"Sevendust interviewed by protégé's Since October." - Interview

2010 has been the year of Sevendust for me. Earlier this year I got the chance to interview Clint Lowery (see interview here: "Clint Lowery returns to Sevendust." – Interview), just after their new album “Cold Day Memory” came out. Later in the year, during the “Carnival of Madness Tour” stop in Chicago I got the chance to sit down with Vinny Hornsby to chat (see interview here: "Sevendust's Vinny Hornsby is the Mayor of the Carnival of Madness." - Interview). An opportunity to interview Sevendust for a third time this year came up and I was hesitant, what else could I possibly ask these guys? Then I noticed that Since October was touring with Sevendust. I had just interviewed Luke from Since October a couple weeks ago (see interview here: "Since October toured with Disturbed, Sevendust and Judas Priest." - Interview) and Luke had mentioned Sevendust as one of his main musical influences, along with Rage Against the Machine. So I got this brilliant idea that I totally ripped off of “Guitar World” and “Revolver” magazines to have one band interview another.

Luckily for me, Since October was up for it. I arrived at the venue a little bit early, with a friend of mine who wore a rather flashy shirt for whatever reason (this will come back up later). We were set up near the merchandise booths. Ben and Luke Graham from Since October came out first. They seemed pleased that this was strictly an audio interview and not a video interview. After a few minutes had passed, LJ Witherspoon and Morgan Rose of Sevendust came walking out. After exchanging greetings we sat down and began what has become the highlight of my Zoiks! experience.

LJ Witherspoon (LJ): Oh man, I didn’t know you all had daisy duke shorts (referring to Since October’s merchandise), I need to get me a pair of them for my lady. (everyone laughs)

Ben Graham (BG): 10 Years along with a bunch of other bands have credited Sevendust with teaching them how to have fun on stage; do you have any stories from your early days of a band really taking you under their wing?

Morgan Rose (MR): Snot.

LJ: Yes.

MR: Snot was the only other band we ever played with back then that we said, ‘oh boy these guys bring it as hard if not harder than we bring it.’ So that was the bar. We thought we had the bar, but they moved it even higher.

LJ: If I could put a weird band out there that I would always just watch one of the cats, Ricky the bass player from the Nixons.

MR: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LJ: We were really young when we played with those guys and I thought he brought it. Do you remember those guys The Nixons?

Luke Graham: The Nixons, that was a while ago.

LJ: That was the good old days. That was on the R.O.A.R. Tour.

MR: Worst tour ever.

LJ: Tonic, Iggy Pop, The Nixons,

MR: Bloodhound Gang was on there.

LJ: It was an interesting time. We played with like Beck.

MR: Beck.

LJ: Beck would show up.

MR: Sevendust would be jamming then all of the sudden…

LJ: Linda Perry, 4 Non Blondes was on the tour with us. They were bringing the bar then.

MR: We didn’t really fit in there.

LJ: (Laughs) yeah we didn’t fit in.

BG: Who was your first concert? Can you even remember what your first concert was?

MR: The first one that I went to on my own was Judas Priest, but my mom brought me to see all kinds of shit. I saw David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour. The story is, my mom couldn’t get into the show, so she handed me to some security guy she didn’t know, some complete fucking stranger and said, ‘he loves David Bowie, could you let him in to hear a few songs?’ I was like three (everyone laughs). It was some strange dude, he might have beaten me when I went in there, I don’t remember.

LJ: My first concert, believe it or not, it’s a little funny, but I was more into R & B. I was into Rock n Roll, but you have to understand where I was growing up at, concerts like that didn’t come through. I remember going to see New Edition with Bobby Brown at some auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, that was tight (laughs).

BG: I’m sure everybody wants to hear about this, what was it like to work with Clint again and what kind of stuff does he bring?

MR: I mean his voice and his songwriting and his guitar playing that’s that part of the band. When I pulled him out of his old band and had him join us, that was the last piece. We have this machine of chunky grooves and stuff that John (Connolly) was writing. We had the soulful vocals with the heavy vocals, but Clint came in and we added that harmony, we added that other lead vocal and a really good guitar player to the mix. That was what it started as, but when we were without him for awhile it was like we were before we had him. We had a guitar player that was almost of the same mold as the original guy before Clint. He was a very adequate guitar player, not much of a voice. His song writing ability might have been great, but for this band it was not the same thing. So having him back was getting that…

Luke Graham (LG): ‘We’re getting the band back together man.’ (everyone laughs).

LJ: It’s like we had this puzzle, it wasn’t framed, but it was a really nice puzzle and we took it places. There was a piece missing in it, but it was still cool. Getting Clint back we were able to put that piece back.

MR: It was like Sunnydust and Sevendust. It was like two different bands.

LG: As a fan of music, what would be your dream concert line up?

MR: Metallica, Pantera, Sevendust and Snot. It ain’t never gonna happen. That would have been it. That was like the only band that we always wanted to play with. I mean we played with Damage Plan, we did the stuff with Darrell, but we never got to play with Pantera. We were actually on a festival with them, but they played a different day, that’s the closest we ever came to playing with them. We were like brothers with them for years.

LG: “Cold Day Memory” is one of the best albums of 2010, aside from Clint being back, how was the making of this one different from the others?

LJ: I think the major difference is that for a long time we haven’t really pulled in an outside entity to work with the band like a producer. We’ve kind of done it ourselves the last several years. We have before, worked with people like Toby Wright, Ben, who else?

MR: Butch.

LJ: Great guys and we loved working with them, but we just really took the reins in our own hands and this time working with Johnny K, coming to Chicago was a cool experience, even though we did it in the middle of winter last year, which was kind of unfortunate. We were able to get in there and really get to the grind, show Johnny the Sevendust style of working. I think he wanted to take more time than we had to get the album done, because he have to be out here on the road that is what keeps this machine going. We got in there and it was really hard for us, because still we have to go out and do fly dates and detach yourself from being in that studio mode. It let us really work hard, to make sure we had a lot of our work done before we did some of these dates. It was cool to do the album at The Groovemasters and to work with Johnny K is definitely a huge experience.

LG: What advice would you have for a young band coming up on how to deal with the business side?

MR: The only advice I ever give, other than the clichéd ones like get a lawyer, because a lawyer will steal money from you too, so I mean other than that they’re all going to steal from you, but the only advice I ever give is, make sure you’re real close with the dudes you’re playing with before you get a deal, because if you’re lucky enough to get on the road and live in a tube, or van or RV, you better like the dude, because there is no solitary. There is no alone time. I always tell people, when you’re in college and you had a four bedroom apartment with three other roommates and you’re like, ‘my fucking roommate keeps eating my cereal and shit.’ You can close a door; imagine having eleven roommates with one refrigerator and a hallway with a curtain that keeps you all apart. You better like those guys. If you don’t, you might accomplish the dream and have it all fall apart because you can’t stand each other.

LJ: I can say this too, to all those young men and women out there, stay true to your art, but also be a business man or business woman. Keep an eye on what’s going on. When we first started out, we didn’t care, we had a tour, we’re going to be gone for a year, who cares? We don’t have a wife, kids, we don’t care that the guy managing the band is taking all of the money. We think we’re rock stars because we got a …

MR: $150 a week and we’re like yeah we’re fucking rich. Oh hey mom, how are you doing, it’s been a year? You look crazy and drugged out.

LJ: You know what I mean, just being gone. It didn’t matter to us until years later you realize that there was stuff you could have changed along the way if we had been more in tune with the business side of things. You still live your dream and thank the Lord for everything you have, because it could be gone just like that. You can’t take it for granted. Just keep your eye on what’s going on and stay true to your art.

LJ: (To my buddy Bryan Janoski) What kind of shirt is that?

Bryan: (Looks down at his shirt) Oh Silverstar? It’s kind of cool, kind of flashy.

LJ: Thought maybe it was a band or something.

BG: You guys are known for your live shows, giving people something to watch. What can people expect from a Sevendust show?

LJ: We just jam. This cat throwing drum sticks, screaming at people.

MR: You can expect to get abused and maybe if we’re at a small venue you’ll catch a little spit in the crowd.

BG: How many drum sticks do you go through a night?

MR: 30 or 40.

BG: Pairs?

LJ: I call it the lumber yard.

MR: At least 15 to 20 pair.

LG: Expect to be hit.

MR: It’s like going to a baseball game and they say watch out for flying bats and balls.

LJ: High energy fun, we have a good time.

MR: We can guarantee that it is always going to be somewhat entertaining.

And then Morgan was interrupted midsentence by a server changing the numbered table we were sitting at from table four to table one…which LJ got a kick out of might I add. I want to thank Since October and Sevendust for taking the time to do the interview, it was a great time and I hope it reads as good as it was fun for us.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.
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