One of the most consistent and successful hard rock bands of the last ten years is none other than Sevendust. These guys got big around the time Creed and Limp Bizkit did and while those bands have broken up and reformed and broken up, Sevendust has persevered. The group has now released seven proper studio albums, the latest being last year’s Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow and has recently been revitalized thanks to the return of guitarist Clint Lowery around the same time. Recently we were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to speak with Clint about what the band is up to, his return to Sevendust and what we can expect from Sevendust’s forthcoming eighth album due out in early 2010.
Just to start off, how is the current tour through the US going?
Clint: It’s going great man, we’re out with Black Label Society right now and things are good man, we’re just chomping away right now, we’re about halfway through this tour. It’s been amazing so far man, great crowds, great responses.
Sevendust has been together now for nearly two decades. How does it feel to still be doing this today? Would you say you enjoy it more now than in the early days?
Clint: Well we’ve been together since 1996 and um, it’s been great man, I mean for me, I left for a few years to start another band with my brother so I guess I kind of stepped away from it for a while. But I mean, it’s kind of like… right now the whole demeanour of the band, the way everything is, it reminds me of the beginning days, a lot of that same enthusiasm and ambition so that’s kind of cool to be able to rekindle that. But you know, who knows how long that’ll last, we’re just really in a good place right now so hopefully that’ll reflect on the record that we’re going to record.
Now in late 2004, you (Clint) parted ways with Sevendust only to come back into the fold last year. What was it like for you to be away from the band for so long and what made you want to rejoin?
Clint: Well I mean, at the time that it all happened, it was kind of sensitive situation between us, me and the guys but you know, looking at it now, I think it was healthy because you know, we had been together a long time, there were some things I wanted to do musically and um, with everything that I couldn’t do with the guys anymore. So I wanted to kind of stretch my legs a little bit and do some different stuff and you know, it was kind of tough, but it was one of those things that we had to do. And I feel that I learned a lot as far as song writing and different things that I bring to the table with the guys now. It all kind of worked out in the end, it was definitely tough. But being back, the reason for coming back was that it was kind of like home you know, you kind of get out there and do your own thing and you want to be your own person and then now it’s like I’m coming back to my family at the end of the day and that’s what it’s about, us being brothers and playing together again.
Did you personally have any trouble adjusting back to the band when you first got back going with Sevendust?
Clint: No, you’d think that it would be a little different because you know it was about four years that I was away, well three and a half or so, but long enough and of course it takes a little while to get your road legs underneath you again. But you know I did a few different things, I was still busy the whole time so getting back with them, it was such a comfort zone because we had played together so many times, we know exactly how each other plays, responds, adlibs and does everything live. It was like riding a bike, you know, we just jumped right into it, it was really kind of creepy how fast it happened you know, it was like no time had passed.
Since you rejoined the group, have you and the other guys gotten together to do any writing or recording yet?
Clint: Yes, we actually started, we recorded about five songs, we got music, we’re working on lyrics and verses and everything like that. We’re really excited about it man, we’re going to take our time, we’ve been touring pretty heavily since April of last year so we’re taking breaks here and there to kind of finish up our ideas and then we’re going to find a producer and we’re going to start trying to record the thing around July or August. We’re going to do a lot of European dates this year so we’re going to try to get away from the States and Canada for a while and just try to focus on Europe and this new record.
What is the writing and recording process like? Do you write a lot of the music or do you all collectively kind of do it?
Clint: Well that’s part of the process, basically what happens is John or myself will write a skeleton or idea of the music and we’ll bring it in and we’ll all listen to the different ideas that John or I have and we’ll kind of pick out of those. As a band, we’ll play them and see if they translate you know, from what John and I were visioning. After that, we get the music, we’ll record it somewhat, you know in some basic way and then do lyrics and word for the song after. But it depends, sometimes we’re in the studio, we write all together, sometimes there are two of us that are doing it, you know it’s different. But that’s generally what happens, John and I will come up with the music, the band learns it and then you know, we collectively write the words and melodies.
While you were gone from Sevendust, you had the good fortune to tour with Korn as one of their guitarists in 2007. What was this experience like for you? Would you do it again if asked?
Clint: Um, as far as doing it again for Korn?
Clint: Yeah man, you know that opportunity kind of came at a time when I really needed to get back out on the road and do some different things and those guys were great, they treated me really, really cool. When I first got there, you know, going in, I knew it was just a situation where I was going to help them out and play guitar for them, it wasn’t like I was joining the band or anything. So it was really laid back for me, I just came in and played some Korn songs you know and uh, you know I respect those guys a lot and what they do, it was definitely not the same thing that I was use to with Sevendust. It was definitely a cool experience, I learned a lot just from their vibe you know, just seeing how people write and seeing how people do stuff and I take what I want from that and it helps me with my own songs. It was cool man, that whole experience was definitely a great time.
Aside from Sevendust, you’ve also been in other bands such as Dark New Day. Recently I read that the release of a second Dark New Day album is unlikely. Is this true or might we see another record at some point?
Clint: No I mean I doubt it, you never know, but I highly doubt that there’ll be anything. Everyone’s just doing different things, they kind of just dissolved really slowly, it was kind of sad because a second record was recorded and done, but there was label stuff and we can’t really release it. I think it’s going to be leaked out eventually, people can check it out, if they like it they like it, if they don’t they don’t. I just want to make sure that the people who want to hear it, they get a chance to have the record because they waited a long time you know.
In terms of solo work, back in the fall you released a six song EP called Chills under the project name Hello Demons…meet skeletons. How did this project come about in the first place?
Clint: I wanted to do something, I just got back with Sevendust and there were some personal issues that I wanted to deal with and I thought that doing an acoustic EP would be the least threatening to the creative process of Sevendust. It was totally different and at the same time, I could feed the appetite for needing to write and record something instead of having to wait for the new Sevendust. I figured, at first I was going to do a full album, but then I thought I’d just do an EP and I did it all in ten days and recorded everything myself, wrote everything myself and did it with my brother who produced it. It was really cool man, I’m really glad I got to do it, I still do some of the solo shows you know as after shows to the Sevendust, and I did one last night and it was really cool.
Might we see more Hello Demons….meet skeletons material in the future?
Clint: Absolutely, one hundred and ten percent.
So maybe like a full length LP?
Clint: Yeah man, I don’t know if it’ll be acoustic, it might be a bunch of different things but you know, it’s going to be cool no matter what. It might not be acoustic, it might be all, who knows, electronic stuff you know, it won’t be typical Sevendust sounding because you know that wouldn’t be a good idea because I’m already feeling that with these guys, I want to do something different.
Now since you rejoined the band on tour, how has the crowd reacted to your return? Has it been all positive?
Clint: Yeah man, I thought there were going to be a few people you know, being upset about it but everyone’s been really cool man, it was really surprising, it was a really warm welcome back man. I hear it every night still; you know “welcome back to the band.” It’s just really endearing man, I mean I can’t believe it, it’s such a strong family out here with this fan base and this band, it’s good to be a part of that.
In terms of Sevendust, what does the band have planned next?
Clint: Well real quick, this tour ends May 7th, we’re going to go over to Iraq, we’re going to go to Europe and play the festivals over there, come back, hopefully record the record and then do some more European stuff in the fall and then release the record next year around this time.
Awesome so we can expect a Sevendust record in about a year from now?
Clint: Yeah, look out for it…