Overkill’s Bobby Blitz Talks New Album, Lyrical Influences, Filming Live DVD + More
Overkill frontman Bobby Blitz was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The singer talked about filming two full album performances for an upcoming DVD, the new Overkill album, his lyrical influences and more. Check out the chat below:
How ya doing my friend?
How are you Jackie? Boys and girls? Bobby Blitz from Overkill talking to you from the great state of New Jersey.
You know I love me some Jersey, every time I talk to you it makes me a little homesick.
I tell you, I know when these interviews come up you have the need for, at minimum, for the accent, you know. But you know, I think all of the state, we’ve always — we’re a very proud state. It’s one of the things that we always kind of get, you know, we get the short end of the stick sometimes when people don’t quite understand our dialects or our ways and means. But for us to live here we hold it quite dear to our hearts.
Oh, absolutely! Anywhere I go in the world, I think I've been told I'm a little abrasive or aggressive and once you say, 'Hey I'm from Jersey!' they're like, 'Oh, alright, I get it now..."
Well you know the old expression you can take the girl outta Jersey… [laughs]
Feel The Fire and Horrorscope were recorded and filmed at a one off show in Germany. Overkill has always been a here in the now kind of band. What motivated this look back at your history?
Oh money! No, no, not money. We’re honestly not doing this to get rich. You know, it was in our contracts it was always a DVD. We wanted to do something else a little different and we’d always held off from doing the one complete record, you know, on a tour.
And DD [Verni, bass] and I, Dave [Linsk, guitar], Dereck ['The Skull' Tailer, guitars] and Ron [Lipnicki, drums] were sitting around the bus, we said, 'Hey, what if we do it in one show and if we did two records, it would kind of, uh, for lack of a better word, it would trump all the other one record tours.' So it’s really just a one-night special thing. And Germany is really the place we had started doing our big touring. This is our first quote unquote tour bus. Everything else was vans and Volkswagens and station wagons prior to this point and we had flown over to Europe and done a run through Germany and Benelux back in 1986 with Anthrax.
So to go back to kinda where it started was not really the worst thing. So we kind of lined up all the stars thinking about it and saying, 'You know, if we’re gonna do it, we’re also gonna fulfill the contract of the DVD, you know, let’s make it like gangbusters, let’s throw it over the top.' So that was really the idea behind it.
Those records bookend the band's catalog on Megaforce Records. What was special about being a part of that label?
You know, Megaforce was really our introduction into the music business. And I think it’s a great introduction because it wasn’t getting thrown into the deep end of the pool, of the high finance of the Warner, Elektra, Atlantic type of signing. We were brought up on Megaforce being really kind of a small family label. I mean many of these people still work in the business: Metal Maria, Missy Palazzo, also graduates of the same college as you are ... Missy on WSOU. They were, you know, we were brought in by metalheads doing metal and I think that was a great introduction because we were developed by our own account and not by somebody else’s outside input. These people were doing this music because they loved doing this music, and I think that that’s what gave us, let’s say, the opportunity to cruise that fortitude again.
To say, this is worthwhile, they believe it’s worthwhile. This isn’t about some bean counter at the end of an album cycle saying, 'You know, Overkill’s not that good' just because the beans don’t line up. This is about people saying, 'Hey, I believe in this band.' So I think it was a super introduction for us cause they and that process was developed at our own pace as opposed to being burned out at too quick a rate, which is the case with many of those major labels.
The next Overkill album is cued up. Lyrically, what influenced the things you're saying with these new songs?
I always use the opportunity to write lyrics as just kind of... I use it as kind of a quiet thing. It’s a lot of the things that come in through the eyes and the ears of the reactions I have and the emotions I have between records. So this is kind of, I don’t know if this is a blessing or a curse that this stuff stays with you. You know, sometimes it’s just better to dispose of it. But I do think that when I get an opportunity to sit down by the time I’m done with, in this case, 11 songs, I'm getting out points of view whether they be social points of view. I’m getting out some of the misdeeds, some of the bumps in the road that I’ve had, some of the positives, some of the negatives.
Now, I don’t want to just generalize, but I do think that I’m writing from a perspective that a lot of people go through. You know it’s always been on the human level. I consider myself part of this community so therefore I consider myself much like those who are in this community, not someone who’s pedestal or resting on our laurels, more so somebody who’s active with regards to you know, I’m a fan before I’m a guy in this band.
I think I'm writing about things that are quite pertinent to what I go through all the time and what other people go through all the time. It could also be something as totally from left field, I remember watching Black Mass with Johnny Depp and the next thing I know I'm down here smashing on the computer and scratching out notes on the back of cocktail napkins and recording lyrics. So there's a variety source from where it can come from, but I would think that the weight of that source comes from the internal things that I've collected. Trying to dispose any of the negativity I've collected over the last year and a half.
What never changes about how music makes you feel?
It's the closest thing from my personal experience to a drug. It was the dope that kept me off the dope. It was something that had gotten me so high, I remember being a kid and joining the Columbia Record house and getting 12 LPs for a penny and getting anything that had the moniker of heavy metal attached to it. All of a sudden I'm reborn, I'm chasing this now for probably a 40 year period in my life.
So I think that in this case it's chasing that high. I also think it correlates with many of us who don't necessarily have specific religious affiliations. It's probably the closest thing to a spiritual epiphany when it comes to what we're doing with regard to again, this community. There's a sense of community and a sense of longing. There's a sense of awakening and a sense of release. It goes on and on, much of the same things that I think almost a church would have. In my case it's something I've always been drawn to magnetically, just more so naturally by my makeup. I think it's the drug with the spiritual payoff in the long run.
Overkill always seems to be working. How restless do you get if you're not writing, recording or touring?
There's always something going on and you're 100% right. That's part of the makeup of us. That's part of that — maybe a thing that parents pass on to us, what we consider synonymous to our area where we grew up and where we still live, relatively, is that you have to keep working. I remember doing an interview recently with a guy and he said, 'What is it with you guys from Jersey? You always have something to do.' I said, 'You know, you're 100 percent right. Listen I like to talk, I got a little business to do.' That's kind of the way we think to some degree, there's always the next step to something. I don’t know if it's totally connected to the entire area or everybody here — I think that'd be ridiculous, but I do think that it's something we're brought up with.
It is - we're better with our tools on than our tools off. It's kind of a cool way to do things, with regards to Overkill because there's always something. I remember doing an interview with a guy, from eastern Europe. They take their metal really seriously. Everything is proper and correct and you gotta give the right accolades for being in the business for so long, being a legend and this and that. Finally it comes to a question about Jersey and about what we do here, when we're not — he asks, 'Is it true that the television program The Sopranos, is there any truth to that in New Jersey?' I'm dead silent on the other end of the line, not going to give him an answer. He goes, 'Bobby? Can you answer the question?' I said, 'I'm not at liberty to answer that question. Are you crazy?' [laughs]
I was reading that there's a tentative release date on hold, October 28th. Tell us, what is the timeline looking like for the rest of the year? Is that date solid?
We stop one thing just to start doing another. So we're going to do — we love the European Festival circuit, they are kind of like mini vacations. You go over there for a 2 weekend jaunt, nine days and you fill it up with festivals from Thursday through Sunday and then maybe a headline here and there and the next Thursday through Sunday are festivals. So we'll be doing that as we're finishing the recording of this. I'm at the point now where I'm five songs deep. DD, Dave, Derek and Ron gave me 11 songs up until right now. We're... right now, those guys are rehearsing and I'm at home writing. I'm going to go down and rehearse with them at the end of the week.
It's kind of business as usual when it's kind of multifaceted. Even the last couple of records I finished on the road. I would take just a portable studio, you can put them on your computer these days. I can do the demos in the back of the bus. It was killer because I like to tour while we're writing because it's a great transference. That live energy on the stage that transfers over to tape. Not the tape, but digital information. You can't feign that. It's like coming off, me personally, in San Antonio or San Francisco and being able to hit the back of the bus and put down some demo vocals. The last memory or experience I had with the band, was all about 110 percent. That kind of feeling, so it transfers easily. I like doing both, touring and writing songs. So that's the plan for the summer, but we're looking to be done with the recording by the end of July.
Thanks to Bobby Blitz for the interview. Overkill's latest album, 2014's 'White Devil Armory' can be purchased through Amazon or iTunes. Keep an eye on the thrash legends' touring activities on their Facebook page.
See Where Overkill's Ironbound Landed on the Top 100 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 21st Century
Bobby Blitz Plays 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?'