Lenny B of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an interview with Billy Graziadei (guitar, vocals) and Bobby Hambel (guitar) of New York hardcore/metal veterans BIOHAZARD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
GuitarWorld.com: What was it like working with [producer] Toby Wright?
Graziadei: It was a great honor working with him. We became close friends with him and let him into the inner circle of our creativity. We had never let anybody get that close to the band before. I think it was an integral part of making “Reborn In Defiance”. As a guitar player and as a vocalist, Toby really pushed me to do better. He worked with us and helped us focus on the songs. [Toby was] always telling us, “C’mon, you can do better,” making us focus on the bigger picture.
Hambel: I got so much out of it and learned a lot working with Toby. He’s done some really good stuff that I admire and that I am a big fan of. So getting to work with him was exciting. And him being a regular cool kind of guy that I can get along with, hang out with, and consider him my friend was really easy. I remember dying to bend his ear at one point and I asked Toby a million questions like how he got these great drum sounds on one of his records and he was like, “Well… first of all, tune the fucking drums.” And that was it. I was expecting some big technological answer, a secret recipe, or some brilliant answer that went over my head. I thought that was great. Toby was really cool.
GuitarWorld.com: So it must have been a shock for you guys when [former BIOHAZARD bassist/vocalist] Evan [Seinfeld] called to let you know he quit?
Graziadei: After we finished the record, I was still working in the studio with Toby, just adding the finishing touches, when Evan called and dropped the bomb on us that he quit and didn’t want to do it anymore. It caught us in left field. It was a shock. It was a surprise. He made the decision and it was personal for him. With all due respect to Evan, we will leave that as personal. He had his reasons, but for us, we wanted to continue and see the record come out and so we left it as it was.
Hambel: Yeah, it was a shock to me. The record had taken a long time to finish for a lot of reasons. Just life in general made it difficult to get “Reborn In Defiance” done. When we were finished mixing, it that’s when he decided to leave. Looking back on it, and all the experiences we’ve been through, I’ve said this in interviews before: The fact the four of us got back together after being apart for so long, going on tour was in itself something that we never thought would happen. Then, on top of that, we stayed together long enough to manage making an original lineup album. There are no guarantees in life, so there was no guarantee that the band was going to stay together. Evan wanted to leave. He must have really thought it out. With all due respect to him, we wanted to keep playing, and if Evan wanted to leave, we just had to accept that. It’s unfortunate, but I’m grateful for the fact that we managed to keep it together long enough to tour and do an album.
GuitarWorld.com: And Scott Roberts will be filling in on bass?
Graziadei: Yeah, Scott will be playing bass and covering vocals. I don’t look at Scott as replacing Evan. I mean, you can’t replace somebody like that. We did what we did with Evan and this is a new era for the band.
Hambel: Scott played guitar in the band during the period of time I was absent, and when I rejoined BIOHAZARD, Scott stepped up and wanted to be my guitar tech. It was great to have him, because not only can he play guitar but he knows all the material. That lead to like a couple times where Billy couldn’t make a show, and Scott stepped in and played Billy‘s parts, so that we could live up to our obligations to our promoters and not cancel any shows. And when Evan left at another point in the past, we had some shows scheduled in the U.K. so we called up Scott and asked him if he wanted to play bass. We know he knows our material. He’s got a feel for the band because he was in the band.
Read the entire interview from GuitarWorld.com.