Photo Credit, Dirt Junior
Press Pass LA sat down with ex-Biohazard frontman Evan Seinfeld in the 110 degree temperatures at Mahyem Fest, San Bernadino, to talk about his band Attika7, which features biker and actor Rusty Coones (Sons of Anarchy), Tommy Holt (UPO), Zach Broderick (Nonpoint) and Ira Black (Lizzy Borden, Heathen).
PPLA: How did Attika 7 come about?
ES: It’s an incredible, incredible story. I grew up in Brooklyn and I was the founder of Biohazard. I did that for twenty years and kind of needed something new to do. I was soul searching a lot. I was doing a lot of acting, I was on the show OZ on HBO for many years. I was looking for a new musical direction and I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to do something that was really to my roots of metal and really melodic and dark, but with a kind of positive message if that makes sense. Just me, you know, I wanted to do me. My guitar player Rusty, he and I met a dozen years ago through Jesse James of all random people, who was a mutual friend. Rusty is a twenty five year old Hell’s Angel, and he was incarcerated kind of unjustly and ended up serving a long prison sentence. I was in touch with his wife when he was in prison and when he got out of prison he’d written all this music that was so inspired. I get chills thinking about the first time I read his lyrics like from extreme situations, from the worst situations in life that either kills you or out of it can come the best thing for you. I’m not saying we’re the best anything, I’m saying it’s the best thing for me because suddenly I was re-inspired to dig deep inside myself and write music that was going to help me exorcise my demons.
PPLA: And do you think it has helped?
ES: Oh my God, yes. I mean in our band we’ve been through a lot of bad shit all of us, things from legal cases and jail and prison to drug addiction to mental hospitals, rehabs you know. But the guys in my band are the most grounded, together group and Rusty and I are best friends – that’s my best friend in the world right there. And that’s a f$%king gift to have a real friend in the world. In life I’ve had millions of acquaintances, my iPhone probably has f%&king 20,000 contacts but my real friends you can count on one hand. So for me I have the experience of being in a band that I’ve played 4,000 concerts in a hundred countries with, so it’s like your second marriage or your third marriage. You learn what you don’t want to do again, you know what you do want to do and you don’t have to make the same mistakes that you made in the past. Biohazard was a band I started when I was 16, 17 years old so that was a long time ago, and while all the music that I wrote in that band is still near and dear to me, those guys are people that I hung out with when I was a kid and now as a grown man, you know, you move on in your life. I was ready to do something new and I’m really enjoying this. Today is exciting, it’s our first day, like Attika 7 on a full U.S. tour and we’re probably the newest band on this tour. We also might be the oldest guys on this tour!
PPLA: How did you guys end up on Mayhem, how did it all come about?
ES: One of the bands Behemoth cancelled, it was due to a health illness. They have our blessings, and we’ve been waiting in the wings hoping to get this call and there it is. The call came in and we were very happy to get it.
PPLA: For a first full U.S. tour, Mayhem Fest, that’s huge
ES: Mayhem Fest is the biggest metal festival in America and here we are. I couldn’t ask for a better gig. We’re doing the entire Mayhem Festival and we’re also booked on a bunch of the dates on UpRoar, there’s going to be a second day on radio shows. We’re really focused and serious about blowing this thing up, you know, making it big.
PPLA: Your debut album Blood of My Enemies came out last year, can you tell us a little bit about the writing and recording process with that?
ES: We recorded the first album with a producer named Mudrock – he produced a big Godsmack album, he’s done Avenged Sevenfold, some great stuff. And he was a great choice for us to make our first recording. I wrote a bunch of the songs, Rusty and I collaborated on a lot of stuff, but the bulk of the first album really came from his prison experience. The new album, we’re right kind of in the middle of writing it right now. We actually have two brand new songs that we played today, we actually opened the show with two songs no one’s ever heard before. We’re good like that, for us it’s about doing what you want to do.
PPLA: Why did you decide to call yourself Attika 7?
ES: You know Attika says a lot about everything from exorcising your inner demons to the American injustice system and while I don’t think we are an extremely political band, we are a band that takes a really good look at social issues and America is supposedly the freest country in the world and yet we are the most incarcerated country in the world. We have over 10 million people in prison in America today and less than half of them are violent offenders. I’m not a big believer in our justice or injustice system as I call it so we wanted a name that really reflected that. Rusty’s last prison term was close to eight years. Attika 7 just had a great ring to it. Attika is talking about the famous prison in Upstate New York where the guards killed all those inmates during a riot. Inmates were rioting to try to get better conditions for themselves because they were being treated like animals, or worse than animals. So that is the name of our crew.