Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images.
With their new album All I See Is War due out in just one month, we were pretty excited to get on the phone with Sevendust frontman Lajon Witherspoon. LJ spoke to us about a whole bunch of stuff including an Australian tour, the new album, which bands he likes touring with, his most prized musical posessions (hint: not what you'd expect!) and more. Scroll down now to read the full interview.
Can we expect Sevendust to return for an Australian tour?
We're coming back for sure man, I can't wait. Especially now being part of Rise Records, I know there's talk about it. Eighteen months ago we were able to come back just to make sure people remembered us. What an incredible experience. Everywhere we were at was an incredible show and I can't wait to get back and hopefully make sure that we stay longer than we were there because it seemed like it went by in a blink of an eye. It's such a beautiful place and we've built some relationships with some incredible people, so it's really cool to be able to get over there.
What does the album title 'All I See Is War' mean for you?
I'm not afraid to say that it's a kind of play on words. At the beginning of an album, we never know what it's going to be called. All I See Is War is also what's said in the song Dirty, so at the end of the album we went back and listened to it and realised that while writing we'd used the word War a lot and it was kind of something that was going on inside us, and at the end of the day once we saw that picture, the artwork with the kid playing and the fire behind him, it made sense to me. You know you can't go anywhere, even as sheltered as we are - we turn the TV on and what do we see? We see war around the world. I'm 45 years old and when I was a kid, you didn't see that type of stuff. You didn't see that unless you went to history class, and you saw it in the books. I feel like this generation now that's all we do see. Hopefully, in the future, it gets better, but I don't want it to be a political thing.
Do you have a favourite track on the record?
All of them right now! Let's see - Dirty, Andromeda, people haven't heard this yet, but I love Sickness. For me, just because everything is so new and fresh I love everything. I can't wait to get out and perform it and see the reactions on the faces of all the people out there.
How do you keep the same lineup for over two decades?
I just think that we've all grown up together. We were kids when we started and now we're adults, and it's something that we love. It's our passion, and I think that it would be foolish for us to ever take this for granted. So there's a lot more to do. I feel like signing with Rise Records has given us a new avenue to take this band down. It's exciting, it makes us feel young. I feel like we owe it to each other to stay together as brothers. Why would we stop now?
What have you been listening to lately?
I've been listening to the new A Perfect Circle, I like Gojira, I've been listening to the new Jonathan Davis, I listen to everything man, I'm a music lover. I listen to even country music at times. When I'm in the house by myself I listen to classical. I feel like as long as it has conviction, you don't have to have the prettiest voice in the world, but if you mean it, then I get it.
What do you think of the new A Perfect Circle?
I haven't heard the whole album, but I've heard that song TalkTalk, I love that. I just love Maynard's voice. A Perfect Circle have always been one of my favourite bands - and Tool, of course - but A Perfect Circle have hit me ever since that song 3 Libras and maybe because I'm a Libra too, but I love it.
Who is your favourite band to tour with?
I have so many friends out there that we have a great time with, you know there hasn't really been anyone that I'm like "oh I don't really want to tour with them". I tell you what, I can say this, I remember touring with Nickelback was an incredible time, I would love to go with a band like that again. Breaking Benjamin, the guys in Korn - that was incredible, I would always like to tour with A Perfect Circle too, I think that would be great. We actually get the chance to see them at a few Festivals this season - I can't wait to share the stage with them.
What's the best show that you've ever been to?
Let me give you two. The Weeknd, I saw him in my hometown here Kansas City, it was incredible and then shortly after that I got to see U2 perform, and it was probably one of the most amazing things I've seen in a long time.
How do you discover new music in 2018?
Social media - it's the only way. Even though I'm oldschool man - I still call stuff "Ataris" - but you know, social media. It's funny how you could be in a band for twenty years and have a hundred thousand poeple on your site, but then you have these kids who have never played a show, but they have their finger on the pulse of social media and they have a million people looking at what's going on. I think that's very important thing to be part of, that's definitly changed not only the course of music but the course of life.
What is your most prized musical possession?
What a crazy question! I can tell you - I collect Sam Cooke - the beautiful Sam Cooke R&B solo artist. I collect his memorabilia. Everything from his Hollywood walk of fame star presentation plaque that they give you, to his first record deal which I have signed. I also have a signed paper of the song 'A Change Is Gonna Come' which I think is fitting with what's going on in the world today too, but I actually have the draft, where they gave him the contract of the song and you can see where he crossed stuff out and resigned it. Also, Melody Van Zandt, the daughter of Ronnie Van Zant from Lynyrd Skynyrd actually gave me a platinum album that was presented to her father Ronnie, that I keep in my home in my bar which is like a museum to rock and roll.
Let everyone know in Australia I love you and we can't wait to get back there!