Two decades later, metal band Sevendust relishes Grammy nod

NEW YORK -- If Grammys were handed out for sheer persistence, the metal band Sevendust would have a bunch by now.

See Full Article

The quintet from Atlanta is celebrating two decades together this year with its first Grammy nomination. The nomination is for a song that is, appropriately, named "Thank You."

"This is a big deal. I feel like it's going to push us to work even harder," said Lajon Witherspoon, the band's lead singer and co-songwriter. "I think we're on the right avenue right now."

Sevendust, known for its melodic approach to metal, has put many miles on the road, supporting everyone from Metallica to Creed. The band finally got the attention of the Recording Academy for last year's "Kill the Flaw," its 11th studio album.

The music has elements of classic metal, thrash, southern rock and even some soul, led by the fearsome instrument of Witherspoon's voice, one of the most flexible and exciting in music today.

"Music is music. I never put a label on it. I just feel I'm a rocker," said Witherspoon, who also recently sang with the Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra for a side project and who has embraced Sevendust's acoustic side.

"I'm sure there are people out there that would say Sevendust isn't heavy enough, but I don't believe everything has to be always breaking walls down," he said. "I've been onstage and felt like Britney Spears compared to some of the bands that we've played with. But we still get out there and rock it."

Sevendust hits the road as a headliner this spring starting April 26 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and wrapping up May 28 at the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma.

Sevendust's lineup -- which also includes Clint Lowery on lead guitar, John Connolly on rhythm guitar, Vince Hornsby on bass and Morgan Rose on drums -- has been remarkably stable over the years, with the exception of Lowery stepping away for a few years.

"We don't really ever fight. There's no reason to. We're grown men," said Witherspoon, who welcomed his third child in December and just celebrated his 12th wedding anniversary. He is well versed on car seats and diapers, yet onstage can deliver the lyric "All the things we loathe, we become it" with full-throated power.

At the Grammys, Sevendust faces off against Slipknot, Lamb of God, August Burns Red and Ghost. Though the winner won't be televised, Witherspoon and his family will proudly be on the red carpet.

For a guy who watched the ceremonies as a boy, he wouldn't miss it, especially as a way to thank his wife for all her sacrifices while he and his band crisscrossed the country. "This is for the wives," he said.

Witherspoon was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and sang in his church choir. Even his grandmother sensed there was a showman in the youngster. "I wanted to perform," he said, laughing. "I was rocking my gown."

Though he sang in R&B bands, by high school he was hanging out with the long-haired kids listening to Guns N' Roses and Black Sabbath. Able to wail and growl, he gravitated toward metal, an often rare genre for an African-American.

Witherspoon says he doesn't see racism at Sevendust gigs these days, but years ago on tour with Slipknot he saw "a couple of knuckleheads" in the mosh pit give the Hitler salute, oblivious to what it meant. In melancholy moments, he suspects his race might have slowed the band's rise.

"I've always wondered if I had not been a black man in Sevendust, would it have even gotten bigger?" he asks. "At the end of the day, I'm glad that it took this long because we're still here."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Rob Lowe says he feared death during bigfoot-like encounter

    Entertainment CTV News
    Rob Lowe says he thought he was going to be killed during an encounter with a bigfoot creature while filming his new A&E docuseries. Lowe tells Entertainment Weekly the encounter took place in the Ozark Mountains, which stretch between Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Source
  • 20 years later, new generation of Harry Potter fans

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- K'lyssa Moore wasn't that much older than the elementary school students she now teaches when she first fell in love with Harry Potter soon after the books first started coming out. The 28-year-old reads at least part of the first book to her classes, and isn't at all surprised when they fall under the spell of the boy wizard, just like she did, and are endlessly curious about what happens next, just like she was. Source
  • Q&A: Randy Bachman on his shelved recordings with Buffy Sainte-Marie

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Randy Bachman has performed live with many Canadian legends over the years, but somehow not Buffy Sainte-Marie. The Winnipeg-born rock star and the Oscar-winning indigenous songstress have never collaborated on stage but that changes Monday night at Ottawa's National Arts Centre as part of the Canada Scene festival, which runs until mid-July. Source
  • Song from Prince's father being released on his 101st birthday

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - A new song from Prince's late father, produced at Paisley Park, is being released Thursday to celebrate what would have been his 101st birthday. Prince's half-sister, Sharon Nelson, produced the jazzy "Heart of Mine" by John L. Source
  • Pop superstar Adele hints '25' tour is her last

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON - Pop superstar Adele has hinted that her current tour for Grammy-winning album "25" will be her last. The 29-year-old included a signed, handwritten note in the program for her Wednesday night show at Wembley Stadium in London stating, "I don't know if I'll ever tour again and so I want my last time to be at home. Source
  • Kelly Clarkson plans second children's book

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- After releasing a best-selling children's book, Kelly Clarkson is back for an encore. HarperCollins Publishers announced Wednesday that the Grammy winner's "River Rose and the Magical Christmas" is coming out Oct. Source
  • Adele hints at retiring from touring in concert program

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Singer Adele has hinted she may never tour again once she wraps up her current concert run. The 15-time Grammy Award winner graced the stage at Wembley Stadium in her native London on Wednesday night and performed for a record-breaking 98,000 fans, but the evening was bittersweet for concertgoers who quickly realized this could be one of her final shows. Source
  • Molly Shannon had no idea her dad was gay

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress and comedienne Molly Shannon is glad her father had the courage to come out as a gay man before he died after hiding his sexuality for over 50 years. The Hotel Transylvania star spent most of her upbringing oblivious to the fact her dad was a closeted gay man. Source
  • 'I prefer marijuana over alcohol': John Mayer

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rocker John Mayer has replaced his penchant for alcohol with marijuana. The Daughters hitmaker has only started to enjoy smoking pot in more recent years, after choosing to keep his mind clear and focused during the earlier part of his career, and he insists getting high has really helped him relax. Source
  • Former playmate Kendra Wilkinson phoning in sex from Vegas

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Playboy boss Hugh Hefner’s ex Kendra Wilkinson is keeping her marriage sexy across the miles by phoning in racy moments with her husband. The former playmate, 32, admits her Las Vegas stage production of Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man has been tough on her marriage, because her husband, Hank Baskett, has been stuck in Los Angeles. Source