Overkill frontman Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth says bandmate DD Verni sounds like a “New Jersey Willie Nelson” on the group’s Johnny Cash cover.
The veteran rockers unveil their take on Cash’s Man In Black as part of their career-spanning box set HistoriKill: 1995 – 2007, which is released via Nuclear Blast today (October 16.)
Blitz says he planted the seed of covering Cash in bassist Verni’s head and the pair ended up singing a duet on the track.
He says: “It’s funny, when it comes to Johnny Cash I did a side project called The Curse. It was a metal-esque project but it had a lot of rock’n’roll in it and I wanted my presentation in it to be different.
“In Overkill, my presentation is high end, it’s from the chest up. I wanted something that said, ‘Okay, here’s your chance to sing from the chest down.’ I studied Cash for months getting ready for this Curse record and I said to DD, ‘You gotta check out some of this hidden classic stuff from Cash. Maybe we ought to do a cover.
“I walked into the studio and he was sitting there with an acoustic guitar and banging the kick drum with one foot singing Man In Black and I said, ‘That’s it. That’s the one.’”
He continues: “We ended up doing it like a duet where we were singing with each other back and forth. Taking half a verse, both of us singing a verse together, layered over the top of each other. I think that’s the unique part of it.
“We didn’t try to bastardise the song and take it out of its genre, but we brought in two voices. I’ll tell you something, DD Verni can give Willie Nelson a run for his money. He sounds like the New Jersey Willie Nelson.”