The post-grunge movement brought forth a plethora of hard rock and “nu-metal” acts. Many of these bands exploded out of mainstream radio only to quickly fade into obscurity. In 1997, Sevendust broke out of the Atlanta scene with their iconic song “Black” off of their self-titled debut. This powerful single gave the public a proper introduction to Sevendust’s vehement sound, characterized by front man Lajon Witherspoon’s impressive vocals. As other bands in the post-grunge movement began to disappear, Sevendust continued to release albums and tour relentlessly into the new millennium. According to Witherspoon, the band’s loyal fan base is the main reason Sevendust has remained strong.
“We’ve been going so long, the fact that we’re still able to make albums and keep people interested is amazing,” Witherspoon said. “We’ve been very blessed to have what I don’t want to call a following, but a family affair that’s grown with us over the years. They’ve kept us going.”
After the release of 2010’s “Cold Day Memory,” the members of Sevendust took a well-deserved break. They used this time to “get back to their kids and beautiful wives.”
The members of Sevendust also indulge in their own side projects. Bassist Vinnie Hornsby and guitarist John Connolly formed the band Projected. Guitarist Clint Lowery and drummer Morgan Rose went on to form Call Me No One. However, the musical behemoth that is Sevendust could not be bridled for long.
In the summer of 2012, the group united and announced their ambitions to release a ninth studio album. For this effort, Sevendust journeyed to Architekt Studios in New Jersey. They decided to enter the studio with no material whatsoever and let the songwriting process happen organically.
“We just went in and worked for 30-something days,” Witherspoon said. “We were going Monday through Saturday from noon to midnight. We turned it into like a beehive. We had two set-ups where we could record live in two different rooms. I had a vocal area where I was writing. We all took over the studio. It was an incredible experience.”
In January of 2013, the world got its first taste of “Black Out the Sun” with the release of its initial single “Decay.” A modern cliché plaguing the music world is “Never listen to a band past their third album.” “Black Out the Sun” proves this adage to be wrong. Critics and fans alike are finding it to be a revitalizing return to the roots of the band’s sound.
“Black Out the Sun” shot up the charts and earned Sevendust their very first number one position on the Billboard charts and has been heralded as their most successful album to date.
“It’s definitely a blessing,” Witherspoon said. “To think that we’re number one, that’s just awesome. I just wish we would’ve done it (“Black Out the Sun”) a long time ago, so we could’ve built a relationship with all these people who might not have heard or seen us.”
Witherspoon also revealed that the band will continue to tour in support of this album. Their travels will take them overseas into Europe and Australia, where they will appear at the Soundwave Festival.
Eventually, Sevendust has plans to follow-up “Black Out the Sun” with an acoustic album and a companion tour. When Sevendust takes the Coca-Cola Stage at BayFest, their performance will resonate not only with die-hard fans but also new listeners to their sound. Ultimately, the crowd should experience what Witherspoon calls “a bunch of country boys who like to throw down.”
Date: Sun., Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m.
Stage: Coca-Cola Stage