National Overdrive

An interview with Michael Alan, bassist and founder of National Overdrive
by Mike Huberty
October 2011

National Overdrive - photo by Holland Wood

National Overdrive
photo by Holland Wood

Hard rock served straight up and dirty, NATIONAL OVERDRIVE, comes straight out of Minneapolis with their debut EP, “Welcome to the Nation”. Bassist and founder, Michael Alan (formerly of Twin Cities’ rock juggernaut, THOUGHTCLOUD) started up a recording project with the idea to form a band around it. And it couldn’t have evolved more serendipitously. “I ran into our engineer when my car broke down”, Alan says. “He was sitting over at a convenience store and I overheard him say he had a studio. Found out his studio was right around the corner from my house and then we just started getting together recording. I put a lineup together and now we’re ready to go out and play. Our record is out there and we’re ready to fire it up and go nuts.” First, Sean Steele is a fiery rock singer that sounds like a mix between Scott Weiland and Zakk Wylde, with the attitude of alternative and the power of southern metal. Guitarists Jeff Geslin and Tommy Harwick light up that alt-metal concoction as well.

Alan is direct about the his plan for the band as well. “When I started this,” he says, “I had a definite direction in mind. I wanted to be a badass rock band. I always liked bands like Motley Crue, Black Label Society, Sabbath, Hellyeah, STP, bands that go out and make great songs and get their point across. I really decided I wanted to take from my influences and be what this band is. I’m not shying away from the kind of the songs we do and where my influences lie. We want to embrace that, everybody knows in this band what works and what doesn’t. This is our first batch of tunes, and we might stretch next time, but these are our songs and we love it.” And for the name, NATIONAL OVERDRIVE? ”We asked people outside the band and when they heard the name, they said they could just perfectly picture what kind of band it was.  So that was the one that stuck.

And for the tunes of “Welcome to the Nation”, he’s proud of the six songs that comprise the band’s first recording, an EP. “Motivator was the advanced single we released last year and to me that’s my favorite song”, Alan says. “Tommy, our guitar player, he’s in the army so he really gravitated towards ‘The Cost of War’ (author’s note: an emotional track with some of the best and most melodic vocals on the whole recording), a song about the guys that came back and mentally what they have to deal with. They’re not technically wounded but they saw stuff and they’re having a hard time trying to deal with things. It’s about how we should be supportive of them. That song has a lot of meaning to me because my Dad is a military guy.”

The band is bringing their rock show to The Frequency in Madison on October 15th with Transient and Magic 7 (featuring Buddo and Paul Schluter from Madison rock legends, Last Crack.) It’s a show where you can hear the enthusiasm bursting out of Alan. “We’re gonna throw it down”, he says, “we’re gonna play our asses off. It’s just going to be a good time. Madison’s my hometown, so there will be a lot of familiar faces and the beers will be flowing. I’ve been a big fan of Magic 7 for a long time and Last Crack has been one of my favorite bands ever since I was a little guy.”

And for the future, Alan is ready to take NATIONAL OVERDRIVE to the next level. “This whole band is about why we have songs called ‘Motivator’ and ‘Determination’”, he says. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and there’s always a snag along the way. It’s about how you deal with it, how you handle it and get through, and how you accomplish shit. Now we’re more motivated than ever. I’m gonna push through and kill this shit. Rock n’ roll is something where even if you can’t seem to function during the day, you can sit down and kick off some killer guitar riffs and get lyrics going in your head. You can use it to recharge yourself. The guys in the band right now, I really like making music with them. And I’m excited to get dirty and disgusting on the road with them!”

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National Overdrive
CD: Welcome to the NationPurchase Welcome to the Nation on Amazon
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