OVERKILL's BLITZ Details 'Made In America' Project With MIKE PORTNOY And PHIL DEMMEL

September 27, 2019

Prior to OVERKILL's September 12 performance in Oporto, Portugal, vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth spoke with Underground's Voice. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the band's status as "legends" of thrash:

Bobby: "It makes me a little red-faced when you use the word 'legend' too many times. I still think of myself as a worthwhile contributor to the scene. When you see a living legend cutting his own lawn and working on his own car, he's no longer a legend. [laughs] I like to think of myself always as a regular guy who's been a supporter of the scene. It's given me a great opportunity to meet people. I think that that's kind of the cool thing – to be afforded to travel for 30 years and meet people into the same shit I'm into. How cool is that? This shouldn't be an old man's game, but for some reason, it's turned into one, which I have no problem with because I still enjoy doing it – and I'll do it as long as I can do it physically."

On the band's level of success:

Bobby: "We are what we are, and we accept it. We're a middle-level thrash band. We know what we are. I think knowing what you are and accepting it allows you the opportunity to be honest [and] truthful with your presentation. This is not something that's necessarily done for money, but done for the love of it first."

On his upcoming project with Phil Demmel (ex-MACHINE HEAD) and Mike Portnoy (ex-DREAM THEATER):

Bobby: "It was a fun project. It was kind of a summertime hobby project. Phil, Mike, Mark Menghi from METAL ALLEGIANCE did a record called 'Made In America - The 1970s', so we took American bands that were done in the '70s and thrashed up the approach. GRAND FUNK [RAILROAD]'s '[We're An] American Band'; MOUNTAIN; CACTUS; BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. We put the MACHINE HEAD, SONS OF APOLLO, METAL ALLEGIANCE, OVERKILL spin on the whole thing. It's a cool project."

On OVERKILL's latest album, "The Wings Of War":

Bobby: "We take it seriously. We don't mail [it] in... I think one of the successes that we have as OVERKILL is that we all like different music. [Guitarist] Dave Linsk is Mr. Heavy. He's blastbeat Dave Linsk — he loves that shit. [Bassist] D.D. Verni will listen to anything from Broadway songs to punk rock. Myself, I love classic rock 'n' roll — everything from THE ROLLING STONES to THE WHO... I think what happens is that we don't force the chemistry, but we let each other breathe through our songs. I think 'The Wings Of War' is something that's special, especially this many years after our start, to still sound fresh... After this many records, I think I'm a realist and say, 'For the moment, this reflects the scene. This reflects us at this time.' I think a key to OVERKILL's success is, don't overthink what you have. Just know who you are and do the best you can under the circumstances. If that's the principle and the philosophy, we're probably going to get pretty good results."

On the group's reputation for being "consistent":

Bobby: "I think we've had our bad moments. I'm a firm believer in the fact that mistakes are necessary, because mistakes only show you how you can do better. Would you forget the mistake? Of course not, because this way, I don't repeat the mistake. I think that that's necessary. I think for us, why it works is not about mistakes but understanding that we're best when we work on a clock. We're not artists — we're more workman[like] about it. That's why as the clock goes every two years, a new record comes... That works for us, that routine. That's not an artist. I think an artist is someone who sits on a desert island with supermodels and complains that nobody understands his genius. I think in our case, we complain, 'There's not enough time in the day to do another song.'"

"The Wings Of War" was released on February 22 via Nuclear Blast.

Demmel, Portnoy, Ellsworth and Menghi have previously performed together in METAL ALLEGIANCE, the all-star collective that is anchored by Menghi, Portnoy, MEGADETH's David Ellefson and TESTAMENT's Alex Skolnick. In addition to their semi-frequent live appearances with the group, Demmel played on three tracks on METAL ALLEGIANCE's 2015 self-titled debut, while Ellsworth contributed vocals to one song on the project's 2018 sophomore effort, "Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty".

Incredibly productive day hanging and jamming with these boys...working on something very kewl...details coming down the road...
#phildemmel #markmenghi #getonsocialmediabobbyblitz 🤘

Posted by Mike Portnoy on Monday, July 22, 2019

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Tracking, tracking, tracking. Thanks, Juan!!!

A post shared by Phil Demmel (@phildemmel) on

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