Clint Lowery on Return to Sevendust, Fatherhood and Sobriety
Sevendust have been a staple in the music scene since the Atlanta-based band formed in the early ’90s. Last April, the group released its eighth studio album, ‘Cold Day Memory,’ but the new music was extra special to fans and the band alike, as it marked the return of guitarist Clint Lowery. The axe-man left the band in 2003 to work on his side project, Dark New Day, with his brother, Corey Lowery, but he eventually found his way home to Sevendust in 2008.
‘Cold Day Memory’ is the first collection of songs that the band released on their own label, 7Bros. Records, through Warner Music Group’s Independent Label Group. The album debuted at No. 12 on Billboard’s Top 200 tally, marking Sevendust’s highes-chariting debut
Prior to Sevendust hitting the road on the 2011 Uproar Tour (also featuring Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Seether and others), Loudwire caught up with Lowery to discuss his return to the Sevendust fold, as well as the group’s legacy and future:
Your latest album, ‘Cold Day Memory,’ has been out for a little while now, but compare that record to the previous albums you guys have put out over the years.
I was gone for three records, so for me it was really just about reconnecting with the guys and getting back in the swing of things. I was with them for about a year and a half before we started to work on the new record. I was already kind of back in tune with the guys, so it was a great experience. It was really about rediscovering the band and what we do best. It was a really cool experience. Everybody is always involved [with the songwriting], some more than others, but I definitely felt like I needed to make up for some lost time. The guys allowed me a little more space as far as the songs. They had done three records pretty consecutively and pretty quick. They were ready for a break or a helping hand anyway.
One of the songs you wrote is the album’s first single, ‘Unraveling.’ Can you share the inspiration behind writing that song?
I actually wrote with a guy named Dave Bassett, who is kind of known for the songs he wrote with Shinedown on their last record. He’s just a great guy. I flew out to his place in California and stayed with him for a couple of days. We wrote that song. It was basically about a relationship that’s kind of exposing that person as not being really honest and supportive. I like to keep [songs] kind of general as far as the meanings are because everybody is going to interpret it in a different way. It’s just about a relationship kind of that has taken on some water and not really making it through, as far as father-son, boy-girl or any kind of relationship. I was coming from my personal experience, but I tried to make it relate to a lot of people.
When you initially parted ways with the band, did you feel that you would eventually make your way back or was it something that kind of fell into place naturally?
At the time, I didn’t think it was going to be a situation where I was going to come back. It was a long time ago. I don’t know what my head space was then. Leaving something, you’re usually not thinking about coming back … you’re just kind of focused on the elements you’re dealing with then.
Are you still working with your brother on any musical projects?
He was very involved with the new Sevendust [album]. Me and my brother are always going to work together. Obviously we’re brothers so we’re going to be connected with certain levels of everything.
Throughout the recent years, you all have been wearing different hats as far as your 7Bros. Records label and working a little more behind the scenes with producing. Is that something that’s comfortable territory for you guys?
There’s not much to it. We just make records and then ILG distributes them. As far as the label and certain elements of marketing, ILG helps us with that as well by creating awareness, but we currently have creative control. As far as the recording process, that’s ours, and they assist us as far as getting it out there for everyone else.
I understand you have started working on the next album. Can you give us a little teaser of what we can expect?
We haven’t really tracked any of the ideas as a band, so until that happens, it’s kind of hard to tell. It’s obviously not going to be a disco record; it’s going to be Sevendust. We’re all just going to really try and push the envelope, and maybe lean more on the heavier side of things just because it feels right right now. That’s where our attitudes are at.
You’ve become a new dad, and there have been personal highs and lows for the other members in recent years. Does that kind of stuff have any affect on your songwriting or musical direction?
I don’t really know. That’s kind of like asking a construction worker if that stuff affects him when building a house. I try to do a good job of separating the two. Yeah, you get inspired. Me personally, having a child makes me want to work harder. I don’t know if that will affect the actual music part, but it will affect my drive to make music. Ultimately, that is a good thing I think for anybody. Having a kid, I would have assumed it would have softened me up a little bit, but it makes me want to make more aggressive music for some reason [laughs]. It just feels like I want to fight to take care of him.
You seem like such a devoted father. I always see your tweets about flying home — even if it’s for a day or two — just to spend those few hours with him between gigs.
He’s worth every bit of it. He has definitely changed my life for the best. I don’t know if you have kids, but it’s definitely something that is pretty amazing.
It is so inspiring to read your tweets about your positive outlook on life every day. Another subject you have also been pretty open on Twitter is your sobriety.
I don’t have any problems at all talking about it. As far as me personally, I’m involved with AA. I think it’s an amazing thing. I try not to mention that in the tweets, but I do like to talk about being sober and how amazing it is. My life has just been completely changed due to finding a different path and not drinking anymore. I feel so humbled by it. I feel so grateful. Sometimes I just tweet about it because I know there are a few people out there who could stand a little positivity in their lives or need a little push. I know I needed as much push as I could in the beginning, and still do. I really enjoy when people say something about it as far as it helping them. There certainly are a lot of people in my life who have helped me. I guess it’s a give and take thing.
I’ve been through so much stuff, and everyone in life goes through so much stuff. I have no problem talking about all the struggles. I think of it as a good thing. I don’t think it shows weakness. I think it shows strength. You’re definitely stronger when you’ve got people who can relate with what you’re going through. You saying that you’ve enjoyed reading those … I think that’s great. To use it toward in a way that connects in a positive way. I really enjoy when people are positive. My whole fiber wants to go into negative places. I don’t know what it is about my makeup, but I know that the more I practice going toward a positive direction, the more natural that feels. I’m enjoying it.
Well it’s definitely inspiring, especially being in the business we’re in where that kind of lifestyle is so accepted and it’s everywhere you go. I applaud you for your strength.
I appreciate that. And I don’t judge people who drink. I don’t have anything against anybody. It’s just my personal path. These guys in my band drink and do their thing, but I’m not better than or worse than anyone else. I’m just another person trying to find peace and do my thing.
Over the years, the band and the music keep getting stronger and stronger as a unit. Talk about the early days of Sevendust and compare it to the life out there now in the present.
I prefer the new days now to the old. There were certain grey elements to the early days. There was a lot of ambition. There was a lot of ignorance, in a blissful way [laughs]. We were just very naive. There was a really cool element to that in a non-jaded way. We lived in a dream world kind of. That’s not a bad place to be when you’re first coming out because you’re just trying to make music and survive. It was cool in the early days. We made some mistakes, but we also got to see a lot of incredible things that a lot of bands wish they could do.
We’re thankful for that. There’s definitely good things about the present and the future as far as us as a unit. We’re really respectful to each other. It’s a marriage, and we have a good marriage. That’s all I can say. It doesn’t come without a lot of work and a lot of consideration of others. It’s a daily thing. We work on it. Somedays it’s not good and somedays it’s good. That’s just life. No matter what situation you’re in, you’re going to have to work it. If you’re working with other people, you’ve got to figure out ways to make it gel.
How do you guys keep things fresh and keep from getting burned out after all these years?
It’s really hard because we don’t swim … we kind of dive. We have to continuously tour to pay our bills. We just try to take breaks. We try to space things out. We try to give each other space out here. We’ve become pretty good at surviving in a 45-foot bus [laughs]. You find different things to do during the days to kind of keep out of each others face the whole time. There’s just an art to it. At the end of the day, whatever things that people do that get on my nerves, it doesn’t out weigh the fact that I’m providing for my family. That’s the biggest thing, so I will tolerate a lot of things to support my family. I think the other guys are on the same page with that. We’re out here to do a job, so we might as well have some fun while we’re doing it.
Talk a little bit about your live shows. What kind of thoughts go through your head each night before you take the stage?
I guess it’s pretty much the same as anybody else. Some days I’ll be tired or exhausted or hurt or not really feeling up to it, and then right before, something just happens. We’re getting ready, and we all have our little things we do before. Then you see the people out there, and they came to be entertained. Something about that just gets my hyped up every time. I don’t know what it is when the lights go out … it’s just a really cool job. I don’t know how else to describe it. I was out of it for a few years, too. That really made me appreciate it. Before we go on, it’s just a really spiritual thing for me.
Watch Sevendust Perform at the 2011 Rock am RIng Festival