL's 2019 plans once "The Wings Of War" is released:
Bobby: "We have Europe in there. It's South America into Europe into the U.S. into the festivals, which brings us just to the end of May and into June. I guess it's more like four months, four and a half months. But then there's two more tours blocked out in the autumn — a second U.S. and a second European — and we'll be picking up stuff along the way. It's just kind of the way we work. Put the big ones all together, and then pick up stuff in the off time, whether it be festivals or one-offs in Asia or a short Asian tour. Who knows? An Australian tour. Who knows?"
On the "business of touring" for OVERKILL:
Bobby: "To some degree, it is the business. It's been a forever-changing landscape with regard to what record sales do. And thank god the majority of the people that support metal like to hold physical product, but it's still not the era of record royalties for a mid-level band. It almost doesn't exist. I mean, there's obviously coin there, but there's not big dollars there. So, to have your business run, and if it's a business you love, like I very much love this one, you have to be on the road. Listen, you could love it to death and put all you have into it, but unless there's a positive cash flow, it's not possible to do. So it has to be done first with love, but then smartly with regard to business."
"The Wings Of War" will be released February 22 via Nuclear Blast. The album was recorded at Gear Recording Studio in New Jersey, SKH Studio in Florida and Jrod Productions with engineering handled by Verni and Linsk. The album was produced by the band while Chris "Zeuss" Harris took care of the mixing and mastering. Travis Smith (NEVERMORE, OPETH, SOILWORK, DEATH) was again enlisted to create the artwork for the album.