Posted by Michael Demos on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 Under: Interviews
Billy Graziadei of Biohazard Photo by Michael Demos
Interview by Michael Demos
Would anyone dare say Biohazard is back? I don’t think so. If they did it would be implying that they left, and trust me, they didn’t go anywhere. How do I know? Monday night they crashed through Reverb in Reading, Pa along with good friends Sworn Enemy and Strength For a Reason
Just days away from releasing their new album Reborn in Defiance, and on the second date of their new world tour, Biohazard is still kicking faces in like they’ve been doing for the last 20+ years.
I had a chance to sit down with guitarist/vocalist Billy Graziadei before the show and we had a nice long talk about everything from old line ups and new albums, to why he can still kick your ass. Here’s what he had to say…M.D.
PI: Hey what’s up Billy? You’re out here at Reverb in Reading, Pennsylvania, getting ready to put on a show tonight. What do you have in store for us?
BG: We’re playing some new stuff, we’re psyched about it, and some classic Biohazard songs. We’re here with our boy Scott Roberts on bass, and singing. And Evan’s not with us, as you know. Scott’s kicking ass, and it’s great. It’s our second show, on our world tour. We’ll be out for like, a year, year and a half.
PI: You excited about that? (Laughs)
BG: Yeah. I am, you know. I have a family, kids, and shit at home that I don’t like leaving, but I love playing with Biohazard and being on stage. Especially with the new stuff, it’s almost like, being back together again, working a lot on the record, we kind of reignited my love for doing Biohazard again. Doing a reunion was fucking awesome. I loved it cuz it was something we didn’t get a chance to do, like when we split with Bobby, we always wished we could get back together with him and we never did, so when we broke up, that was the one regret I had…we never did it. We never got back together again. So the reunion was fucking awesome for us. During that time, we toured a lot and started working on new music, and all of a sudden I found myself thinking that this is fucking cool, I like this again, this is fucking great. When the band was broken up, we broke up in 2003; I thought “I’m done. I’ve done everything I wanted to do with Biohazard, other bands, and Suicide City”, but I’m happy with where I’m at now.
Biohazard pit @ Reverb, Reading Pa. Photo by Michael Demos
PI: You mentioned new material. It’s coming out Friday, right?
BG: I think it’s one of our bigger sounding records. Worked hard on it. It reminds me of, like elements of all our records in the past. Grooves, fast, melody, some of our slower jams. It’s a perfect cross section of what I love about the band. It’s Biohazard, but more mature. It’s Biohazard now, 2012. There’s elements from State of the World Address. We were just in the car, me and my buddy Steve, and he was like “Oh, it sounds like this track.” It’s cool. It’s the same band. To have a chance to make record together, it’s a blessing for us to get back together, let alone get along for two months, let alone two years, and we kept shit growing, it wasn’t broken, we fixed it. And that’s when Evan dropped the bomb and let us know he didn’t want to do it anymore, and he quit.
PI: How is your relationship with him still?
BG: I have no ill feelings towards him. God bless him. I mean, I miss the dude, but I’m happy we’re where we are. When he quit, we had to make decisions. Do we quit cuz he quit? Fuck no! So we wanted to continue, and it’s cool. We did China, took Scott to China and he did a couple shows with us and a chance to play in China was unreal for us. I look at it like Reborn In Defiance is the record that we made as the four of us. The four original members of Biohazard, you know all about us, it’s just a chapter in our history. Every band goes through some crazy shit, even me with Blood with Blood and their history. It’s what we do, it’s our lives. Whether you’re a musician, it doesn’t matter who you are. Life hands you cards, you just have to play it as you play it. And this is how we’re playing it. Evan quit, we didn’t want to quit.
PI: You’ve dedicated your life to this. It’s been 20 plus years. How has it impacted your life positively, and what are you taking away from it negatively? Would you change anything?
BG: For me, I take away the positive. The negative shit, you just gotta let it bounce off your chest. I can’t take that with me. That will affect shit too much. Whether it’s haters talking shit, or whatever, to each his own. The positive shit, making a lot of friends, going around the world. I’ve had chances to see different places, and see different cultures. I wouldn’t have had that chance if it wasn’t for Biohazard. I think that the band saved our lives in so many ways throughout our career, my life, that we wouldn’t…we’re all a product of our past and the people we meet. But the bands, the experiences that I’ve had…I am who I am because of what I’ve done. That’s the positive. The negative shit has gone behind me.
PI: Is there anybody out there now who fits “hardcore”? Anybody carrying the torch with you?
B: Um, I don’t look at it like it was our torch. I think growing up in the hardcore scene, and being in love with bands like Cro Mags, Agnostic Front, and still watching A.F. kick ass every time they play. We go to Australia with Cro Mags, and I love the history of the Cro Mags, I love the history of when John and Harley were together…phenomenal. Biohazard never really fit in. I remember playing with metal bands, and then the audience would be like they’re not metal enough. They’re too hardcore. We’d play with hardcore bands, and it was we weren’t hardcore enough. We were too metal. We never fit it. We were the outcasts, the misfits of the scene. And I guess because of that we created our own kind of thing, just Biohazard. Out of all the bands, I fucking loved and watched Madball, when Freddy was a little kid, to what they are now. Their whole career, and all the records, I have mad respect for those dudes. And we’re going out with them when we come back later on in February from Europe. I love Wisdom in Chains. We took them out with Blood For Blood, and they’re coming out again with Biohazard. Love what they’re doing.
PI: Within 20 plus years, obviously the industry has changed numerous times, over and over. One label this, one label that. Where do you think it’s going now? You got digital downloads now. Has everything changed?
BG: That’s funny that you ask that, cuz in five days our record is going digital, it’s coming out for free…just go to www.revolvermag.com and it’s our way of saying thanks for all the support. We don’t get that many dates in the states, so we’re hoping we can get places we didn’t get to hit. Giving away the record is our way to say thank you. People send emails, messages, and the ones who have followed us over the last few years; it’s just our way of saying thanks. People who want a physical copy of the CD, of course we’ll have that. Later on the year, in the springtime, we’re going to release a physical copy with some extra stuff, with songs that we haven’t finished working on yet. It’s going to be another way to say we’re proud of being an American. Bands do that stuff for other countries…we wanted to do it for home.
PI: How long do you see yourself doing this?
BG: Till I die. It’s what I do. I love it. If my wife was here now she’d be kicking me under the table. This is what I like to do. The two hours, you know, hour on stage, half hour before, whatever it is. I enjoy seeing new friends every day. The four, five hour span of dealing with shit that you have to deal with at home, like paying bills, it’s easier to do now, just pay it online. That makes a big difference. You can call and look at your girl on the phone. It makes it a lot easier. It doesn’t replace missing your family, but it helps. It’s cool being able to communicate with people in the instant. We came from the era where you had to write letters and cassette tapes to promote yourself. Send it to Brooklyn, I’ll send it someplace else. That’s how it used to be.
PI: What do you do in your downtime?
BG: There is no downtime. My downtime is when I close my eyes to sleep at night. So I’m always writing. I have a studio in LA. I produce bands, I produce my own stuff. I train Jiu-Jitsu, fight. (PI) Tell us a little about that. (BG) I started in the early 90’s when the UFC hit. We were all big fight fans, I don’t know what it was or who we were, our personalities in Brooklyn at the time, but we always fought. We were street kids, not rich kids driving Porsches and BMWs and shit. The UFC came out and Danny called me and said “Remember that family I told you about from Brazil? “ I’m like “yeah”. He said “They’re putting on a big fight. A no-hold barred, bare knuckle fight and they’re challenging every style. And yo, we gotta watch this. It’s gonna be fucking awesome.” So I saw it, and I instantly fell in love. This was fucking awesome. It’s unbelievable. The game, MMA, eventually it became MMA, everything martial arts involved, it’s a totally different world now than what it was back then. I still 100% have faith in my art, Jiu-Jitsu and I‘ve been with Gracie’s since I started. Soon after that fight, we met these dudes, through some friends and we met this crazy fighter, he trained us, and helped us out with other shit. Gave us our foundation. And we’ve been with Gracie’s. So for me you’ve gotta have something else in your life to balance it out. When I was younger, it was partying, hanging out all day with my boys, and it was destructive for me. Biohazard gave me something else, something else to focus on that was more positive for me. It saved us in a lot of ways. Jiu Jitsu for me, keeps me… I was just on the phone with Guitar World a little while ago, and I’m on the phone driving, I saw a sign for Jiu-Jitsu, and I hit my brakes and I thought “Fuck.” You never know. Drop by a school. Thanks to the internet too. I can reach out to schools or whatever. I show up, I got a target on my back. It’s like, I’m the new guy, and sometimes they know who I am, sometimes they don’t. Either way I love the challenge, I love the training. It keeps me balanced and in shape.
PI: What are you currently listening to?
BG: Things that are in my CD? Stuff I’ve been working on and I have the new Biohazard stuff. We just finished three new songs. I just finished laying vocals on right before I came. I listen to the bands I produce. When I’m not working…I’ll listen to Bad Brains. They’re fucking classic. I like Sabbath, Zeppelin, Agnostic Front, Cro-mags. I love The Cure.
PI: What about Dubstep? Is it killing metal? (Laughs)
BG: (Laughs) I like Dubstep. I love Skrillex. I don’t think it’s killing metal. It’s weird because I think Ministry did some cool shit back in the day. They paved the way in a lot of ways. So like, I love industrial music too. I’ve never been shut out to all types of music. I love different styles of music. My heart is into punk rock, hardcore, metal. The piano was my first instrument. Give me a melody and a catchy tune, and I’ll dig it. Music, It’s gotta grab you, affect you some way. If it doesn’t, it should even be paid attention to. It might as well be played in the background like elevator music.
PI: I just wanted to say thanks for sitting down with us and getting Plug’d In.
BG: Thanks for your time man. Check us out on Facebook. BiohazardDFL. It has all the new shit. New record comes out on Friday the 20th. Like I said you can get it for free. We have three songs up for Download you can get for free right now on our site.
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