Interview: Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust

Thanks for taking the time today Lajon, I appreciate it. We’re here to talk about the new album Kill The Flaw out in October. I had the chance to listen to it last night- perfect way to follow up Time Travels and Bonfires and Black Out the Sun. Talk about what it means for Sevendust.

 Thank you man. We wanted to take time to really unplug and focus on, I guess getting away from saturating America and get to our families and really unplug and I think Kill The Flaw was a perfect example of us being able to be rested, open minded, and our creative juices were flowing. We were able to go in as a band and get on stage and write the way we used to as kids Just “hey, we don’t know what the heck’s going on, just get on stage” and maybe Morgan would start out with a drum lick or Clint with a guitar riff or John and we would just go from there. It was exciting. Every day we would go into the studio just excited, so that album has a definite angst to it.

 Nice! How much of the aggression and angst on this record- I mean, there’s so much in there, but coming off an acoustic record like Time Travels and Bonfires was, how much of that contributed to the heaviness of Kill The Flaw, if any?

 That’s a good question. It had to do a whole bunch because you think about us as Sevendust being the way we’ve been for so many years, and no one’s ever asked me a question like this so this is just coming off the top of my head right now. We did that Southside Double Y acoustically and we only did 8 shows maybe years ago so with us going out on the whole tour acoustically, and we still tried to not bring the normal “oh this is going to be boring, we’re gonna have to sit down and cross our legs and watch the show” we brought the heat. We had them bouncing in doing that but it was still Sevendust. It was great to be able to go down the avenue, get up under the microscope, do songs and show them how a lot of these songs actually come from the seed of an acoustic guitar and so it’s really cool. I don’t think a lot of people can go out and do a tour like that and do a whole hour or two hour set and get away with it, but for us it only made us itch and want to do an electric album again, if that makes sense, because that’s what in us. It killed me to sit down on that damn bench so a lot of times I’d be standing up. Even though it was fun and I loved it and I can’t wait to do that acoustic thing again, but where we really pop the most is when we’re up there with the electricity from those amps- what we started from is what keeps us going, man.

The first single from the record, “Thank You”, killer single is also the way the album starts- it’s the opener. How important is that first single in this stage of your career?

 It was important and I think about it and you think about the people at the radio department that come and suggest songs and “Thank You” was a song. And I listen to that song and I’m like “wow, it definitely has all the elements of Sevendust” from the melodic part, the singing, the heavy- the heaviest parts of Sevendust are in that song parts, and then you have a part where we brought these beautiful kids in from the studio where we’ve been working and doing our album there was a store behind it. I think people understand and get it, so it’s definitely important. I think that Thank You song shows the energy that we have bottled up for the last couple of years in the song for the first single.

 Can you tell me a little bit about where that song comes from? What inspired it?

I think it comes from everything that Sevendust has been through, the hardships, the different people that we’ve had to let go in our career because of ups and downs and reasons of shadiness. You want to say thank you for putting me down but look at all that bad energy only pushed me to make sure that I kept striving and continue what I’m doing and I think that’s a testimony to Sevendust as a group of gentlemen that have never given up with any obstacle that has been put in front of us, so thank you for everything you’ve given us and even the hard times too.

You guys are so many albums into your career and you guys have hit another level now eleven albums in. As a lyricist and as a songwriter was there anything specific you wanted to say with this album and does it get harder to write lyrics as your career goes? 

Honestly, I don’t really think about it. Sometimes it gets weird but you find with Sevendust, it would be foolish for me, and I’ve said this from day one, to think everything would come from one person’s one perspective when we’re all grown men, we have families and we’ve grown together. We have lives, we have kids, we have wives, It would be stupid. I can’t wait to hear what John, Clint, Morgan or Vinnie has on their heart because if anyone knows them or knows each other, it’s us. So that’s a good thing with Sevendust- we all come to the table. If someone’s in a pinch, guess what, someone else is gonna have an idea. Or man, I might have this melody. I might not be able to sing it real good, but I’m gonna hum it to you. And that’s the cool thing about our organization is we’re a family like that. It’s a pleasure to be in a band with a bunch of artists.

This fall, finally you guys are hitting the road again this fall. The music is amazing but there’s nothing like a Sevendust show. You guys are going out with Godsmack next month. How excited are you? 

That was the whole idea behind taking the time off, not only to get back to our families but to hopefully have people want to see the band when we come back out again.

How exciting is it going to be going out with those guys? You came out around the same time and then you’re hitting Louder than Life in Kentucky. That’s going to be a hell of a tour.

It’s lining up great. The Godsmack tour has been a long time away. We love those guys, so proud of what they’ve done and to bring us back out and support it’s going to be a blast. Louder than Life we play October 3rd, which is my birthday, and October 2nd the album comes out, so things are good right now. I’m excited about what’s gonna happen. Not only this, but after the Godsmack tour, just the whole October, November run just everything. Sevendust, we’re ready to come back out and get it again.

I can’t wait to see you at Louder than Life- the festival atmosphere is insane. 

You’ll have to say hello it’s my birthday! Definitely will- I’ll buy the drinks! But eleven albums into it, if you can summarize this album in just a few words, what is this album for Sevendust? What does this album mean to you personally.  Man- no one’s asked that. For me it means that I we’re so very blessed to still be relevant in this industry. I don’t know, I feel a lot of times I wake up and I feel like I’m dreaming still. Some days there are some fucking nightmares in there too, but it’s still so cool to be able to go back out in support of this album. I can’t believe it. I can’t ask for anything more and just say without all the support out there we wouldn’t be anything so god bless everyone out there for helping us.

Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me, I can’t wait to catch you in Louisville. Have a kick ass tour this fall and the album kicks ass! 

Thank you. Thanks for a wonderful interview- you have a great energy!   -Reggie