On March 26, Sevendust will unleash its new album, “Black Out The Sun“. On February 6 The Examiner caught up with guitarist John Connolly in Clifton Park, New York. The band is currently on tour with Lacuna Coil and Avatar, and in March, Coal Chamber will jump on board. John opened up about the new record; the band’s current tour; his side project, Projected; the lapses of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and his take the current state of America.
After almost two decades Sevendust remain intact with the original five members, Connolly, vocalist Lajon Witherspoon, bassist Vince Hornsby, drummer Morgan Rose, and guitarist Clint Lowery. While the guys have been involved in outside projects of late, and Lowry took a short sabbatical, the five remain committed to the band they began in 1994.
“Black Out the Sun” marks Sevendust’s ninth studio album. The record taps into the various stages of Sevendust’s sounds over their first decade, all stamped with the band’s sonic signature. The group went into the studio for the first time without songs already in hand, and self-produced one of their strongest efforts to date. “Black Out the Sun” is also one of the band’s darker works.
“I think that’s a pretty good description,” agrees Connolly. “I call it the greatest hits Sevendust record of songs you haven’t heard yet. It basically sounds like–it sounds like our career. There’s different kinds of songs that represent different periods. There’s a couple of riffs off there that are directly off the ‘Home’ record. There’s a couple from ‘Animosity’, a couple from ‘Alpha’. Some debut record stuff up in there–some old school. But I think at the end of the day it definitely has a darker vibe. There’s a lot of messed up stuff in the world so there’s some subject matter we wanted to tap into. But I think at the end of the day, as dark as it is there’s a little bit of hope. You can see the hope at the end of it.”
The band opted not to take on an outside producer for this “Black Out the Sun”, and Connolly shared that much of that had to do with the speed with which they tend to work.
“It’s a really cool vibey record. It all makes sense together. It was all done very quickly, together. Doing that whole studio experience was great. I think it was probably the fastest record we ever did, considering. You know the first record I think we recorded in three weeks but we had four years to write the songs. This one, we didn’t have any songs. We just went in there and basically started with a clean slate.”
The exception to that, oddly enough, is the album’s first single, “Decay” which was a hold over remnant from the band’s previous recording sessions for “Cold Day Memory“, and it also turned out to be the final song the band recorded for the new album.
“Yeah, it was the last song that we did for the record,” laughs John. “How ironic. We were like, let’s just go ahead and do this and we’ll have a good bonus track or something, and halfway through tracking the vocals, Vinnie was looking at me with that look on his face like ‘that’s a hit.’ I’m like, you watch that will be the first single. But yeah, that piece of music was hanging out on ‘Cold Day Memory‘ and it just never got the time of day. We had every intention of getting to it but we didn’t. So we had the piece of music sitting there and we said let’s just finish this thing and have an extra song on the record. Lo and behold as soon as we finished it we were calling it ‘the sleeper’. Last song written for the record.”
Listen to the full interview with John below, find out which two albums sparked his interest in being a musician, and get ready to catch the guys on tour this year.
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Rustyn Rose is a veteran music journalist who owns and operates Metalholic Magazine and Metalholic Radio.