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Sevendust: The curse of the thirteenth

There’s a lot of fear around the number 13.

Many streets skip the number 13 on their letterboxes. Norse law says that Loki, the 13th guest at a Valhalla party, was the one who introduced chaos into the world. Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ, was the 13th guest to arrive at the Last Supper (Iscariot would eventually have his body burst open and innards run like a river, according to Acts 1:18, because #metal).

So, do industry veterans Sevendust feel the pinch of the approaching LP number 13, a record already delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Not at all! Sevendust is just a great band to be in at the moment, especially now with everyone writing,” laughs frontman Lajon Jermaine “LJ” Witherspoon.

“We like to get in and jam, so when we get to the studio we go in and we write together. That’s when the best music that Sevendust has arises; when we sit down, look at each other and jam together.”

“It was the same this time around. We’ve recorded a new record, which we can’t wait to get out. It was meant to drop in September, but that’s now up in the air because we wanted to release it while going out on tour….but we’ll probably try and put out a song really soon to give people a taste of where we’re going.”

An album release year being derailed by a global pandemic is stressful at the best of times. Having said that, LJ sounds at ease – even relieved – with the chance to have some downtime at home.

“We’re fantastic. My son’s ripping it up above me. it’s all good here at the moment!” he says.

“For me, musically and writing-wise, my kids are a different outlet. I’m 47 years old, I’ve learned a lot, it’s really important for me to have the balance that I have at the moment. This time at home has been amazing for that.”

“At one point, you need that outside voice to come in and tell you what part of the music sucks.”

“Rest assured though, we can’t wait to get out on the road again. And for sure, this year we will release an album.”

After 12 albums it’s remarkable how consistent things have stayed for the group, with hardly any line-up changes occurring over their 25 year history, and a strong sonic direction evident from day one.

However, it was impossible not to notice, nor be swept up in, the ever-so-subtle evolution on their most recent LP All I See Is War, which saw the band dip their toes into new wave territory. It was a gamble that LJ attributes to the band’s producer Michael Baskette, dubbed “Elvis”, and noted as a crucial force in the band’s recent activity.

“At this point I really love to have someone police what’s going on,” laughs LJ.

“We have so many ideas, so I think it’s really healthy to have someone else come in. Sevendust is definitely a band . A lot of other acts can’t call themselves that. At one point, you need that outside voice to come in and tell you what part of the music sucks. Basically to just say ‘I know you think it’s great because you love each other, but guess what…..that’s not gonna roll.’”

With a new album in the bag and plenty of energy to bring to stages around the globe, things are truly in the waiting bay for Sevendust at the moment.

When things do kick into gear, it’s unlikely that there will be too much room for nostalgia, given the band recently played their celebrated 1999 LP Home in full to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

However, doing records in full is something that LJ isn’t opposed to, if it gives fans a chance to experience more music in a live setting.

“It’s a special moment for us and the fans. If we can bring you back to the time when that album touched your life, I love that. I think that’s an incredible energy,” he tells us.

“It’s so fun to do an album that we haven’t done, because you think about the industry…a lot of these records don’t get heard the way they need to be, because of the way the industry is!”

“I think there’s always so much music that people haven’t heard – so I think that doing these kinds of things is actually really great!”

With no concerts in the foreseeable future, now is a great time to get up to date with the expansive Sevendust back-catalogue – you never know when they might pull out one of their many records in full.

Unless it’s #13 of course. They should definitely skip that.

‘Heavy Metal Rules’ tour featuring Steel Panther and Sevendust (re-scheduled for 2021)

Thursday, 16th Feb
Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Tickets: MJR Presents

Thursday, 18th Feb
Nex, Newcastle
Tickets: MJR Presents

Friday, 19th Feb
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Tickets: MJR Presents

Saturday, 26th Feb
Eatons Hill, Brisbane
Tickets: MJR Presents