Latest release: Kill the Flaw (Warner)Website: www.sevendust.com
“You know man, I think it’s funny when people say that it’s too hard or too far to go tour Australia,” declares Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon with a laugh of disbelief. “Why would you not want to visit the most beautiful place in the world? Definitely not us! We love coming out there, we’re excited about it and we can’t wait to come back and catch up to all the Sevendust family in Australia again man. If you want to quote me, quote me on this: Sevendust is not having a concert there, we’re having a family reunion!”
If there’s a band that knows about familial bond, it’s Sevendust, the Atlanta-born five piece that has lasted 22 years with only one temporary bump in their line-up. It’s a relationship that must be the envy of many another band, and one that Witherspoon believes has allowed Sevendust to see through many a hard time and to grow in strength.
“Of course we get mad at each other but we’re brothers, man,” he says. “I might say, ‘That guy’s a douchebag today!’ but you know at the end of the day, it’s something that we have together, that we have created together.”
He talks about that creation the way a gardener would a favourite tree, and has special appreciation for all the people who have put roadblocks in the band’s path over the years.
“I think that you have to start it from the root… the seed… and I think that we were able to water it and nourish it to the way it is now. It’s real. It’s the real deal man. We’ve just been together since Day One, man. I would never take this for granted. A lot of people along the way have had their hand in our pockets and done us wrong, some people that we’d rather not work with, but I think that’s just made us work harder. Those people who wanted to bring us down have just made us work harder, and I thank them for that!”
No doubt, the singer would probably count Soundwave among “those people” after the drama that surrounded their abandoned 2014 Australian tour plans. Disappointment and frustration were laid at the feet of both the band and the festival for the no-show. In interviews since then, various members of Sevendust have said that they simply weren’t going to be paid if they made the trip. They might love coming to our wide brown land, but doing so is an expensive business and no band can afford to lose money on a tour.
All the ducks are in the right rows now however, and Sevendust will be here in March for the first time since 2010. The roadblocks have been removed.
“They’ve all been cleared away. We have the right people working with us. We don’t have any douchebags lurking anymore man,” Witherspoon says unapologetically. “I promise it will never be the way it was before, with someone holding us back from getting down there to play in Australia. I can’t say it enough: I cannot wait. Before all the other stuff – the album doing well, the Grammy nomination – before all that, we were excited about being able to come back to Australia. That’s what we’ve been excited about, and we just can’t wait to get there. You guys are the icing on the cake, without having all the layers.”
The last twelve months has been worthy of a celebration for the metal veterans. Their tenth studio album Kill the Flaw made #13 on the US Billboard chart and just fell short of a place on the Australian album chart. The track ‘Thank You’ was not only their highest charting single in the US since 2010’s ‘Unraveling’ but it scored the band a Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal Performance. While Sevendust eventually lost out to Ghost, Lajon Witherspoon was genuinely ecstatic just to be in line for the gong. Other artists can be ambiguous to the point of total disinterest in the idea of winning a Grammy, but for Witherspoon, it’s validation of two decades of work.
“Hey man, that’s a blessing! I’m excited. I’d hate to be one of those guys who are like,” – he puts on a growl – “Oh a Grammy. Blah blah, that don’t mean shit…” He switches back to jovial mode. “That’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Even as a kid, even watching the Grammys now, that’s an excitement that I’d wish to be part of now. Now after twenty-something years, we’re gonna be nominated to be a part of it? I’m taking it man!”
Sevendust are touring in March:
13/3: Capitol, Perth WA
14/3: The Gov, Adelaide SA
16/3: Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast QLD
17/3: Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane QLD
18/3: 170 Russell, Melbourne VIC – SOLD OUT
19/3: Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW