Sevendust Singer Lajon Witherspoon Discusses New Album ‘Black Out the Sun’ + More
Sevendust’s ninth studio album ‘Black Out the Sun’ is set to drop on March 26, and the band is hitting the road in support of the disc on a massive trek with Coal Chamber and Lacuna Coil.
Loudwire recently had the chance to talk with frontman Lajon Witherspoon, and he spoke all about the new album, the hectic recording process and the depth within all of the tracks. He also expressed his excitement for Sevendust’s tour and talked about how difficult it is to choose tunes for setlists after 15 years as a band.
When we were on the ShipRocked cruise, I asked you and guitarist John Connolly about the title ‘Black Out the Sun’ and you said it came from a dream you had. Can you elaborate on that and maybe talk about what the dream was about?
It was just a dark dream. In the dream, the sun was going away and I was just looking for safety before it happened and not necessarily knowing what would happened when it blacked out but just knowing that something was scary. I guess it just seems more like the feeling of the unknown.
The song ‘Black Out the Sun’ itself seems very personal. Can you talk about the track a little bit?
It turned into Clint [Lowery] writing about his father passing on, so the album is really deep and meaningful. As we’ve gotten older we see death in a different way, it’s our fathers and our mothers and grandparents – as older men we can put these emotions to our music.
With the digital age, do you stress over the album leaking in advance of its release?
Of course, but you pray that it doesn’t happen and you know that it’s out there and waiting for that first one to do it. I think we’ve been kind of lucky right now but it definitely hurts and it affects the band, but we continue to focus on doing these live shows and that’s what Sevendust is going to do and hopefully all the other stuff will fall into place. I hope that this album gets its time in the sunlight.
Speaking of the digital age, you are finally on Facebook.
Yeah, I still call stuff Atari, but I decided to welcome myself into this Internet world – I love Instagram. I have a good time and I don’t do anything too serious because I feel like when it’s time to be serious then it’s serious but I like to show people that side of me that they don’t normally get to see. I’m just a country boy that likes to have a good time.
You guys shot the video for ‘Decay,’ and from John Connolly’s photos, it looked like a bloody shoot. How was that experience for you?
Actually I want to tell you right now, my part – I was supposed to get beat up but that got cut out because the sunlight went down and the scene wouldn’t look the same so I just did a performance part. I’m the only one that didn’t get anything really done, I’m just rocking out up in there. [Laughs]
It was a great experience. It’s funny, the kid who wanted to do my makeup and prosthetic stuff was upset and he was like, “Man, well this was made just for you so you could have it” so I have this little bag of cuts and bruises.
Were there any bands that you listened to at the time that served as influence for the album?
Since we had only 30 days the only thing that I really listened to was Sevendust the whole time because we were so focused on really finishing in the time that we had. Our days consisted of 12 noon to 12 midnight every day and the only day we had off was Saturday and we’d go right back into the studio on Sunday and continue for the 30 days.
Although I do remember one day being there by myself and the jukebox was right behind me and I played the James Brown song ‘It’s a Man’s World’ and it was so beautiful and surreal.
What are your personal favorite tracks on the new album?
Every song on this album, I’m really excited about – I can’t even explain the feeling. Each one of these songs can be a single, right now in the set we’re playing ‘Decay’ and we’re also playing ‘Til Death.’ I can’t wait to play ‘Cold As War’ or bust out ‘ Got A Feeling’ even though it’s a different song I think it’s beautiful. There’s so many more songs I mean I love everything off of the new album.
Is there a certain mindset that you get into before you hit the stage or any pre-show rituals?
I think the stage is magic and I think that’s where my serenity is at, that’s where the power comes in … It’s an overwhelming feeling, it’s a real powerful energy — not a “I’m the man powerful,” but power from out there, the anticipation. Sevendust is what I do, my brothers feed my soul.
With nine studio albums including ‘Black Out the Sun,’ how do you go about deciding the setlists for these shows?
Oh my God, it’s absolutely the worst thing ever now but it’s fun. [Laughs] We’ll sit down and maybe two bars of the song will get played and you’ll hear somebody say “F— that song” so that won’t make it. [Laughs] I mean that happens at least 30 times, ‘Terminator’ got played like four bars the other day at rehearsal and somebody said “F— that song.”
Who’s usually the one saying “F— that song”?
You never know it could be any of us. Somebody will be like, “That song kind of weirded me out.” [Laughs] We try to create different moods in different times in our lives and I think music can be a healer.
Watch the Teaser for Sevendust’s ‘Black Out the Sun Album’