SEVENDUST Guitarist On New Album: ‘It Was A Challenge To Us All To Push The Envelope’

JAM Magazine recently conducted an interview with SEVENDUST guitarist John Connolly. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

JAM Magazine: It seems that the five of you took more chances [on SEVENDUST‘s ninth studio album, “Black Out The Sun”] than on previous efforts, especially the mid-tempo changes you hear on various songs.

Connolly: Let’s face it, L.J. (Lajon Witherspoon, lead singer) sounds like L.J., no matter how the music is presented. On this record, as opposed to what we’ve done in the past, we all decided to take all the little things we do in songs and just pushed it forward a bit. We wanted to do something slightly new, yet it would still feel familiar to SEVENDUST fans. When you have a voice like Lajon‘s, it identifies every single song we play because it’s so recognizable. Musically, it was a challenge to us all to push the envelope and take the music into uncharted territory.

JAM Magazine: There’s no doubt the strength of [the first single] “Decay” really drove sales of the album upon its release.

Connolly: That song just kept growing and getting played on stations across the country. It’s actually kind of funny though, that the one complaint we’ve had about the song, believe it or not, is on the business side. The labels, our management, they were worried the single was actually moving too quickly up the charts. In the past when we released an album, these same people would call and say they were worried the lead single wasn’t moving fast enough. They wanted to know if we could juice the song up a bit by rerecording it. Now they were telling us to slow it down. I just laughed.

JAM Magazine: The Internet has turned the “music business” model upside down and inside out making it extremely difficult these days to predict what it takes to get your music noticed.

Connolly: You’re right. These days, it all doesn’t make much sense. Every time someone thinks they know the game, it turns out they don’t have a clue. All of us are just really, really happy at how well the song turned out, and how well the album itself has sold and been received by our fans. The crazy thing about “Decay” is the song was written years ago for our last album, “Cold Day Memory”.

JAM Magazine: Most bands don’t revisit music they wrote in the past. Why this song?

Connolly: What typically happens when you’re writing for an album is someone will bring in a piece of music to the band. Then you all start working on it. For whatever reason, on this song, we stopped what we were doing. Next thing you know, something happens in the studio and the band started working on another piece of music, and that song ended up being shelved. Stuff like that typically happens when you are putting an album together. I’m assuming that at the time, we figured at some point we’d go back to the song, but it just never happened.

JAM Magazine: Was this just a happy accident then?

Connolly: In a sense, it was. While finishing up the mixing stages on “Black Out”, we thought it was done and didn’t need anything extra on the record. Someone then was going through a backlog of the music we had, and pulled out the tape of the song. We all heard it and thought, “What’s that?” This riff on there really kicked our ass, so collectively we thought it would probably take us 30 minutes to get the whole song worked out. So we went ahead and got the music going then wrote lyrics to it. We figured the tune would at least be a good B-side tune, or maybe even a bonus track on the CD. Half-way through the recording of the vocals, Lajon is just smiling like crazy. I asked him what’s up, and he said, “This song is a monster!” That was one of those “stop the presses” moments. I had been thinking the very same thing that the tune should be a single on our album.

Read the interview at JAM Magazine.


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