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Feeding The Fire: An Exclusive Interview WithBILLY GRAZIADEI Of BIOHAZARD, POWERFLO And BILLYBIO

By Chris "Chili" Pirri, So Cal Contributor
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 @ 8:11 AM


"Letís do fucking POWERFLO, itís something new for us, it's exciting. Itís like having permission from your old lady to date somebody else, to date her hot friend or whatever and not have any problems about it. You donít have to sleep on the couch.."

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Billy Graziadei is an East Coast Hardcore Kid who blended Punk, Heavy Metal, and Hip-Hop in the band BIOHAZARD. He has been in numerous other bands, but the other group you will recognize his name from would be POWERFLO. However Billy is introducing the world to his first solo adventure in a band called BILLYBIO. His debut solo album Feed The Fire is out now via AFM Records. I caught up with Billy a couple of hours before his first North American Tour date on this exciting new journey. We talked about his new album, his musical influences, and what is to come in 2019.

KNAC.COM: All right. First off I know your new solo album Feed The Fire drops today. How did you come to the decision to start this gig when you're usually in a band? Now it's solo, it's you, your name.

GRAZIADEI: I always loved the group. I'm a team player and I love being in a band. I love being a cog in the machine, you know it's a cog, the gears that all go unison at the same time to create this fucking powerful machine. I love that. I get it. I'll never leave it, because BIOHAZARD is still going on, I just talked to Danny today he called me up and said ďDude congratulations about the record. Awesome, I can't, wait we are going play together and tour with LIFE OF AGONY and SICK OF IT ALL on the East Coast we got to do a bunch of BIOHAZARD songs togetherĒ. Then POWERFLO I just talked to Roy. Roy was going to come up and jam a POWERFLO song, but he just flew in from Japan so that is not going to happen. Anyways, my point is, I like it, I love it to death but the difference is only in the writing, like how I create the song. That's the only difference, this is a band. These guys will be on tour living together for the next three weeks. So we've been together for the past two weeks. My bass player is living in my studio sleeping on the floor. Itís like old school punk rock style from when I grew up. So not many things have changed, it's still a group but it's just how the songs come in and how I created them. I just wrote everything and had different players come in and play them. I did everything on the demo, I played all the drums, I did all the guitars and bass. But then I had my old buddy Dan Palmer from DEATH BY STEREO and ZEBRAHEAD on guitar, Simo on drums, and Ra Diaz from SUICIDAL on bass, but they're all busy on tour so now I shuffle around. Whoever's available I play with, but it's all friends, guys that I get along with, but it's still the band.

KNAC.COM: So AFM put this record out? You have your own studio called ďFirewater StudiosĒ so why didnít you do this yourself and have complete control or do you still have complete control at AFM?

GRAZIADEI: Well, a little bit of everything. As far as doing it myself, I did do it myself. I wrote it, recorded it, produced it, and engineered it, in my own studio. All on my own before I even knew or hooked up with AFM. And I'll tell you a story of back in the day. I always wanted to start my own record label so I found all these unreleased BIOHAZARD songs and I started a record label called Renegade Recordings and the first recording we were going to release was going to be a BIOHAZARD B-side, right? While I was doing it somebody bootlegged the record while it went from my hands from mastering to production. Somebody got a hold of it and bootlegged it and it was a fucking disaster. It pissed me off immensely. It made me realize I wasn't as business savvy as I was back then as I am now but what I realized is that I love being an artist, I love being on the other side of the glass, so for years I said, "You know what, it's not my thing, I don't want to do a label."

Even to this day, even though I understand the business side of it more and I'm more astute and successful on the business side because I watched over the years how money would go, come in, and go so quick you know a dollar would go in and it seemed like two went out. You learn from those mistakes and I was pretty wise to learn from all my mistakes and I apply it to what I'm doing now, but I also as a smart man realized that you can't control it. You can't keep everything for yourself, you have to trust people, you have to work with people who are good at what they do. I'm good at what I do. I know how to express myself, I know how to write, I know how to achieve what I want to achieve using it as an artist. And working with AFM, a team of people that are fans, I worked with them and they're all BIOHAZARD fans. I won't go through the names of the guys but I worked with them in the past, in the early days of BIOHAZARD. Back then I didn't care about the business but I think they have a lot of respect for my past. It's a label that is predominately metal, like hardcore metal and I like that. I'm a big metal fan, but I'm also a punk rock/hardcore kid so I'm more of a you know, in an ocean with a bunch of other fish that aren't anything like what I'm doing, but I like that and I dig that.

KNAC.COM: Growing up, who were the bands that influenced you as a young kid?

GRAZIADEI: I think there are a lot of different bands. Growing up with my father's record collection we had Led Zeppelin 4. We used to blast it when my Mom and Dad would go out. Then my mother passed away when I was a kid so my dad wasn't home as often so there was nobody home. I remember blowing up the stereo. We had QUEEN, SUPERTRAMP, ZEPPELIN, DOORS, and the STONES.

KNAC.COM: SUPERTRAMP, really?

GRAZIADEI: Yes. This was his collection but thatís how I got turned onto that music early. Then I found punk rock and it was like a gateway with like the SEX PISTOLS, then MINOR THREAT, some gothic stuff like SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES and shit, and BAUHAUS.

KNAC.COM: CRAMPS?

GRAZIADEI: CRAMPS, I loved the CRAMPS, STIFF LITTLE FINGERS but it was bands like AGNOSTIC FRONT Victim in Pain when that first chord came on, MINOR THREAT, BAD RELIGION, even like from out here X. I loved X, CIRCLE JERKS and BLACK FLAG.

KNAC.COM: THE ADOLESCENTS maybe?

GRAZIADEI: ADOLESCENTS yes, very cool. In fact I was listening to a song today by them. Anyways...Theyíre still doing it, still kicking ass.

KNAC.COM: With the political climate we're going through right now in the States. Is it easier to write lyrics now or has it always been easier for you?

GRAZIADEI: It's probably always been easy. There's definitely not a shortage of inspiration these days, but it's really interesting to me as an artist seeing what I cared about in my earlier writings, my earlier songs in my career. I still care about them but now Iím a Father. Now I pay taxes and I see where it goes for the schools for my kids, and I pay attention to my community. I see how it affects me. I care about the ocean, because I swim in the ocean. I surf in the ocean. There are a lot of things that I care about but in a way more personal way because back then I cared because it interested me. Now it affects me. It affects my kids. It affects my community and I'm paying more attention to that. I don't know if that makes me an old fart but I care, and that passion knowing that my actions are directly going to affect my offspring, our new generation, Generation Z, for example.

It means a lot to me you know what I mean? And the other thing is I think when you care about something, you do it for free. You do it out of passion and the love of it, that's it. Nothing else matters, you know? I haven't slept in the past three days. Very minimal, last night was an hour, but I got to take my son to a book fair, you know, and that was more important than sleeping in for my first debut show, you know? I was up late doing business because while he's sleeping I could take care of whatever I had to take care of. That way when he's talking to me, I can pay attention to him and not be on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter.

KNAC.COM: Family changes you big time. I mean it does, in a good way though.

GRAZIADEI: You know I had someone say to me once when I was in BLOOD FOR BLOOD. They said, it wasn't directed to me but it was directed in our conversation and somebody said, "You're not hard, you're a father" It rung in my ears, becoming a father, thatís real life. It's easy to take care of myself. Dude it's fucking easy to feed your own stomach; keep a roof over your head with your buddies is easy. It's when you got to be that for three other people, and then it's a real test of who you are as a person. So I beg to differ.

KNAC.COM: I hear you. I adopted a son so I know.

GRAZIADEI: Kudos for that dude.

KNAC.COM: Thank you very much. You said on Instagram last night, 'For me it's like the night before the Super Bowl or the World Cup, or the Olympics'.

GRAZIADEI: You caught that?

KNAC.COM: Yes. Of course I did. Do you still get nervous and excited before a new tour or is it just because this is your brand new adventure into solo gigs.

GRAZIADEI: No, I always do. I take it serious, it means a lot to me. My whole day is about prepping for that. I never just nonchalantly walk out of a van or a tour bus and stroll onstage and expect everything to be kosher. To me life is struggle. Itís an outlet for me, I love it, it's like therapy without having to pay an overpriced psychologist. So I love it and I look forward to it, but because of that there's a lot of, I wouldn't say anxiety, it's anticipation not knowing what it's going to be like. Just getting there and being like, "Fucking cool." You play one song, then two, then suddenly the outside world disappears and you're lost in that world and for 45 minutes or an hour or however long I'm playing on tour, I lose it and I get into that zone. I love it and wouldn't trade it for the world. I have kids at home, little kids and I love being with them, so those two things, coming onstage when I'm here, I'm not wishing I was not here. I can't.

KNAC.COM: With the two little kids at home do they follow you? Do they like your music? Or are they somewhere totally different in the music world?

GRAZIADEI: My son plays... He's very musical. My son he plays ďGeneration ZĒ and ďFeed the FireĒ on trumpet. He tries to play it, he has great pitch and just hasn't got the notes down and he has so much passion, it looks like you know a chip off the old block.

KNAC.COM: Do you write a song thinking if it's going to do well live compared to an album or vice versa?

GRAZIADEI: No, I never sat down and had a preconceived path I wanted to go with when I write. I just let it go, all of it, whatever's in the vibe, you know whatever's going through my mind, my soul at the time, it just comes out. And I also don't skip around, I stay with one song and I keep in that vibe. When I feel like I got it, then I record it, finish writing it, put it away, and then it will be another inspiration for another song. So I'm always writing whether I'm with POWERFLO, BIOHAZARD, or my own stuff or with other bands. I work with a lot of other bands and I love that. Iím not attached so much but I am, it can be expressive as an artist, but I'm not, I know everybody wants to hear the cool metal stories so this is kind of a boring.

KNAC.COM: I love it!

GRAZIADEI: I love it too, I love doing what I do and inspiration, I'm never short on it.

KNAC.COM: With Firewater Studios, are there any bands you're working with right now that we should be more aware of?

GRAZIADEI: Yes, I just finished a band called VIRAL and it's fucking awesome. I'm with the band now called LA MARA, they're from Geneva, Switzerland and we got the singer here tonight, who actually I didn't know he was a huge BIOHAZARD fan. He came by rehearsal the other night and we were jamming on a BIOHAZARD song and he jumped up to sing. Iím like "You know this song?" He said, "Dude I fucking love that record." Like really? Cool. That's cool, you just upped your stock. But a band from France called the AUTUMN BLONDES, pretty bad ass. MORTEZUMA is a super heavy fucking band from Canada I just finished. ATF, BUSCOTTIA, their record is coming out, Cutthroat just came out.

KNAC.COM: 2019 is coming up.

GRAZIADEI: Yes.

KNAC.COM: What do you think will come first in 2019, your second solo album or your follow up with SenDog on another POWERFLO album.

GRAZIADEI: For sure, a new POWERFLO album. That's what I'm working on.

KNAC.COM: I love hearing that.

GRAZIADEI: I just talked to Roy earlier about that. So that's the plan. Sen and I talked about this because with BIOHAZARD and CYPRESS HILL, those are bands we have been doing our whole lives. We were working on a BIOHAZARD record and Sen was working on a CYPRESS HILL record. Letís do fucking POWERFLO, itís something new for us, it's exciting, itís like having permission from your old lady to date somebody else, to date her hot friend or whatever and not have any problems about it, you donít have to sleep on the couch, you can still go home to the good life. So we said we'll juggle it after the cycle is done with POWERFLO, maybe it'll be a new BIOHAZARD or CYPRESS HILL record and it turns out that there was a CYPRESS HILL record, and LIF OF AGONY asked me, they said "Hey we know you are working on a solo project and we want to take you to Europe." The record is not done yet. You know I love BIOHAZARD but it was the perfect opportunity. I came home from that tour, finished the record, met up with AFM and got the record out. It's been since June since we finished with POWERFLO. It's been nonstop with recording. I canít believe I pulled it out.

KNAC.COM: I love this album, not blowing smoke up your ass either. It gets you going, I love it.

GRAZIADEI: Awesome.

KNAC.COM: After your eleven date North American Tour are there any plans of going to the UK, or Europe after this?

GRAZIADEI: Yes. In the New Year, but I have not announced it yet though.

KNAC.COM: The last question is all fun and games. I know you're a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu trained by the Gracie family. Have you ever thought about jumping in the Octagon and trying to fight? If you were younger would you give it a go?

GRAZIADEI: It has nothing to do with being young or old. I did. I never fought in the Octagon but I fought in the street, all the time and on tour I'm always surrounded by people who party and some party too much and I've fought drunk people, and I've fought a lot. It'll probably happen again, it happens every tour. The last tour with POWERFLO, we had a couple of instances where some crazy stuff happened. But that's life. So it'll probably happen again but as far as going into the Octagon, it's not my thing, never was. It was always more like I fight to survive, not for money.

KNAC.COM: You are more the protector.

GRAZIADEI: Yes. I'm more of a vigilante, protector, more like a sheepdog, you know what I mean? Iím protecting the sheep from the wolves. I've chased people around my neighborhood, I'm a street kid, you know what I mean?


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