Shortly following the recent announcement of its signing with Napalm Records, BPMD—the new supergroup featuring heavy metal icons Bobby Blitz (Overkill) on vocals, drummer Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo), bassist Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) and guitarist Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, ex-Machine Head)—have announced its debut album, “American Made,” will be released June 12 via Napalm Records.
A press release describes the record as a “10-track homage to some of rock music’s greatest treasures” that “is turbocharged by the experience and enthusiasm of its four creators.”
The first single is a cover Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic.”
“I remember waaaaaaaaaaay back when Overkill formed, we were cutting our teeth on covers as I was finding my way around the mic,” Blitz said. “The Aerosmith covers were right in my wheelhouse, so when Mike [Portnoy] picked ‘Toys’ to cover, I was like … ‘Hell Yea’!”
“It was tricky because Aerosmith have two guitarists, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, playing different things,” Demmel said. “So, as one guitar player, I had to pick a medium place between the two that sounded good. I thrashed it up a little by adding a lot of down picking and some gallops and triplets.”
After connecting over their mutual love for the classics and forming their current lineup, the members of BPMD traveled to drummer Portnoy’s home studio in Pennsylvania and set up shop. Since the whole concept of the band was born the night Menghi was listening to “Saturday Night Special,” BPMD was determined to record the song for the album. Beyond that, each musician picked two ‘70s rock tracks and everyone had to learn them.
Menghi chose ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” in addition to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Saturday Night Special.” Blitz’s choices were a little more obscure—Mountain’s “Never in My Life” replete with cowbell and a blazing repeated blues lick and Cactus’ version of “Evil,” a fiercely Zeppelin-like take on an old Willie Dixon song. For his tracks, Demmel picked “D.O.A.” and had a blast channeling his inner Eddie Van Halen, and took a deep dive with “Tattoo Vampire.” Recalling the days when Ted Nugent was more of a bad boy than a gunslinger, Portnoy picked “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” in additon to “Toys in the Attic.”
Menghi, who also co-produced “American Made” said: “We didn’t go into it trying to make everything metal, we just wanted to play the way we play and this is what you get …Wwe’ve all been influenced by a wide variety of bands including Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Metallica. So, of course, we’re going to attack the songs a little harder than guys that didn’t grow up on heavy music.”
“We made sure we did high-quality versions of these songs and gave them all a little twist,” Blitz said. “I think there’s a place for that in the music world today. There’s something really great about nostalgia, especially if it’s reimagined.”
“American Made” was mixed and mastered by Mark Lewis, also known for his work with Metal Allegiance (featuring Mark Menghi), as well as artists such as DevilDriver, Trivium and many others.
“American Made” will be available in the following formats:
– 1-CD Jewel Case
– 1-LP Gatefold Black
– 1-LP Gatefold Red/White/Blue Splatter (NPR Mailorder exclusive)
– American Made T-Shirt + Jewel Case Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive)
– American Made T-Shirt + Vinyl Black Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive / North America ONLY)
– American Made T-Shirt + Vinyl Red/White/Blue Splatter Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive / North America ONLY)
– Digital Album