Billy Graziadei has been a huge part of the hardcore scene for decades, a hyperactive hollering mainstay in East Coast legends Biohazard. Old-school heads often have many stories about braving Biohazard pits and having the time of their lives. They used to be just about the craziest shows you could go to and many of their songs, from “Punishment” to “Modern Democracy,” still groove and go harder than half the wimpy acts out there these days perpetrating fraudulent rock.
While Billy has been in other projects and industry roles over the years, he finally has a powerful solo record under the name BillyBio. Charged-up, attitude-filled anthems like “Rise And Slay” and album title track “Feed The Fire” abound with plenty of good knuckledragger riffs and pit-friendly shout-alongs over fast parts as well. He’s pushed himself to combine all his experiences into a definitive moment in his musical life. Fans are going to be super stoked.
Graziadei kindly spoke to me in advance of his upcoming tour with Thy Will Be Done which touches down at The Loft in Poughkeepsie on Thursday, Dec. 13.
Kingston After Dark: How is it going, man? Stoked to do this. What was the spark for this BillyBio album? You’ve been busy with your band Powerflo and I am guessing it was time for you to do another thing as well that was more personal? I mean, you and Sen Dog (Cypress Hill, Powerflo) have been friends since “How It Is” so there is a personal connection there but you know what I mean. Billy Bio is more “you.” Did it take a long time to make the BillyBio record?
Billy Graziadei: I look at it like I’ve been working on a solo project for my whole life. I love Biohazard and we’re still great friends but currently not doing anything. Powerflo is going strong and we’re working on our second record. I love the way a band works, the whole equal to the sum of its parts. There’s something about painting a picture and having the whole vision you had inside your head be pure and untainted by others. An artist doesn’t finish a painting and hang it on the wall just to ask friends to come over and change some colors around. BillyBio for me is the purest of my creations. The timing for BillyBio came quick when Life of Agony offered to take me on tour in Europe. At the time Powerflo and Life of Agony were on tour together. I came home from that tour and finished “Feed the Fire,” teamed up with Tue Madsen to mix it and found a home at AFM Records. It came out Nov. 30 and I couldn’t be more psyched and happy with everything!
KAD: What was your favorite part about your recent tour with Life of Agony? The sense of friendship and hardcore bond was so strong in every social media post and, of course, the mutual performances. That band and Biohazard helped a lot of scene kids I knew growing up, including myself. Shit, I still listen to both more than the majority of most new bands.
BG: We grew up together. We practically went through puberty together! This was by far my favorite tour in a long time. A lot of great times with family and jamming with Life of Agony — every night was a highlight! Bringing the new band on tour when absolutely no one knows who we are was just like it was for Biohazard on our first tour. No one knew who we were, they sat still and watched a few songs, then the heads started to bob and after a few more songs, more movement. By the end of the set, they still didn’t know us but they couldn’t deny the energy we were giving out! Awesome time.
KAD: How was it making the “Freedom’s Never Free” video? I loved seeing you put out something with you doing really rapid-fire vocal delivery because you’ve always been better at that style than other hardcore vocalists.
BG: I love directing my videos and teaming up with some people who know more about the technical side of filmmaking! I have an endless conveyor belt of ideas that keep most people’s heads spinning. When I team up with other creatives who can run at my pace, we win! Loved working with my friend Gabby Vessoni on this video. My buddy Vince helped me with another idea for the video. It’s a more creative lyric video, or maybe a video with some lyrics thrown in? Either way, I’m happy with how it came out. The chaos of the visuals matches the chaos of the song.
KAD: How does it feel to be doing this tour with Thy Will Be Done? Love that band. So high energy and always deserved more respect. They crush it live and seeing you and those guys as well in a club like The Loft is going to be friggin’ wild. Haven’t seen you live since Suicide City, I think. And before that with Biohazard at some crazy Jersey show with AF, Bane and Blood For Blood where I think BFB was late and I just remember the mosh pits were so insane during “Wrong Side.”
BG: I am looking forward to this tour. It’s the first dates in the U.S. so I chose my stomping ground in the Northeast to launch it! Gonna be fire!
KAD: How does it feel looking back on your career to know that you were in it for the long haul and dedicated so much of your life to this? That dedication is rare these days and I have super respect for that. Also, you guys were part of such important movements in the underground with Biohazard. You must have enough memories (and mosh pits) for several lifetimes.
Billy: It’s my life and I’ll die doing this! I’m blessed and honored to have been part of such an awesome scene. The collection of memories, stories and scars are endless and are all coming out in book form one day. Until then, they’re scattered around in interviews, lyrics and road stories. Looking forward to The Loft — Poughkeepsie has always been a great place to play.