Thrash metal legend tells the story behind his friendship with Jason Bittner
Overkill‘s vocalist and frontman, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth is very happy with band’s new drummer, Jason Bittner, who joined the group earlier this year. Bittner is very popular metal skinsman, and he played with such acts as Flotsam and Jetsam or Shadows Fall. He is the new quality and a cool breeze in Overkill, due to Ellsworth’s words. But in the beginning there were some cool and funny situations which happened long before Jason’s time in Overkill. Band’s leader described them in the interview with That Drummer Guy. Let’s check them out!
“We have a longstanding relationship with him. I used to call him ‘Kid’ when he used to show up, ’cause I’d always forget his name. I think he was eighteen years old, and he was a friend of Tim Mallare‘s [OVERKILL drummer, 1993-2005]. And this is back during those dark days of metal. We still got the opportunity to tour back then, because we figured it out and we wanted to do it. And he would show up in the upstate New York area — around Albany, Saratoga and there’s a bunch of areas up in upstate New York we used to play all the time — and he’d always show up with sticks in his back pocket, as if he was gonna be the drummer that night. And I’d say, ‘Hey, kid, you got your sticks?’ [Laughs] And I guess there’s ten years, ten or eleven years, between Jason and I. So [at the time I was] twenty-eight, [he was] eighteen, or seventeen, something like that. And he’s always been in touch with us.”
He also added:
“When [Jason] got into SHADOWS FALL, I’d run into him on the road. He showed up in Los Angeles one time at a NAMM convention — we were doing a show on the Sunset Strip — and he said, ‘Can I play? Can I play?’ And I was, like, ‘This kid is cut for thrash. This is what it’s all about.’ So when Ron left and Eddy came in and was temporary for us, when we really got serious about saying, ‘Where are we going with this?’, he was really the only name that came up. We said, ‘We know him, he’s got an East Coast personality, we understand each other; the sense of humor is the same. Which is huge for us — we don’t wanna tour with guys that we don’t wanna be with; we wanna be able to tour with guys that we know. And he knows the shit. So regardless of what he’s done in the past, I can always say he was really one of OVERKILL‘s first drum groupies [laughs], [standing] on stage waiting for Tim Mallare to… ‘Oh, Tim can’t play tonight. I got it.’
You can listen to the whole interview here: