After the success of their 12th studio album All I See Is War, US hard rockers Sevendust have been thrust into a mainstream spotlight they’ve more than earnt after more than 20 years on the scene.
Ahead of their Australian tour this month, rhythm guitarist John Connolly isn’t quite sitting back, but is pondering the band and how far they’ve come. “It’s kind of a weird period for us right now because I’m actually writing for the next record.
“Which is strange, we’ve not had a chance to tour a bunch of places on the calendar for this album, just with the way scheduling works. It’s crazy that we’re already looking forward to releasing a record in 2020 – kinda got our head in two different games at the same time.”
Being on the back of All I See Is War in terms of promotion, touring and everything else that comes with supporting an album, while writing the 13th studio album simultaneously… well that’s just crazy, a fact Connolly responds to with raucous laughter.
How bands like Sevendust are able to create new things that build off new experiences but are still living in the now, would be mind-boggling for most – but not Sevendust. “We’re super lucky in the fact that we’ve got so many different songwriting people and possibilities and combinations,” Connolly says.
“Clint’s super prolific [lead guitarist Clint Lowery], he’s working on a solo album coming out. Vinnie [bassist Vince Hornsby] and myself have the Projected project – we’ve released two records and got a third record just sitting on back for when we’ve got an opportunity to do that.
“It’s one of those things where I don’t really look at it like work. It’s kind of a beautiful spot to be in, the fact that what you love to do, what you’re passionate about, you get to call your job.”
Connolly says, when he has a break from touring to explore the creative outlet, he can change it up, writing with different people and instruments to keep it moving forward. “I’ve been relying on piano a lot,” he says. “Instead of my usual programming of drum and the heavy guitars with Sevendust.
“Anything to change it up a bit, to keep it moving forward – but no matter what you do you’re always gonna get critiqued by very strong songwriters. Someone’s always doing something in the world of Sevendust.”
It seems someone’s always focused on moving forward – what’s the vision? What’s the goal? What’s the endgame? So even when Connolly is preoccupied, he operates under the assurance that there’s someone in the band keeping things moving in a creative direction. “At any given point anyone can bring a great idea to the table and all of a sudden there’s something cool for us to rip our teeth into.”
In 25 years – a fact Connolly calls crazy – Sevendust’s output has been insane. This certainly isn’t work, this is life. “I know if I didn’t have Sevendust I would be doing something musically,” Connolly says. “We’ve got so many different people we can look to to inspire you and keep you’re head in the game.
“Sometimes when you’re in the process and you’re hard on yourself, you play the demo to the guys and see them get super excited, high-fiving, working on lyric ideas and you go, ‘Alright’.
“Sometimes as a writer you can obsess over things for too long, but it’s just a luxury being in this type of band where everybody has input. It could be minor things, adjustments as far as structure, but it can take a mediocre song and make it a potential single.
“The ones we never thought would see the light of day are the ones people love the most – 25 years later, we’re still learning.”
Sevendust come to The Forum on Saturday April 27. Head to the venue website for tickets.