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| 30 July 2014 | Reply

I still remember the first few shows I had the pleasure of photographing – I think the third or fourth show I shot was the HardDrive Live tour that featured Sevendust in th headliner spot back in 2010.  I loved these guys before that, but shooting them and gettign to see them live, up close and personal, added to the love of their music and dedication to great rock and roll.  As these guys get ready for the road once again (they are road dogs), I was given the opportunity to chat with vocalist Lajon Witherspoon… and I couldn’t wait!


Toddstar: Well thank you Lajon so much for taking time out for us today, we really appreciate it and we know you’re busy hitting the road.

Lajon: My pleasure.

Toddstar: So first show of the plugged back in tour how was the first show last night in Cleveland?

Lajon: Man, you know what? To be honest we were a little sketched out about it because we haven’t played electrical in it and just to come in kind of bareback. The crew had a couple of dates playing with the new gear so sound check kind of ran real late maybe to even 6:30 or so but you know we got the screws lose. Like we always say, we look at each other and I always say, “You know what it’s Rock N’ Roll,” but once we get up there we do and it always ends up fine. And I’ll tell you what the crowd last night was incredible it was a good way to start. Cleveland, Ohio they started a tour off and it’s going to be nights like that on this little run, it’s going to be very happy and very cool.

Toddstar: Very cool. Well let’s pick up a little bit, let’s talk about your latest release Time Travelers and Bonfires. This thing was a monster, in this day and age for any band to hit Top 20 on the billboard Top 200, you guys hit number 19. This is your second consecutive Number One Top Hard Music Album. What was it like to step back and not only the new songs you guys crafted but what was it like to kind of break down those old tracks and go back to basics?

Lajon: Awesome, it was awesome. I tell you what the energy, it was so cool to be a part of figuring out how we’re going to do these songs and to be honest with you the old songs to me sounded like new songs the way we put them together. Man it was so exciting to sit down in the room and look at each other and say, “Okay man all right, let’s try “Karma.” We’ve never even played it live since the album so let’s try this and it turned out great.” Like a song like a “Trust” turned out incredible. “Denial.” Just sitting there looking at each other like, “That’s exactly the way we wanted sound,” as we’re playing it so you know it was kind of like a magical thing for us to go through too.

Toddstar: Well you kind of hit on it how those older songs sounded new, and they did. I don’t know if it was just because you guys were able to give it a fresh approach or the fact that everything is kind of unplugged or the fact that you guys kind of broke everything down. What’s it like as a song writer to go back and revisit these songs and say, “Man it was cool then but damn, this really – this is the shit”?

Lajon: Oh yeah it was amazing to introduce the performance every night and to hear the people sing it back the new way and just crazy the people that didn’t hear the songs were able to understand, “Shit, this is ‘Denial,'” and, “This is my favorite song from …,” and it was such a cool experience and also writing new songs that was great we just went in there and banged it out. The energy was good. It was our first time being involved in a pledge campaign which is something that I recommend. It’s incredible. It was a way for us to try to take it away from the machine, I call it, which tries to suck you dry all the time. But it was fan funded – excuse me, I don’t like to say it was fan funded, it was family funded. We did things like coming to the studio, handwritten lyrics that people asked for; it was a very cool week. Everyone felt like a part of the album, every one that pledged got a Thank You in the album, just things like that and it made it like, “this is fun it,” made it feel like, “this is like things should be.”

Toddstar: Well you guys have always been a band of the fans. You guys always make yourselves available to do the meet and greets, you hang out at the bars before and after the show. How important is that to the band in this day and age when record sales aren’t what they were 20 years ago, 10 years ago?

Lajon: I don’t know. I think it’s just we’re good old boys and we like to hang and a lot of the times these people that come to our shows it is definitely not the same. It’s become more like a family affair, if that makes any sense. I mean we have people that have been coming around since we started and they’re not coming around by themselves, they’re coming by with their wives and they’re coming around with their kids, and their kids are old enough to have girlfriend and boyfriends and now their kids have kids and they’re coming to the show, so it’s definitely a family affair. It’s always something going on and it’s always somebody cooking something or coming to see us so it’s really cool to be a part of it and who would have thought that we’d still be doing this and even anyone caring especially with what this music industry is today, so it’s a pleasure to be able to come out and do this.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about something else you guys had in the works. You guys recently kicked off a multi-show concert film. Is there any progress on that whole process?

Lajon: Well yeah we’re still in the paperwork to see what the hell’s going on. You know how that can be, but it’s a great idea. We did have a guy from the company come out on the acoustic wing and stayed out with us for a couple of weeks and it was great, rocking, it was awesome. It was for this, but we’re still in the making to figure out a venue or a time that we’ll go and do this in New York and do the two shows together but that’s, like I said, it’s all in the making and we look forward to that if it does work out.

sevendust august 2014_0001

Toddstar: Cool. Well you guys are back out, again you kicked off last night in Cleveland, and we can’t wait to see you once again at the world-famous Machine Shop ( on August 5th.

Lajon: I can’t wait, I love it. We were just there and that night was incredible too with the Machine Shop and everybody was there. It’s like I said, here you go answered the last question the family thing. Before you go there you go and get Big John’s and going over to the Dort Mall.

Toddstar: That was going to be one of my next questions. Is Big John is still your favorites from the Flint area?

Lajon: Oh yeah, we go there all the time. The last time we were there it was so cool to see him. He’s like, “Oh my God, you guys haven’t been around for a long time.” I was like, “Yeah but guess what? I’ll be here next month.”

Toddstar: I can remember seeing you guys a few years back in Mount Clemens and Minty [photographer Jeff Mintline] actually brought you guys Big John’s from Flint.

Lajon: Oh yeah, yeah that’s awesome. Yeah.

Toddstar: So let’s talk about Flint and the Machine Shop for a minute. What is it about the Machine Shop and Flint that just makes all the stars line up every time when you guys are in town?

Lajon: It’s just a good vibe. It’s good people man and it’s family. Most beautiful fans that’s the type of club where you can see us hanging out in the day time and my buddies have a barbecue, that’s what you see that night at the show all my friends everybody’s great.

Toddstar: What’s the best Machine Shop story you’ve got?

Lajon: Oh man. Every time that we go there’s something cool that happens. I get me some cool shirts from there that I can take around the world. Every time we go there, there’s something great that happens, a lot of great people and a great kick-ass show but I do remember one time I fell off stage twice. We had these lights and our light guy didn’t let me know and he didn’t take it off and it was so bright I remember like, “What the hell do we even need those lights for,” and every time I stepped to the left of the stage it looked like the stage was there and I went down to the ground and I was like, “Wow this is the first time this ever happened to me to me,” then go to the right side of the stage and I was like, “Wow that’s the second time that’s ever happened.”

Toddstar: So what are you guys doing different on this leg? Obviously you just finished the acoustic swing-through and now you guys are coming out with it plugged back in and everything’s turned back up to eleven, any surprises, anything that stands out for the band with this leg?

Lajon: Rocking everybody man and having a good time. It’s pretty cool and we’ll just get together, knock the songs around and see how it happens, but once we get there we’ll just have a good old Sevendust time.

Toddstar: Have you guys been doing any writing? I know you’re fresh off the pledge campaign but are you writing for a new album yet?

Lajon: Well yeah, that’s in the talks of course and we’ll take a break. Everybody’s always writing though that’s just us. Yeah we’re definitely doing that.

Toddstar: Well again Lajon, I know you’re busy so I have a couple more for you if you don’t mind. When going out on the road and you’re looking around the house before you get on that bus, what are the one or two things that you look around and you think, “I can’t leave home without this?”

Lajon: Let’s see. Well I can’t leave – you know what? Actually it makes more sense because I have things like that that I keep on the tour bus in case. Like I keep bringing back out so certain little trinkets that I have to have like lava lamps, cool antique things that I have, but what I wouldn’t want to leave home at my house I’d say one of my Turquoise bracelets that was handed down to me from 1972. That’s something that I think I’m a little bit of I believe good luck. My wedding ring, because of my wife. Yeah couldn’t leave without that. A couple pieces of jewelry. It was so hard to leave the other day, but I got to come out here and do this.

Toddstar: Sure. If there’s one piece of music in the history of time that you wish you could put your stamp on, what would it be?


Lajon: Old school R&B maybe, I don’t know. Rock. I wish I could do something like that Jimi Hendrix thing, does that make sense? I wish I could have been like in that era and been singing like something with him or a band like that, or if Sevendust had been back then. I’d been able to go shopping with Jimi, maybe save his life or something to do with that.

Toddstar: Well you got a point in time where you guys are releasing Top 20 albums on the Billboard Charts, Number One albums in the hard rock charts. Everything’s going good for you. You’re doing a pledge campaign and your fans really stuck up for you guys, everything is just going awesome. So at this point Lajon, what is the meaning of life?

Lajon: Wow. To be a great husband, to be a great father to my family. To thank the Lord and never take what we’ve done for granted and still know that there’s so much more to learn. There’s still so much more to tap into. We have never been to Brazil or Asia. All kinds of things like that we need to still do and I feel like it’s been a long run, but a lot of times I still feel like if you can go back in the beginning you can look at it in certain ways. So I just try to still play music and people will enjoy it and come to the shows and let us do it for as long as we can because it’s what we love, doing music, if that makes sense.

Toddstar: Well listen Lajon, I appreciate it, again, you taking time out for us; we really appreciate it and we cannot wait to see you once again destroy the stage of the world-famous Machine Shop on August 5th.

Lajon: You guys know I look forward to seeing you guys and I’ll talk to you soon.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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