The name's a keeper

At 31, Steven Seibold, known professionally as Seibold the instigator behind the in-your-face industrial-cum-punk band Hate Dept. and an in-demand producer (Berlin) and dance remixer (Smash Mouth's "Walking On the Sun"), is mellowing out.

Speaking from a pay phone at a tour stop in San Antonio, Texas, Seibold says it's not yet history for the band to perform its confrontational shows that goad the audience with insults, spitting and beer-bottle projectiles. But, he says, "I'm beginning to question the viability of being a rude asshole on stage."

He'd also like to change the name of the band to something a bit less off-putting. But after coming up with some 40 alternates, chief among them The Seibold Experience, he and the label realized how memorable the name Hate Dept. really is. So, "Restless just said. 'Fuck it. Keep the name,'" says Seibold.

As an Orange County, Ca., republican with a beacon of bright-orange hair, Seibold -- who comes across as both boyish and congenial -- and band are often misperceived as a white-supremacist outfit. Quite the contrary, Seibold says, the Hate Dept. platform has always been about society's inability to get beyond bigotry.

"If anything, I'm an anti-PC guy. The politically-correct posture is ruining our society. I now consider myself a centrist on these issues. I love conservative ideas, but I tend to understand and have more faith in liberals. And there just isn't room for PC anymore. People should make decisions for themselves."

Sarcasm and an underlying negativity still spill over in songs from Hate Dept.'s long-delayed "Technical Difficulties" album, in which even the love song "Wait" oozes toxins through the veneer of melody.

"I would hope so," says Seibold the realist. "I try to make the songs pretty enough to coo over. But if you listen to the lyrics, I also try to show the pain and frustration. It's there in all my personal relationships, even those with my wife. I totally dig her, but it's an intense relationship. We brawl."

Originally scheduled for release last September, fans will have to wait until March 26 for "Technical Difficulties," as the label is still working a seven-track maxisingle with the ironic title "Release It." The EP with an obvious nod to Frankie Goes To Hollywood and remixes by techno luminaries such as Empirion (Prodigy's "Firestarter Remix"), is a hot item at college radio.

Unhappy with the tapes for the album that Seibold turned in after working with a variety of producers, Restless sent him back to the studio.

"Since last September, all we've done is tinker. I retracked 'Hit Back' with (former Nine Inch Nails') Bill Kennedy. We added a bunch more guitars. I re-orchestrated 'Wait' with Jon St. James producing and completely rerecorded the vocals," says Seibold who, as on his two previous albums, "Meat Your Maker" (1994) and "Omnipresent" (1996), played all the instruments himself. "Restless kept pressure on me to refine and refine and refine until we couldn't make it sound any different."


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