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CURRENT NAME
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ORIGIN
STATUS Disbanded
FORMED IN -
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BAND ADDED 2004-01-07, 00:00
LAST UPDATE 2004-01-07, 00:00
Band biography
Overkill photo
The saga starts in June 1980. Kurt Markham tells Felice Lococo that he wants to form a new wave band. The band name at this time is named MOP (No not Master Of Puppets LOL) But a name Kurt came up with from Jim Henson's "The Muppets". Kurt also asks Ron Cordy if he would be interested in playing bass. Kurt gives Ron a crash course in bass playing. The songs were written that would later appear on the Overkill L.A. "Triumph of the Will" CD. Those songs are "American Dream, Triumph of the Will, and Chains". Unfortunately a strange twist of fate happens and Kurt gets upset with Ron, because Ron used Kurt's Les Paul Custom case for his bass guitar. So Kurt quit the band.

In November 1980 Ron and Kurt set aside their differences and put together a PUNK band. Kurt named the band Overkill. On guitar was Kurt Markham. Ron Cordy did Bass roles, and someone who came and went did drums. Joe did vocals. Kurt borrowed a 50wt Marshall from Felice for a backyard party, and the neighbors complained they thought WWIII had started. Kurt's real intention was to abandon the guitar for his drum kit and get Felice to handle the axe grinding duties. Felice turned downed the position because he didn't want to shave his head. So Kurt enlisted a guitarist named Jeff Dimick. Jeff wrote 2 songs to be featured on the Triumph of the Will album. They were "What do you Want, and Addict". At this time Joe was increasingly getting hard to deal with and was given DAS BOOT! At this time Overkill had joined the ranks of SST records and Greg Ginn named a suitable replacement named Merrill Ward.

Overkill gigged at most of the LA area punk clubs in 1981 (The Vexx, Bards Apollo, Cuckoos Nest). But something was missing that Kurt felt and that something was a guitarist named Felice. Kurt felt that a Heavy Metal guitarist would make this punk band different from all the rest. He asked Felice again, but Felice declined because of the violence he heard of at the clubs Overkill played. This would not set well with a long hair, because long hairs were the punks biggest targets. The band also went into the studio to record it's first EP named "Hells getting Hotter". Recorded were the title track, Our War, Burn the School, Don't wanna be told, and Urban Cowboy. The songs were featured on Rodney Bingenheimer' s "Rodney on the Rocks" show on KROQ. But alas due to Jeff being threatened by his old man about being in a punk band, he had to leave the ranks of Overkill.

One night as Felice was heading up to Hollywood with some friends, Hells Getting Hotter was playing on KROQ. He was impressed and thought to himself. " Man this stuff has more of a metal edge to it". Increasingly finding it difficult to play copy songs with some others, Felice joined Overkill on 10/19/81. When Kurt told Merrill that they had found the guy, Merrill replied "Tell him to shave his head". Kurt told Merrill "that was not necessary, besides the punks would eventually accept this long haired madman. It wasn't about appearance, it was about substance, and Felice proved he could play punk rock". For 2 weeks the band practiced their repertoire, and secured a gig with the new guitarist on 10/30/81 at the Cuckoos Nest in Costa Mesa. The band opened for Saccharine Trust and the Stains. The Stains were a Stoner Rock band, and this night Kurt knew that Overkill wouldn't be limited to playing songs with no guitar leads.

Onward Overkill went and wrote new songs at a ferocious pace. In the rehearsal studio Felice was not happy with just the Marshall sound and decided he wanted to try something new. He was a big fan of Black Sabbath and dug Tony Iommi's sound from the early albums. He bought himself a Laney head and took the preamp from the Marshall and ran it in the Laney input. This sound can be heard today from any Metal/Rap/Hip Hop band. Except Felice was determined to make his own sound. Felice was happy with the sound, but Ron Cordy developed a bug in his ass that further down the line would cause friction between Felice and him. Noise reduction units were not available in 1981, as they are now. Also other guitarists dug the sound, namely one Greg Hetson from the Circle Jerks who wanted to buy Felice's rig if he ever decided to sell it.

The next gig Overkill played was again at the Cuckoos Nest in November 1981 opening for The Circle Jerks. Felice endured spitting and numerous other gestures from the punks and had passed the acceptance test by the end of the show. Overkill also introduced some new "Punk Metal" tunes to the audience. The band also played the tunes in cut time (2/4 instead of 4/4) The show garnered a favorable review in Flipside magazine. Later next month a call was made to Kurt from the owners of Godzilla's to see if Overkill would open for Fear and the Circle Jerks on New Years eve 1981. The gig was accepted and performed. And Felice endured another night of abuse from the punks. After Overkill finished their set, the punks were yelling out "Don't cut your hair" The punks had a new anti-hero against the poseur rock stars of Hollywood CA.

Thing keep going well in 1982 for Overkill, they were playing 2 to 3 gigs a month at Godzilla's and with other punk bands like Black Flag. They were also determined to play Hollywood clubs to get the longhaired audience to listen to the music. That was a hard chore to get this band which played this reckless style of punk/metal music. To audition at the Alpine Village in Torrance Kurt made up this fake tape of some other bands music, and put an Overkill sticker on it. Overkill got an opening slot for Silent Rage and Missouri Fox (2 cover bands). The audience was shocked at the music, and it was so loud, that the plate glass windows shook as the band played. The club booker also didn't like being made a fool, and would not book Overkill at Alpine Village again. (Famous last Words). Overkill was later booked at Mi Casita (next to Torrance airport) with labelmates Saint Vitus. Obviously they didn't go over too well with the club management due to being too loud. Also the club owners were not fond of the stage diving going on. Overkill also opened for Black Flag and the Angry Samoans in Goleta CA on March 5, 1982. The band also lost the equipment van on this gig due to Ron not checking the oil. The band made a video for Goldenvoice at this show, but it never was seen again except all I think is maybe Gary Tovar kept it in his personal collection.

Later in April, Overkill was booked at Alpine Village again with Saint Vitus opening and Stepmothers closing the show. The punks grew weary of Saint Vitus' brand of doom metal and the floor exploded when Overkill opened up their blazing set. There were many fights between punks and longhairs, due to the music being played aggressively loud, hard, and fast. This was also the first show that I've known was first crossover show with punks and longhairs in attendance. Along with Merrill's gestures of taunting the audience with comments such as " I see we have a large homosexual audience here tonight" and "you see this shirt, it's my sister's". The venue emptied after Overkill's set. Dennis McBride (the promoter was also enthused claiming Overkill was the best band that he had play Alpine Village, because over 300 people filled the hall that night.) In fact Steve Jones and Larry Lee Lerma (from the Stepmothers) were flabbergasted that the middle band literally blew them off the stage. But Overkill earned one Steve Jones respect.

One week after the Alpine show, Overkill recorded it's Triumph of the Will Album on April 13 - 15, 1982. Felice wanted to use his Marshall Laney setup, but Ron objected commenting that the setup sounded like a "snake box" The album was engineered by Glen Feit (who was also the engineer for Motley Crue "Too Fast for Love album". Glen said he would have been able to mask the hiss, but it was too late to go back to the rehearsal studio to get another cabinet and the Laney head. From these sessions were these songs that were recorded to tape.

But not all was going well in the Overkill ranks. Merrill was increasingly developing an ego and was causing tension with the other band members. For one he never showed up to practice, this proved to be a mistake back in November when Merrill was bamboozled when the band played it set at a faster pace then he expected. Merrill also threw a temper tantrum before the 2nd Alpine show, and would not go on because Kurt wouldn't let him wear his leather jacket. When Henry Rollins found out what Merrill was pulling, he was going to do the vocal duties for the night, but fortunately Merrill grew out of the tantrum. When the band played Madam Wongs West, Merrill made some comments and gestures with his pee pee to A&M record execs. This did not go over well with Glen Feit, who wanted the other members of Overkill to kick Merrill out of the band. The band laughed and said "Oh that's just Merrill don't worry about it Glen". Unfortunately Merrill's bad boy behavior would cost him his job, on the trip to San Francisco that they played with DOA and the Subhumans.

The band packed up its gear in Black Flag's van and headed up to San Francisco to play On Broadway. Before the show Overkill did an interview with the local Berkeley radio station. Outside the studio was a punk band named Flipper that thought it was cool to shoot a skyrocket inside the booth. Ron suffered from 2nd degree burns to his arms. Kurt was pissed and wanted to push the fag that shot off the skyrocket out the window. But Ron and Kurt saw something else. Merrill thought the whole charade was amusing. Later that night Jello Biafra was heard making a comment of "How Regressive, a heavy metal band", and personally told Kurt that he wasn't doing what was in Merrill's best interest. Kurt shunned Biafra's words and the band played the show. But in the dressing room Ron, Kurt, and Felice overheard something disturbing coming from the next room. The wall had holes big enough to see and hear Merrill bragging about how he was planning on quitting and calling the other band members "his back up band". Kurt and Ron terrorized Merrill on trip back from San Francisco sticking a pin in his ass while he was having sex with some slut he picked up in the club. Ron also pulled away the pillow from Merrill’s head while he was sleeping. Merrill yelled out “that was not cool”. He was kicked out of the band 4/18/82, after the gig at Dancing Waters in San Pedro. Greg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski also tried getting Merrill his job back, but Kurt wouldn't budge. This proved to be a mistake on Overkill's part as the story goes on.

The search for a new lead singer was hard. The band asked Steve Jones, but Steve wasn't so sure about leaving the Stepmothers and due to the fact he lived in Upland made getting to rehearsals were quite impossible. But Steve did the vocal duties for 2 shows. One in Pasadena at Pookies, and one at the Whisky. So the band put ads out in the Recycler. They even had some chick come and audition, but finally settled for this tall skinny dude named Steve Hamman (AKA Scott Kidd). The guy had a real positive attitude, but when it came time to write lyrics, it turned out to be cock rock bullshit. Ron Cordy eventually decided to write all the lyrics for the songs. Also SST had contacted Kurt to tell him they were releasing Hells Getting Hotter. But Kurt and Ron were questioning putting Urban Cowboy on the EP. They felt the song was inappropriate since the band was trying to draw a metal audience. The band was also asked to make a new recording for Brian Slagel's Metal Massacre 2. The song was No Holds Barred with different lyrics than what was on Triumph of the Will. There were 3 songs Slagel liked, but Felice and Ron did not want a AC/DC style song titled “She got me again” going on Metal Massacre 2. They felt the song did not represent them. Kurt wrote it feeling that maybe it had potential to get on KMET. But the song was nothing more than a cock rock anthem. And the song Victimized was retitled “LAs Going Crazy”. Both songs was eventually deleted from the setlist, when Ron starting writing lyrics for the new songs such as Take it or Leave it, Come on in, Werewolf, and Kill or be Killed.

For the band it was like starting out on the bottom of the steps again, because the band had abandoned the punk audience in favor of the metal heads. The band played gigs at clubs such as Club 88 (a dive), and HJ's (another dive). Ron also wanted Felice to do a guitar solo. Felice was against this because he felt that he couldn’t top what Edward Van Halen and Randy Rhoads did. Ron said “Well were putting the icing on the cake”. Felice felt this was bullshit and knew it was a mistake. He knew that Overkill shouldn’t be doing things the other bands were doing. Especially changing the image from street clothes to a leather and stud one. He finally settled to do a solo consisting of nothing but feedback. They got into a West Hollywood club on October 28, 1982 (Troubadour). The band closed the show for Bitch and Trauma. Unknown to Overkill were 2 young upstarts in the audience who's a household name today. Those guys you may ask? Well none other than Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield from the fledgling Metallica. They were at the show checking out Cliff Burton, but Overkill blew both Bitch and Trauma off the stage. After the show Lars came up to the dressing room and boisterously commented "The Underdogs blew away the competition, and we didn't realize there was another band in LA playing the same style of music, that we play." The following months the band played the Troub with the likes of Bitch, Malice, Savage Grace, and Armored Saint, at Metal Massacre shows. The band felt that one band would help them get the exposure they needed. That band was WASP. Felice took the time to get to know Chris Holmes and Chris put in the word with Blackie Lawless. All Chris wanted to see was a band that would "Bust Ass" to play with WASP. Overkill did do that. They were also outgoing when it came to distributing flyers to promote shows.

Overkill opened for WASP in February 1983. But for Felice this would not be a good night. The Marshall Laney setup was not working right and had to use the Marshall. To top that off his Charvel Star guitar had a less than acceptable repair job done, and the strings kept coming out of the nut when he depressed the vibrato bar. He was so frustrated that the piece of shit gave him, that he broke the guitar on the stage. Plus he had to endure comments from Ron about "If they took your Laney away, you'd cry". A new amp was definitely needed, because a Marshall needs to be cranked to 10 to sound good. Kurt made a suggestion of Mesa Boogie, but Felice balked at the idea till he heard Black Sabbath's "Live Evil" came out and bought a Boogie. The amp had good sustain but was dominate on the bass overtones. An external equalizer fixed that problem, and could be switched off between songs, to minimize hiss. The band continued to open for WASP for 3 more shows; the first Heavy Metal Night at the Country Club in Reseda another Troub show in May and the infamous Blood Drive in June 1983.

The band also had a so-called manager (basically he was nothing more than a hanger-on) named Craig Bauer. Kurt Markham disliked the individual so much, he referred to him as a "Puppethead". This was because the individual looked like one of those spring headed things you put on your automobile dashboard. He literally Killed "The Kill" by brainwashing Ron, making his head bigger than his body. Saint Vitus used to have Puppethead hanging on, but Vitus told him to take a hike. The band continued to play and secured a headlining gig at the Troub on March 9th 1982. Supporting Overkill was Black and Blue, and Kery Doll. Black and Blue roadies did some underhanded treachery that night and unplugged Felice's guitar cabinets. Also the band had to put up with Scott Kidd's "buttshaking" at the audience. This was not the image Overkill wished to portray. It was getting to the point where word on the street was put out that Overkill was seeking a new vocalist. Scott got word of it, but the rumors were quelled. The band did not want to stop playing. There were gigs that Scott was in top form, (such as the one at the Roxy with Bitch and Slayer) but most of them he was imitating his hero Vince Neil. So a replacement was going to be needed soon. But Kurt was increasingly having to deal with Ron's "Rock Star attitude", and didn't appreciate it when Ron wouldn't sign an autograph for a fan, because he thought his name would be worth something someday.

So Kurt got ever increasingly anti-rockstar, and verbal bouts between him and Ron followed. Kurt even wanted to dump 3 of the bands best songs (that were never recorded). Those songs were Kill or Be Killed, Werewolf, and another double bass speedster that escapes me at the moment. Felice managed to take the reins and get the situation back to normal. But one week later on July 15, 1983 something else happened. Kurt shaved the top of his head and left the sides long, and was making comments during soundcheck, before a gig at the Troubadour with Hellion. " You ain't gonna make me go Booga Booga Booga", in reference to the double bass beats. The whole band quit because you couldn’t kick the founder out of the band. Basically it was Ron’s decision to quit, against Felice’s reasoning that they should wait 2 more weeks to see if Overkill would open for Motorhead at the Country Club. The call did come in 2 days after Ron made his decision. Ron then joined Bitch, when he saw that Felice wasn’t into putting a band together with him. Felice told both of them. “I will play in a band with both of you, but not divided”. Ron thought because of a favorable review in the New Heavy Metal Revue( praising his bass stabbing theatrics) that he would shoot Bitch to stardom. But Ron was wrong. In fact he asked Kurt about reforming Overkill in 1988. The band didn’t reform because Ron wanted to call it Overkill and Kurt and Felice had already another KILL name chosen, due to Over Kill NY claiming rights to the name. Bitch never got anywhere and would not go anywhere. Ron quit Bitch in 1990 and formed a project with Jay Reynolds and Chuck Beehler. The project was called War Party featuring ex-members from Malice, Megadeth and Overkill. Why he didn’t use Bitch is beyond my knowledge, for Overkill had been disbanded for 7 years. Maybe because he was ashamed about playing in such a poseur band as Bitch. Rumor going around was that Puppethead told him he should have never quit Overkill, but it was Puppethead originally telling Ron he was the star of the show and should quit.

The biography was taken from XX-Core.
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