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12:00 AM Monday, 7/13/98 |   |

WHEN THE MEMBERS OF SEVENDUST SAY they've been on the road non-stop, they are not exaggerating. These guys from Atlanta hit the road in April 1997 and in the last. 15 months, have only been home 19 days.

Some members of this heavy rockin' band don't even have a home apart from their new, luxurious tour bus. But they don't let it get them down because they know touring is a great way to nurture their career and build a solid fan base. Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose told POLLSTAR, "The bottom line with [building] a real following and with being able to live ... is to constantly tour and just bang these people out as many times as you can." Rose said Sevendust has repeatedly gone into a city and played in front of a near-empty house then returned again and again until the band was able to successfully headline a 2,000-seat venue. "We were just a bunch of little country boys ... that had a following of about maybe four- or five-hundred people in the world. And we went out there and played in front of those half dozen people nightly for a while and people would come up to us and go, 'You keep coming back and it'll do better.' And we listened to them and it just built and built until now we're doing well." Sevendust first came together in 1994 when Rose and bassist Vinnie Hornsby were in a band called Snake Nation; singer Lajon Witherspoon was in an R&B band, Body & Soul. When Body & Soul opened for Snake Nation, Rose and Hornsby were blown away by Lajon's range and intensity and they decided to snatch him away and form a new band. Rose and Hornsby knew they needed representation so they called an old friend, Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French. French wanted no part of it. He had taken a step back from the rock world to devote time to his family and new baby girl. The band persisted but French refused. So the guys took what they call a drastic step. They planned a trip to New York City and told French he better help or else. French booked them a few gigs and after the NYC adventure, decided to find a balance between family and rock 'n' roll. A management relationship was solidified. With French-produced demos, the band started gigging around Atlanta as Crawlspace. The line-up changed a bit until 1996 when the band signed with TVT Records. The group now includes Lajon, Hornsby and Rose with guitarists Clint Lowery and John Connolly. The band's first commercial release was the song "My Ruin" on the Mortal Kombat: More Kombat CD. With that exposure, a band on the West Coast announced its prior claim to the Crawlspace moniker. Thus Sevendust was born. The band toured a month or so on its own and then realized it needed a booking agent. Rose said they got turned down by virtually every agency in the business. "Then here came Dave Kirby from The Agency Group and he said, 'I hear it and these people are going to be sorry....'"

  • Sevendust

    Clint Lowery
    John Connolly
    Lajon Witherspoon
    July 13, 1998


The first major booking Kirby landed Sevendust was the ill-fated R.O.A.R. tour with Iggy Pop, Sponge and Tonic. Rose said the tour was a bomb for bands that had already established an audience but for Sevendust, it was a huge success. "We're a band with a 400-person following so when we play in front of 1,000 people, we go, 'This is 1,000 people that we've never even seen before.'" Since then, the band has poured its soul out on stage, rocking the house from L.A. to London and back again. "We take a lot of pride in our live show because we try as hard as we can," Rose said. "We feel real comfortable when we walk off stage throwing up. That's a good assessment of how hard we played, and that's no lie. If we get off stage and we're not dying, we feel like we gypped somebody for sure." The fans are not the only ones who have taken notice of Sevendust and its head-banging concerts. The band that once had a hard time getting gigs is now fielding offers left and right. "They're flying in," Rose said. "That's the funny part.... Last year at this time, OZZfest was a pipe dream." Now, Sevendust is booked on the mainstage of the hard rock package tour. Sevendust got the coveted festival gig indirectly through its friendship with bands like Coal Chamber. Coal Chamber took Sevendust on the road and during that time, the band's manager, Sharon Osbourne, got to see first hand what Sevendust was all about. She liked what she saw and booked the band on the second stage for OZZfest '98. In the months since the booking, Sevendust's success inspired Osbourne to move the band to mainstage status. Rose said the band is appreciative of all the help it has received from the music business community. "We've been blessed. There's been a lot of people that have really helped us out a lot and in return, we think that we've worked real hard to be deserving of it." And what about all those agencies that passed on Sevendust? "Most of the ones that turned us down have come back," Rose said. "I love it.... I can't lie. The best way to help your pride when someone says 'No we don't want you,' [is] when they come back and say, 'Please, we do want you.' It's like, 'Fuck, thank you at least for coming back so that I can rest my pride here a little bit.'"


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