Alternative/Rock The Cover Story

Sevendust: “We’re no different to anyone else in this life. We all walk through this crazy world together trying to make it.”

Frontman Lajon Witherspoon talks about how the Atlanta band reconnected to record 'Truth Killer,' the most diverse album of their careers.
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In 2020, Atlanta hard rockers Sevendust released their thirteenth album, Blood & Stone (read our review here), then, courtesy of the pandemic, found themselves armed with an album they couldn’t tour to promote. Not letting the grass grow under their feet, the band continued working on new material before relocating to a farmhouse to reconnect as friends and bandmates.

The result of that was their recently released new album, Truth Killer. Their fourteenth album, and first for new label, Napalm Records, found the band take the spine of their sound and experiment around it to create an album that will not only sound familiar to long-time fans of the band but will offer something to rock fans yet to be converted to the Sevendust way.

In our latest Cover Story, V13 sat down with frontman Lajon Witherspoon to discuss reconnecting with his bandmates, exploring new musical avenues, and the inspiration behind Truth Killer.

Thanks for your time, Lajon. I was listening to the record this morning, and I want to dig into that a little bit later on. Firstly, I just wanted to talk about how you went out to a farmhouse before you started recording the record.

Lajon Witherspoon: “Yeah, we went out there to my family’s farmhouse in just really secluded area, and it was really fun for us to get back to it. In the old days, it was the area we used to jam in so it’s really cool to see everyone in grandma’s room, the drum set. Everybody, you know, just hanging out spending nights together. I think we wrote like three or four songs there. It was just that laid back. That laid-back energy, you know, and which is laid back but with a whole different vibe. It just made the process a lot easier for us to go in.”

In terms of getting the band out to the farmhouse, what prompted that and what did you want to get out of it personally and as a band?

“When I was there, when me and my wife, were remodelling it and staying, I said to her that this place would be great to write music. My grandmother used to always say that and until we finished, and I stopped and called Clint and said, ‘You know what, come down here and check this out.’ We wrote a couple of songs, then we agreed that we had to have the band there. Just the energy there was incredible to wake up to, look at the cows, no one there except for us. It was so funny; I said it’d be so funny if anyone ever knew what was going on inside this small farmhouse. It’d be amazing.”

“I thought that I was always going to be a musician and this is what I wanted to do in my heart but I didn’t know what level it would be.”

I spoke to a couple of bands who have done something similar over the past couple of years. At what point did you start writing Truth Killer? When did that process start?

“For the last album, Blood & Stone, unfortunately, we weren’t able to tour that album, you know, because of the pandemic. So, we were able to put it out and while it did well for us, man, that was crazy being at home while that album was out. During that time, we started writing stuff slowly. There’s always someone writing something, and we’re listening to it back and forth, but, until we got into the farmhouse, that was when we really started binding down and moving on. So, probably during that pandemic, that last leg of the pandemic was when we really started getting together.”

Like I said at the start, I’ve been listening to the album today. It’s got that traditional Sevendust sound, but you’ve also travelled down some different avenues on it. Was that an intentional decision, or did it just happen?

“I feel like we’re at a point in our careers where we don’t have to be afraid to show people change. I think that everyone has grown up with us so it doesn’t have to always be the heavy stuff in the world. I’m 50 years old now, and I’m the youngest one in the band. I think we have time to slow down and have melody and sing about things that are different in our lives. It’s not the same anymore.”

There are quite a few current themes on the record. Were there any particular incidents or experiences over the last couple of years which triggered that?

“Absolutely. I think every song on this album has something to do with something that’s going over within the last few years. I love for people to look at it that way into your music so they can read into it then come out of it with their own interpretation, but I think a lot of it is self-explanatory too.”

V13 Cover Story 031 - Sevendust - August 28, 2023
V13 Cover Story 031 – Sevendust – August 28, 2023

When you have people that are listening to the record and reading the lyrics, what do you hope they get from it?

“Man, I just hope that they understand that we go through the same thing that everyone else goes through, and we’re no different than anyone else in life, and we all walk through this crazy world together just, you know, trying to make it.”

I spoke to another band who did a very similar thing to you but a bit more extreme than and rented a farmhouse on Airbnb with no electricity, no water, no lights, nothing there…

“Ha, no, we have TVs and stuff. The farmhouse is nice. We gotta have TVs. I mean, we love music, but we like to shut it down and watch TV.”

What they said was it was good to reconnect with each other as people…

“I get it I get it, man. But yeah, we didn’t do that. We still worked hard, then we watched TV at night.”

Perfect. Did it feel like a fresh start for you guys to work like that?

“Oh, absolutely. It feels like a fresh start right now. Writing that new record, doing like five videos already. I mean, yeah, it was like a fresh start. It’s incredible. The pandemic really took the wind out of everyone, but it feels like there’s a new energy. There’s a new surge in the music industry right now. The concerts are just really incredible. The kids. The people are ready to come out, you know, everyone’s ready to be back to some type of normality. I think that goes along with helping us artists too.”

You’ve talked about being at the farmhouse, TV and chilling out. You’ve also talked about social media and media on the record. Did you avoid exposure to that while you were there?

“The only thing you have at farmhouse was Roku, so we were really unplugged, but we could still watch TV on our laptops. That’s something that I feel that we do unplug. Even when my family goes to the farmhouse, we unplugged. We put cell phones down. And you know, like I said, we watched the Roku.”

In terms of staying off social media, what was that like? Did you find that helpful?

“I’m not a big social media man. I do Instagram, and my wife runs Facebook and all that other stuff but’s definitely it’s something that you have to keep your finger on the pulse with. As a businessman, I definitely do it as far as Sevendust goes, but, as for my personal thing, I really don’t get involved in all the back and forth and all that stuff. It’s so stressful to me. I like to stay positive, and a lot of times, I get on that and I see people fighting and stuff, it only leads down to negative voices. So, as long as I don’t have anything to do with that and if it’s not affecting me, it’s not my business.”

Absolutely. In terms of the record that could there’s a couple of other songs, could you just talk us through your interpretation of them – “No Revolution” and “Holy Water”?

“Oh, wow. ‘No Revolution’? At the end of the day, what are we going to do? What’s going to be the revolution? Who’s going to fix it? What’s going to be the revolution? What’s going to be the movement? Who’s going to fix it at the end of the day? There’s no resolution, there’s no resolution, you know, it’s like a play on words too. So it’s really fun.

“‘Holy Water’, to me, is like a movie just in a song. If you listen to the lyrics from the first word, for me, it is a picturesque song. It just puts me in a film setting. I can’t wait for everyone to see the video for that, too, but that was a fun song. When I heard the music to that, I knew immediately that it was going to be something different and it was going to affect the fans and the family out there in a positive way. I’m glad that we were able to do the song and, after doing the vocals, I’m very happy with it, just very impressed with the turnout.”

Sevendust ‘Truth Killer’ album artwork
Sevendust ‘Truth Killer’ album artwork

I wanted to ask you about the opening track, which somebody has described as Trent Reznor covering The Weekend. It’s a very different track for you guys. It’s a brilliant opener but a surprise…

“Yeah, it was fun, and it caught everyone off guard. To me, personally, I feel like that’s one of the heavier Sevendust songs if you listen to the progression and the way it was built. I can’t wait to put that in the set. I think it surprises a lot of people. When you get to the end of it, you realize that this is heavy, how we really built this song into, you know, another story. Then, for Clint to come in with the beats and programming, that was really fun to have worked on and to sing over. So, this album altogether was exciting for me from the first song to the end.”

“I feel like once we got back together as a band, we realised that we took that for granted. We realised that we’re tight. We’re really tight. We’re really brothers.”

You’ve talked about Clint bringing that electronic element to the music for this record. Do you see yourself doing that again, especially as it’s worked really well?

“Oh, yeah, definitely, man. That’s only the beginning of it. We still have so much in us. Signing this new record deal, and things are going well for us. I can only imagine the future is really bright right now.”

That’s great to hear. Now, 14 records into an incredible career, and you’re still smiling, so obviously, things are going good…

“I’m happy, you know. Maybe in a week or so, it might be sad to be in the middle of a tour, but, you know what… It’s time to get back to work. My wife said get out of here.”

When you started Sevendust back in ‘97, what was your vision, and did you think you’d be sat talking to someone about your fourteenth album?

“I thought that I was always going to be a musician, and this is what I wanted to do in my heart. So yes, but I didn’t know what level it would be. I knew I would doing something if I wouldn’t be doing Sevendust, I’d be doing something, but this is incredible to be in the van and to be touring the world and to have a new record deal, talking to you, doing interviews and seeing the album do well. It’s incredible. It’s a good time for us, and I can only hope that this is a new branch for us.”

We’ve talked about Clint and the new elements he’s brought to the music. You’ve mentioned the new record deal. Where do you see this going from here?

“It’s a great time. Everyone’s healthy, and we’re just ready to get out of here to bang it. We’re out here on tour with Mammoth WVH, which has been incredible and then Alter Bridge, who are really good friends. It’s a family affair out here right now.”

Turning back to the farmhouse again. I read you said that you wanted to be friends again. You wanted to become the garage band that you were and go back to those roots, and that made this a fun record. Theme-wise, it’s not a fun record, though. Could you expand on that?

“It was just us being together as a group of men. If you think about that, the pandemic took us away from what we thought was normal, which was being on the road for a year, you know, and being away from the family, then all of a sudden being at home with our families. That was the good thing about the pandemic; we were able to be daddies, husbands, something that we normally can’t be because we’re always away. So, I feel like once we got back together as a band, we realized that we took that for granted. We realized that we’re tight. We’re really tight. We’re really brothers, man, and that was what was cool.

“We felt that energy once we got back together, laughing with each other in the house, and, you know, just having fun. That’s what I mean when I say it was fun. That part of us being together doing what we love to do. That’s the fun part about it. It’s always very, very up and down. The music, of course, is very emotional and stuff, but after you record and everything, you get back to that brotherhood, you know?”

So, you’ve been together as a band since ’97. Fourteen albums into your career in a relentless industry, what keeps that friendship going?

“I think we know that we change each other’s lives, and without each one of us, we wouldn’t be here together. I like to say to a lot of bands out there is not to have one guy ride up in a Lamborghini and another guy ride on a bicycle because someone’s making more money; it doesn’t work that way. We keep everything evenly. I wouldn’t be able to do something without this guy. He wouldn’t be able to without me. This is us. This is the band. We come in together. We have performed together. We live it together. We’re a band. If there’s something that someone else has to write about, guess what you’re writing about it…

“That’s the most important thing is for not someone to get too big and be like, it’s all me. It’d be very foolish if everything came from one person’s point of view or perspective. You can’t have that much to write about when you only write about yourself, you know? You got to have room to give and let other people express themselves to you. That’s something that’s kept us together. We’ve been able to keep it strong. We know we have a job to do, and it’s turned into a career, but it’s not just a career; it’s a passion.”

What does Sevendust mean to you personally, then?

“It’s crazy. It’s been a wild ride. I can’t believe it. I’m very proud of what we’ve done, and I hope it continues…”

Sevendust’s new album, Truth Killer, is out now through Napalm Records, and you can pick up your copy here.


I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.