"Evan Seinfeld: The Last Hard Man": Blistering.com
Evan Seinfeld: The Last Hard Man
By: David E. Gehlke
Evan Seinfeld's transition from hardcore metal heavyweight in Biohazard to actor/entrepreneur and newly-minted rock singer is indicative of the man's restless nature. Not willing to ride out the rest of his career on the Biohazard name, Seinfeld bolted from the band in mid-2011, a few months prior to the proposed domestic release of the band's Reborn in Vengeance comeback album. As it would turn out, Reborn in Vengeance will never receive a proper release in North America, a direct result of not having Seinfeld's name in the band's ranks.
His subsequent departure from the band he founded and guided for over 20 years led him to join Attika 7, an outfit created by his best friend and Sons of Anarchy actor Rusty Coones. Contrary to his work in Biohazard, Seinfeld is singing, and doing a damn good job at it, emerging as the type of singer with enough balls and melody to his voice to make any vocal hook believable. The band's Blood of My Enemies debut is gradually picking up steam, with a quick run on this year's Uproar Festival in the books, with a gaggle of additional tour dates lined up.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more gregarious, outgoing, and upfront personality as Seinfeld, who spent a full hour of his own time on the phone with Blistering. Onward we go!
Blistering.com: It's a tough thing to start a new band, especially in this climate, so, after you left Biohazard, what led you to join Attika 7?
Evan Seinfeld: It was really Rusty, to tell you the truth. I decided I needed to do something different and I think a lot of artists struggle with that. I've actually been contacted by some friends in other bands who have been in their bands for too long who are given me encouragement like, Have faith in yourself. You built Biohazard. You named the band, came up with the logo, found the guys. I know myself. I produce, I do projects. I work really hard and am really focused and it was really good to have support of other musicians.
I didn't know what I was going to do. I did a Biohazard record that obviously, is never going to come out in the U.S. It was a good Biohazard record. It was better than the last two, but nowhere near our best. Musically, I thought it was really solid, but lyrically I thought it was a little reaching. You can't always know what something is when you're in it, but looking back, it was very uninspired. Everyone wanted to make an album so bad, but it wasn't like there were burning messages in the album.
Blistering.com: You're coming from a much different place than when you did Urban Discipline or State of the World Address.
Seinfeld: Especially fans, they don't realize that. People grow, change, and evolve. I'll say this until I'm blue in the face: If I don't feel like I'm building or evolving with something, I don't do well with maintenance. There are guys who like to be on auto-pilot: We can survive in this band, with these songs. We can put out a record every few years. But that's not me. A lot of bands are like that, they're not at fault. You start a band when you're 16 or 17 years old, then you're 30-something.
When I started Biohazard, I was addicted to drugs, I lived in a bad neighborhood in Brooklyn, I was poor, and you sell millions of albums, you go around the whole world, you meet all sorts of people, and you shit together, I went from being a boy to a man. Some of my beliefs are in line with how I felt back then, some things have changed since then. I live on a different coast; I live in a completely different tax bracket. My life is completely different. I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed a change, but I knew I had to be honest with myself and the fans.
I don't have any personal problems with the guys; we never hung outside of the bands, it was a business. And that's fine, people grow apart. I was on that Metal Show last week with the guys from Aerosmith, and those guys hate each other. But those guys make millions of dollars every time they get onstage. But you suck it up, and get onstage, especially when you have songs that are bigger than you [laughs]. When "Dream On" is played, nobody gives a fuck who hates each other in the band; it gives you chills down your spine. Biohazard was the single biggest part of my life and career for 20 years, but the one thing that was missing was the sing-a-long, melodic songs that I always wanted to write. It never came together, it never materialized. The concept of Biohazard was a lot bigger than the band. A lot bigger than the sales, and a lot of people don't realize this, but Biohazard hasn't toured the United States in over 10 years.
Blistering.com: You had the spare show here and there, which was the extent of it.
Seinfeld: Yeah. The band would play a couple of shows around the New York area, and one time in ten years, the band played in L.A.
Blistering.com: So you had to do all of your work in Europe.
Seinfeld: Even that had really shrunk. It wasn't the kind of thing that was inspiring. It wasn't making money and it wasn't that much fun. It was trying to resurrect something that already exists. What's the definition of insanity? Repeating the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome. You can play in fucking Dortmund, Germany with the same exact songs and lineup, and you expect more people will show up? It was the law of diminishing return, and a little bit depressing.
Blistering.com: You were ahead of the game in the 90's when not many bands were combining metal with hardcore and rap. Now, there's tons of bands doing that.
Seinfeld: I know bands that did it better, if not more commercially. Bands like Linkin Park and Korn would mention Biohazard as an influence. It's great to be respected and looked as a pioneer, but that only lasts so long. Other people may be happy to live off the fame of 20 years ago, but not for Evan Seinfeld. Evan Seinfeld for me, I'm always trying to live on what I'm doing right now.
Blistering.com: Which leads to Attika 7.
Seinfeld: Music for me was never about money, it was always about inspiration and expression. I'm sitting at my house at the beach, with my wife, and I have this skill-set that I have. I'm not the greatest at what I do, but I've working on my singing. My wife asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her I could put my name out there, I could sing for this band, or play bass for that band, or guitar for this band. Maybe Disturbed needs a bass player, or Godsmack needs a rhythm guitarist or so-and-so needs a lead singer. Maybe I could go on tour and just tour, and not have everything fall on me.
When Metallica was looking for a bass player, I was talking to James for a long time about trying out because I was such a huge Metallica fan. That's the only gig I considered. Early in my career, I was asked to play with Megadeth and Overkill, and I respectfully declined because Biohazard was my baby and still growing. Anyway, 24 hours after I make my decision, I got a call from Rusty. He says, I've been trying to get this Attika 7 off the ground. I have Tony Campos playing bass. I have Dustin [Schoenhofer] playing drums. He told me he just fired his singer, and I said, I'd love to come down. He caught me at a good time, so he sent me some music just to be busy. He sent me the music and the lyrics. I've known about his band and dug it, but I didn't think the delivery could be as good as it could be. He sends me the demo and I thought, Wow, this is really fucking good. I read the lyrics and was fucking floored; Rusty wrote these. From the darkest places, desperation can be inspiration. Up from the depths, Rusty was facing a double-life sentence, He was writing songs in prison, not knowing if he was ever going to get out. Those lyrics and inspiration is what we crafted into Blood of My Enemies.
Blistering.com: How did you manage to get [new bassist] Scott Reeder [Kyuss] involved?
Seinfeld: I was talking to Rusty about bass players and I thought of Scott, but didn't know what he was up to. I had his number, so I called him up, asked him what he was doing, told him I was sending 45 minutes of music. He calls me back in 47 minutes [laughs], and goes, Dude, what the fuck was that? And who was singing? I said that was me singing and that's your new band if want in. He said that sounds like a platinum metal band and I'm like, Dude, I don't even know what constitutes a platinum metal band in 2012. Scott is an iconic guy, has an incredible sound, and is just the nicest dude.
Blistering.com: Is he still playing barefoot live?
Seinfeld: Me and Rusty ride our Harleys onstage, so we told him barefoot-optional [laughs]. I'm not going to apologize if I break your toenail. He could have jammed with Black Sabbath, so his feet are on the ground so he can feel the vibrations. We want everyone to be themselves [laughs].
The way I hear Attika is a modern day, hard rock, metal, anthemic group that personifies the lifestyle I live today. Rusty and I both ride; there's a lot of the Ride to be free, and fuck what everyone else says. A lot of people say, I don't give a fuck. Well, yes you do. It sounds cool to say you don't care. I read a quote from my own from some interview in Metal Hammer and it's funny, when you do an interview when somebody puts it in print and they bold or italicize it out of everything. But it could be cheesy or taken out of context, but it said, I have tattoos on my face and I do porn. It's really obvious I don't give a fuck what you think. In the middle of the article and it's twice as big.
Blistering.com: You're singing and singing a lot on Blood of My Enemies. Is it starting to feel comfortable for you?
Seinfeld: What I wanted to be doing is what I'm doing now. I was very frustrated with the Biohazard situation because it wasn't conducive to me finding the melody and heavy. I started really focusing on my singing about two years ago. I've always taken lessons on and off. I'm not getting younger and if I want to get better, I need to reinvent myself. I feel like I've reinvented myself as a businessman and an actor, and as a father. The first memories I have as kid is singing is "Light my Fire" at my parents. I really started to find my voice. I know I can sing, I know I can scream, and I know I can rap. I did Biohazard for 20 years and it became really easy. I wasn't pushing at what I could do. Not to be an exercise, I don't want to be in a math rock band. I just wanted to have that feeling of when you hear your favorite song.
Blistering.com: Have you and Rusty started to think about the next album?
Seinfeld: It's funny, we just found out one of the songs "All for Nothing' will be in Sons of Anarchy. One of my friends called me up and thought I was playing bass. He said It's really good you're taking a step back and playing bass, because the singing is amazing. I was like, Yeah man, that guy is awesome. I was totally fucking with him. But this is starting block, especially now that we have a full band. We do these jams that sound really Sabbath-y, and we wrote a song at practice last Friday and is probably as melodic as anything on the record.
When we play live, we can really play live. Some of these songs sound better in person. I feel like I can sing them better now since I've had the chance to sit with them. I love to sing "Devil's Daughter" and "All for Nothing" and "Greed and Power" is one of the toughest songs I've ever done. We lock in on out it's fucking awesome. It's a great feeling. It was a big change for me to start over.
Blistering.com: Is building something from the ground-up again exciting or daunting?
Seinfeld: It's exciting. It's not easy to start over, there's no gimmie. Rex Brown was in Pantera and now he's in Kill Devil Hill. There's no gimmie, there's some interest, though. For me, reinventing myself as a melodic singer was like Tiger Woods dropped off the golf swing because he coach said something was wrong with his swing. He missed a whole year of the tour. Taking a step back and re-tooling myself as a singer and starting touring again is going to be an adjustment. I feel like I have a secret weapon, but you're right, we have a lot of work to do.