Bobby Hambel from Biohazard is in Tour Mode!

"This is what we do. This is all we want to do. We're made to do it."

Bobby Hambel is very New York. Very Brooklyn. And Biohazard is a very New York band. After twenty something odd years they are still killing it on stage. Biohazard are about to embark on a whirl wind tour that according to Bobby, will span about a year and a half. I caught up with him in New York city at the record release show for the newest album Reborn in Defiance. The current tour sees this seminal band play two dates at the legendary Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, New Jersey with E-Town Concrete and Madball. He explains that it's an E-town thing. "It's their hometown show and they were good enough to let us on the bill with them. We're looking forward to playing with them and playing with them in Jersey would be great. Two nights in a row, it's going to be a blast." But before those shows, he explains his tour plans with Suicidal Tendencies on the Persistence Tour: "It's not just Germany. It's a bunch of Western European shows. It's called the Persistence Tour and it goes on basically every year. We did it a few years ago. And we're coming back with Suicidal. We jump over to England and do four shows in the UK. Then we come back home and we got like three days off. So it's like sixteen strait shows then three days off. Then we start the Madball / Sworn Enemy tour for about twelve shows and end up in Starland Ballroom for a party. Go out with a bang. We take three days off and go to Australia for the Soundwave festival. Crazy!"

If you are dizzy with that touring prospect, so was I. It's a hectic pace to be sure, but it's something that Bobby and the rest of Biohazard are used to. "When we first got together to do this we did like thirty-six shows in thirty-five days. You kind of don't keep your sanity. I mean you get into tour mode. You just get into this weird zone where you really don't have a concept of the date or the day or the week. None of that matters. Sometimes you don't even know what month you're in because you're in the zone. You live on the bus. You get up. You go to the club. You run around town. You do whatever you gotta do. You do your show. You go on the bus. You wake up. You're in another place. sometimes you don't even know where you are. These days we're trying to take better care of ourselves. Just really concentrating on doing the best shows we can."

So why does Bobby and the rest of Biohazard continue to do it? I asked Bobby and he had this to say. "Because we love it. This is what we do. This is all we wanna do. We're made to do it. I think that's how we all feel. It's something about what we do whether we are playing in front of ten people or ten thousand or a hundred thousand. If you stop doing it something ain't right in your life. It's just not right. I know. I stopped. I stopped playing when I left the band and something was missing. I need to get back on stage with the band and do that thing I do. It just connects me with the people and the other musicians, the crowd, the volume. You really get hooked on it. You stay at home for a while and you're like life really sucks so you gotta get back on tour. Even though life is great, there is something missing. Something is wrong. You can't live every day out there."

In addition to their maddening tour pace Biohazard have a new album out on Nuclear Blast and will be writing and recording between shows with an intent to drop another album as soon as they can. I spoke to Bobby about the eclectic sound of Biohazard. " We've been musically influenced from a very young age. Danny has been playing drums since he was five years old. I was brought up in a house with nothing but rock bands being played all the time. I I finally got the courage to try to play guitar and I taught myself. "

"So we were really into music at a young age and pretty much knowledgeable of different bands and different styles of music. Hip Hop was starting when we were young kids. I remember the Sugar Hill Gang had that record Rappers Delight and then Curtis Blow and all these great rap artists that were coming out and that was just a part of every day life. I remember when I was a little kid, I had sneakers and I wrote Sugar Hill Gang on one shoe and on the other shoe there was Led Zeppelin, Kiss things like that. I was always into rock and 1970s funk and soul bands. I loved those records."

"We all kind of saw music as the same thing. But yet were were involved in the hardcore scene and it was the hardcore scene that inspired us to be a band. But given all our musical backgrounds we felt like we were selling ourselves short if we just did hard core without trying to mix a little something in there. So when we were trying to mix hip hop in there and doing stuff with Onyx, people were like, "Yo, man. You can't do this. You're not allowed to do this. It's wrong. You can't do it." We're like "Fuck you" and we did it. It was very kind of new at the time. I'm talking about street level. So we incorporated the grooves from hip hop, some soul music with metal riffs, bluesy guitar and mix it all together realizing the more we let go and trust in what we're doing, the more we can be original and not be afraid. We didn't want to sound like anybody else. We wanted to sound like ourselves. that's what we did on this record. There are some soft soulful- not "soft", but deeper mellower more melodic but yet kind of really emotionally twisted - distraught  stuff that we captured. Then you got some songs that are the fastest hardest shit Biohazard have ever done. We just kind of mixed it all together and made a record. We never want to limit ourselves. Who knows what the future holds. Biohazard are gonna use all the elements of music to make our sound. whatever it is." 

Insightful words from Bobby Hambel.