Overdrive from Lincolnshire (not to be confused with their Swedish namesakes featuring one Janne Stark) were formed as way back as May 1977. The line up at the time was Ian Hamilton (v, b), Tracey Abbott (g), Paul Gardner (g) and Neil Streets (d). In 1978, the first of numerous line up changes took place: In March Neil Streets was replaced by "Scratch Animal" Padgett and in November Steve Farmer, one of Tracey Abbott's old school friends, took over vocal duties. Both, Farmer and Padgett, would later appear on Marz' sought-after 7" single "Lady of the Night", released on Frozen Owl Records. In 1980, however, Overdrive released their own slice of legendary N.W.O.B.H.M. vinyl (on the Boring Grantham label), featuring the tracks "On the Run", "Nightmare" and "Stonehenge".
For the single, the very modest pressing of only 500 copies sold-out almost immediately, Ian Hamilton had returned to the band (this time only playing bass). In his book "The N.W.O.B.H.M. Encyclopedia" (I.P. Publishing, Berlin, Germany, 2001) expert Malc Macmillan raved about the single: "The muscial contents elicit some reasonable strong comparisons with cult heroes Witchfinder General or the West Midlands version of Scarab, particularly on ‚Stonehenge' and the atmospheric ‚Nightmare', with Steve Farmer delivering his best Ozzy Ozbourne impersonation in places." "We had excellent airplay on national Radio 1 by the late great John Peel and the late great Tommy Vance", comments Tracey Abbott on the media attention surrounding the single.
During this period, Overdrive went from strength to strength filling village halls and other venues all around the UK, including prestigeous support slots with Bernie Tormé, Lionheart and Sparta. Troubled by even more line up changes, Overdrive broke up around 1982. After a hiatus of six years, they reformed in 1988, recording a full-length album one year later. "Dishonest Words" was again put out on their own Boring Grantham label but received little feedback from both, press and fans.
In 2004, George Arvanitakis of Obscure N.W.O.B.H.M. Releases contacted the band asking them about new material. The following recording session resulted in the album "On Wizard Ridge" containing 11 bona fide N.W.O.B.H.M. pieces like "Nuclear Bomb", "Rules of the Inn" or "Once in a Dream". Overdrive's new album on High Roller Records, "Three Corners to Nowhere" (with nine exclusive numbers going back to the late 70's and early 80's), is strictly limited to 500 copies and contains a free logo patch.
On Thursday, July 13th 2006, Overdrive will have played their first-ever gig on the European mainland, opening the proceedings for Germany's famous "Headbanger's Open Air" festival.
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)