orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

February 9, 2013

Sevendust returns rejuvenated following hiatus

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

BEAUMONT —  It's amazing what 12 months apart can do for a band.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based rock band Sevendust is back on the road after taking basically all of 2012 off from touring. The group returns to Beaumont for the first time since Dog Jam '09 as it tours in support of its soon-to-be-relased album, "Black Out the Sun," due to drop March 26.

Special guests for this show for ages 18 and older include Lacuna Coil, from Italy, and Avatar, which is from Sweden. Tickets are $22 in advance and available at all Florida Tans locations, as well as online at www.dixiedancehall.com.

Sevendust, which features bandmembers Lajon Witherspoon, vocals; Morgan Rose, drums; Clint Lowery and John Connolly, guitars; and Vince Hornsby, bass, has a well-earned reputation for excessive touring. The group spent more than two years on the road in support of its April 2010 record, "Cold Day Memory," which included the late 2009 concert in Beaumont.

"We really enjoy touring, but we only did a handful of dates last year," Connolly said in a telephone interview. "We pretty much took 2012 off from Sevendust. We were all busy with other stuff and projects, like Vince and I released our debut CD with our other band, Projected. That was a lot of work in itself. And the other guys all did other stuff too, so we were still busy, but not as Sevendust."

Connolly said this hiatus from performing was the band's longest break in its career. Only one time before had the band taken an extended vacation from vacation and touring and that only lasted eight months.

"On one hand, you are really looking forward to taking a break from everything, but, on the other hand, you get bored after a while," Connolly said with a laugh. "The break let Vince and I work on Projected, while Morgan and Clint did their thing with Call Me No One.

"If we hadn't taken a break, it might be another two or three years before we could have done these things," he added. "With Sevendust, you have to pick and choose your battles because it is such a big part of all of our lives."

The band has been generating a lot of buzz with its extended touring over the past few years and it's hiatus, which was originally led by rumors of the group "retiring" or calling it quits.

"Our whole idea behind that was just to get people talking," Connolly explained. "A lot of people don't get our sense of humor. Everything's OK with Sevendust. We've been together for basically 18 years. It's fine."

Sevendust's new album, "Black Out the Sun," will be released March 26 and features the first single, "Decay," which is already burning up the radio airwaves. What makes this album unique, in a sense, is that is was not recorded in a short 30 day span, but written and recorded.

"This is the fastest we have ever wrote and recorded a record," Connolly said excitedly. "We went into the studio with a blank canvas and just wanted to see how the ideas flowed. It was amazing how everything just came together. The break was a huge help because there was a lot of energy in the whole process."

The album has all of the elements which make Sevendust such a special band from Witherspoon's powerful vocals to the thundering drums and pummeling bass of Rose and Hornsby, respectively, to the soaring guitars of Lowery and Connolly. However, it's more than the sum of its parts, according to Connolly.

"It's a greatest hits record from Sevendust that you've never heard," he said. "It's a pretty dark record, but in a positive outcome. It's got a completely different vibe, but it has similar points in it that you can hear from throughout different periods of our career. Records are like therapy for us. It's a way to vent."

The band has been chomping at the bit to get back out on the road and kicked off its three week tour in early February and concludes on Feb. 23 in Iowa before the band returns to touring in mid-March on a co-headlining trek with Coal Chamber.

"This first run is for us to get the songs out and see how it goes and what people think," Connolly said. "It's a small run in cities that maybe we haven't been to in a while, and a warm-up for what's to come this spring. The break was a legitimate break, not just for us but for the fans as well. We've never taken a year off, so maybe some of the fans have been missing us. We're excited to get back on the road and see how it goes."