Rat Skates – Born In The Basement DVD (2007, Kundrat Productions)
(Region 1, NTSC, Running Time = 66 minutes)
If you didn’t know who he is, Rat Skates is the original drummer for Thrash legends Overkill. Rat left Overkill in 1987 due to the pressures touring and the boredon of life on the road, he gave the keys to the Overkill machine to D.D. Verni and Bobby Ellsworth and has remained out of the Metal public’s eye for two decades.
The DVD is Rat’s account of the early days of his music career and the evolution of Overkill. What was so striking to me was that Rat was the main guy that made Overkill into what they became and he has been perceived as only a small part of the band. Everything from designing the Overkill logo, to making the homemade t-shirts and merchandise, to creating elaborate stage sets was from the mind of the Rat! The undying passion to make it is shown through the hard work the guy put in to making the band bigger than what they were and you can tell that he is still passionate about Overkill’s history to this day.
What makes the DVD is all of the pictures, home movies, and memorabilia that Rat has kept in order to present the proper history and timeline of his, and Overkill’s, history. Watch the footage of using stolen milk crates to make elaborate stage sets and drum risers and the proper use of rubber stamps to make authentic Overkill merchandise is classic! Rat lays it all out on how to start a bedroom based business in Heavy Metal Merchandise and band promotion. The ingenuity is so simple you wonder why other bands didn’t use the same ideas.
You can easily tell that this is a professional release that had a lot of time and effort put into it. My only complaint is that the guy asking Rat the questions is so bad in front of the camera that he actually makes it sound like a poor product. Good thing Rat is a professional!
If you want a nostalgic look back to the early days of Overkill, and Rat Skates’ career, then this is a great DVD to have. It’s a great way to take a look back 20-25 years ago to remember how exciting the Metal scene was and to see how it’s grown. Look for the milk crates!