OVERKILL's BOBBY 'BLITZ' ELLSWORTH: 'All The Rules Were Broken' On METALLICA's 'Kill 'Em All' Album

July 7, 2023

In a new interview with Radioactive MikeZ, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire", OVERKILL frontman Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth was asked which METALLICA album he thinks is better, "Ride The Lightning" or "Master Of Puppets". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "You know, you have to first understand that the thing that changed everything, where all the rules were broken, was [METALLICA's debut album, 1983's] 'Kill 'Em All'. Others will say, 'Hey, listen, that's not the best METALLICA album.' I get that, but all the rules were broken from that point.

"If I had to make a pick of those two ['Ride The Lightning' or 'Master Of Puppets'], I would say 'Master Of Puppets' because I think that they had come into their own at that point. And the excitement level can only go so far before you have to be great songwriters, and I think by the time they got to 'Master Of Puppets', they became great songwriters."

Ellsworth went on to say that OVERKILL will come close to performing at the same event as METALLICA this summer. "They actually added us on the MetLife [Stadium] New Jersey show [during their 'M72' tour in early August]. We're gonna play outside the arena at the main gate; they're putting up a theater stage there as people are coming in. And they're doing those takeovers where it's two nights — it's a Friday and a Sunday — and they have stuff in between; a day off on Saturday and stuff in between. But PRONG is doing the Friday night and we're doing the Sunday night, on the way in. So I guess it's kind of cool still, after all these years, to still be connected to those guys."

Bobby added: "I always remember people telling me, 'That whole sound that came out of the [San Francisco] Bay Area was just unbelievable, that scene.' And I always say this: that may be true, but [METALLICA] had to travel three thousand fucking miles east to New Jersey to get signed [laughs] — by the label [Megaforce Records] that we were on [laughs] soon thereafter. [Laughs]"

Back in January 2017, Ellsworth was asked by Metal Shock Finland why he thinks OVERKILL wasn't included in the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX. He responded: "First and foremost, I think it's necessary to be concerned with your own house as opposed to what other people do.

"I think they're for sure a great compliment to the metal community, because I think it shows the power [those bands have within] the industry, being able to play the size venues that they did," he continued. "Obviously, METALLICA is worth the majority of those tickets, because they reinvented music on a heavy level by showing that a band out of San Francisco could make this happen at this large of a scale. And even the new record, the 'Hardwired' record, is, to me, back to, let's say, that angry, aggressive approach that was [present] on '…And Justice For All'."

Ellsworth added: "But when it comes to being selected and not selected, that's a simple accounting issue. When you talk numbers, numbers make the world go around, numbers put food on your table, and numbers put the 'Big Four' in arenas. And they sell enough records to do that.

"For me, it's not a concern. To even be asked the question from you is quite a compliment with regard to, let's say, our longevity or tenacity doing what we like doing. But this is quite simply an accounting issue. He who sells the most gets the pole positions."

Back in 2014, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett was asked by U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine if it's strange to him how much METALLICA has eclipsed the other "Big Four" bands in terms of commercial popularity.

"I try not to spend too much time thinking about stuff like that because whatever I think of is still not going to be a satisfying enough explanation," he replied. "It's just the way things are and how the chips fell.

"EXODUS in the '80s had some bona fide problems, but I think their first album [1985's 'Bonded By Blood'] is just as good as 'Kill 'Em All'," he added. "We were just playing the music we wanted to hear because no one else was playing it and it wasn't being played on the radio. It was only a small group of people who knew about it and it was almost elitist in that 'No posers allowed!' thing."

OVERKILL will embark on the "Scorching The Earth" U.S. tour with EXHORDER and HEATHEN this summer. The 16-date trek will kick off on July 13 in San Francisco and make stops in Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale and Silver Springs, among other cities, before ending in Huntington, New York on July 30.

OVERKILL's twentieth studio album, "Scorched", was released on April 14 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth photo by Frank White

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