BPMD — the new heavy metal juggernaut featuring vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (OVERKILL), drummer Mike Portnoy (THE WINERY DOGS, SONS OF APOLLO), bassist Mark Menghi (METAL ALLEGIANCE) and guitarist Phil Demmel (VIO-LENCE, ex-MACHINE HEAD) — will release its debut album, "American Made", on June 12 via Napalm Records. The 10-track homage to some of rock music's greatest treasures is turbocharged by the experience and enthusiasm of its four creators.
Today, the members of BPMD have revealed another track from the album — their re-energized version of the blues standard "Evil", originally written by American blues musician Willie Nixon. BPMD's version is actually inspired by another popular re-imagining of the song by hard rock greats CACTUS, and can be experienced via a brand new lyric video, which can be seen below.
Menghi says about "Evil": "CACTUS is a lost American treasure that needs more recognition. They were doing things on their instruments (and as a band) before many of their contemporaries/peers/labelmates of the time. We were fully aware that the great Willie Dixon wrote this tune for Howlin' Wolf in the early 1950s… CACTUS reimagined the song for the their time of the early '70s, we reimagined CACTUS's version for our generation in the early '20s… so for a tune that is 65+ years old that's still being covered says something… a good tune can stand the test of time."
Ellsworth adds: "I choose my cuts on the record for two reasons: 1) how they would fit my voice, and 2) a deeper, heavier cut. I really love the grit in Rusty Day's voice on the CACTUS track and wanted to replicate it with my own — not copy per se, but for sure not lose that grit. The song to me, though blues-based, is the perfect bridge into the heavy metal that followed. I used the basic vocal line as to not lose the integrity but reimagined it with more of a 'metal' phrasing. 'Evil' is really one of the BPMD tracks I am most proud of. You're a long way from home..."
Acclaimed drummer and CACTUS member Carmine Appice says about the cover: "A new twist on 'Evil', one of the best, kick-ass blues/rock songs of all time. This version will appeal to BPMD's heavy metal fans. I was glad to hear the CACTUS arrangement of the song, but with the bass, drums and guitar heavied up even more… Phil's guitar solo revs up with lots of energy… with Portnoy and Menghi kicking under it, while keeping that energy going. Bobby's vocals sit nicely on top and I really liked the change in some of the phrasing. Great job, guys!"
It's evident within the initial seconds of BPMD's "American Made", as Blitz chants the introductory lyrics to Ted Nugent's "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" in his signature skyscraper-high howl, that he and his equally iconic bandmates are here to have a damn good time. Featuring 10 unforgettable rock classics reimagined as heavy bangers, "American Made" is a party on wax. Tracks such as the raucous "Toys In The Attic" and rager-ready "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" (ZZ TOP) prove that BPMD not only manages to capture the essence of each original track on the album, but skillfully transforms each classic into an unforgettable metallic anthem for a new age. The seasoned quartet flex their musical muscles on renowned classics such as "Saturday Night Special" (LYNYRD SKYNYRD), "We're An American Band" (GRAND FUNK RAILROAD) and "Walk Away" (JAMES GANG), and introduce a whole new heavy generation to deeper cuts like "Evil" and "Never In My Life" (MOUNTAIN). Channeling nostalgia while maintaining a fresh attitude, "American Made" is a summer soundtrack for all ages.
Menghi remarked on BPMD's origins: "Last summer, right after the Fourth of July, I was sitting in my backyard. I was listening to a bunch of '70s stuff and LYNYRD SKYNYRD's 'Saturday Night Special' came on. I said, 'Man, I would love to play that song,' and my eight-year-old son turned to me and said, 'You should do a record of all these songs, Dad.' And I was like, 'Hmmm? Yeah, why not!?!'"
After connecting over their mutual love for the classics and forming their current line-up, the members of BPMD traveled to 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 were 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 "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" in addition to "Saturday Night Special". Blitz's choices were a little more obscure — "Never In My Life" replete with cowbell and a blazing repeated blues lick, and CACTUS's 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", added: "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... we'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."
Blitz stated: "We made sure we did high-quality versions of these songs and gave them all a little twist. 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 Menghi and Portnoy), as well as artists such as DEVILDRIVER, TRIVIUM, and many others.
"American Made" track listing:
01. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang (TED NUGENT cover)
02. Toys In The Attic (AEROSMITH cover)
03. Evil (CACTUS cover)
04. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers (ZZ TOP cover)
05. Saturday Night Special (LYNYRD SKYNYRD cover)
06. Tattoo Vampire (BLUE ÖYSTER CULT cover)
07. D.O.A. (VAN HALEN cover)
08. Walk Away (THE JAMES GANG cover)
09. Never In My Life (MOUNTAIN cover)
10. We're An American Band (GRAND FUNK RAILROAD cover)