Born In The Basement
I personally discovered New Jersey Thrashers OVERKILL around the time when their self-titled EP on Azra / Metal Storm Records came out sometime back in 1984 / ’85. And even though I grew up with the music of those guys, I was never really aware of the fact that the driving force behind them was actually their drummer Lee "Rat Skates" Kundrat… So, it’s even more weird now that I started to loose interest in their music pretty much around the time when he left the band (after their second full length album "Taking Over" sometime in 1987)… "Born In The Basement" is a documentary, created by Rat and his wife Lori, that kicks off with some background info on the birth of a new, early 80s movement called Thrash Metal, but quickly heads over to Rat’s personal career, from his early days as a Skater until his departure from OVERKILL (and everything of importance in-between). The info he reveals within the approximately one hour long movie is very detailed and highly interesting, especially when it comes to the early days of his former band THE LUBRICUNTS and how they finally ended up becoming OVERKILL. Younger people that grew up with the internet and the possibilities of Photoshop will most certainly be surprised to see how much creativity and hard work was actually needed to promote a band back then. In that respect Rat definitely completely worked his ass off to establish OVERKILL! But with this do it yourself attitude he quickly not only created the wellknown green band logo (based around a "borrowed" O from the famous IRON MAIDEN logo) and lots of merchandise stuff, but also an impressive stage-set and -clothing… and all that with very little to no money at all. No surprise that he became very disillusioned about the fact that he earned at least a little bit of money with the band when he still did everything on his own as opposed to the time when OVERKILL’s second album got picked up by a major label (Atlantic Records). Yeah, the music industry really sucks indeed and already destroyed more great bands than it helped them on their way up. All those of you that first discovered OVERKILL when their debut album "Feel The Fire" came out (or even afterwards) will also get to hear (and see) some really interesting things about the time when the band still wore ghoulish make-up and almost looked like Zombies (heavily inspired by KISS and THE MISFITS)… A very amusing part about this period you’ll also find in the bonus section of the DVD, when original guitar player Robert "Riff Thunder" Pisarek recalls that he got kicked out of a band that looked like that, first and foremost because he was wearing a WHITE leather jacket… The bonus features (in total about another hour long) also include some amusing anecdotes by THE LUBRICUNTS vocalist Billy Vector, an old OVERKILL TV broadcast (live on stage plus interview), a short documentary from 1986 in which all four members talk about their experiences with the Germans as well as two very crazy radio interviews from 1986 (audio only). So, all in all this whole DVD turned out really entertaining and is addressed to all old school Metalheads in general and OVERKILL diehards in particular. My only points of criticism are: a) the German subtitles are completely hilarious and often don’t make any sense at all and b) lots of the vintage pictures that you get to see throughout the movie go by way too quick, so that you often can’t even read who’s on them and c) new interviews / statements from the other former OVERKILL members would’ve been nice… Apart from that: well done! You can check out a trailer of the movie here. For ordering info go to www.myspace.com/ratskates (as www.ratskates.com didn’t work by the time I wrote this).