OVERKILL drummer Jason Bittner has told That Metal Interview that fans shouldn't expect to see his band playing any socially distanced or drive-in gigs any time in the near future.
"You won't see us anywhere on a stage or live until we're comfortable enough to step on a stage," he said (hear audio below). "We have a frontman who is immune system compromised — Blitz [OVERKILL singer Bobby Ellsworth] has COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] — so we're not gonna ever put him in a situation that could be potentially, let's say, not well for him and not end positive. So that's why everything is up in the air, man. No one knows what's gonna happen with this."
According to Jason, the last seven months have been particularly difficult for musicians like him who desperately need the ecosystem of live music, which for some is their only source of revenue.
"I'd do anything right now to be back to my regular routine and not dealing with COVID," he said. "This has been a long trying six months. And it's not getting any better — it's gonna probably even get worse through the winter. So you're doing what you're doing to stay sane and to get by and to deal with it. One day at a time — can't make any plans. It sucks not being able to know when we're gonna play shows and see things that either got canceled or we weren't able to do because of COVID, or tours that might happen or might not happen due to COVID. It's tough, especially when it's your source of income. And when you can't do that, what the hell else are you gonna do? I'm not trying to make it out we're all poor, poor musicians. It's everybody around the world. It's not even [just] this country — it's around the world."
Bittner also talked about the progress of the recording sessions for OVERKILL's next studio album. The upcoming disc will be the follow-up to "The Wings Of War", which was released in February 2019.
"Well, first of all, only the drums are done right now," he said. "That's the only thing that's finished so far — drum tracks. Right now, we're in the process of getting all those edited, and D.D. [Verni, bass] and Dave [Linsk, guitar] will start bass and guitars shortly.
"I can't give you an absolute answer on when it's coming out, because that's really all due to COVID," he explained. "So we decided that we're gonna get it done. And hopefully it's coming out in April or May of next year. But if not, it's gonna be coming out October or November of next year. Lord knows what's gonna happen. God forbid it gets worse. It might even be pushed back even longer. But the point is at least we're gonna get it done."