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Interview with Overkill frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth

24 November 2009 15 Comments

By: Andrew Bilach

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On Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, I had the pleasure of speaking with Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth of Overkill.

You can stream or download the interview by clicking here.

You can also find Overkill on their official site and their MySpace page.

Grab free Overkill tracks on our free music page.

Overkill Press Photo 2009

Overkill Press Photo 2009

It was a true pleasure to be joined by a true music legend, Mr. Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, frontman of Overkill. The band will release Ironbound on 2/9/10 domestically on E1 Music. If you’re into heavy metal/thrash, we suggest picking up a copy. And for you youngsters out there, Overkill paved the way for many of the bands out there today, so take a listen to the audio, and familiarize yourself with this excellent band. As far as I’m concerned, it would be a dream to see a tour with Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Testament and Overkill.

Overkill Ironbound Album Cover

* The interview started by welcoming Bobby to the broadcast. Andrew stated he first heard of Overkill on a CMC International compilation CD.

* “It’s funny, because we were actually the heartbeat of the New York thrash metal scene for probably eight years prior to that. Signed in ’95. We were the house band at L’Amour, the mecca of this kind of rock n’ roll.” For those that don’t know, L’Amour was a famous rock club in Brooklyn that has since closed.

* In regards to L’Amour, Bobby states, “We were managed by those guys. We’re still friends with them. We were in that whole scene. We had our roots sunk into it through business, through playing, through socializing, so we were involved with it. They had the big room on 65th St, the original L’Amour, which held 1700 people. Then, it split into two clubs. They did a dance club in 1/2 and a metal club in the back. Then, they blended the two, with the headliner in one room and the opening act in another. Many people walked through that door – fans, people that created the scene. I remember seeing Metallica there, I think it was Metallica/Armored Saint. It was the beginning of New York’s hold on this thing. Bands like us and Anthrax were in the audience for all the shows.”

* Bobby says that Overkill was the house band at L’Amour, and then he puts over the Anvil documentary. Talks about Overkill’s signing on Halloween night in 1984, also at L’Amour.

* Talked about the blooming thrash and hardcore scene in New York, and said they were blended back then. Mentioned shows they played with Agnostic Front and the Cro-Mags.

* Signing to E1 Music, said, “It’s a new experience for us.” Talked about Overkill being a self-managed band, the re-eruption of thrash, etc. Refers to Ironbound as a “reinvented piece of our past with a contemporary presentation to it.”

* Bobby constantly refers to Overkill as a “life’s work.”

* Bobby then tells a story about a father taking his young daughter to one of their shows at Starland Ballroom in New Jersey.

* The conversation then shifted to Overkill’s goals going forward.

* Talked about Peter Tagtgren, frontman of Hypocrisy and Pain, and what his mixing added to Ironbound

* …their 25th Anniversary show coming up at Nokia Theatre

* …told a story about Peter Steele (Type 0 Negative) and a physical altercation involving the both of them

* Talked about passion, camaraderie in the scene back in the 80’s

* Closed with a lesson on dogs.

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  • Vinny said:

    I listened to this live last night. You played a great selection of tunes and the Overkill tribute blew my mind. Great interview.

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  • zebo said:

    I wish he would have been on for longer. It’s funny you mentioned you first heard them on that CMC International disc. They gave that for free with BMG Music Service one month. I had it too.

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  • Oscar said:

    Overkill is overlooked entirely as being in the hierarchy of heavy metal bands. Take all the sub-genres and put them aside – if a tour was announced with Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer – Overkill should also be on that bill.

    They are the Enuff Znuff of heavier metal.

    Great interview! This is definitely on my Xmas list.

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  • Carla said:

    Not quite into them but you should have asked him about Lamours East in Queens. My sister used to go there in the 80s and said it was better than the one in Brooklyn.

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  • 1942 said:

    I was at the show at Starland too. Prong and Overkill are two bands that will never get the credit they deserve. Did you ever have Tommy Victor on?

    You should have asked him about Coverkill!

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  • Andrew Bilach (author) said:

    Thank you for all the kinds words.

    Carla – You’re right. I should have mentioned L’Amour East. Unfortunately, we only had a short window, but ended up going over.

    1942 – If I’m not mistaken, we had Tommy Victor on in early 1996. As for Coverkill, I think it’s a cut-and-dry kind of album.

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  • 5150 said:

    Why are all these metal bands signing to E1?

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  • GraceOfGod said:

    I didn’t even know who the label was until I started seeing everyone from Hatebreed to Throwdown on the label. Whatever.

    Overkill sucks but Bobby is a super cool dude. He’s a survivor.

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  • Brood said:

    Why did the interview and synopsis disappear from the site?

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  • 5150 said:

    It did disappear. WTF?

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  • 5150 said:

    They’re actually going on a full tour. I thought the NY gig was a 1-off. Good show, Andrew. The link didn’t disappear. I just had to clear my cookies.

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  • krio said:

    Ah, I had the CMC International release you mentioned! Didn’t it come included with Hit Parader or soething?

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  • Andrew Bilach (author) said:

    It definitely didn’t come with Hit Parader.

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  • zebo said:

    Does anyone know if Blitz had kids?

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  • Metallicat said:

    I will definitly be at Nokia!

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