„It’s what we felt at the time and finally added a few Anthrax type riffs that weren’t my favorites.”

Bobby, before I ask you about the Under the Influence record, what do you recall of the previous tours with Helloween and Megadeth, that were in support of the Taking Over album?

Both tours were great for us. A very extensive tour in Europe with Helloween for two months. Hit every possible country. And the 6 weeks with Megadeth across the States really helped us break into the metal scene firmly.

After the Fuck You Ep Rat Skates left the band, what kind of reasons did lead to it? Did you part ways on a friendly term with him at the end?

Didn’t get much of an explanation from him other, than he couldn’t handle the road. I think it was more that he missed his girlfriend. Which I always find weak. You don’t practice your entire childhood away just to quit for a girl. She was very nice and supportive. So it was a waste.

How did new drummer Sid Falck get in the picture? Was he the band’s first choice or did you audition other drummers as well?

He was a friend of our then light man from upstate NY. We had auditions at Lamour’s before that and picked a guy to use for the Testament tour. Sid tried out and worked very well right away.

What about his musical background?

He played in Paul DiAnno’s Battlezone before us. But rock is rock and if you hit hard and keep good time your in.

At which point did you start working on the material?

I was kinda always writing, but waited until I got home. I just wanted to enjoy the road and people and explore new places, when we had time. I had a few riffs from soundchecks I would save, but it was all in between the albums on off time.

Between March-April 1988 you entered the Pyramid Sound Studios, how did the recording sessions go? Were you prepared to record the material?

Yeah, we were always prepared. I only wrote half solos and wanted to do half spur of the moment, because sometimes you can catch magic, that you can’t plan. But songs were always well thought out.

Would you say, that a third album is a crucial point in every band’s career?

I’d say every album is crucial. Typically the pressure is on the 2nd album because you have forever the write the first. But for us here we were with a new line up and it was weird. But Sid was far superior in the studio and live so it went smooth. Alex didn’t mix and he knew that Mike Wagner would be taking over so he was a little extra critical on us to play well. And it kinda feels stiff as the end. result. But we played great and that was missing on the first two.

Did you step away from the traditional, punk-driven attitude/approach compared to the previous releases? Did it mark a huge evolutionary step from the speedy heavy metal of your two previous albums to a thrash metal band?

The punk thing for us was an attitude. Not so much in the physical writing. We always were a metal band with that street feel.

How do you see, that with Feel the Fire there was a balance between the outright thrash side and the melodic one, while Taking Over felt like the melodic side took over, with Under the Influence you turned into a more technical direction?

I never looked at it in that sense. What ever was right for the song is what I did. Nothing was on purpose like we have to much melody on these songs or these are all to fast. It’s what I wrote at the time and there was no time to second guess.Things were alwaysrushed. And for UTI we just got better at what we did and I guess it becomes more technical.

Is it less traditional thrash than your last records, but it doesn’t veer off from the path much?

It’s what we felt at the time and DD finally added a few Anthrax type riffs that weren’t my favorites.

The biggest change in Overkill’s sound was how technical you became and Under the Influence is an important stepping stone for the band as it shows off your technical prowess, how do you explain this?

We just got better as players. And the more you write. The more you need to do new things.

Do you think, that it’s just very unique in the band’s discography as it’s probably the band’s most technically crafted in terms of writing and execution?

I always feel like The Years of Decay was better and the height of our playing. Sid defiantly helped us get tighter. Had a better ear for drums and it all shows. I mean the first two albums I wrote a a young age. Just naturally got better.

Did Under the Influence develop the somewhat groovy sound more known as Overkill, slowing things down and spending some quality time on the guitars?

Drunken Wisdom I’d say is the only thing considered groove before there even was groove metal. It’s just trying to not make each song sound the same or like something you’ve done before.

The album has many standouts, such as Shred, Hello from the Gutter, Never Say Never or End of the Line…

Yes, I agree.

Do you agree with, that the most immediately noticeable difference are the changes in the production department, which finally caught up with that of your peers; the whole album generally sounds clearer and better?

Well yes we needed to sound better than the first. FTF was to dry TO was too muddy. We over did it with what we didn’t like about previously. And mixing was a big part of that. New advances were happening and we needed to be in a better studio.

D. D.’s bass lines/parts were very audible and dominant, weren’t they?

He kind got that Frank Bello sound on bass. Plus we only had one guitar so there was no need to put him in the background.

Did the album really help the thrash scene peak in the late 80’s?

Of course. Headbangers Ball. And our videos helped bring things into more of a main stream area. Those things were expensive and not even band could afford it.

How about the shows and tours in support of the record as a whole?

Can’t beat opening for Slayer or Motorhead as much as we did.

Can you tell us about your time as a member of Over Kill? What were the highlights/ups and downs?

It was all going well. Still strange as far as the collapse. But we still weren’t seeing money. And people change. Especially after they get married.

Who was your best friend within the band? Are you still in touch with ’em?

We were all good friends. Ups and downs happen. I spoke to all, but mostly D.D. because of the writing aspect. But there is no friendship now.

Bobby, thanks a lot for the answers, any final words for the Hungarian readers?

Yes. Thank you for your support. And keep your eyes open for a new band as well as Satans Taint. Hope to be on your soon.

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