Anyone who's seen the videos from 7 Seconds' recent European tour won't be surprised to hear that Kevin Seconds, the band's singer, is nursing a bum knee. At 53, Seconds can still perform his duties as head of one of the longest-running punk bands going today, but by his own admission it's not as easy as it once was.
"It is tougher," says Seconds. "It's not 'standing around' music. So you have to find a new way to approach it. The main concern is to keep myself from jumping around like an idiot. You get kids hanging off you and leaning on you. In Europe there were a couple moments where they were trying to lift me up and I'm like, 'Nope, not gonna happen.'"
Seconds has fronted the band for more than 30 years, coming up in the '80s hardcore scene and rarely slowing down. 7 Seconds' frenetic take on punk rock, with a message of positivity and dedication to the punk lifestyle, draws enthusiastic crowds of young and old fans alike, and the result can be something that looks more like a donnybrook than a traditional concert. The crowd frequently barges the stage, singing along, piling on one another for a chance to shout their favorite songs into the microphone. It's not nearly as violent as it looks, but three decades of it can take a toll.
"You spend 30 years on stage jumping around, and all of a sudden you can't," says Seconds, who recently found out his latest injury is in fact a torn meniscus.
He's trying to schedule surgery to repair the damaged cartilage in his left knee while maintaining the band's busy tour schedule. It's not the first time he's had to deal with work-related injuries, having torn a muscle in the same leg several years ago.
"It's like anything in life: You have to adapt," he says. "All the other guys in my band are still crazy, so they can pick up the slack."
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It might seem like a simpler solution would be to simply stop touring, but that's not an option, according to Seconds. He is a man on a mission to not only play music, but to spread the gospel of hardcore punk rock as far and wide as possible.
"Punk rock, it's supposed to mean something," says Seconds. "Metal, pop music...it just doesn't have any message."
That part of his job is also getting harder, he says, oddly enough because of how willing modern music fans are to branch out and listen to different things.
"I think maybe younger people are a little more open-minded than I was growing up," says Seconds. "When I started getting into punk, I literally threw out all my Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones records. I just didn't want anything else to seep in. I wanted to wrap myself up in it. Younger people talk about how they like punk and Kanye West and I'm like, 'How do you like that shit?'"
It's all part of the changing landscape of music, he says.
"In Europe you'll be at a festival and it will be Motörhead headlining and NOFX and Snoop Dog," he says. "I think it's good and bad. Maybe more people will check out your music, but with the reemergence of punk rock as a mainstream thing, it's become more watered down."
You won't find any watered-down punk at 7 Seconds' show on Saturday, July 26, at Fubar. Feel free to come down, sing along and get crazy. Just try to avoid doing any more damage to Seconds' knee. The band's latest record, Leave A Light On, is out now on Rise Records.