The call came in on a weeknight as I was sitting on the couch. “Hey D, I know this is last minute, but any chance you feel like interviewing Lajon Witherspoon from SEVENDUST tomorrow? I have him available at noon.” Obviously my response was, “HELL YEAH!” but there was just one problem…
Lunch for me isn’t till 12:30. That’s right, welcome to another edition of The Maestro’s Hiding In a Broom Closet interviews!! In this episode Lajon talks to us about the new album All I See Is War, being a Dad, and more. Have a look:
Amps: The first thing I have to ask regarding All I See Is War is this: how do you manage to do this again, and again, and again, and always keep it fresh 20 years in?
Lajon: Well thank you, man. I think it’s been due to us taking time off when we’ve had to. We were off for a year and a half, so we were able to put a lot of the material together. With that being said, to go in studio and work with Elvis Baskette is just an amazing partnership. His great ear is one of the reasons we wanted to work with him.
Amps: So far for me the runaway favorites are “God Bites His Tongue”, I love that stutter-step thing going on. Also “Risen.” That rhythm and riff is killer!
Lajon: Thank you, man. You know, with every song there was a special energy. There was never anything that came out that didn’t flow well. Even the songs that we’d already put together before we went in the studio, they came together with the ones we wrote while there. We got to live in a house with Elvis and that was the first time we ever did that. It just helps when you can wake up, then go hit the studio from 12 noon to 12 midnight every day. For example “Risen” was a banger that come to us really quickly.
Amps: One of the distinct qualities of any SEVENDUST record is the closing track. “The Truth” is one I have to listen to at least four times in a row before I can move on.
Lajon: Oh wow! Well, thank you very much. Yeah, putting this track list together was easy this time around. And honestly, I didn’t wanna leave the studio (laughs), I had such a good time.
Amps: My all-time favorite album from you is Seasons. All I See Is War feels very much like a companion piece to that.
Lajon: Seasons is a great album. We pulled in Butch Walker on that one, he’s a good friend of ours. I really had a great time making that album as well. What happened on Seasons is very similar to what happened on this one in that I was able to sing more and showcase my vocals.
Amps: How much time did you spend writing and recording this one?
Lajon: We had so much time off that when we got in the studio we spent about three months there. We were ready! Remember, we only did a handful of shows for the 20th anniversary of our first record, so we’d been off for awhile. Those were some fun shows, too!
Amps: Dallas really loves you guys. When I lived there I saw you twice in 2013, and at the acoustic show at Trees in April of 2014, you couldn’t get another person in there with a shoehorn!
Lajon: Oh yeah, Dallas is definitely a place we’ve grown up in and it’s always had such incredible energy. I don’t say we have fans, I say we have family there, and it’s been great.
Amps: I’m just pissed I moved out of Dallas before The Bomb Factory opened. I need to get back down there and check it out.
Lajon: Lemme tell you what, it’s SWEET. Oh, the venue is awesome and Clint Barlow, the owner, he’s such a great guy and he knows how to take care of the artists. EVERYBODY has a good time there, from the artists to the people who come to enjoy the show, backstage everything is nice. It’s the real deal.
Amps: What are you doing when you’re not making music these days?
Lajon: I’m being a Daddy and a husband. That’s the most important thing is to be with my family when I get home. I can’t wait to see them. I have a two-year old son, and I have a nine-year old daughter that I love taking to school and her practices. The two-year old, I’m hoping he’ll slow down because he’s growing too fast (laughs)!
Amps: You collect antiques and love motorcycles, huh? Tell me a little about that.
Lajon: I’ve got four or five bikes right now. It’s funny that you ask because one of my good friends just texted me a picture of two caskets and I was like, “What is going on here?” And he told me he’d just acquired them. I said, “I hope they haven’t been used” and he said no, but one of them made it through a fire.
Amps: Did he get them for himself, or you?
Lajon: Oh no, they’re for him. My wife would NOT let me have a casket around here (laughs)!
Amps: What is it you hope that the listener takes away from this record when the last note of “The truth” rings out?
Lajon: That this band is still here, still kicking, and that we still have a lot more to go. I feel like we’ve grown as a band, and as artists. And I hope they can see that. It doesn’t have to be the heaviest stuff in the world, and I think this album is a good mixture of being heavy while not being afraid to show our softer side as well.
Amps: What would you like to say to all your SEVENDUST family out there in the world?
Lajon: That I love you, we love you. I can’t believe we’re still here and we thank you for the support all these years, and I still think we have a lot more to go.
It is always great to talk with Lajon Witherspoon, or any member of SEVENDUST for that matter. You’d be hard-pressed to find a harder-working or nicer group of guys in the business. The band is currently on tour with CLUTCH, and you can find dates/tickets HERE. If you’ve never seen SEVENDUST live, you should rectify that ASAP. Also, if for some reason you don’t own a copy of All I See Is War, slap yourself in the face, and then GO. GET. IT. Oh, and a BIG THANK YOU to Kevin Chiaramonte from PFA Media for making this one happen!!
LIVE IMAGES: CHANTELLE RENEE PHOTOGRAPHY