Sevendust – Interview [1999]

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Sevendust

It was just five years ago when the members of Sevendust held various day jobs, everything from pouring concrete to landscaping. After two years on the road in support of their first album, Sevendust is back and ready to take the world by storm. Home, their sophomore release, will showcase the power that has made Sevendust one of the rising stars of metal. Their melodies make their music accessible, while their thumping bass lines and crunching guitars keep even their rowdiest fans happy.

Sevendust’s drummer, Morgan Rose, is one of the more vocal guys in the group. Little did I know that he is also an avid golfer. I found him doing the three things he loves most when I chatted with him: playing golf, talking about his band, and discussing his wife and his soon to be new job as father.

How’s everything been going?

Great. Lajon just had a baby two days ago.

Who are you touring with right now?

Skunk Anansie and Staind. Then Powerman 5000 will join us soon.

Has everyone been asking you about Woodstock?

Yeah. It was just unreal. We weren’t really there too long. We pretty much went from the bus, did a few press things, and then we had about an hour to get juiced up, but it wasn’t really hard to get juiced up for that one. We played and then we hung out that night and got to see the vagrants blow up the place.

So how long have you known Skunk Anansie?

Pretty much since the beginning of our tour for the first album. We played a radio show with them in Minneapolis and we were blown away with them.

I actually spoke with Cass [bassist for Skunk Anansie] right before he and Skin joined you guys in the studio.

Yeah?

Yeah, because he was talking about Skin doing a song with you.

That song (“Licking Cream”) came out really good. She is phenomenal.

How did you hook up with Chino from the Deftones?

Chino? Yeah, we did some shows with them off our first record and I just became buddies with him. Clint [Lowery] came up with the idea. I thought they were busy, so I didn’t bother with it, but Clint decided to get in touch with our A&R people and they got in contact with him. He was available to do it, and that song (“Bender”) came out awesome. I actually just got off the phone with him right before I called you.

Really?

Yeah. I’m out in Sacramento, and he is here so I’m going to hang out with him.

What about the track “Reconnect”?

That was written about our record label keeping us out on the road way too long. They didn’t force us, but it was written about how we needed to get off the road. We felt like we were slaves. And it’s about the fact that life on the road and off is completely different. When I go home, me and my wife rarely talk about music. And she is also surrounded by it so much. (note: Morgan’s wife is Coal Chamber bassist Rayna Foss)

This time around are you going to limit the touring some?

If it works out the way we want it to work out then we won’t have to go to the same places a dozen times like we did before. The first record was a growing experience, like this will be, but it was such a gradual growth that we’d play one place and there’d be ten people, then we’d go back and there’d be forty, then a hundred, then a thousand. So we had to keep going back and keep going back so it would build. It was a lot of fun. But now we’ve built a following of friends and hopefully a majority of them will come see us within a few of the times we come around so we don’t have to keep going back and they have to listen to “Black” for the fortieth time.

What about “Feel So”?

It is pretty self-explanatory. We try to touch on a few things in the song, but you can’t really explain how you feel. It is too intense to even describe.

Who were some of your influences growing up? What influences you now?

My mentor as far as I was concerned was Terry Bozzio. And as I got older I was fortunate enough to meet Terry. He’s always been my biggest influence. Now I look up to John [Otto] from Limp Bizkit and Dave [McClain] from Machine Head. Musically, we all came from a different school, but we respect each other’s musical backgrounds. I listen to anything from AC/DC to Jeff Beck, and then there are other guys who listen to Earth, Wind, & Fire and Maxwell. We have a huge melting pot of ideas. I think that is why we came out sounding original without worrying about it.

I was talking to my friends little brother who loves you guys and he said you were on Mortal Kombat, the game’s soundtrack.

Well, actually it was for More Kombat, the second one. Our name was listed on it as Crawlspace. That is what we were signed as. We were signed as Crawlspace in Los Angeles and we are told that we couldn’t use the name anymore because they owned it.

Really?

Yeah. That was a bummer to have our first release on a cd and have the name taken away from us. It was like, ‘No, really, that’s my band,’ and everyone was like, ‘Sure it is.’

How did you get signed?

We got signed because we were playing a little rat hole in Atlanta and some people from TVT got lost and noticed that the place we were playing served alcohol, and when they walked in we were on stage. Total fluke. Every other record label in the world told us we wouldn’t amount to shit. They all passed on us. They kept saying, ‘Hard rock’s not in.’ Then we went to booking agents after we got signed and they were like, ‘Well, there really is no market for you guys.’ It took months until the Agency Group signed us. We had one agent, one label, and one booking agent that would take a shot at us. Of course, now we get calls from a lot of booking agents and a lot of labels trying to get us away. It’s the way it works. There will also be a day when no one wants to work with us again, so I’m a realest and I’m enjoying it while it’s here. I love every second of it. I know someday Sevendust won’t be what they want to listen to, so I’m going to enjoy it while they do like it.

You’ve done Woodstock, Ozzfest, Van’s Warped Tour, and have toured with a ton of great bands. Are there any that really stick out, any bands you really enjoyed playing with?

Limp Bizkit was the most fun. Ozzfest was great. Megadeth treated us great. Snot was my favorite ever. We toured together when neither had a following at all. We became such great friends, and it was absolute devastation when Lynn [Strait, lead vocalist] died. We just got off the Warped Tour and it was unreal.

Have you had any real crazy experiences on the road?

Vinnie had a problem with his insides and was throwing up blood like a vampire on stage in a bucket. He refused to call the show. I kept saying, ‘Vinnie, cancel the show you’re fucking dying.’ We would never cancel a show. We just canceled three shows and it took a pregnancy to do it. You’ve got to be dead or a serious family emergency to miss a show. Vinnie pretty much set the tone early on and we knew that no sickness was going to stop us from performing. I played one show with a one hundred and three fever, and my tech was holding my back to make sure I didn’t fall over because my equilibrium was off. We’ve done some real ick, crazy shows.

Any crazy fan stuff?

Well, the normal stuff. I don’t know, we’re all married or with someone so maybe I shouldn’t say anything about that. (laughs)

What are your plans for ringing in the millennium?

Our dream show is to play Detroit with Metallica and Ted Nugent. Hopefully we can get a little luck on our side and play with them at the Silver Dome. We’ve already done Woodstock, and that is the only thing that could compare to that.

Do you think you are the future of metal?

We don’t think that. I don’t know. I just hope people just enjoy us longer than I expect they will. The music trends seem to change so quickly that I just hope we have enough longevity with us. We are music fans, and I think that we are diverse enough where you can’t pigeonhole us into one style. I mean, we’ve played shows with everyone from Tonic to Stabbing Westward to Limp Bizkit to Coal Chamber. We are like, ‘I wonder if there is any band in the world that could do a show with Tonic one day, then play with the Nixons the next, and then play with Coal Chamber.’ I really don’t think many bands could do that. I mean, this is only our second record. I don’t think we’ve proven anything. The only thing we’ve proven is that we can stay out on the road. Which a lot of bands have a problem with. Twenty-one months straight on the road is something we take pride in.

So what’s next?

Well, we’re touring now, and then I’m going home in mid-September because my wife is going to be due to have our baby, and then we will tour from there with maybe Family Values or Kid Rock. There has been a lot tossed around, but it’s up in the air right now.

+ charlie craine

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