An Interview With Jhon of Sevendust Band

An Interview With Jhon of Sevendust Band

Alright, so you’re about to release your fourth album “Seasons,” how would you say it compares to your previous efforts?

John – A lot more mature. A lot more focused. We just had a lot more time to spend with it. Working with Butch Walker in the studio just made us a lot more efficient, and we could move a lot faster. We wrote a lot of songs for this record. I think we just pushed better songs further along then we had a chance to with “Animosity.”

Fourth album, that has quite a ring to it huh?

John – Oh yeah!

Did you ever think you would make it this far back when you were putting out your first album?

John – Nope. We were just happy to have 50,000 people buy the first record. It’s been a dream come true to be able to have such loyal fans all along the way and everything too. It’s definitely something you don’t expect.

One thing I’ve always wondered about the first album, do you ever wish you could go back and rerecord it knowing what you know now? After seeing you guys 18 times, I can say it doesn’t do the live show much justice.

John – You know, it’s one of those things too, on the first record, for a lot of reasons, I’d always like to go back and redo it, but there’s something about that record that is a little different then the rest of them which is, we had never been on the road. We really didn’t know what kind of a band we were when we made that first album. I mean, we knew what kind of studio band we were going to be, but we had no idea what the live show was going to turn out to be and all that stuff, so it would be kind of interesting to hear what it would sound like if we took those songs and did a modernized version of it, but there’s a certain beauty to that. That’s the one that is going to be different for that very reason.

From the first album to the new one, you’ve steadily progressed over the years. Do you think it’s important to progress from album to album?

John – Sure. I mean, we grow, we changed as people, and we know listeners, they don’t want to hear the same thing over, and over, and over again. I think it’s important for us musically to try new things and to try and get to places that we haven’t been to and write types of songs that we may have never done, it just keeps it more interesting, you know?

An Interview With Jhon of Sevendust Band

All of you have a pretty even role in writing the songs, how does that all work out?

John – Whoever has got the best stuff wins, it’s as simple as that. There are some songs where somebody may take a stab at it and the first thing that comes out is just the thing that everybody loves and that’s it, because everybody has their own blank versions. We all take the songs home and sit down and sometimes we’ll rewrite a song four or five times before we get it right, and sometimes we can’t even remember who came up with what parts on some of the songs, we just look at them like “huh?” I’ll keep it written down and go like “you know, back like three months ago, you guys put the bridge in there, and then Clint came in and had the first line of the chorus,” but it keeps it interesting though. Everyone just kind of throws their two cents in and try to make it the best thing that it possibly can be.

The lead single off the album “Enemy” is the official song of the WWE pay per view this month, how did that come up and how cool is that?

John – It’s pretty wild. We found out about it I guess the day before they started running the commercials for it and ironically enough, Chyna is actually in the video, and even though they don’t have anything to do with each other at the moment, it was just kind of weird that it worked out that way, but it’s cool. We know a lot of the wrestlers and it’s great to have your song on television, and I have people calling me up saying “we just heard the song on TV!” It’s definitely cool.

Recently it was revealed that the song was written about former Coal Chamber front man Dez Fafara, what was that all about?

John – Dez is just a piece of shit. He’s just one of those people where, he’s basically a bad person. There’s good people and bad people in this world, and he’s just, he wants to be a good person and he wants to act like a good person, but he’s really just a bad dude and he’s just looking out for himself, and it was something Morgan got inspired to write about, and he teed off on him a little bit, but Dez knows what he did, and he’s a lying, stealing motherfucker pretty much. (editors note: in the few times I have talked to Dez, he has been nothing but nice to me, this was just the obvious question to be asked)

You’re out now playing an acoustic tour, how did you decide to do this and how has it been?

John – It’s been great, you know, it was just something where we knew we were going to go out on tour for the new record, and the record wasn’t coming out until October, and we kind of needed something to do with our time to kill a couple months, so we were just like “What do we do? Do we go out headlining?” because we couldn’t play a lot of the songs. We’re really, really trying to keep a lot of the internet stuff as minimized as we can, so we were just like “man, let’s just go and have a listening party.” That was pretty much how it started. We’ll go to each town and play the CD, hang out and play the CD. We had done the acoustic thing in Atlanta, we had done like five songs, and we had done it one other time in Orlando, and it was kind of just a no brainer, it was like why don’t we just go out and do that? If we’re going to play for them, let’s do it totally different. And it’s not, like a lot of people are thinking that we’re going to get up there and play five or six songs and be done with it, but we’ve been playing about two hours a night.

Oh really?

John – Oh yeah! We’re playing anywhere in between 16 and 20 songs every night, a lot of them are not ours, you know, cover songs pop out of nowhere, we just keep it really laid back, it really is an up close and personal kind of thing. It’s just a lot of fun and it’s something different to give to our fans to say you’re not going to see this, this is not what the new album is all about, but, it’ll be kind of cool to go and do it and just check it out.

Well this is my 19th time seeing you guys…

John – 19th?! Alright man!

And all I’ve been saying for like the last year is that I wanted to see you guys play acoustic.

John – Well you’re fixin to see it!

It’s going to be a great night! After this you’re heading out with Staind. Do you ever feel weird having to open for bands that used to open for you?

John – No, not at all. You know, to me, it’s just the utmost respect that we have for those guys who will go back around and take us out on the road. It never happens. We don’t have too many band that we’ve played with that will take us back out, so when we get an opportunity to do it, we’d love to do it. We love those guys, the Staind guys are great, and we’ve got a new record coming out, they’re on their second single, the timing just kind of lined up this time, like it was pretty much a no brainer that we were going to tour together. But it’s cool, whoever plays where on the bill, it really doesn’t matter to us. Staind took off like a bat out of hell after they went on the road with us, so it’ll be fun to go out and kind of warm up the crowd a little bit.

Are you ever going to bring back the trampolines?

John – We’ve been talking about it, and the only way that I think we will ever do it is where if we can get to the point where we are carrying the deck and building the stage, and build it into the stage, just because the way we were doing it wasn’t safe. Too many blown ACL’s and twists and sprains. We didn’t have any breaks, which is good, but it’s cool, it was definitely something different to throw in there, but we never really thought about it, and it was just like you know, we’re on our third beer and we’re jumping off of trampolines with guitars in our hands, what were we thinking?

(laughter) Tragedy seems to follow the band around for some reason or another. In the past few years you’ve lost Lynn Strait, Dave Williams, and not too long ago, Lajon’s brother. How do you kind of make it through these kind of situations?

John – Play shows man. You play shows and you make new music. You just kind of realize that it’s, I don’t know if it’s anything that’s just with us, but it’s just life. You’re going to lose people. Eventually it’s going to happen. We’ve all lost family members over the last eight years that we’ve been a together recording and making music, and it’s part of the healing process, just making music, and then you get out and play in front of a crowd and remember that is why you do what you do. Then every night we’ll get a handful of people that will come up to us and be like “you know that song ‘Angel’s Son’ meant a lot to me because I lost someone,” so it has kind of that universal connection, but it’s tough, it’s tough when you lose people that are really, really close to you.

In the case of Lynn, you went out and wrote “Angel’s Son” in his memory. Is there a song like that on the new album for Dave or Lajon’s brother?

John – You know, it’s kind of a weird thing, because at first we were going to do something for Dave and then when Lajon’s brother died, it was kind of like ok, now we’ve got two different people and honestly, it was kind of something that we thought about a little bit, and we’ve got a tribute to both of them in the record, a little memorial for them, but we kind of decided look, if the song is going to be there it’s going to be there, and if it’s not, then it won’t be. We won’t go out of our way to really try and focus on having something that is about that, because there was actually a song on the Drowning Pool CD that was kind of spur of the moment, first thing that, you know as soon as I got the phone call, I was working on one thing and I went immediately to that other thing, so it’s kind of like you know what, if a song comes around it will come around, but it just hasn’t come around yet.

So you guys are all getting older and you all have families now, do you find it harder and harder to leave home and go out on tour?

John – Sure, I mean it gets rougher, but you just have to be more careful about it. How long do you stay out? If you’re going to be out touring on a record for 18 months, you’ve got to make sure you go home every now and then to make sure everything is cool at home, keep yourself charged up. There’s nothing worse then to get out there and to be eight months into a tour and just run out of gas, so we’re a little more kinder to our bodies nowadays.

You’ve also been fortunate, you know eight years as a band and you’ve never had a member change.

John – Yup. Very true (laughs). There’s got to be something good going on.

Ok we like to switch it up a bit, Vanilla Coke or Vanilla Pepsi?

John – Vanilla Coke.

Which fast food restaurant has the best value menu?

John – Probably Wendy’s. I think Wendy’s has the best dollar menu for sure.

Who would win in a fight between Superman and Mighty Mouse?

John – Superman, come on, Christopher Reeves even in the wheel chair, you know it’s Superman!

Who would you say some of your influences are?

John – Musically, Trent Reznor, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Pantera, Metallica.

An Interview With Jhon of Sevendust Band

You’ve toured with so many bands at this point, is there a band that you never got a chance to tour with that you would really like to head out with, past or present?

John – Pink Floyd would be an absolutely amazing experience, but it would have to be the whole Roger Waters thing if they can ever smooth that out, but that will never happen and we’ll probably never play with them, but playing with a band like that would be absolutely amazing, them or like U2, something like that would be amazing.

What do you do to keep busy on the road?

John – Interviews (laughs). We do a lot of press, especially when the new record is coming out, some of the guys play golf, some of us go to the gym. We work on music, right now we’re not working on a lot of music because we just went through that whole process, but we’re already starting to get the itch again, so we’ll probably end up making a lot more music while we’re out here, but we’ve always got stuff to keep ourselves busy out here.

So is there going to be a shorter time in between albums this time around?

John – It could, I mean it’s possible that it could happen that way. We were actually, you know it’s funny that you say that, we actually had so many songs going into the studio this time that honestly, there were probably 20 songs that we could have finished, and we actually went to the label and said look, we’re already in the studio, why don’t we just stay in here an extra two or three weeks, record all the rest of this stuff, put it in the can, and then April or May of next year, record another two or three songs and make that the next record, and then have another record come out in the summer time, but they didn’t think it was a good idea.

What keeps you motivated on the days you’re sick and just don’t feel like doing it anymore?

John – Remembering that the alternative is way worse, you know you could be at home. Even though you’re sick out on the road, I could be sitting at home working construction with one of my buddies or something like that. There’s some days where you just have a bad day for whatever reason, you know if you had a bad conversation on the phone or if you got in an argument with one of your crew guys, or something like that, but usually you get up there and before you even play the first note, just hearing the crowd, that kind of sets everything into perspective. It’s just (snaps fingers) that’s that, that’s the moment, that nervous energy before we’ve ever done anything, and just hearing why we are out here doing it.

How would you sell your new album “Seasons” to someone who has never heard of Sevendust before?

John – It’s heavy. It’s really heavy and just tons of melody. We’re real big fans of melody and there’s no reason that a heavy band can’t have something to sing over, and we just really pushed it a lot farther then we had a chance to on the last few records

Any last comments?

John – Check it out, check the record out and let us know what you think, just email us, we do read them occasionally!

Big thanks to John for taking the time to do the interview and to Robin and Christian from TVT for setting it up/getting me the photo pass. Sevendust is my favorite band. I love these guys, as musicians, and as people. Their new album “Seasons” hits stores October 7th and will surely amaze you. Own it. Please.

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