Snake Nation’s ninth album will be released on March 26, 2013.
Oh wait. You don’t know who Snake Nation is, you say? Let’s try this again, Sevendust’s 9th album, Black Out The Sun, will be released on March 26, 2013. As some die-hard fans probably know, when the members of Sevendust originally got together in 1994, Snake Nation was the name of their band. After a couple of name changes, they finally settled on Sevendust, a name that is certainly familiar to music fans worldwide.
For the handful of people who may not have heard of Sevendust, here is a brief rundown of Sevendust’s history. Their self-titled album was released in 1997 and brought us songs which are still fan favorites to this day-Black and Bitch. They soon had the opportunity to tour as part of Ozzfest. 1999’s Home peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 with songs such as Denial and Waffle, followed by Animosity in 2001, and Seasons in 2003. Guitarist Clint Lowery left the band in 2004, and 2005’s Next featured Sonny Mayo as his replacements. The band had some problems with their current label, which led to the creation of their own label, 7Bros. Soon, 2007’s Alpha debuted at #14 in the US, followed quickly by Chapter VII:Hope and Sorrow. 2010’s Cold Day Memory was the first album featuring the entire original lineup since 2003, as Clint Lowery made his return. On their off-time between albums, several band members took part in other projects.
Which brings us to 2013 and the release of Black Out The Sun. From a tour bus parked in Beaumont, Texas, Lajon Witherspoon, vocalist of Sevendust took the time to talk with Screamer about the band’s upcoming album, tour, and more.
“Being away from each other for a year, just getting together, it was like it needed to be. It was just the band jammin’ together. That’s what we do and that’s what we do the best, so it was easy for us. When we got together, it was a song a day. It was Sevendust the band, like when we first started.” Recording at Architekt Studios in Butler, New Jersey with engineer Mike Ferretti, the band wrote and laid down tracks as they went along, completing the entire album in merely 31 days. Witherspoon says, “We went in every day from 12 noon to 12 midnight and we only took off Saturdays and went back Sundays for those 30 days. “
When they did have some downtime, the band become frequent visitors of the “Murder Bar” across the street. Apparently the owner of the studio informed them that if they went there, they would be murdered. Thankfully it turned out to be harmless and even led to a song title on the album. “It’s a rippin’ song man, and it also makes you think of the Murder Bar,” Witherspoon says with a laugh. “We would go there and hang out and just met a lot of interesting people and I think made the album the way it came out. It had a lot to do with the whole energy and just the whole vibe, everyone out there in Jersey.”
We had some music from the last album, Cold Day Memory that was left over and I didn’t even think Decay was going to make the album.
The current single, Decay, is already hitting the airwaves, but strangely enough it almost did not make it to the album. “We had some music from the last album, Cold Day Memory that was left over and I didn’t even think Decay was going to make the album. It turned out to be a great piece of music that was put together and the song turned out rockin! You never know what you have until you pull out the vault and dust the stuff off.” Recording is not always fun and games, however. Clint Lowery lost his father Willie, a patriarch to the entire band, prior to recording and the title track became a tribute to him, helping to deal with the loss and pain in a positive way. According to Witherspoon, “That’s a beautiful song. I think the album is a dark, uplifting album.”
On October 7, 2012 Sevendust invited 107 friends and supporters to listen to the album before it was released at an intimate event hosted by Jose Mangin and Kayla Riley of Sirius XM. “That was a great night. And we took everyone to the Murder Bar afterwards,” states Witherspoon.
The album is being released on Sevendust’s own 7Bros record label. While the band has definitely had more than their fair share of problems with labels in the past, Witherspoon is not quick to point fingers or share the gory details. Simply,he shares, “You know, a lot of things happened and its better now. After awhile, we just realized that we needed to have more control of our destiny and more control of what’s going on in our lives with the music industry. So we started that and it definitely helps for us to be in charge of things. We spent a long time letting other people do things like that.” 7Bros hopes to eventually be able to sign other bands to their label.
And the band surely knows what they are doing by now as they are quickly approaching the 20 year mark as a band. Witherspoon was surprised to hear this news, as he jokingly responded, “Wow! Yeah, we have! It’s almost 20 years! Dang it! Don’t we get some kind of award or something like that?” and adds, “We’re still very blessed to be a relevant band that’s putting out their ninth album. Very blessed.”
In support of Black Out the Sun, Sevendust will be touring extensively this year with bands such as Coal Chamber, 3 Years Hollow, Candlelight Red, Lacuna Coil, and newcomers Avatar. “Avatar, it’s their first time in the States, period. It’s incredible. They’re from Sweden. It’s amazing to see these guys seeing things for the first time in the States and be with them when they see and experience it. And they rock the crowd.” Even with almost two decades of performing under their belts, there are still some places the band hasn’t made it to yet. Where would Witherspoon like to perform? “China, Japan, stuff like that. We’re talking right now about going to South America, so that would be cool, but yeah, just hitting those places that haven’t seen Sevendust and building those relationships with all those beautiful people around this place we call the world.” So far, Witherspoon that every date on the tour has been “pretty crazy! I look forward to everything just because it’s a new album. We’ve been gone for a while and it’s a good vibe. Every night when we get to play and those people are singing our songs and giving us that energy. That’s a highlight for me every time.”
Between Cold Day Memory and Black Out The Sun, several band members took part in other projects. Clint Lowery and drummer Morgan Rose formed Call me No One, while guitarist John Connolly and bassist Vince Hornsby play in Projected, with both bands releasing albums in June of 2012. Though Sevendust is back in full force, Witherspoon says that he believes both projects will continue. “I’m sure the guys will be doing their thing. Projected played at the Johnny Damon Wounded Warrior benefit and that was awesome to see. I’m sure Clint and Morgan with Call Me No One will do something again.” But despite some internet rumors that this may be the last album and tour for Sevendust, Witherspoon says there is definitely a long future ahead for the band. “No way. It’s definitely not the last Sevendust album. I think we have a lot more to do.”On a side note, Witherspoon shared the story of how the song Waffle, from the 1999 album Home, got its name. “Sharon Osbourne-true story! Sharon Osbourne was talking with the band and we were going to have her manage the band or whatever. For a long time we were up and down about it, and I remember her saying to us, ‘Oh you guys are just waffling around.” So that’s really where the name came from. Sharon Osbourne said we were waffling around. Pretty crazy,huh?”
So what does the rest of 2013 have in store for Sevendust? “Touring, touring, touring the world! Getting back overseas, going over there, rocking it out all over the place and hopefully Black Out The Sun will do great and everyone will enjoy it and no matter what, we’re still gonna be beating the streets, so look out! I’m excited and very happy and feel very blessed to be a part of it and look forward to seeing everyone out there on the road.”
So, how would Witherspoon want the band to be remembered in the extremely distant future when all is said and done? “That we rocked them all and had the respect of a hard-working band that stayed true to their art and loved each and every person. Not a fan, we’re all family.”
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