Sevendust: LJ Witherspoon Gives New Album Update, Talks Skillet Tour + More

2019-07-17

Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Travis Shinn

LJ Witherspoon from Sevendust chats with Anne Erickson about the band’s upcoming tour with Skillet, the status of a new Sevendust album and more

Summer concert season is in full swing, and this August will bring a blockbuster tour featuring Sevendust, Skillet, Pop Evil and Devour the Day.

Sevendust recently took a break from the road, and frontman LJ Witherspoon says the guys are stoked to get out there with some of his favorite hard rock bands in the business.

“I love all the bands,” Witherspoon tells Audio Ink Radio. “I hope that’s the feeling that everybody is getting– that they’re going to come out and see, from the start to the finish, bands that are great. It’s about the music and trying to unplug from the crazy things at home or work or what’s going on in life. Just unplug and enjoy music, because I think music is a healer, and I definitely feel like this tour is going to be a healing type of tour.”

Witherspoon spoke with Anne Erickson from Audio Ink about the upcoming tour, the status of new Sevendust music, his own solo project in the works and more. Read the full interview below, and for more on Sevendust, go here.

Anne Erickson: Sevendust and Skillet have this North American tour on the way with Pop Evil and Devour the Day. What makes this bill an exciting bill for you?

LJ Witherspoon: For me, personally, we know everyone on the bill, and I’ve always wanted to tour with Skillet since I fell in love with the band the first time I heard them. It’s going to be fun. For me, it’s a family reunion kind of tour. I’m really excited. We’ve had a break, and it’s time to get out there and rock a little while.

When it comes to the songs that you’re going to be playing on tour, are you looking to switch it up from previous tours?

We’re going to switch it up a little bit. We’re excited. We’ll definitely pull in some heavy-hitters, and we have so many songs right now, that we’ve got a big catalog to pick from, so we’ll probably change the set around a lot of times on the tour and see which feels best.

You released “All I See Is War” last year. Now that the album has been out there a while, how has the reception felt like from fans at shows playing the new songs?

It’s great. It’s been a pleasure. The album was so great to be able to do, and we love to get out and do the songs live. It’s always exciting to add them into the catalog. It’s always fun to have new music. There are still songs people haven’t heard, so there’s still room to keep adding songs, so who knows what we’ll put into the set on the Skillet tour.

You guys released your debut album back in 1997. Does it seem like it’s been 20 years since Sevendust got together?

No! Not at all. But then, I’ll look at some of the photos and be like, “Wow, I do remember that, and I guess it was 20 years ago!” It’s hard to believe, because I feel like music keeps you young. It depends on the way you go about it. I’m a true believer in moderation. (Laughs) It’s been crazy, and we’ve been blessed. Not a lot of people can say they’ve been able to do something they love that long, and what a pleasure it’s been. It’s been a hard road, but what more could you ask for? To still be able to be relevant in this world of the music industry is really cool.

When you first created Sevendust, did you have any idea you would enjoy the longevity you have as a band?

I never really thought about it. I just felt that we have a group of guys, and we love each other, and this is awesome and we’re passionate and I felt we were destined to do it. I didn’t think that I would still be rocking with Sevendust and feeling like it’s new again.

Sevendust has a great fan base and great social media following. How important is social media to bands and artists today to reach fans?

It’s great. I’m a little old school. I do Instagram, and that’s it! (Laughs) A picture says 1,000 words. But, I think it’s very important for us to have these (social) pages, because that’s the future. You can be a kid in your living room or bedroom and play guitar really well or maybe not even play it well and become a social media phenomenon overnight. It’s where it’s at in the music business right now, and I think it’s important for anyone in the business to have their finger on that.

Everyone wants to know: What’s the status of new Sevendust music?

Oh, wow! We’re writing now. We’ve already had two writing sessions, and I really feel like we have some stuff that’s going to stick on this album, and that’s exciting. So, we’ll go into the studio not too long from now, and everyone is excited to go in and start testing out this new stuff and seeing what our producer feels like and if he likes the direction. But, we’re definitely happy with what’s going on right now. So, we’re taking our time — no hurry right now — but I think half the album is… I’m not going to say that! (Laughs) But, there’s a lot of cool material.

Are you working with the same producer as your last album, “All I See Is War”– Michael “Elvis” Baskette?

Yes, the same producer. Elvis (Baskette) again.

What vision do you have in your mind for the next Sevendust record, or is it coming more naturally?

It’s coming naturally. It’s just us jamming and doing what we do and being the artists and weirdos that we are.

Are there any artists out there who you’d really like to collaborate with or tour with?

That’s a good question! I love the band Hyro the Hero. I love those guys and would love to bring those guys out on tour with us one of these days. I still want to go out on tour with my brothers, Ivan (Moody, singer) from Five Finger Death Punch and those guys. I think that a Sevendust, Five Finger Death Punch run would be awesome to do. There are a lot of them– A Perfect Circle, Tool. I would love to tour with those guys. We leave for the U.K., and it will be Sevendust, Shinedown and Alter Bridge, and Alter Bridge is one of my favorite bands ever, so I’m looking forward to that tour. I love touring with anybody out there that’s in the industry and enjoys what they’re doing and puts on a good show.

Are you working on a solo project at all right now?

Yeah, you know! (Laughs) I’m trying to keep it on the down low, but I’m working on a little solo project myself, and it’s no big deal and not putting any pressure on it, but it’s been fun to work and do music to the side, and I’m excited about that, too.

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