Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden’s Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Bobby Hambel of New York hardcore/metal veterans BIOHAZARD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metalshrine: Have you found a [replacement for departed BIOHAZARD vocalist/bassist Evan Seinfeld]? Is that all set?
Bobby: Yeah, we’re good! What we decided to do was basically not to overcomplicate things and panic, because we had a lot of… as you can imagine, outside influence as far as people that mean well, like people close around us or in our immediate contact, that would reach out and offer help. Everybody had a new suggestion. It was like a cold remedy. Everybody had their own little homemade recipe for how we should continue as a band and we needed to look at each other and just keep it really simple. “Who is the most natural person to step in?” and that was Scott Roberts, and I’ll tell you why. Scott was the most natural guy because, one, we’ve known the guy forever and we’ve toured with him forever and he actually joined BIOHAZARD playing guitar when I wasn’t in the band and he was also in a band with Danny [Schuler, drums] called BLOODCLOT and Scott knows all the material and the way it worked out is that when we put the original band back together for the reunion and I returned, Scott stepped right up and offered to come out on the road and tech and help us and that was just such a great thing. That’s what friends do, you know. There were no issues with me returning to the band and him stepping aside and offering to tech. It’s the real deal; he’s like family with us! And it was great because here we have a tech who knows the material back and forth and then some things came up where a couple of us couldn’t make the show or we couldn’t make it to a gig, Scott would jump right in and help us and save the show. Scott actually had to do that a couple of times and there’s no awkwardness jamming with him. He has our groove and he knows our feel, he’s part of BIOHAZARD in a big way. He’s already part of the crew and the immediate family so it was the most natural thing and we’re lucky enough to have a guy like that in our corner, who has our backs.
Metalshrine: I read that back in August you announced that you were auditioning people. Did you go through the auditions?
Bobby: Yeah. We went through a couple of things. You see, that’s what I’m talking about. Let’s go back to what I was talking about with outside influences that mean well and try to help us, BIOHAZARD was all of a sudden getting steered into different directions. People were saying, OK, now you should just change the entire thing and add a frontman to the band and another bass player!” and sure, “Why the hell not? Let’s get fucking congas and a fucking keyboard player and get some back up chicks to sing?” and I’m like, “Wait a minute! We just made this record and we didn’t have any of that shit on this record, so why bother putting that kinda live band together anyway?” first of all. Second of all, if we were gonna do something like that we really needed to give it a lot more time and energy than we were able to do, so we definitely checked out some singers and we entertained the idea and I still think it could be a really cool thing to have five guys on stage instead of four. Who knows? We might still do something like that in the future, but right now, for all reasons just to keep this thing rolling, the one that made the most sense and the one we could definitely feel the most at ease about and definitely bank on and feel confident, was asking Scott to step in. He’s one of us and he knows all the material and he can hold it down. For the next album, if we wanna write music that has extra this or extra that and different instruments, I’m all about it. We’re all about it and we’re not into holding ourselves back and we love to experiment and find new sounds and new music. We’re not gonna limit ourselves, but this record was done as a four-piece and I think we’re gonna go out and tour for this record. But then you have people who go, “You need to go out and find somebody that looks and sounds exactly like Evan!” and then others that go, “You need to find somebody that doesn’t sound and look like Evan!” or, “You need to find two singers and a DJ!” How about that! It was a little fuckin’crazy, but everything seems to be working out for the best. And I appreciate you asking.
Metalshrine: Have you guys been in touch with Evan since he left?
Bobby: Well, it’s a little awkward… we’re not really speaking with him like every day. We’re well aware of how he’s doing and he’s doing OK. He’s doing his other thing and we wish him well, you know. He’s got another band he’s jamming with and he seems to be excited about it. When you get to be in the position that we’re in, and I hate to say our age, but we’ve been around for a while and we’ve been through this whole thing and one thing I knew, coming back into the band and I had my own reasons why, but I always knew this is a blessing and a lot of people don’t get a second chance to do something. Finish something they started or change something wrong that’s been done or go back and fix mistakes. We’re very fortunate that we were able to and it’s because of the fans we’ve played to all over the world. That’s we’re the demand for us to get back together really came from. We owe it to them! I always knew there are no guarantees in life, so the fact that we got together in the same room and actually jumping on a plane together or a tour bus and getting on stage and touring the world for almost two years was… wow! It was an amazing thing that nobody thought would ever happen and the fact that the four of us actually managed to keep it together long enough to do an album together, was another thing that was more than we could ever hope for. The fact that it didn’t stay together the way people would’ve liked it to, is no surprise. When I say no surprise, I’m saying that there’s nothing guaranteed in life. The fact that we got the original band together, a full world tour and a new album speaks volumes and I’m very proud of it and we’re all proud of it. The fact that one of us had to go his separate way, that’s life, man! We wish nothing bad on Evan. We’re just gonna keep playing and he’s got his own life and he’s got things going on and we hope he’s alright and we hope he finds what he’s looking for.
Metalshrine: You mentioned earlier that you’re still writing and coming up with ideas. I guess it’s not gonna take that long for the next album to come out? And being on Nuclear Blast, what kinda deal is that? One album or more?
Bobby: Well, I hope so! I think Nuclear Blast is awesome and they’ve been excellent to work with. It’s something to be said for a label like Nuclear Blast to take notice and believing in a band like BIOHAZARD, because what they did is kinda “in defiance” of their world and the industry. BIOHAZARD has never been like a Top-40, fucking top-rock, fucking one-hit-wonder-type thing where people look at us as dollar signs. People get it and believe in us out of respect for what we do, which is better for us because we get to work with people who are the real deal, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t know how to act in the area of the music business where everything is bubblegum façade, one-hit wonder, flavor-of-the-week type of trend, because you can’t trust anybody around you because they’re only paying you because you’re popular at the moment and that could disappear tomorrow and as soon as you’re not making them any money, they fucking leave you in the dirt. What we do in heavy metal is more of like… the label understands the band. They’re behind it and they understand what it’s about and they believe in the band. For Nuclear Blast to believe in us and what we have to offer the world, was great and they stepped up and we give them a lot of respect for that.
Read the entire interview from Metalshrine.
BIOHAZARD played its first show since the departure of Evan Seinfeld at last year’s edition of the Download festival, which was held June 10-12, 2011 at Donington Park in Leicestershire, United Kingdom. Fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be seen below.