All of us that are out there covering the music industry, whether it be bloggers or paid professionals, we all started out as fans. It’s important to be professional, but we should never lose that inner fan. I’ve been a Sevendust fan for as long as I’ve known they existed. I’m also a big fan of Alter Bridge’s music. So when I found out there was a band called Projected that was basically made up of the guys in Sevendust Alter Bridge and Creed, I jumped at the chance to cover it.
Between Sevendust and Alter Bridge there are five side projects, Slash & Myles Kennedy, The Tremonti Project, Call Me No One, Projected and Hello Demons Meet Skeletons (and I suppose we could count Creed to make six). Between those bands, they’ve released four albums and each album is fantastic, beginning to end. The album, “Human” by Projected was probably the most surprising of the bunch, for the simple fact that I knew Mark Tremonti and Clint Lowery were good singers, but I had no idea John Connolly had it in him.
Beginning to end “Human” is a high energy solid hard rock album. I got the chance to chat with John Connolly about the new album “Human” which is out now, along with what’s going on with Sevendust and the possibility of a super tour with Alter Bridge Sevendust and a couple of the side projects…hey it could happen, I’m going to do everything in my power to get a rumor going.
Listen to the extended interview right here:
Zoiks!: I was checking out your website and it seems like Projected started as a bunch of friends getting together having a good time that turned into something more. Is that about right?
John Connolly: Pretty much, I don’t want to say we set the bar low, but we said we’re just going to go in here and have fun with this. We had a bunch of songs lying around that we wanted to take in. Originally it was just going to be me going in there and doing most everything. The more we talked about it and the more we got together a game plan and studio time the more we kind of started talking about, ‘hey Scott (Phillips) remember ten years ago when we first talked about doing that thing, that side project? Well what are you doing in March?’ (laughs) Literally it was pretty much that. Erock (Eric Friedman) was like, ‘hey man I want to get in on this.’ I had already talked to Vinnie (Hornsby) about doing it, because we knew that Morgan (Rose) and Clint (Lowery) were going to be doing Call Me No One. It literally came together for lack of a better description and explanation for how it really happened. It wasn’t like I sat down and said, here is my top fifty drummers that I’m going to go after, here’s my top 25 guitar players, it wasn’t that at all. It was just us saying, ‘hey man, let’s just go in and do what we always said we were going to do.’ I think the end result at the end of the day surprised us just as much as it surprised everyone else.
Z!: You’re taking on the vocal duties, how difficult of a transition is it to be a front man?
JC: You know it’s hard to describe. I think the first thing that you go through is the acceptance that there’s no one to hide behind. With Sevendust its like let LJ do his thing and I’ll duck in back there and stay out of the way a little bit. With Projected all of the sudden its like, ‘wow, the sound of your voice is what is going to carry this whole deal.’ Coming to terms with that is an interesting thing. First of all you have the fact that you’ve never done it, then throw in the fact that we’re going to record at home too, let’s do it in probably the worst environment we could possibly be doing it in (laughs). It’s nice and convenient to be able to do it when you want to do it, but you have the UPS guy unloading stuff, you’ve got lawnmowers in the background, dogs barking, ‘Just Dance 3’ blending in a little bit. You throw all those things in the mix and you hang on and ask, is it doable? What do we have here that works? But yeah, it’s tricky, it’s a lot of different learning processes, but it’s definitely a cool experience to actually step out and say where is my voice, what is my voice.
Z!: I’ve always thought of Sevendust as one of the hardest working bands out there, and I guess I should include Alter Bridge as well, because between the two bands there are like four or five projects going on.
JC: Yeah that’s true because you’ve got Slash with Myles, then the Tremonti project going on.
Z!: Call Me No One and Hello Demons Meet Skeletons.
JC: Yeah Call Me No One, then this. It’s like, ‘yeah we get a break, let’s start a band.’ (laughs)
Z!: Are you not capable of relaxing?
JC: I guess, I don’t know. Someone pointed it out last week, they were like, ‘so you get a six month break and you start another band?’ I was like; ‘yeah it’s kind of weird when you put it that way.’ Sometimes things happen and all of the sudden you go, ‘Oh shit we have a band.’ (laughs)
Z!: Are you going to take this out on the road?
JC: Absolutely, at some point. It’s just a matter of when. I’ve got about a 75 to 80% decent look on what we’re going to be doing Sevendust wise, but we’ve gotta figure out what’s going on with the Alter Bridge schedule and the Creed schedule too, because Creed has some…I’m not sure what Creed has going on at the end of the year, but I know they’ve got some offers for October/November, so I’m not real sure where they’re going to sit with that stuff, but once we figure that out, I would love to. A few weeks here, a few weeks there, make it one of those things that we kind of pick and choose the moments we want to do it, but yeah we really look forward to doing it. I think the album surprised us to the point where we realized we’d probably have a really good time taking it out there.
Z!: This will probably be the dumbest question you ever get asked, but between Sevendust and Alter Bridge, I think each of you guys have knocked your side projects out of the park. Tremonti’s album is great, Call Me No One is awesome and this is awesome. Is there ever a chance of Sevendust and Alter Bridge going out together and throwing the side projects up as the opening acts?
JC: You know what, anything is possible. Me and Mark (Tremonti) joked, he kept looking at me and said, ‘my goal this year is to get Tremonti project and Projected out on the road.’ Then we came up with this whole idea that we’d share the bus and share the crew. The only person on the bus that we didn’t know would be the bus driver. Everybody would know everybody, Erock’s in both bands. But yeah, at some point I could definitely see…I don’t know if we could do six weeks of doing two shows a night, that would be the tough thing. Schedule wise would be a little tricky because everybody would have to pull the double duty. Doing five or six in a row wouldn’t probably be something that we’d do, but yeah I think it’s theoretically doable. Even if I did the entire Projected record it’s about ½ of what a Sevendust show would be anyway, but you know, I’d be willing to give it a shot, I’d probably lose my voice in the second week, ‘alright tours cancelled, great idea, appreciate it John.’ (Laughs)
Z!: On your website in the ‘About the Band’ section you mention how it was nice to work with no pressure, no preconceived expectations. There’s been talk that the next Sevendust record could be the last, and if the band does decide to call it a day how much of it do you think would be do to the music industry and the business side just sucking all the fun out of your art?
JC: If that were the case that would be the reason. In all honesty…obviously you can look around and you can’t say it’s not because they don’t want to make music, because they’re making music in different bands now. (laughs) That drive is still there, the thirst and the hunger to actually just make new music regardless of what it says at the end of the day. If it ever ended up being where Sevendust called it quits, it would be because of that very reason, the fact that we couldn’t find a way to make it work on the business side of things. I mean for us in all honesty that is our biggest struggle. It’s never a musical thing that’s a struggle. It’s just a lot of it comes down to the business stuff. To be quite honest with you, we just went through our last major change about five or six months ago and things are starting to look positive. We made a few key changes in the off time.
I don’t want to say that we will or we won’t. I don’t really intend on it, but you never know, as we get older and everyone tries new things. I think Sevendust will be something that will always be there if we choose to do it. Not saying this is the last record, but if it were the last record, it’d probably only be for a minute, I don’t know that we would ever call it up forever. We get asked that question a lot because we had discussed, maybe we should do one more full album, one more full cycle and then not really take a break, but do what we did this time, we went and made a Projected record, did a Call Me No One record. It would be kind of nice if at some point in time we could spend a little time on those things. Those are the only things that I think would call for us hitting the pause button again.
It’s the five of us, which is kind of a strange situation to be in. Fifteen years ago, class of 1997, how many bands are still all together, the original five guys? I’m like holy shit. We really do enjoy each other’s company. We’re just excited to get back into the studio and make music again. This break has been, even though we worked on music and did side projects and different things, it’s different. When you’re writing for Sevendust, you’re writing for Sevendust, it’s hard to explain. I know what’s Projected and I know what’s Sevendust. I wouldn’t say that this is the last.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.