Again Overkill tour through Europe and I was looking forward to see the New Yorkers. Since I saw Blitz and his mates in 1986 I'm infected with the Overkill virus! I just missed them on one tour and so I met Blitz several times in the past. I know his kind of humour and I know that it'll be very funny. We did a few interviews in all this years and today it's time for one more...
You came over to Europe to tour here for a few weeks, but your last release is an album full of cover versions. That's very unusual. People got a little tired of all those cover versions, but your album is different...
We are not on tour for a few weeks, we are on tour here for a big part of our life! *laughs*
At the moment you are on tour for about 2 weeks already, I think.
Yes, I think we tour a section of our lives. When it's over and done, when we say we finally close the book, then we toured half of our lives. So this is just a segment of it. First of all it's good to be back here. It's always a fantastic feeling, it's always re-union like. As far as the cover versions I don't think we really touring. I think we touring our own songs and we throwing one cover song in for fun and for obvious choices it's the Motörhead song Overkill. The idea behind the cover record was, that it existed prior to the idea coming up. These versions are recorded by every aspect of the band, almost every line-up. The only person who is missing, is Rat Skates, our first drummer. But Bobby Gustafson, Rob Canavino, Marrit Gant, Sebastian Marino, Sid Falck, they are all on parts of this. So it's kind of a historical thing. And this came out us as cover band, when we first started. I think, it's a real obvious testimony that we are big fans of stuff. We have been doing this all the way along... The Ramones, The Dead Boys, Judas Priest, the B-sides for Japan. There are all different things that we always done covers.
The idea when we doing the covers was, when you walk into the studio and everybody has to have everything all right. Okay, have your parts, coz we're gonna run tape and let's get it done as quick as we can to get the energy. That's a feeling which can lead to a certain amount of stress. Certain amount is good, too much is not! When we first start warming up in the studio, we roll the tape to cover songs. And everybody by the time you done playing three or four or five covers, you're laughing. Coz you're feeling you're playing Rob Halford, you're playing Lemmy, you're playing all this different parts "Isn't that cool". When you start recording your own stuff, it relieves stress from it. That was really the original intention of doing covers! Except we roll tape, so it was a cover record that was made not for release! But eventually turned into such.
And it was made during 12 years, 14 years.... This is cool! This is... And somebody is going "Oh, it's very trendy to release cover records." I go "Yes, it is!" But most people won't look into the booklet and so they might think that Coverkill is just another cover album, but it's a kind of travel through the Overkill history.
It's unique! That's what is unique about it! It's not Garage Days, it's not part of the trend! I can tell you, on the other side someone ask me: "Well, why did you do this, too? Is there any other reason?" And I said, well it's kinda nice to make some money sometimes. I'm not saying that we are greedy. It's quite obvious that we are not! I mean we are doing this for how long in clubs... We are not the kings of metal. *laughs* What we are is what we are! And this was already done and someone paid this work. We put everything together, best we could, we mixed everything and bang! It's a whole record!
And it's a great record!
I think so. I'm happy with it! I think it represents us well. One of the things that is really cool about it, it doesn't bastardise the original versions of the songs, but it really sounds like Overkill doing it. That's what quite unique about it! I'm not trying to be Rob Halford, I can't be. I can't be Lemmy, but to have the opportunity to do these songs, brings out a certain energy. It doesn't bring me back, I introduce Overkill by Motörhead every night by saying that "I'm still a Motörheadbanger". And it's the truth, you know. If you are a fan, like we are, it's a good choice.
I think people who saw the announcement for the tour thought that it's a kind of cover tune tour, coz the latest release is Coverkill. But you play almost your own songs. It's like a review of the last decade...
Yeah, a little bit of everything. I think, we kinda touring Necroshine. Necroshine, Feel The Fire, Taking Over, Under.... You know, it's all sort of jammed in there and I think, it's a good blend of everything that we're doing. If you tour a cover record, personally I'd rather see Judas Priest with Rob Halford doing Tyrant than me. *laughs*
I mean there is still a lot of energy in this band live and that makes it kinda special.
I think, you know, you find the drug that really turns you on and you don't let it go. This drug always giving me the best feelings! A guy comes up to me the other night after the show and he said "I heard you stop drinking and doing dope..." And I said "I did!" And he goes "But you look so fucked up". *laughs* I think it's the adrenaline and it's very ob;vious to anyone who have seeing this band more than one time, that it's just one show! "Oh, I got a good energetic show." I think they are all that way. To a certain degree, anyway. Some are a little bit more, but somewhere between 9 and 10!
It's always a lot of energy, positive energy and always on a very high level.
I think that's necessary, that's what Overkill always was. We found something that we love and we protect it.
And you kept it through all the years!
And we celebrate it night after night! It's kinda of celebration of what we love. That's where the positive energy comes from. The band is always kinda misunderstood as a darker, feel of an angry kinda pissed-off band. We use that in the material to get across the things we need to dispose. At the reality it is a real positive feeling.
I think everyone who meet you after a show will realize it, coz none of you is "the angry person" running around and shouting at someone. It's more like you take it the funny way...
Some days... *laughs* But that's not normal. I think we always been pretty grounded. And I think what keeps us grounded is that we.... You have to be grateful to be able to do this. I mean, you can't just say I deserve this. It takes work....
...but young bands sometimes do this!
Well, that's why don't they turn into old bands. *laughs* I think that one of the things that always been on our side, why the people like our records or dislike, is the fact that we love and protect what we love by celebrating it. Not feeling that everything is do us, but that we work for this.
I think that people appreciate that Overkill is a band who they can talk to and not some who behave like stars.
I was standing in the dressing room last night in Nuremberg and it was right at the side of the stage and water was spilled into it. It was really small, it was a lighting closet and I'm standing there in my underwear and the lighting man looks at me and... "What's wrong?" I go "That's no way for a superstar to be treated." *laughs* I think he understood my humor.
Last year Dave was new in the band. Dynamo was his first show with Overkill in Europe and it was like he's in the band for a longer time. Now it looks like he never did anything else. It looks like a perfect union, but no one knows what the future hold.
Sure, that's one thing we learnt, never say never when it comes to what's gonna happen with this band. To enjoy it as it is this day, as supposed to what it was or what it will be. Dave is becoming more and more a part of this band every day he plays in this band. It was funny, we did the Dynamo show and we got great reviews for the show. Everyone was "Oh my God, Overkill was this...."
... It was a great show!
"...they were like a sledgehammer coming down your head." After all the other bands, we had a great slot, it was a great time and a lot of fun.
Even if you had to play about an hour earlier as scheduled! And a few people missed you...
That's why it worked out! *laughs* That's why it worked, coz they didn't meet us and we were not that good! *laughs* I think a lot of people thought it was a great show, we didn't know what happened. And it was probably Dave's best show with us to that point. We didn't know, coz we landed, somebody holds us down for a shower and said "It's time to go on stage." We went "Oh I thought I really rather get a little sleep!" *laughs*....
I remember that pretty good.
...."No, it's too late, you have to go now!" *laughs* I think we just went up there and one of the great things I find about this band, it's either in you or not. When we were that tired, we moved the time slot, we find out that it is in us! That it doesn't matter when, where, how.... It's in us! And that's what in that show came across!
After the show, after the festival I talked to a few people and they said that Overkill was the best band at the Dynamo! That's a big compliment!
You know, we come out and it's a sledgehammer! We always look at competition as friendly competition. There are a lot of other bands and there are a lot of other bands the fans like, of course. This is what it is and this is natural. It's always friendly competition, there's always this little smile at the corner of our mouths going "We are next! Now It's out turn" *laughs* If you think of it in a more friendly term instead of a war of Gods of this or that... Which we are not, we always say "As long as we have our chance, that's all we want!" Put us in front of people and I think that's what happened at Dynamo.
And I think that's why you have a loyal following through all the years.
Sure, and beside that even if they like our record or not, they'll come to our show!
Through all the trends we had, which come and go, you always been on the same high level...
A guy ask me last year after the release of Necroshine "how is it to be part of the researching of metal?" And I said "Fuck you!" *laughs* I said "Pay attention!" *laughs* There is a few that think metal is dead, you know. And we happened to be one of them and I think that people who are Overkill heads really know this. They know that we are regardless what the trend was, we didn't care.
I remember that you said in one interview we did "We are alternative to alternative!"
*laughs* But it's true! *laughs*
It must have been 1994 or 1995....
Somebody else said that metal is dead in the States, when somebody say metal is dead, we are lucky that we are ignorant and can't read! Coz we didn't pay attention and kept touring! *laughs*
And people are glad that you kept touring, coz many bands didn't tour the States, coz they didn't get the chance to.
Well, I think that's ridiculous. That's the difference between us and a lot of other bands, coz we made it happen. We are a little part of it.
You play in front of 200, sure it's nice to play in front of 2,000, but other bands won't play the small clubs.... Playing in front of 200 fans is better than not to play live.
And it's not better than nothing, "let's go through the show"... It's always the same show... 200, 2,000 or 20,000... It's the same show.
To have 200 fans there is better than to have 10,000 who think "what the fuck they are doing there?"...
Yeah, I agree!
Is it the first time you're going to Russia?
So it'll be a new experience. What do you expect?
I don't know what to expect from Russia. I expect a combination of Western Europe and ....
I think they'll be really crazy, coz they are not used to see Western bands there.
We loaded our guns just in case!
I heard that a few more people as usual are killed these days, because of the election! And the election is in near future and so the different parties fight against each other. So more people been killed these days....
... In Russia?
Thank God! I'm not Russian!
I think that sometimes people got involved which has nothing to do with politics, but I think they will identify you're not Russian...
I hope not.... I'm really looking forward to it! That is definitely the unknown for me. It's exciting. I think it's cold there. I think it's gonna be special! Otherwise I can't even fathom to go beyond that.
Unfortunately we don't have the chance to talk about afterwards! So, email me about it!
... "Wow"... *laughs*
I never have been there, but I wrote for quite a while for a Russian magazine in the mid-90's. And I had an Overkill interview released there in '94 / '95...
Really? It was probably the best interview in that Russian magazine ever ... *laughs*
Beside that one, perhaps the one with Zakk Wylde....
Okay... Zakk was there with Ozzy. This thing with Skid Row and ....
I think I did that one in '93 or '94...
How was that called? ... It was called something...
Moscow Music & Peace festival... I think it was in '89... Scorpions...
Bon Jovi, Ozzy....
It was broadcasted...
It was another interview they liked, coz Zakk has already been there with Ozzy. They had to wait for you a couple of more years...
Well, almost 10 years. *laughs*
They had to wait for you since you started!
They have to wait until now!
So, they had to wait after the interview for another six years. We just need our time to prepare! *laughs*
So probably their expectations will be a little bit high...
Oh, oh.... *laughs*
So what's coming next? After the tour?
We are putting our West Coast run together. We've done about 70 US shows this year and we'll do another 45 something. Looks like we made one back here at the end of April to do Greece, Scandinavia and a festival in Belgium.
Cool, so I'm coming to Belgium.... *laughs*
It's gonna be like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse....
I don't care about any other band there....
I forgot how the festival called....
I'll find out!
It looks like they want us to do Wacken.... Which is be interesting, I think!
I think so too. (Wacken is confirmed meanwhile!... ed.)
I don't think that we'll get any more festivals, coz Maiden stole everything right now...
And Dynamo cut down to one day.... The only one would be Gods Of Metal, probably...
Iron Maiden is controlling Gods Of Metal, too. And so there are only Sanctuary bands... (ed.: Sanctuary is Maiden's management.)
As far as I know they have also a few non-Sanctuary bands there...
So you may have a chance?
Something different... We did Gods Of Metal last year and the promoter liked us. We never really been a festival band.
They never ask you, you told me!
No, we are the only band from the 80's walking around on the face of the Earth with combat boots and canvas who no one ask to do the festivals. I think, in Dynamo we had problems with the old promoter, or he had problems with us. He just didn't liked the band.
I don't know...
Whatever, I don't know. *laughs* The Sun will rise tomorrow...
Yeah, I guess.....
I think so. Today we had all kind of weather....
Rain, ice, sun, snow.... Germany! Welcome to Germany! *laughs*
Yeah, welcome to Germany! But you'll make it to some warmer places on this tour... Spain,...
Italy, Portugal... Really, really nice.
Do you think about going to South America?
We tried to set something up. We were involved in a festival in Chile with The Gathering and some death metal bands, maybe Angra was on it....
Angra are very popular there.
That's what I've heard.
They are from Brazil and...
Oh, from Brazil!
... they are a pretty good band.
Are they popular in Germany?
Yeah, even more in France. I mean, they have the right promoter in France and that's the way. You have to have this guy for promotion, otherwise you can't make it there.
Maybe we should know his name!
Oh... *laughs* I think you have to write his name down!
No problem.... *laughs*
South America has always been in our plans, but it's never really materialized. Usually it's based on the economies. It's a lot harder to go down and just tour as supposed to going down as a package, coz that's make it more facile to do. More people wanna come. So, we was supposed to do a Chilean festival, but it was cancelt and they wanna do it again during their winter which our summer.
And it depends where it'll take place, coz in some parts of Chile the winter is fucking cool!
Yeah, coz Chile is from North to the South about 3,500 km...
Santiago de Chile
That's in the North, so you probably have about 20°C in their winter.
Maybe it's an indoor festival.
Probably, but 20°C is okay.
I can ride my motorcycle then....
In other parts of Chile in winter time you'll have about minus 15°C, I think and that would be too cold for a festival...
Yes, Chile is most of the South America's West coast. It's very long, but not very wide.
Oh, like a chilli! *laughs*
Yes, a little like that. I was to Argentina in 1994, so I know a little bit about South America. Beside that my brother lives in Brazil. So, I maybe visit him later this year. Probably....
Doing the Overkill festivals?
If you are somewhere around I'll visit you for sure! I know I'm always welcome.
Back to the tour... How is it going with the Canadians?
They ain't doing and they smell bad! *laughs* Answer is over. *laughs* I mean, it's good. I supposed it's kind of a reunion, but not really as much as there are other reunions.
They always been around...
Kind of always been around and visible.
But they never had many possibilities to tour here, beside doing a few small club shows... And I think it's the same for the States.
Actually they got picked up by our label in the States.
That's a good choice.
Yes, it is and it gives you a good idea what's going on in the States. They are starting pick up bands, so... Of this calibre. And this band is a great band! Type of us... It got clear that... They are kind of co-headliner, we are just the closing band. And that's because they sell tickets and they are a good touring band.
Yes, but it's important to tell the people, coz many think that they are just the opening band. In most magazines the announcement of the tour looks like they are just opening or special guest.
They have full sound, they have full lights!
But you never been a band who treats their opening bands bad!
No, but most won't even know that! *smiles* But most openers are ignorant and even smell bad! *laughs*
But you never try to win the competition by putting down their lights and sounds! That's not your style.
I don't think so. It's to go out... Friendly competition gives you the opportunity to succeed on a level plan field. It's not to change the plan field, so...
And naturally we bring some of our own stuff. We bring strobe lights and certain things we add to our show. And they are welcome to do anything available.
(After a short break we could go one... This is a very long interview...)
That's what kept us around for such a long time, that I got so many pages out of the press... *laughs*
But with a print magazine it's a bit harder...
That's true! I can just go: yes, no, yes, no, thank you. *laughs* They are a great band to have as far as it called headline situation. They are equal status to us.... Amount of time, amount of sound, amount of lights. It's a co-operation between their crew and our crew. They are working together, so... We are travelling together in a bus. Twenty days on this tour and there have been no problems. You can't really look at this at anything negative, only positive. And they are really, really nice guys. They are good guys to hang out with. This is good under this circumstances, you put that many people on the bus and find out that they don't like each other. It's not the greatest thing. Start drawing lines and say "you stay away from me"...
'You are now entering the US American Sector!'
'You now entering the American sector....' *laughs* We have a big sheet hanging up! "Have your passports ready!" *laughs* "Sorry, we have gonna charge a tax!" *laughs*
Usually in nightliners you have just stairs in the front or the back. So it depends where you hang up the sheet, they have to pay a fee to go to bed....
*laughs* We have the tourmanager working for us. *laughs*
So, you don't have to stay there to get the money...
....Collecting the taxes! *laughs*
Oh, that's the way you make your money! *laughs*
*laughs* No, a little....
How long do we have to wait for a new album after this touring thing?
Oh, my partner... I've introduce him as "from the Bronx Casket Company... D.D. Verni!".... *laughs*
Partner in crime for more than 15 years now.
Oh, yeah! I think, we are lucky that we are musicians, otherwise we both would be criminals... *laughs*
Even if you are very different, you work together pretty good.
You know, one of the great things about D.D. and I is that we make up for each others shortcome. Things he can do, I can't do. And vice versa... Things I can do, he can't. It becomes almost one songwriter.
I remember when we talked after the release of The Killing Kind that the song The Morning After / Private Bleeding was something you thought you can sing and that it took a while...
It tooks forever! But it was a challenge! That what this is about, you know. I think that people look at us and think that we never change and some people think we changed. And we look at us that all we do is taking the next step. Widen our own view just a little bit. As far as plans for the next record, he never really stops writing. It's a different approach as many other people have. It's not that "I need to write" or "I have an artistic feeling right now. I have to release all this..."
So, you don't come home from tour and know that you have to write stuff for the next album, coz the studio is booked...
It's natural for us to continuously write. It's very natural from him to have a guitar and to have a tape recorder with him. It's natural for him to write riffs all the time, whether it's 3 seconds or 30 minutes! He can be sitting with the tape and doing the stuff and that's always made it very easy for us! I'm the one he throws it to "Are you ready?" "I'm always ready!" *laughs*
So, you are not the type of band who we have to wait for years to get a new album...
I think that's obvious. How many records? How many years? We have 13 releases including live and EPs, cover records and everything. 13 releases, 15 years! That's a lot of stuff!
And beside that you toured a lot! Other bands spend a lot of time in the studio and tour just a little and you do it the other way around!
Touring helps you in the studio, too. It's trying to recapture certain things.
You don't have to find a way to work together again, coz you're constantly touring. You are used to it.
It's easy then.
Like "I'm not on stage, I'm in the studio now."
"I'm here now!" Right, it's a different face of the whole thing. You know, in 1998, in April we did our 2,000 live show!
No, I haven't knew that.
We count them! We are over 2,000 now. It's no. two thousand one hundred...
When I go back in the books I start counting. We did it in New Jersey. We booked our US tour to end with the 2,000 show to end in New Jersey!
Yes, and it's a lot of fucking shows! Rotten To The Core I have done 1,800 times! *laughs*
There are a few songs you have to do every time.
Yeah, that's true and I still can't remember the words... (joking) *laughs*
One of the standards is In Union We Stand...
Especially for Germany! They seem to like it here, like it's a beer house song!
Something to sing along with.
Everybody gets in and sings, right. I think it's necessary to we do take them out sometimes. Certain songs for certain territories.
Certain songs are territorial. And in this territory this song is important for many people. The shows are important to us. And the songs should be important to people that for the song they be in there.
I think it also keep it more interesting for you to change the set list a little sometimes...
It's true, but at the same time you have so many songs, so which one you shall pick? The feeling for us is sometimes not to think about what to do, just doing it. Once we start think about it, it would become a different Overkill show! There is no thinking up there. This is this great brain trust going on, this amount of genius... This is action and reaction! If we start the action, the reaction comes from the audience and we react even more, so... And that is where the energy we were talking about really comes from. We don't try to think very much, we try to leave it the same. Do what we have to do, go away and "why we don't do another encore?" "NO, we gonna leave them wanting little bit more." *laughs*
Any funny stories to tell from this tour so far? I know there are a lot of funny stories from the past, but if we start with them, it'll take until the end of next week....
Let me think... Funny stories.... Nobody's been left behind. That's a good thing! There are funny stories, but they are embarrassing! *laughs* They didn't happen to me, so I'm not the person to tell them... *laughs*
I think since I'm stopped drinking I'm involved less in the funny stories. I'm kinda just the observer, just going "oh, oh.... Good that it's not me!" *laughs*
Same with me, I never been drinking...
So, you always see the funny stories! You can be involved in from the outside, but you're not in the center. I had Randy on the bus the other day and I had all the guys to have a picture. And I was "Randy, move down, move down! Okay, now you're out of the picture!" *laughs* That was the last funny thing we had, I guess.
Then it was time for sound check and so we had to end this interview... And again I'm looking forward to talk to Bobby the next time Overkill is around. Then we'll talk about the Russian shows and about a lot more! See you in Wacken!!!!!