Sevendust have been providing riff heavy alternative metal now for well over twenty years. To celebrate the release of their killer new album All I See Is War the band are returning to Australia for headline dates in April 2019. We were lucky enough to chat with the bands incredible front man Lajon Witherspoon ahead of the tour.
 
SCENEzine
Firstly how was playing Shiprocked? 
 
Lajon Witherspoon
It was one of the coolest times ever man. I think that might have been the tenth time that we’ve done shiprocked. What a great experience to be able to get on a ship and go to a beautiful place and to not only be able to perform but to be with your family and go see one of your favourite bands hour after hour. There’s always something to do and everyone’s so cool. It was really cool because we were able to be there with our brothers in Tremonti. Right after we got off shiprocked we started our tour with Tremonti a day later and kept going for six weeks. It was really a good time.     
 
SCENEzine
Congrats on your newest album All I See Is War. You must be stoked with how fans have responded to it?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
It’s been a blessing, it’s been great. It was great that we were able to take the time off that we did, it really refuelled the band. I think it made people want to see us. The reaction has been great, the band is reenergised. We are so happy we started the partnership with Rise records, it’s an avenue that’s been really good for us.
 
SCENEzine
How did the song “Not Original” come about?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
That was a song that actually wasn’t going to go on the album. Writing with Clint there was a piece of music and some things we heard, we changed some stuff around and then it had to be on the album. It was such an original song (laughs). It turned out to be a great song.
 
 
SCENEzine
I really love the lyrics from the song “Risen”. Were you behind the writing of that one?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
Yeah me and John Connolly we write together. That was something that was very exciting on this album. Me Morgan and John we started the first writing blocks and came up with “Dirty” and “Sickness”. We got to bring in the brilliant producer Elvis Braskette to work with him on the album. He came in and said I don’t want to change anything I just want to help hone in on what you do.
 
 
SCENEzine
When you compare releasing this new album compared to Kill The Flaw was there a huge difference between the two in the studio?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
Yeah definitely a big difference. With the new album we had someone that was incredibly talented to police the situation. It was great because we were able to live in the same quarters together. To wake up and go to the studio and work our days living together was a whole different vibe. It was great and something that we needed.
 
SCENEzine
You have such an amazing, soulful and powerful voice. I feel like you could sing the phone book and I’d still love it. Is there any special routine you need to go through to take care of your voice?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
No just rest and believing in something. Whatever it may be that you believe in. Once in a while it gets a little hard if I’ve done four or five shows in a row and not slept very much but for whatever reason when I get on that stage it becomes a magical energy. For me when I might not be able to hit that one note I just take it down a little lower (laughs).
 
SCENEzine
It’s not too long until you are back in the land down under, have you talked about a special set list for Australia?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
We try to make everybody happy by playing a mixture from old to new. It’s going to be awesome no matter what. We just got off a six week tour and it was rocking, everyone was hyped. I’ve said it before a million times the energy in Australia is so contagious that I can’t sleep when I’m there. I’m so excited about talking to people and seeing everyone at the shows. I’ve been looking forward to getting back to Australia for a long time. You guys get ready because we are going to bring it.  
 
SCENEzine
When I got to see you last time you toured at the Metro in Sydney something that struck me was the huge smile on your face between songs. I get the feeling you have a blast when your on stage?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
I love it man it’s my energy, my serenity. The stage for me is where I don’t have to worry about anything for an hour. It’s an incredible feeling to be a part of a band. It’s not just the band because without you guys being there and feeding back and forth I wouldn’t have that smile. It’s all of us that make that energy together.
 
SCENEzine
Sevendust has the ability to transition from heavy music to beautiful acoustic songs. Does that mean a lot of your songs start out written acoustically?   
 
Lajon Witherspoon 
Yeah a lot of people don’t realise that but our songs do start out acoustically. I like to call it under the microscope when we do acoustic songs. It’s a pleasure to have the ability to go out and do a set that rips peoples faces off then have the option of taming it down a little bit. I love being able to do that because I don’t think everything should be heavy. Our lives have changed and everything is not angst. We have beautiful wives and kids. Things have changed so music has changed too for us.    
 
SCENEzine
Speaking of acoustic songs you must be proud of how well “Angel’s Son” has stood the test of time, it still sounds amazing.
 
Lajon Witherspoon
That song started out about Lynn Strait but now that song is a life song. When we wrote the song at the time I hadn’t experienced death in the way of a friend passing away at such a young age. So when we were asked to write a song about this I didn’t know what to write. I remember being on the tour bus and I couldn’t sleep the night before because I didn’t have any verses for “Angel’s Son”. I said ok lets play the song and the first words that came out of my mouth for the first and second verse were what came from my heart. Not a lot of songs happen like that. That’s why I think that song has stood the test of time because it’s one of those magical songs.
 
 
SCENEzine
Just as iconic as the song is the campfire video for the song. Was that a real sombre experience to make?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
It was incredible and very surreal to see all that love that Lynn had. It was so sad too that he had been taken away from us so soon and abruptly. It was a beautiful experience to be there with all of our peers. A little fact that a lot of people don’t know is the same house that you see in the video is the house where Christina Aguilera did her video “Genie In A Bottle”.
 
SCENEzine
This year Woodstock is celebrating the 50th anniversary. I grew up watching you guys on DVD at Woodstock 99. What was that experience like for you?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
Probably the coolest thing still ever man. There’s been a lot of cool shows but Woodstock 99 was something really special. I remember coming in from Canada and barely making it then arriving and walking the grounds seeing how big the stage was. Then being on the stage seeing kids running down this hill to see Sevendust it was such an amazing sight. I hung out with Willie Nelson and Red Hot Chilli Peppers that day. It was like almost famous for us.
 
SCENEzine
Lastly what’s it like for you knowing world wide how many lives you can touch with Sevendust and how powerful your music is to people?
 
Lajon Witherspoon
Until you just said that I wouldn’t have thought of it that way. I love what we do and think it’s incredible if our music helps someone. It’s a blessing and I would never take it for granted. I hope that we will be able to continue building relationships as long as we can. I feel like music is a healer. What a privilege it is to come so far away to Australia to jam with y’all I can’t wait to get there, it means the world to me.     
 
(interview by Christian Ross)

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