"I'll always be proud that we're up there with Minor Threat and Black Flag. As long as people don't expect us to live up to some bullshit legacy," says frontman Kevin Marvelli, a.k.a. Kevin Seconds of hardcore punk pioneers 7 Seconds, who recently released Leave a Light On, their first album in nine years.
Formed in Reno, Nevada, 7 Seconds were part of the vanguard of the hardcore punk explosion in the early '80s. With modern classics such as The Crew and Walk Together, Rock Together, they were a crucial voice on the scene. Seconds proved his commitment to the development of the genre by bringing cutting-edge bands such as Black Flag, Social Distortion, Suicidal Tendencies and Scream to backwater Reno and attracting national underground attention to local bands via his Positive Force record label.
Now, more than 30 years later, 7 Seconds are still going strong, with an expanding fan base here and abroad, and Leave a Light On has been well-received by fans, Seconds says.
OC Weekly (Theis Duelund):It's been nine years since you released an album. What have you been up to?
Kevin Seconds: Just dealing with family stuff and living our lives. Most of the guys in the band are parents and have day jobs. I've been doing a lot of solo work and touring with that. We've been playing shows, doing the festivals here in the states and abroad. Touring is tough, physically, when you're 53.
You recently toured Europe again. What was it like this time around?
There's a lot of love and support for our style of music. We went to Russia for the first time, which was mind-blowing. We played two packed shows, one in St. Petersburg and one in Moscow. The energy there made me think about punk rock and hardcore shows in the '80s, when everybody was just really excited about the music.
Do you ever get sick of being identified so strongly with the '80s hardcore scene?
I'll always be proud that we were part of that movement. You hear people talk a lot about how things were better back in the day, but there were also a lot of fucked-up things happening. There was a lot of violence at shows. It wasn't all just glorious punk rock music.
What are the biggest differences between then and now?
No Internet, no cell phones. There wasn't a blueprint for what we were doing, being a hardcore band and touring without a big label. We were pioneers trying things out for the first time to see if it would work. Things are way more professionally run today. Musicians have to be really business-savvy. In the '80s, we definitely wouldn't have made it to Russia. A lot has changed, but ultimately what it comes down to is being in a packed and sweaty club, rocking out and getting down.
You keep a pretty busy tour schedule, too.
Yes. We're touring for the rest of the year. We're going to South America in September, which I'm extremely excited about, even though I'm currently sporting a torn meniscus in my knee.
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You're touring with a busted knee? How did that happen?
I'm hardcore, man. Onstage in LA about a month ago, I jumped up and came down wrong. I need surgery for it, but canceling the tour is not an option. My doctor said, "I'd prefer you get the surgery now, but I know you won't, so do what you can to take care of it." It's a little tough when you've got kids jumping onstage and getting on top of you. Hey, I'm 53 years old, and my knee is busted. Any mercy you can show me would be greatly appreciated!