Nobody better appreciates the roller coaster ride that is the music industry as much as guitarist Billy Graziadei of Biohazard fame. For twenty-five years, the founding member of the band (who has never left or taken a hiatus) has seen it all and done it all as his scrappy four-piece muscled their way out of Brooklyn, New York and helped usher in an entire wave of East Coast metal in the USA. With their blend of metal, hardcore and rap, they were true innovators, who never had the million selling single or the video hit song, but they had the credibility with bands, and fans. Ghost Cult caught up with Billy at the bands’ first hometown show in sixteen years, a triumphant return indeed.
Your new record, Reborn in Defiance is only available overseas legally.
Yup, and if you email me I’ll send it yo you!
It’s been over a year with Scott Roberts back in the band. How was the transition been for him from guitar to bass?
I don’t know, I never asked him. We were just more concerned with the band working as a new entity. It took awhile to get over all the nervousness of it and one day it flipped, and we haven’t looked back since. The band hasn’t been this energetic, this into it since we started. Scott likes being here and we love being here. When you like doing what you do, it’s easy to do. If you don’t like being there, its fake and people see it. Its been a long time since we had that fire that we have now.
You guys did a lot of touring and put out a record. It feels like you have something to prove, like ‘we’re not stopping we’ll do this without you’!
I don’t look at it like that, I look at it like, that fires reignited. We dig it again. The four of us, we hang out. That’s that. No, he (Evan Seinfeld) quit and he left us high and dry. He did it at an important point in our career. The reunion record wasn’t even finished yet. I have no ill will towards him. I hope he finds what he’s looking for I wish him well, but he wasn’t into doing what we were doing. We’ll be doing what we do with all our heart and soul.
The last few times I’ve seen you guys, the set list has been all the old Bobby (Hambel) songs, and the new songs. Any chance of the middle-era material coming back?
Yes! (laughs) I think now that we’ve got this out of our system, ‘The Bobby era of Biohazard’. We started revisiting and jamming some stuff we haven’t played in years, and some we’ve never played in the history of the band. Like tonight we were supposed to play ‘Remember’, but somehow we skipped over it. We’ve never played it in New York.
Now that you’re playing a lot of older material is it easier or hard to come up with set lists?
Going with the fact that we all love being on stage,we all look forward to the shows. Everybody wants to play their songs. Like tonight we were arguing ‘Blue Blood’, ‘Justified Violence’, and ‘Remember’. It’s like ‘cmon man, I don’t know that one or remember it.’ And I’m like ‘you’ll get tomorrow in sound check!’ Not really fighting, just shit like that over the more songs thrown in the mix, the more of an issue it is. Songs like ‘You’ve Got A Lot To Learn’, ‘These Eyes’, ‘Beaten Senseless’, ‘My Life, My Way’, ‘Kill Or Be Killed’; I’m dying to play. There are songs I don’t even remember ever playing until I listen to it. Like our friend Randy just made a video for us for ‘Uncilivalization’ we’re gonna put out in a few weeks. But the more songs you have, it’s cool. I’d rather deal with what song to play, than not have enough. We’re privileged to have one-hundred and forty songs.
Is it to soon to talk about the next album?
We’ve been writing for the past year, and we just want to get past this short phase were in right now. We’ll continue writing, and release something in 2014.
How is it juggling the band and family?
To not be with my kids and family is torture. To be on tour and stage with my brothers is awesome. That twenty-two hours of the day where I miss my wife and kids sucks. But if this wasn’t worth it, I wouldn’t do it. It’s not financially. It’s not worth it, we’re not making a lot of money, but the artistic side, that’s what I do. I get the pleasure I need. As a musician as an artist, as a member of Biohazard, and that’s worth it.
You have a new studio out in LA, Firewater studios. How rewarding is it nurturing younger bands?
I fucking love it. I creating a new thing called Biologic.me, it’s a step further than when in the studio . In the studio, I love finding bands and producing them and helping them get from one level to another. The more I do it, the more I like it. With Biolgic.me, it’s a step further. It’s a shortcut to twenty-five years of the music industry. All my experience, plus yours. That’s great, I’ve seen it since Roadrunner Records, every album had a different label. I’m sure that hasn’t been easy and created some hiccup in the band. With some fans not knowing that you’re still around. I wish we would stay with one record label. But where we are now is a good home for us (Nuclear Blast Records). So the next record is going to be on Nuclear Blast Records, worldwide. We’re going for three in a row (laughs)
With twenty-five years in , is there anybody left you haven’t toured with?
Priest, Rest In Piece, Carnivore. We never toured with Megadeth or Testament. These are all metal bands, all the metal-ish hardcore bands, we’ve toured with .We played festivals with Maiden but we never really toured with them. My wife and I saw them last year and they were amazing.
Speaking of Carnivore. You guys covered ‘Sex & Violence’ so perfectly. You should just play that song in New York. I know Pete Steele named you guys.
Yeah, he did If it wasn’t for Pete there’d be no Biohazard. He was pivotal influence on the band in a lot of ways. We watched transformation from Carnivore to Type O Negative, and his innovation with that. I remember talking to him once and saying ‘It’s really slow, there isn’t any fast parts, what are people gonna move to?’ And he said (in a Peter Steele voice) ‘Well maybe they’ll find something new to do.’ and they did. He created something new. So it was cool to have his hand in the beginnings of the band. He suggested the name, he suggested just go by a symbol. Like how Prince did. And we were like ‘awesome!’ My father was scientist so in the summers I’d work in his lab, I always remember seeing that logo and it worked.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year?
We go back out in October. We go to the UK, Ireland, pretty much western Europe, Spain etc. and that’s it. We continue working on the record
Is there any places left you haven’t toured?
Dubai, there was a specific reason we couldn’t play there, I won’t go into it. I just say now we can go there. Uhm, Indoneisa, and we just did China last year. It was great.