"A cement-covered marshmallow." That's how Katherine Coones describes her husband, Attika 7's Rusty Coones, a 6-foot-5 biker bear of a man who, despite what some might consider to be an intimidating presence, is disarmingly warm and engaging.

The metal band Attika 7 started a couple of years ago with songs written by Coones while he was serving prison time (at the infamous pen Attica among other places) for allegedly helping to facilitate a drug score (and it was a rap thought by many to be unfair, thus resulting in the memorable ‘Free Rusty’ campaign). He came out a clean man with a focus – on building motorcycles at his Southern California design shop, and the music that his band creates. Attika 7 features guitarist Zach Broderick (formerly with Nonpoint), drummer Tommy Holt (ex-UPO) and Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder and Evan Seinfeld, the legendary hardcore/metal howler formerly of Biohazard, who fronts the band.

Now they’re on the 2013 Mayhem Festival tour, and Rusty has never been more excited about his new lease on life. He’s got his band, his motorcycle shop, a role on 'Sons of Anarchy' -- life is good.

Rusty, what was the biggest thing you learned in prison?

That there many ways to fix problems, but the only real honorable way is to do what is right. That’s what I've learned after being in jail, that it's all about taking the right way; the honorable way. I know there is a higher power and if you do things for the right reasons, not for greed or something selfish, but for what is actually right, then good things will happen. Were all tempted by negative and bad things every single day. And yeah we make mistakes. But I know the difference now. You've got to make your mistakes first and I certainly did that and I learned from them.

Last year we saw you hanging out at Mayhem, so it must feel good to be on the tour now.

Getting Mayhem was a validation of the band. We’re not here for just a part of the tour, but on the entire tour and that's really saying something. It means somebody has faith in this band. We’re out here playing with some of the greatest metal bands in the world and it's hard to explain how great that makes us feel. Going out today to play our first set in that heat was really something. We watched the crowd get sucked over to our stage like a vacuum when we started up today. It was a very thrilling experience. And they were into it! This is a big step for us because for a lot of people it's the first they might be hearing about us. And as we are learning already, it's all about the merch sales (laughs). That's why I will be in the booth every day and night signing things, meeting people and helping to sell our stuff.

You run one of the most popular motorcycle design shops Southern California. How do you stay in touch with that while on a long tour like this?

That's pretty interesting. We've actually got about 20 TV cameras set up all throughout the shop and so I can sit in the back of our tour bus with my computer and tap into all of those cameras. I can watch what's happening with all the designs being worked on. I can actually be involved wherever I happen to be in the country just by clicking some buttons, zooming in and out on various projects that are taking place. So it's almost like I’m there.

How is everything going with 'Sons of Anarchy'?

Great. I'm shooting some episodes for the new season and so I will be flying back and forth from the road. It'll get a little crazy of course, but I am always really excited about being on that show. Can't talk too much about the story expansions but trust me they’ve got some amazing ideas going.

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