BOBBY “BLITZ” ELLSWORTH
INTERVIEW AND LIVE PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJALA
Overkill is a classic thrash metal band, formed in 1980 in New Jersey. The band was one of the early thrash metal bands in U.S., along with such names as Anthrax, Exodus and mighty Metallica, who helped to create the thrash metal scene in the early 80’s. To date, Overkill has released 16 studio albums and sold more than 25 million worldwide. During their long journey, Overkill has gone through many line-up changes. The remaining original members, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and D.D. Verni, have successfully guided the band through both good and difficult times and the band is here to stay. In April 2013, Overkill arrived to Finland to do a five-concert mini-tour. I had the chance to sit down with Bobby in Helsinki and we discussed various topics including the recent “Dark Roots of Earth” tour, producing, history, personal life, and the list goes on….
Metal-Rules.com: First of all, it’s great to see you here!
Bobby: Yeah, it’s good to be here. I mean, this is our first tour in Finland, a proper Finnish tour. It’s funny that after 30 years you’re still doing new things and I suppose that’s what still keeps it interesting. And it’s a testimony to the… how the scene is, you know, it’s a good metal scene in here. And I think that it’s only right to take some advantage of it. “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: Yesterday you had the first show of the Finnish tour in Tampere. How did it go?
Bobby: Okay, not full. But a good crowd, a big heart. You know, I love walking out on the stage and saying, “There are not a lot of you, but I can see the size of your heart.” And I think it’s one of the things with Overkill that we’ve never thought of ourselves as separate but part of that audience. So, that together, that’s why it works. And so, if that’s the principle that we work by, it was a successful night.
Metal-Rules.com: And you have plenty of dates still left and you’re going to travel across Finland.
Bobby: Well, it’s a gorgeous country obviously. You know what I mean? It’s very different to much of what we know in New Jersey. But we’ve been exposed to obviously this kind of terrain before. But this is a beautiful country, and it’s great to just be able to be here for the first time. I mean, without kissing an ass, to say, “Hey, this is our tour.” You know, a hell or high water, succeeds on our level.
Metal-Rules.com: You played for the first time in Finland in 2008 in Jalometalli –festival in Oulu.
Bobby: That’s right.
Metal-Rules.com: And later on twice in Tuska-festival?
Bobby: We’ve done two of them and we were at Tuska last year. And that was a lot of fun. We got to meet the Jouni (Markkanen) and the King Foo guys. And kind of strike up our relationship, I remember… I think Lamb of God was having trouble at that time. And they canceled, and Jouni immediately put us in their spot. And said, “Can you play, you know, for an extra 25 minutes or something.” Can we? No, we don’t know any more songs” Laughs! You know, it was nice to fill in, because they are friends of ours, and also to help out under the circumstances. But, you know, it’s a memory of the summer for me, it’s been. Well, that was the Lamb of God summer, but in Tuska we got to take the spot and obviously succeed. It was a great feeling to be there a second time.
THE DARK ROOTS OF EARTH TOUR
Metal-Rules.com: It’s now been about two months since you had to cancel the final dates of the Dark Roots of Thrash tour?
Bobby: That’s right, yeah.
Metal-Rules.com: I have learned that the reason you had to cancel those shows was that you suffered from serious pneumonia. How bad was the situation then?
Bobby: What happened was somebody had this virus, it just passes like a virus, and I had stopped smoking about six months now. And my doctor told me, you have to be very careful. Because when you stop smoking, after you smoke for a long time your lungs are working all the time to get rid of everything. So, you can get other things. So, they are becoming, they are not going to ever be virgin lungs. But they are weaker, because you’ve stopped. So, the virus hit a couple of guys in the bus and then it hit me. But it run through the bus, it got six of us sick. And I talked to, you know, my doctor Denis Tommy, he said, “I think it’s what’s called, walking pneumonia. And it’s the symptoms of pneumonia, but you can still function.” And it got to the point where I had to cancel one show, and then I came back and did another show. I couldn’t walk out of the bus, so it’s just I’d fall down. And we got to Buffalo, New York. And it was about 9:00 o’clock in the morning, and we were on the street like this. And I said, “Where is the hotel?” And the tour manager said, “Right there.” I said, “I’m going in and use the toilet.” And I made it about three quarters of the way, and he came out and then we walked into the lobby. And I was lying on the floor, with frozen snot coming out of my nose. And the next thing I know, I was in the hospital. So, it was pretty intense. But the hospital stay was only for a day, they immediately diagnosed it and said, “It’s pneumonia, you can’t do shows, you have no lungs. They are just full of liquid.” So, what happened was, it actually… Some of our crew guys got it, Derek (Taller), the guitar player got it. So, it spread around and then we left the tour and we heard that even after that, the guys in Flotsam got hit with the same illness, and only came later to them. So, it was something that was unavoidable and you know, not anything that’s going to have long term effects. But for the short term and you are doing that, it was… I remember doing the last show we did on it. I had canceled the one, the night before because I couldn’t walk around. And so, we did another show in Massachusetts and I said to D.D. after the show, “I have never done a show just hanging off the microphone.” But somebody told me, “You have to hear this.” And he said, “It actually looked cool to not see you running around and you pooped without moving” “Laughs!”
Metal-Rules.com: The tour, it was a great success on many levels, so I believe that cancelling those dates was the very last option to do, right?
Bobby: Yeah. I mean, you know, D.D. and I talked. We were in hospital and I’m sitting in the hospital and I have masks on, and there is drips coming down and oxygen. And he goes, “Can you fucking believe, this is the first time in 30 years we’ve ever canceled more than one show.” And it goes, you know, and it was only… I think there were eleven shows left. I thought to myself, to some degree I knew that it was over that we were not that kind of people anymore. Because we had to cancel, but I was really also very proud to say, “For 30 fucking years, we run through walls.” Well, you know, it’s… You know, if I’m honest I have to say what certain things have changed. It’s, we are older, I mean, it’s just that fucking sensible. You know, somebody told me, he goes, “Hey, but old people get sick.” “Hey, fuck you.” But the idea is there are still those who love to hear this. It’s something that we enjoy at a really high level, I mean, you’ve seen the band. So, you know that we don’t go out there and think of it as just another day. We think of it as always a special day. So, I think with that in there. That becomes energized to be able to think you can run through walls. Now sometimes other things are stronger, sometimes.
Metal-Rules.com: Overkill, Testament, and Flotsam & Jetsam – you three have a lot of common in history and you’ve also toured together in the past. With Flotsam you played in Japan in 2004 and Testament was also on the bill then, but they canceled, didn’t they?
Bobby: Yes, they did cancel then but we did tour with Testament in, I think it was ’88. It was a short run, maybe ten shows. I remember being in Florida and in Texas, through the States. I think we might have been UNDER THE INFLUENCE at the time. I guess that puts them at, it’s not PRACTICE, maybe PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH? Because they were years, so after us, and it was fun. So, we’ve known them from that time, and you know, I think one of the great things about this part of the scene. Advance, were cut from that area or that era. It’s that we were really kind of cut from the same cloth, you know, we really have the same principles. We’ve aged within the genre and the genre has aged with us. There is new people coming in, we want the same results to some degree. As relaxed as guys from that era can be we still strive for perfection. I think that that’s what makes a tour like that special. That you get; Testament, Overkill and Flotsam. You got three groups of guys that are striving for perfection. I mean, I say this all the time, I never go in to lose. I don’t play this game to lose. I play this game to win. I want to compete against people who have the same principles as me, I want to compete against people who want to fucking bury me and I want to bury them. I think the only people who win then are the people who come to the shows, because then you get a really high level of not just it’s another day. You know, “It’s so tiring to put on the same stage clothes” It’s not for me, it’s what I love doing.
Metal-Rules.com: Right, it’s important to love and believe in what you’re doing.
Bobby: Yeah. But it also, it’s what makes the men the men. I mean, it’s just that simple. You know, you don’t have to take it in your head to have a big ego with it. You can see, what makes to me, is putting on those pants, one leg at a time and getting ready to go out and do the best I can under any circumstance, so.
Metal-Rules.com: Do you have plans to make another Killfest –tour in the future? I mean, there are no dates announced for this year under that name, at least not yet?
Bobby: No, there has been nothing so far. We had actually done a run through Germany last October; we didn’t get the correct support to the end, 3 Inches of Blood. But it was really a Killfest tour with 3 Inches of Blood, but not announced as such. They were great to have as support on the tour, because they had a great buzz about them with Byron in the band and they have a great demand. They are not a young band, and they are not an old band but then somewhere in between, which makes them, to some degree, special. So we are really happy to have them on there. But for all intents and purposes, it was a Killfest tour. We are still planning to do such things in the future. Because, I think if we are honest about what the scene is right now, it’s good to have packages. We took this into Finland, in to Scandinavia because there was opportunity, and didn’t really have the opportunity to put a Killfest together for it. But when Killfest becomes a kind of a brand to say, “Hey, last time I went there they had Exodus. Last time they had Heathen and Destruction.” And you know, “They had 3 Inches of Blood.” I think that people then know it’s going to be a quality night. I think that that’s really, really important, that you present it as such.
Metal-Rules.com: But you do see that there is a strong possibility that there’s going to be another Killfest tour in the future?
Bobby: In fact, I just talked about it yesterday to someone and I’m not really at liberty to say who it is, because we will offer their version of Killfest. So, it would actually be a little bit bigger than something that we would bring. So, it’s going to be really interesting. D.D. and I are talking about it right now, whether to accept it or not and it’s… Maybe when we turn this recorder off, I’ll tell you who. I’ll tell you who it is. “Laughs”.
Metal-Rules.com: You just mentioned package tours, and I was thinking, how do you like doing package tours overall? In fact, it wasn’t long time ago when I interviewed Mille from Kreator, and he said that he had kind of mixed feelings about doing package tours. Kreator had just finished a long run of shows with Accept in the States. In a way it was great, because both bands got their new fans from different genres but on the other hand, the ticket sales were not significantly larger. How do you see that thing, the package tour thing?
Bobby: In my opinion, the package makes the night. You know, let’s talk about numbers. A thousand people, Overkill and Kreator in the US, okay. A thousand people Overkill in the US, a thousand people on the Kreator in the US. I think the thousand that comes to see Overkill / Kreator are left with such an impression. You know, my feeling is that, if you can grab a piece of their heart and take it with you home, that they become part of you and don’t leave you. I think that when you present it as such, you have a better opportunity to do that. We will be touring with Kreator in the States, we are going to… So, if Mille has said that recently. He seems to obviously feel very different about Overkill because we are going to switch headlines through the US.
Metal-Rules.com: I think that works great because you are about the same generation and you’re not so different bands after all?
Bobby: Yeah. I mean, that’s possibly it. But I think a Kreator / Overkill match is fucking great, because we are different. We are different, I think if they have a more ominous stock of fuel than we have. But they’re fantastic band and they’ve been there from the beginning and they deserve to be on the big four of thrash scene, you know, this titanic big four that’s coming up, I think is fucking great. They deserve that spot. I mean, they have carved a spot up for themselves in musical history. I mean, as we have. I don’t know if it’s the same, we’ve carved a spot up somewhere. But together, I think, you know, to be punch to punch is one punch to be punched once and then punched again… that usually ends the fight. “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: Right. So, in brief, you do see package tours as a good thing to do?
Bobby: Yes, of course.
Metal-Rules.com: As a fan I think that a package is a great thing because then you can see many of your favorite bands at the same time.
Bobby: Well, maybe that’s why I think that way. Because I think of myself as a fan of this, you know. And obviously there are many different signs to me. There is a performer, there is a writer and there is a guy who has to do the press for the band. But I think at the bottom, you know, when you tear everything away that inside I have a black t-shirt on and I like banging my head. “Laughs”
RECORD COMPANY TALK
Metal-Rules.com: Many bands of your age and genre, including Testament and Anthrax, have recently found a new home from Nuclear Blast. What makes it interesting is that many of those bands have the common history with the Megaforce label…
Bobby: Yeah, I never thought of it. But that’s true. “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: After Megaforce, you went through many record labels and now you’re on Nuclear Blast. Some would say that they’re currently the best label for bands like Overkill, how do you like that?
Bobby: Obviously, I mean they are a monopoly to some degree. They are like the old telephone company. “You want to talk to other people, you have to use us.” So, I think that somewhere in there, there is a good thing with regard to promotion. They have a machine that promotes, I think they have reputation, I think that when you see a Nuclear Blast product, whether it be Overkill or Anthrax or Testament or Lost Society. You know that, that product is quality product. I think that with that at the forefront, plugged into that promotion machine, you get everywhere you want to be or you need to be. I also have said this in the past interviews, and you may know this quote. But I said, you know, it was 1993 and I was sitting in an office in Atlantic Records, and a guy was across the table from D.D. and I, and he had on a suit. This was before cell phones were ramped and the phones, calls were coming like so, and a phone rang, he said, “We are going over promotion.” He picked up the phone and said, “You have to excuse me boys, I’ll be right back.” He hung up the phone, he just gave to us his promotion plan. I looked at D.D., I said, “We are fucked, this guy knows nothing about us.” You walk in a Nuclear Blast, you start talking to guys who have Death Angel shirt on or an Exodus shirt or Suicidal Angels and you know that they are fucking into it. That’s a huge difference.
Metal-Rules.com: So they speak the same language with bands?
Bobby: They speak the same language, so it’s a language of head bang. I think that with that at the forefront, that’s a great place to be. And, you know, the Megaforce crew has been banging their heads since the 80s. So, it obviously makes sense that we would end up again with somebody who speaks our language.
Metal-Rules.com: I think it’s funny that all those bands whom have gone through different routes during the last 30 years are now back under the same label.
Bobby: Yeah, it’s funny. It’s, I mean, it’s unique. But it actually makes sense if you think about it, because we are not… I remember my niece asking me, “What do you do for a living?” I said, “Well, I alienate myself to the masses. But a small majority loves me. A small minority love me.” So, the point is that if somebody else understands that they can exploit that in a positive way. I think that Nuclear Blast is that type of a label.
Metal-Rules.com: I have to ask something about Jon Zazula because he’s a man who devotes lots of opinions, but it can’t be denied that he was important part of the whole thrash metal history in U.S. You know, Megaforce gave a great opportunity for many bands. How was his role with Overkill in the beginning?
Bobby: You know Johnny was never the one who was attracted to Overkill. His wife Marsha was, they had… When Megaforce started, it was in one of his houses. You would walk into his house, and again really pre-computer. You talking about the files on tables and on couches and paper, physical paper, you know. But he owned a record store very close to where he lived, and very close to where we were rehearsing. We were becoming part of the scene, what we did was we started signing our demos there. Then we financed the first Overkill EP, and it turns out. Because of our own promotion for ourselves that we would always sell out of this things, and always have to stock them. That’s where they got notice from us. So, I think Johnny’s input with Marsha’s love of the band was, “I can’t deny that they are not moving ten, fifteen, twenty unit a week out of my store.” You know, that people who keep coming back and asking for Overkill. I think what Johnny did was, he saw that it was something different. I mean, we were obviously not Anthrax. You know, I always think of Overkill and Anthrax in that New York scene, they were very different from each other. Whether it would be our personalities or whether it would be, the way we approach our music. I think Overkill looks at things like so, I think Anthrax, you know, we have a narrower view of things. We were metal head blue collar guys, and I think Anthrax looked at things wider. They were more artists than us, and one who attain a status based on their talents and artistic idea. Overkill wants to knock down buildings, so somewhere in there. There is a charm to both of them, and I think that Johnny always recognized the artist but Marsha recognized our tonicity. Eventually Johnny came over and said, “There is beauty in knocking down buildings.” So, I think that that’s really the, where the attraction was early in the days of Overkill. We were the guys who always had that reputation, Overkill walking to a bar and people go, “Fucking Overkill is here. Keep your hand on your money, and don’t insult them.”
Metal-Rules.com: One interesting fact with Overkill is that right from the beginning you’ve produced most of your albums by yourself.
Bobby: Well, we tracked production credits from very early on. We wanted to be involved in the production because we had an idea of how we sounded and what we wanted to sound like. So I think only FEEL THE FIRE is un co-produced by us. That was produced by Carl Cannedy from the Rods. Then we moved over to TAKING OVER with Alex Perialas, we wanted co-production credits. We were always the guys that we wanted to learn about twisting the knobs, moving faders, understanding any queues, understanding the gear, to be having an active role in what the final product was, so it was an early on interest. Not that we were good at doing it, and we may have taken production credits with Alex. But Alex really produced the record, you know, but we became more and more into it. I think that when the 90’s came around, and especially the later 90’s. It was a very lean time for this music. You know, many guys went home and, you know, lived in their old teenager rooms in their parent’s house. But what we decided was, “Hey, you know, fuck it, let’s just keep doing it. If we have the opportunity, let’s seek the opportunity out.” So, it became more of the thinking that, how can we minimize our expense and maximize our output? Well, we’ve been training to do production right from the beginning. So, I think that that’s where it actually stepped over the line, when we were really twisting knobs. And D.D. went to the limit of, you know, starting a studio, and by 2000’s we were in his studio doing records. We were twisting the knobs, doing all the recording and all the production prior. Now, we brought in Colin Richardson in a few times to mix and to produce record fully through with us. We brought in Peter to mix IRON BOUND and Greg Reilly mixed ELECTRIC AGE. We started learning that we got so caught up in the production, what our view of it was that it became sterilized. We had to involve other ears to hear our production ideas objectively. So, now we are kind of a combination of Overkill production and somebody to mix that production or bring that idea to its final end.
Metal-Rules.com: It’s never ending learning process, isn’t it?
Bobby: For sure. It’s one of the things I’ve always said that, “Sure, I’m 53. But I’m still learning.” Once I stop learning, I become less valuable to what I’m doing. I talk to other singers and say, “How do you do that?” You mean, how do I do them? “Well, I can’t do that. I want to know how?” I’ve stopped smoking recently. I’ve realized that my range has increased. I’m like, “Holy shit, I’m 53 and I have a bigger high-end now. What I’m I going to do with this? Well, I have to learn how to use it.” So, if I keep learning I’m still valuable to the scene. If I stop learning and say, “Yeah, thanks.” Then I’m living kind of in the past, when I was learning. But if I’m still learning, I’m still valuable. I think that that’s why this is still attractive to me, because it’s not attractive to anybody. We are not becoming rich millionaires off this, we are becoming guys who understand things and are saying, “We have carved out of life for ourselves.” Not a career, but an entire life of being able to do exactly what we want to do as long as we keep learning.
LINE UP TALK
Metal-Rules.com: I was going to ask something about the line-up. Your history includes altogether thirteen former members, and… it’s a lot of guys who have been around?
Bobby: Twelve of them are dead. “Laughs” One I can’t find. “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: The band has now been stable over seven years and it’s the longest running line-up you’ve had in your history. So, what’s the secret of this longevity?
Bobby: Well, I think there is, what we are talking about through the entire interview, is about certain energy. Really if you want to summarize it, it’s a certain energy and certain principles and simple principles. Do you love, do it to the best you can and enjoy it. I think we are in a good situation now. Because of the time we’ve been around that D.D. and I have surrounded ourselves with guys who have that same mentality. And some of this might be age? My wife loves to call it the middle aged boys club. You know, you are out smoking Cuban cigars and you are rolling dice, you are losing your money and somebody is sipping cognac and telling dirty jokes. But if you can do that when you are not playing, you probably have a great chemistry. I think if that’s what we have, that these guys will have other things and other businesses. Their lives are set, with regard to their own intelligence outside of this, with their own drive and initiative outside this. So, this can be a relaxed situation. There is no, “We got to get bigger. We got to get… fuck that, you really fucked that up.” Guys talk to each other with respect, and we laugh a lot and we have a good fucking time, and I think that that’s the key. If you don’t enjoy this, if it becomes a chore, it becomes work. Then it’s not… It doesn’t fulfill or satisfy. But I’m saying that under these circumstances, it becomes satisfying. I can’t say that this won’t change tomorrow or next week, it could. But up until this point, this has been a great chemistry between five fucking guys. I think that if one guy had to pick out that was a missing guy, it was Ron (Lipnicki). Because, you know, Tim (Mallare) who was our previous drummer, he liked to be here and then he slowly stopped liking being here. That negativity from one bleeds into the other four, if we have one guy and he’s the one who runs the band, he leads the band. Everybody thinks, “It’s Blitz’s band or it’s Steven’s band.” Nothing to do with Blitz or D.D. has to do a run. If Ron is happy and making it happen, Overkill can play like a fucking machine and that’s we want to do. That’s where I think we get our success, good chemistry. Understanding Ron is the key figure and Ron was the missing one.
Metal-Rules.com: Okay, good answer. Actually I was thinking that, what makes Overkill different to many other bands of your generation is the fact that you have never done any kind of reunion with a former line-up, not even a partial one. So, that’s good props for you because you haven’t done it in an easy way because of course you could have made it, right?
Bobby: Yeah, this was the harder way. But, you know, it’s harder from what you said. You know, and we are out setting, even if we go to a new city for the first time and there are forty people in the club. They get the same show that we do in a Wacken. “Laughs”. I think that that’s always been Overkill’s pride. Maybe we weren’t the smartest, but we were the most proud.
Metal-Rules.com: Right, but re-union of a “classic line-up”, that’s the thing that Testament, Anthrax, everybody has done at some point of their career. You know, in a way or another?
Bobby: Yeah, I mean it’s not a reason. If you reason to do it, in my opinion and I can’t speak for Anthrax. I never speak for other people. I pay attention to my own house, not to other peoples. But in our house, I have to love doing this. And, you know, I talked to my wife and I say, ” It makes me, me. And for me to be me I have to be comfortable.” I have been, so why should I change what I do or look at what other people do and say, “Maybe that’s the way to go.”
THE STATE OF METAL SCENE
Metal-Rules.com: Next I was going to ask something about the overall state of the thrash metal scene. It’s a fact that many old school bands – Overkill, Exodus, Testament, Anthrax etc. many of those bands have released really, really strong albums recently. I think the sales are doing better now. It’s nothing like it was on the good old days but it’s getting better. But, does it, you know, even you and those bands do release your strongest albums ever, does it really reflect, you know, the sales progression over increase of the success you have?
Bobby: I think sales figures are misleading. I think all they do is reflect where the scene as whole is. Not necessarily where the band is, I mean Anthrax sales are “X”, Overkill is “X” minus, for instance. It doesn’t mean the scene is not healthy for us, I think it means that their popularity is more. Does it bring them to other levels? I really don’t think it does, I think the levels kind of remain the same. It’s just more people into it at this point. The good thing for it, is that it instills new blood in this and any increases you see, in my opinion are from the younger fans. You have a band like Lost Society, you know, you have a band like the Suicidal Angels, whoever it may be. These younger bands, that bring younger people into this, and that’s where the growth comes from. You know, you are talking with 53 year old guy who did fight his way through every New Jersey club and New York club and even… You know what I mean? And by all rights, I shouldn’t be doing this under some circumstances. But I had that love of doing this, and I see that same love and that same type of dedication from younger bands. From the people that they attract to them, who want to see where those younger bands came from. I think now, you have your Testament, Anthrax, Overkill, and Exodus, who are releasing strong releases. Because the younger bands can dictate the scene, it’s the competitive nature again. Now, you have to go to the pickup, this is not the way it’s fucking done, no, this is the way it’s done. You know, this is the way we do it. We were at the beginning with those other bands, and we want to show that we still have the ball. I think if that’s appreciated by the younger, and therefore you get that strength through that growth with the younger crowd. We are not trying to pander to them. We are not trying to just directly command them. We just only can do it how Overkill does. You know, again, we look through small window. We don’t look through the big window, so I think if it’s kept honest and it’s kept successful with honesty, I think the people appreciate it.
Metal-Rules.com: In your opinion, which are the best metal albums released during last few years?
Bobby: The best releases… hmmm
Metal-Rules.com: Pick up three.
Bobby: Three releases? Well, DARK ROOTS OF EARTH was a great release. I mean, I’d love to pick three Overkill releases. Cause I’m a selfish prick. “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: Let’s say you can choose six albums. So, you have chosen three, right. “Laughs”
Bobby: Obviously IRON BOUND in the ELECTRIC AGE. “Laughs” But yeah: EXHIBIT B: THE HUMAN CONDITION, DARK ROOTS OF EARTH and PHANTOM ANTICHRIST. PHANTOM ANTICHRIST was a great album and I thought there was something about it. When I first got it, I was… I said, “There is something here that is just, continues to progress.” You know, it’s great, you don’t want to hear a band doesn’t want to play their old stuff, you don’t want to. You want to be excited about the new shit you are playing, you are in a band, you know. You want to play a new song that you learned, that’s exciting. But there is something about that release that says… it came from here but it is brand fucking new. It is shiny and it is new, and that’s what attracted me to that place.
OTHER STUFF IN LIFE
Metal-Rules.com: In general, most of you guys are now between 50 and 60 years old. So, I think…
Bobby: No, I’m the oldest, I’m 53, and we have two guys in their 40’s actually.
Metal-Rules.com: Not only Overkill, I was talking about the whole….
Bobby: The scene? Yeah.
Metal-Rules.com: And honestly, how long do you think that you can carry on doing such extreme stuff because, you know, there are certain things that just come in with age?
Bobby: Well, you know. First and foremost, the reason it works for me it’s because I don’t think that. If I start buying into that and start making it part of my daily thinking, “We have another tour. Can I do it?” It means that I can’t. If I say, “We have another tour. Let’s go.” It’s a different mentality, and it’s a different approach to it. The idea is that it energizes me. You know, somebody asked me about, you know, alcohol and drugs. I had spent a ten year period on the road, when I was entirely sober for ten years till today. No alcohol, not a sip, no drugs, no snort, not anything. Now I drink beer again. But the idea is that I can do what I want, and I think that that’s what makes this happen. I’ve always lived in that day. What kept me sober for ten years was, I just woke up and I said, “Today I’m not going to drink.” It was really simple, now I apply that to Overkill with regard to where I am in life, where I’m in age, where I’m in career. I wake up and I say, “Today I’m going to Helsinki.” So, if I think like such and this work for me. I would never change that.
Metal-Rules.com: It’s about what you think in your head, I do agree with you here. And in fact, the guys/bands who first invented the whole metal thing are still going on strong, at least most of them, and I’m talking about bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath here.
Bobby: It’s a great drug to be addicted to? I mean, it really is, I mean it’s a fantastic addiction. You know, it’s hard for me when I come off the road to have to… I have to spend two weeks of calming down, and it’s day by day where the energy just leaves a little bit by a little bit. Even my wife says, “You are such a pain in the ass. You never say please. You are always, “Hey!” You call me, “Hey!” Two weeks later, I call her by her first name, “Annette”. “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: Right, but in fact, what are you up to when you are not on tour or in studio etc.?
Bobby: We run few businesses at home, one is a chocolate company and one is a mailing company. We are looking to getting into another business, the third one that’s separate from this. For fun, I have a beautiful German Shepherd. I’ve always had German Shepherds since I’ve owned this house. This is my third one, and she comes to my office at the end of the work day. And I work like a person would work, and I get up in the morning. I have some coffee, I go to my office, you know. I see what I have to do either for Overkill or for mailing company or for the chocolate shop. And at 5:00 O’clock she walks in with a toy, and I put on, you know, loose pants and we go climb in the woods up the mountains. And run and… So, it’s a nice life, you know, I mean, I don’t live in the city. I live in the countryside, and it’s…
Metal-Rules.com: You are still living in New Jersey area?
Bobby: Yeah, New Jersey. About a hundred clicks of west of Manhattan, but over a lake and you know it’s a nice… We do home renovations, I just demolished the kitchen, you know, we do things. I think it’s because we were born and raised with a mentality of… If you want to be happy, accomplish things, do things. I don’t mind using a hammer, and I don’t mind using my head. So it’s, they are both equally satisfying to me. So, if that’s the case, things always get better. And it’s going to be a beautiful kitchen when I come home, there is going to be the garden that my wife and I built, is going to be blooming when I come up. So, these are the things I like doing. My motorcycle will be ready to ride… and it’s just living life. I mean… these are normal things for normal people. I think that if I think of myself like such, and I obviously I’m a pretty normal guy, probably a little fucked up somewhere for doing this so long, but the reality is that you get good results. You get a, you know, I don’t ever want to be that guy who said, “It could have been better.” I want to be that guy who said, I’ll tell… I was a member of bike club for a ten year period too and became an office in this club, in like the bike clubbing. I mean, it was pretty cool, it was a great thing and eventually I had to leave, because of how busy I got with the band again. I’d grab my keys, and I’d be holding my helmet and gloves out of the back pocket and a knife and a ranch, and I’d go, “Yes.” I’d go, “I’m going. And if I don’t come back…” She would go, “I know, put on your grave stone, it was a great ride.” I think if you have that in your head, the things are pretty good. “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: Okay. I think was good way to end this discussion.