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Five Albums That Changed My Life: Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth of Overkill

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Next week, thrash architects Overkill will be releasing a nasty slab of heavy metal called The Electric Age. The 10-song collection features riff-drenched cuts like ‘Electric Rattlesnake’ and the new single, ‘Wish You Were Dead.’

In anticipation of the new album’s release, Noisecreep asked Overkill vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth to be the latest musician to be part of our ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ series. As you’ll see below, Ellsworth loves his metal as much as his punk rock!

Feel the Fire, Overkill (1985)

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“Well, not leaning on the ego, but more the luck here – ‘Feel the Fire’ changed my life. Prior to its release, I was a part-time student, with a part-time job, in a part-time band. For f— sake, next thing I knew I was recording, then on an airplane, cross-eyed drunk, landing in Munich a week after the Chernobyl nuclear incident, reading a letter my mother wrote, reminding me to stay away from the fresh vegetables and anything that glowed green (except for our logo of course), all the while trying to make time with a Fräulein. WHAM, I’m onstage, Alabama-halle, Munich. I suppose everybody has memories of how music and albums affected them in life changing direction, but this direction was 4000 miles from home with one “bring it on” attitude “to go”! Hmm guess there’s no going back now.”

Sad Wings of Destiny, Judas Priest (1976)

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“Wow, high school, beers, bongs and a groundbreaking record! No, more than that it was a life direction-changing-songwriting masterpiece. I had heard ‘Rocka Rolla’ of course, but it didn’t quite have the impact that this riff monster did. ‘Sad Wings’ turned everything in the room into leather and steel….and my God man, HOW DOES HE HIT THOSE NOTES?! You put the record on as a mere mortal, but finished it as a headbanging God. I think this release was more of a religion than just a record.”

No Sleep ’til Hammersmith, Motorhead (1981)

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“Damn, now this is what it was all about….”another town, another place….we are the road crew, that’s right”. These guys could get 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag. Simple, to the point, reactionary, rebellious and live man, LIVE! Let’s not think about this, let’s just do it and let’s do it louder than anybody else would dare!”

Sheer Heart Attack, Queen (1974)

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“I had never heard anything like this to date. I don’t know why I liked it, it seemed to be against all my dirty principals, but I didn’t just like it, I loved it. It was as if I was experiencing a personal performance with each listen. My God, how can four guys pull this off! Pre Pro-Tools mind you…they had to sing, they had to play, no computer generated bullshit, but from the simplest of presentation to that of a near symphony, in one record. The release took me through so many different emotions. Then, sure enough they came to town.

I thought; “there’s no way they can pull this off”. I was 15, my first real gig, Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ; they go on two hours late, by now my Pop has been on the phone to the Passaic police five times, but I’m not budging, I’ll take the punishment. They open with “Now I’m Here,” maybe one of the best tracks of all time to open a record or gig. I was a believer….if they wrote it, I bought it, if they played, I went. Thanks Freddie.”

Rocket to Russia and Road to Ruin, Ramones (1977, 1978)

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“These two records are really just one big 26-cut record. These guys were the buzz in the city way before this, but this was their coming out party. The energy, the simplicity, so raw, every song memorable, even sing-a-long. I remember standing on the corner of St. Marks Place and 3rd ave, leather mc jacket, ripped jeans, black hi-top Cons, with a 16oz Bud in a brown paper bag, (this was very good Ramones spotting sight) just trying to catch a glimpse. And you could: “DAMN! Was that Johnny?” I was 1 part headbanger/1 part Pinhead. Up until this point I think N.Y. considered the Ramones their’s, but they had just become “the world’s.” GABBA GABBA HEY!”

Overkill will release ‘The Electric Age’ on March 27 via eOne. Pick up the album at this link.

Below are the dates for Overkill’s Electric Age Tour with supporting acts God Forbid, Diamond Plate and Suidakra:

Apr. 20 – Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero Theater
Apr. 21 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
Apr. 22 – Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon
Apr. 23 – Columbus, OH – Screamin WIllie’s
Apr. 24 – Detroit, MI – Blondie’s
Apr. 25 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
Apr. 26 – Kansas City, MO – Beaumont Club
Apr. 27 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
Apr. 28 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
Apr. 30 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
May 01 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
May 02 – San Francisco, CA – The Grand Ballroom at the Regency Center
May 03 – Los Angeles, CA – Club Nokia
May 05 – Austin, TX – Emo’s East
May 06 – Dallas, TX – Trees
May 08 – Orlando, FL – The Club at Firestone
May 09 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
May 10 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
May 11 – West Springfield, VA – Jaxx Nightclub
May 12 – New York, NY – Best Buy Theater

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