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D.D. Verni Of OVERKILL Interviewed

The Gauntlet: How is everything going?

D.D.: Things are going well. Just kinda moving along, finishing up the record. I thought we'd have a little downtime right now, but with the upcoming tour coming up and the record coming out in October, that all changed. We also recently recorded a live show that they now want us to mix plus we are working on a new video. I thought I'd have the end of the summer to relax and it just turned into insanity.

The Gauntlet: You have been in the music business for a long enough time to know that there is no downtime.

D.D.: I just wanted to circle some time on the calendar to fuck off for a while. But no, that aint gonna happen. You just gotta look at it as this is better than a real job.

The Gauntlet: Is the album 'Immortalis' completed?

D.D.: It is completely in the bag. It will be out on Oct 9 for a worldwide release. We will start out US tour on October 3. Next week we will be shooting a video, for what song, that is still undecided. We are just getting ready to go now.

The Gauntlet: Wasn't this album started before you went out on the Gigantour Tour with Megadeth last year?

D.D.: Yeah, well we didn't even know wed be offered that at the time. I think I already had the music done last July and we were planning to hit the studio in November. Then Gigantour came up and it seemed like it would be fun. So we put everything on hold. When we did that, we were in between labels and negotiated with a few. After the Gigantour thing came together, we started talking to Johnny Z. Then there was no point moving forward with the record until we knew where we wanted to be. We weren't actually working on it all that time though, but we finished it up about a month ago.

The Gauntlet: Is the live material from last weeks Wacken?

D.D.: Yeah, we were a surprise guest added at the last second. Because the recording went on longer and we have known the Wacken people from past shows we went over as a surprise guest. They offered us the footage for a bonus or separate DVD. We haven't decided what we are going to do with it yet. We will probably be mixing that in the coming weeks and then decide if it will be released with the record. It will be a cool thing to give a DVD with the record. A lot of bands are doing that now with demo tracks or studio stuff. It just makes it that much more worth while for the kids.

The Gauntlet: So this won't be a separate DVD?

D.D.: I am not exactly sure what will go on with it. It might be a limited edition with the bonus disc that won't be in the second pressing. There might be a real DVD that gets released later on. We also have some Gigantour shows that might be able to be included. This all just happened a few days ago when we were there. I do know for sure that there will be some type of bonus disc with some or all of the Wacken material. We did a couple new songs and some standard songs too.

The Gauntlet: How come Overkill always opts to self produce?

D.D.: At first I think it was because we just liked the challenge of it. We knew what we wanted. After a number of records doing it, it is just who we are. Two records ago we had Colin Richardson come in. That was the first record we had someone else produce. I think it kind of showed us that this is what we do, even more so. We are at the point that were what we do, we don't need a producer. We always bring someone in to mix to provide a different frame of reference as we are so involved with the record. Week after week, month after month, we get blinders on so it is good to bring someone in during some point of the process to get a clear view. As far as putting material down, we know what we are doing. Plus I own the studio we record in.

The Gauntlet: Most of the 80's thrash bands couldn't survive the 90's. How did Overkill survive on a major label at this time?

D.D.: Me and Blitz had more of a blue collar kind of thought about the band. It is our job. Some people are plumbers, we are in a band. It was never something where we hoped to be stars or a big house. We always looked at it as this is a great job and as long as we can make a living, we will continue to do it. A lot of other bands had dreams of grandeur and when they saw they wouldn't be playing for 20,000 in an arena, the shine started to whither for them. That was never even on our agenda. That doesn't change the joy of being in a band and writing songs. As long as it is me and Blitz, we will continue. Also there was nobody in the band involved with drugs. There was no 'fuck you, this guy fucked her' or any of that ripping the band apart. To this day, we still approach things like a business, a business we love. That is how we go after it. As long as we have a fan base we will continue. Our songs have a lot of art in them. The one thing we adhere to when we are writing is if it is interesting and fun for us. If it is, we do it. We have been together for over 20 years and had about 4 or five guys leave the band. It's more than some, and less than others. I think that as long as me and Blitz are the song writers, we will be the driving force of the band. I don't think back and think I wish we didn't have this guy or I wish we still had this guy. Every time we had a lineup change, it was something new. We had the same core, but each guy brought something a little different to the party so the records don't sound stale even though it is the same guys writing the songs. With every member in the band, we encourage input. The longer they are in the band, the closer their ideas become to that of Overkill and less of an outsider.

The Gauntlet: Randy Blythe from Lamb of God makes an appearance on the album.

D.D.: Yeah, Randy flew in and laid down some vocals for the track 'Skull & Bones.' It was really cool as we have never had anyone else on the albums. No guests or anybody; no singers or guitarists. Lamb of God was out with us on Gigantour and we got close with them drinking beers. We got to talking and said they should do a song on the record. It was off the cuff, the stuff that happens when you are drinking on the road. As we started getting closer to recording, Blitz and I were talking and said this song could work with him. Blitz tailored the vocals to have a back and forth kind of thing and we gave him a call while he was in Australia. We asked if he was up for it and he said 'hell yeah!' We sent him the tune and he learned it over a couple days. When they got back from the tour he flew up to my studio. He had some ideas for some of the parts. We sat in with him. It came out really cool. Randy and Blitz's voices are so different. It isn't like you have two guys whose voices are similar. This is as completely different as you could ever imagine and that is what makes it interesting. To me the whole thing works. It is an Overkill song, not a Lamb of God song. We would have done the song with or without Randy singing on it. It is still the style we do with the Overkill vibe. It is just Randy lending his voice on it. He completely killed on it. It has a different kind of riffing and everything. I think the Lamb of God kids and Overkill kids will think that it is interesting. The whole thing works. You'll have to hear it. We love it.

The Gauntlet: I know the album isn't out yet, but how has the audience reacted to the live songs?

D.D.: When we were over in Europe, we did days and days of press. The response was really overwhelming over there. People were just really digging it. It is like an old school record, which is ok with me. When Blitz and I were making it we don't think of what kind of record we should make. Some times it is more brutal, sometimes it is more fresh. We were out with the guys from Megadeth, so maybe that had something to do with it.

The Gauntlet: The tour is starting on Oct 3. Will west coast dates be added?

D.D.: We are starting with the East Coast. In November we will go to South America for a couple of weeks. Early in 2008 will be a couple months in Europe. It is looking like March will be the West Coast states. Then we will see from there. That is the general plan right now. The interest when we were out there with Gigantour was strong so I am sure we will be out there again.

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    August 20, 2007

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