The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Lajon Witherspoon Sevendust - Interview
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LAJON WITHERSPOON

SEVENDUST


Sevendust

We have had the pleasure of speaking to 3 members of Sevendust in recent times (see links at end of interview) including our latest with frontman LJ who sounded the most excited about coming back to Australia for a headline tour in March. With a new baby just born and a Grammy nomination for the track "Thank You", things couldn't be better for the Sevendust singer as we spoke to LJ about the upcoming tour and more.

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LJ: How are you today?

Andrew: Yeah I'm doing very well, how are you?

LJ: Fantastic man! Just counting down the days to get to Australia to see you all.

Andrew: Yeah definitely man, looking forward to it. It's going to be an awesome tour.

LJ: Cannot wait man, six years has been way too long and I like to apologise on behalf of Sevendust from me personally that it wasn't our fault [laughs]. For us not to be there...when people say 'You guys don't want to come to Australia?', are you kidding me? Why would we not want to be in the most beautiful place in the world. I still feel six years ago when we left there, I couldn't wait to get back because your energy and the people and the beautiful places was so contagious and I just want to say sorry. This time over it will never again be the way that it was before as far as us coming back. We have the right people in the organisation, we had a lot of people that were kinda tying us down and it's just something that I look forward to and I can't sleep at night because I can't wait to get to Australia!

Andrew: Yeah it's going to be a fantastic tour so looking forward to it. We had the opportunity to speak to both John (Connolly, guitars) and Morgan (Rose, drums) recently and they were both pretty excited about coming back over here and they were both saying they have something special planned for us as far as the setlists and all that kind of stuff is concerned.

LJ: Oh man it's going to be hard to put something together because we wish we could play everything [laughs]. We would have to have two nights of Sevendust but yeah we're going to put together something real cool man and I'm just excited about everything. It's one of those kinds of things where I think the band has probably bumped heads a little bit because some of us want to play some stuff...We'll probably end up going over set time every night, how about that? [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs] I don't think the fans will be complaining about that, the more the better I say!

LJ: Right on! Yeah it's going to be fun man, we're just excited about playing and jam the songs together that we haven't played together. It's a good time, I think for whatever reason that the bad part of us not being able to come there has turned into something good and this time we're coming with the organisation that we needed to. So everyone is in a great mood, the energy is good and we've had our time. The album is doing good and we're just excited man, I feel like it's a new beginning for us even though we're old, it's a new beginning [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs] Well speaking of the album, "Kill The Flaw" is doing fantastic and you guys are even nominated for a Grammy for the song "Thank You" so you must be pretty excited about that.

LJ: Yeah it's crazy man! We're going to the Grammy's this year and until someone asked me 'Do you ever care about the Grammy's?' and I'm like 'Na I don't really care about the Grammy's until we got nominated! [laughs]. Of course as an artist, that's something that's like, wow! It's amazing because at the end of the day - this is what I said - even if we don't win the Grammy, they can never take away that we got nominated for something so cool so thank the Lord for that man. I hope I don't get up there and act like Little Richard if we win it and I get up there and say it was about me the entire...na I'll never do that [laughs]. It's cool, it's exciting man and I look forward to it. For us it just makes us know that we've done something right and to me that doesn't mean it's time to stop, that means it's time to work harder.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely because obviously at this stage in your career and still getting things like that happening with the band, it's obviously a fantastic feeling so no reason to be stopping now I guess.

LJ: Absolutely man, that puts a new spin on things for us and it's good. What more can you ask for because by that time, we'll have known whether we got the Grammy or not but regardless of that, right after that, we're coming to Australia so that's already been the high point for me. That's my second Christmas man!




Andrew: [laughs] What did you guys get up to for Christmas and New Years?

LJ: Well December 17th I was kinda tied up delivering my brand new baby boy.

Andrew: Oh congratulations!

LJ: Thanks, it's crazy! A few days after that, we were on our way home and then I think about one day after we got home with him, Santa Claus came to town so man it's been a mess around [laughs]. So we slowed down for a minute and we got the phone call to do the big party in Dallas for New Year's so I was able to fly out, I snuck out late night, the night before New Year's. We in Sevendust all met up, we played Dallas, Texas at a place called the Bomb Factory which is great, with the band Hellyeah, Nothingmore which is a great bunch of kids, Islander and a band called Red Sun Rising which is a new band. And we rocked into the new year and I was on a plane the next day and in my house back to reality with my brand new baby boy crying at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Welcome home [laughs].

Andrew: What a fantastic way to bring in the new year!

LJ: It's been great and we kinda timed it and scheduled it right to where we got off the Godsmack tour which was great, and then we did Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin tour and we all had this planned out for the delivery of the baby and so the plan was to stop after Shinedown and wait until March to go to Australia. In between that time the baby would be born and man it's working the right way, we never thought that we would make the new year show, we never thought that we would get a Grammy nomination but we always knew we were going to Australia so there's a couple more things put on the cake that make it all sweet!

Andrew: Yeah it sounds like everything is going perfectly for you guys at the moment, everything is balancing right for you. It must be a fantastic feeling to be on top of the world right now.

LJ: Yeah you know, it's good. I think a bit about this when I pray and I thank the Lord for everything we have but I tell you what, I know because we've never given up and we work hard and I'm a true believer in working hard and staying true to what you believe in. I think that's what we've done and even when the people said you guys are going to break up, you're not going to do it, we never did that. We do what we do best as far as we're concerned and that's music and getting out there and playing these shows and building a relationship because we've been around since 1997 and man, it's a beautiful thing to go out and look at these crowds and see a kid that was the same age as me when we started. I'm 43 now and I have three kids and guess what? That guy that I met back then might have 4 or 5 kids and now his kids are bring their kids! What more could you ask for, do you know what I mean? What more could you ask for to still be doing it and for it to be exciting and now finally to go back to Australia. That's a new world for me, I can't wait to get there. I feel cool when I'm in Australia.




Andrew: Looking back from when you first started, what do you think has been the biggest thing that has changed, not only within the band but also in the music industry itself?

LJ: Oh man social media has definitely taken on a whole new life and it's even crazier now. For us I think we;'ve gotten more seasoned as far as the business side of things because if there's any advice, and I don't like to turn it into this 'Oh we stayed true to your art and your creativity' but any advice I can give to you or any women and men out there in the music industry is be a business man or woman a little bit in this because you have to be at the end of the day. It took us a long time to learn that because we tried with so many people but you put a band out on the road and you're thinking, 'That's our dream!' is to do that. So at the end of the day when we're gone for a year and then we come back and think everything has been held in order and it's not, we get a t-shirt and a chick-o stick from a year tour, something is wrong. And so we were able to clean that out and to get the right people in who actually cared about us and said, 'You know what? That guy has a family, he has 3 kids at home and he needs to get there so let's give him that time because at the end of the day it's going to make them a better band to be able to get back to what they have to do when they come back out on tour.' So we have that now and I just think that our heads are in a better place as grown men and as men have just realized that and take advantage of having a little bit of control over our destiny as far as who we say, yes you can do this while my back is turned [laughs].

Andrew: Yeah and that just comes down to experience and age and all that kind of stuff I suppose.

LJ: Oh absolutely man and I say it a lot of times, I don't know how much I would change across this little journey that we've gone on. Meaning I'm not going to become a millionaire or anything and thank the Lord, I don't think I would ever change but I think the struggles and the trials and tribulations that we've gone through have kept us and made us the band that we are today and that's the reason that song "Thank You" was written. And at the end of the day it's gotten a nomination for a Grammy? Wow and that song deals with a lot of the people that tried to keep us down, to try to make us not feel like we wanted to continue and thank you for doing that. It's only made us work harder!

Andrew: Well it's an inspirational song and you guys are certainly inspirational to a lot of people so it's fantastic to see you guys coming down to Australia in March. Looking forward to it so thanks for your time today, it';s been an absolute pleasure speaking to you!

LJ: Hey let me tell you what's a pleasure, I got two more things to say about what you said at the end. It's a pleasure to talk to you and I can't say enough and if there is any more way that you could make people believe that we cannot wait to get to Australia and I cannot wait to sit down and have a beer with you and shake your hand and catch up!

Andrew: Absolutely man, looking forward to it!


Check out our other interviews with Sevendust members Morgan Rose and John Connolly discussing the Australia tour and more.


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SEVENDUST AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:

Friday 11th March - AUCKLAND, The Studio
Sunday 13th March - PERTH, Capitol
Monday 14th March - ADELAIDE, The Gov
Wednesday 16th March - GOLD COAST, Coolangatta Hotel
Thursday 17th March - BRISBANE, Eaton's Hill
Friday 18th March - MELBOURNE, 170 Russell
Saturday 19th March - SYDNEY, The Metro

Tickets and tour details can be found at Metropolis Touring.


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on January 8th 2016