Overkill – Grinding Away

Thursday, 19th January 2017

Dead Rhetoric: Despite requests for years from promoters across the globe to have Overkill perform a classic album in its entirety, you always refused. What made you rethink this last year and not only do Feel the Fire but also Horrorscope in Germany?

Blitz: What made us rethink the idea is that it wasn’t going to be one record, but it would be two. The rethink was, the promoters would be us! (laughs). Which is even better. Which puts us in the planning phase, the first screw that goes into the stage sets that we built. It’s something that’s always excited us, we take great pride in how we are presented. Everything from that first screw and clamp, building that stage, to the special effects, the size of the stage, the amount of amps, that was all us. That was kind of cool, so we took the risk. We were also under contract to do a DVD, so instead of doing something regular we wanted to do something bigger, let’s do it more in line with the band name, something more than necessary. It was not one record but two and us taking charge of it.

Dead Rhetoric: Will the DVD be coming out at some point this year?

Blitz: No, no – I’m just going to keep this for myself! It’ll be five copies (laughs). I don’t even go to dinner unless my wife says, ‘Bobby Blitz- dinner’s ready! (laughs). Of course, we concentrated on The Grinding Wheel, and it got delayed a little bit. It’s still about the current day for us- the album has to live once it’s done so you have to put as much time into the mix and writing, recording as possible. When the smoke settles, in between the touring we will be going through that footage. We are still a self-managed entity, we are still a democracy, even though DD and I manage the band everyone has a say in the band. I think we have a good system going, and the next project will be that DVD to celebrate a little bit of the past.

Dead Rhetoric: As veterans like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest slow down or retire from extensive touring, do you have any concerns about who will pick up the slack and carry the torch for metal when many of these legacy acts from the 70’s and 80’s pack it in?

Blitz: That’s a great question, because it’s never been presented to me. I don’t know about you but I always think (these bands) are going to still be here. And I know they won’t be there after a while. I haven’t thought about that, I don’t think it’ll be the newer type of metal that replaces it. There is going to be something missing when the Sabbaths and the Priests and the Maidens hang up their sticks and guitars. I’d be willing to do it, it’s going to be a tough job. I suppose it will be someone from the Big Four that will be the next in line for icon status.

Dead Rhetoric: Would you say it’s an exciting time for bands to take charge of themselves given the state of the business at this moment?

Blitz: Sure, you have to reinvent yourselves. Metallica comes out the first week with their new album and sells 250,000 copies, as opposed to the last record which sold around 800,000 in week one. There’s reinvention, obviously not that they need the money but to have a successful business. I think that trickles all the way down to bands like us- you do this for a passionate love of the music but to keep that passion going you have to target a clientele. For instance, it’s adding vinyl, multiple merchandise options, more touring, more high end touring, more territories.

Dead Rhetoric: Has your definition of success changed from the beginning of Overkill to the current incarnation?

Blitz: I think so. Because when I was a kid, I was (thinking) like a kid. It was about the chaos, that seemed successful. I went to school and I was close to a degree, and then I got a record deal and I was thrown into this stuff. I lived in a camper, I showered in a dirty shower in Munich, Germany, and then I was doing shows in Japan and Los Angeles. That was satisfying enough, and what’s happened over time is that chaos has melted away and shown a different type of definition. And that definition is not longevity, but for sure pride. This is probably my biggest sin, pride – love us or hate us, you can say that we have done it with everything in our arsenal, all the time. That to me becomes very successful- our presentation from t-shirts to album covers to mixes to the DVD, it’s all about pride. That melds into success for me.

Dead Rhetoric: Would you ever consider writing a biography on the life and times of Overkill – and are there any particular avenues you’d like to venture into be it personally or professionally just for the experience?

Blitz: I’ve been asked a few times- and by writers, guys I’ve known. Obviously, I’m a people person- I’ve been doing this for 35 years and you don’t do this at my level and not like people. You talk to different people every day, and obviously you talk about music. I would never write about what happened- I could take story after story and put them together by a string, that would be a timeline. All these little unique happenstances, as opposed to airing our dirty laundry. It’s been one of our greatest assets is that we are up in New Jersey where our uncles taught us to work hard and keep your mouths shut. I would love to speak about some of the wonderful and funny things that have happened to us along the way – not a tell all book but let’s tell a little bit about what’s gone on.

Dead Rhetoric: What have been some of your favorite or weirdest personal fan encounters that you’ve been a part of?

Blitz: One of our fans asked me to sign his leg and he took it off- it was an artificial leg! Which I thought was a little bit unique. Back in the early days, some of the meeting of people- in that chaos thing, it was rock ‘n roll. I remember a guy attacking me once, in Germany, he got me caught under a bridge. I was just taking a walk after the gig and it was one of those situations where I didn’t know if I was going to get out from underneath that bridge. It was a train bridge. Those come to mind off the top of my head.

Dead Rhetoric: What does the rest of 2017 look like for Overkill?

Blitz: Business as usually is probably a good thing for us. We will be on tour, but we try to balance things out with family life. We will start touring in February and it won’t end for a year and a half. What’s been talked about now and confirmed recently is a South American run of two plus weeks, there will be an Asian/ Pacific Rim run, with Australia coming into that. A European tour, a second US run as well. We will be doing well over 100 shows in support of this record at least.

Overkill official website

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