OVERKILL frontman Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth recently spoke to Denmark's Antenna webzine about the group's plans to mark the 20th anniversary of their debut album, "Feel the Fire". A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:
Antenna: Do you have anything special lined up for this year being the 20th anniversary for your first album?
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "We're gonna have a big party in my backyard. I'll send you an invitation [laughs] There's gonna be music, we're gonna have SLAYER play [laughs]. At the end of the year we'll probably do a show in Europe and in the U.S. where we do the 'Feel the Fire' from start to finish break and then come out and play for another 45 minutes to an hour they will both be filmed for DVD but we would like to do one on each side of the Atlantic. Probably one in Germany and probably one in New York."
Antenna: You've always stayed within the familiar framework of OVERKILL and yet there's not one OVERKILL album that sound alike. Would this have something to with the line-up changes or is there another explanation?
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "It's evolution, it's really just that simple. From the outside, it says the lineup changes, but from the inside we say the band changes. Of course, new ideas come in with new people but the band is going to change regardless. For at band to survive as long as we have and we survived the lives of three 'normal' bands changes must take place even if that change is minute. The unique characteristics about this band and you said earlier is that, sure, each record is different, but we still remain rooted in what we started doing. It's not as if I would say 'turn.' We're not looking in other directions, we're still walking in the same direction that we started but sometimes we run, sometimes we walk and sometimes we crawl, but it's still in the same direction, but it gives each record a unique personality.
Antenna: You've never felt the urge to follow in the steps of ANTHRAX or METALLICA and change direction?
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "No, I mean that's their business. I think my opinion can be shit, too, about what other people should do and I kinda more look at it as a fan when it comes to a band. Am I a fan or am I not a fan based simply on what they have released and not on what I think they should do, and I think that keeps OVERKILL a lot more pure that we pay attention to our own house compared to what other people do in their house. Good for them, good for them, have success you deserve it, you work hard but for OVERKILL it's a much simpler process. It not really a thinking process it's an action process versus reaction process so I think that puts in a music sense I think a much more pure sense. It's really much more about the music than how it was perceived or how they perceive. I hate to say it, but I really don't care [laughs]."
Antenna: I understand you produced the album yourselves, what made you decide to try that?
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "It's nice to steer the ship sometimes. It's nice being in charge. We've done this for 14 records, co-production. We've fully produced 'W.F.O.' and fully produced this album that includes the mix, everything from start to finish. It's really why not and why not because I'm interested in it to make it a little bit different and not just make it a formula every time. To do it as if we look at the project every time. Last year it was Colin Richardson, this year it's us, who knows what happens in the future."
Antenna: I've read reviews that said the production was a bit thin. What do you think of that?
Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth: "Well, I think that is up to the listener. My feeling is that the drums and bass are as heavy as the last record. I probably think if there's a thin element to it it's the guitars but the idea behind the production here was based on performance it wasn't based on a computer. This is the old-school way of doing it. I think some people like that very much. But yeah, my concern is not what people say about the record, it's whether our fans like it or not. A person doesn't stay in this industry or business for 20 years giving a shit [about other people's opinions]. It makes no sense. I have to please myself; I have to be satisfied with it. We have to please us. We have to walk out of there saying, 'We're proud of this record.' It makes a huge difference. If we started listening to outside opinions then maybe we would have sold out in 1995 like the rest of the metal world [laughs] and I think I make a good point with regards to criticism. Somebody asked me once, 'You must like the good reviews?' and I said, 'While I'm in the toilet and there's no toiletpaper I can wipe my ass with a good one or a bad one it doesn't matter to me.' It's really what I like to do as opposed to what people say is the benchmark for a good record. I have to be happy with it. D.D. has to be happy with it. Dave, Tim and Derek also."
Read the entire interview at this location.