"There definitely will be an end, but I don’t see it any time right now." Rumours of Sevendust's demise have been greatly exaggerated:

Lajon Witherspoon Sevendust
(Image credit: Press)

Last summer on Jamey Jasta’s podcast, Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose made one helluva comment: he knew exactly when his band were going to break up. Since then, their fanbase has been panicking over whether the nu metal veterans are nearing their end of days, even as they signed a new record deal with Napalm and announced their 14th studio album, Truth Killer, would be released later this summer. 

Hammer caught up with singer Lajon Witherspoon to ask your all-important questions on everything from the band’s future to his favourite horror movies. 

Metal Hammer line break

Is this the end of Sevendust?
Jon Ambury, email 

“There definitely will be an end, but I don’t see it any time right now. I just turned 50 and I feel healthier than I did when I was 30. John Connolly [guitars] just ran the Boston Marathon. We have a lot of energy, especially with our new record deal. The pandemic slowed things down, so there’s a lot for us to do to catch back up again. We got to get to the UK and build our relationship back over there! So this is definitely not the end – not yet, at least.” 

Who is your biggest vocal inspiration?
Taylor Martin, Facebook 

“There are so many, but if I were to go right back, I’d say my father was one of my biggest vocal inspirations. He was the reason I wanted to be in a band. He was in a band, and I watched him rehearse and went to the venues when I was a child. I still remember the settings, the smells, the candles and the lights. He can’t believe that I still remember those things.” 

Hammer: What kind of band was he in? 

“It was a disco-era band, but they had full-on double-kick drums, bass, guitar and keyboards. So I was always around amplifiers and a live band; it was embedded in me at a very young age.” 

What is your favourite live album?
Sean Clemons, Facebook 

“That’s a good question! I’m gonna throw the Hammer readers for a loop: a live recording of the artist Sade, Lovers Live. Her band are in-freaking-credible! Each member plays each instrument, so, as they’re playing, they’ll exchange instruments. To see that going on during the set is amazing. They rock out harder than a lot of people would think! Study any of her live stuff.” 

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?
Rick Beckett, Email 

“Maybe that I love cooking. I consider myself a chef in my own house.” 

Hammer: What do you cook? 

“Last night I made my own ramen bowl. I was able to create my own sriracha, and I put wasabi in with onion powder and garlic powder. My wife tried it and she immediately spit it out and started sweating. Ha ha!” 

What’s your favourite scary movie?
Adam Butler, email 

The Exorcist. There’s a new one coming out, too. I can’t wait to see it. I normally watch scary movies in the bus, because I don’t want to bring that into my house and be scared to open doors! Ha ha! As a kid, The Exorcist kept me up at night, and the realistic part of it is what’s scary: the unknown!” 

Are you proud or embarrassed to be part of nu metal?
Sam Worth, email 

“I’m proud, but who made that fucking word up? Not everyone in the world agrees with the term, but I have no problem with it. I don’t think we’re a ‘nu metal’ band but, if you think that we are, that’s cool. As long as you like us! In fact, you can love us or you can hate us – just don’t fucking ignore us.”

Do you have any favourite memories of the nu metal era?
James Morris, Facebook 

“We went out with Limp Bizkit on the Ladies Night In Cambodia tour [in 1998]. They let the first 300 women in for free every night. Also, [American TV host] Matt Pinfield had this show years ago called Farmclub.com. You’d perform on TV on this roundabout stage, and the first half of the show one band would play, and the second half had another band. The day that we were there, it was Sevendust and Destiny’s Child! I got to meet Beyoncé!” 

Hammer: What was she like? 

“Incredible! Beautiful! The other girls were great too. They had no idea who we were. Maybe they said they did, but they were superstars already. Ha ha!” 

Who’s been your favourite guest artist to work with?
Justine Smith, Facebook 

“Skin from Skunk Anansie was a fucking superstar! She flew in from Japan and we wrote Licking Cream [from 1999’s Home] together in five minutes. She sang it in eight minutes after she wrote it and, by the time it was my turn, she was already on a plane to Africa. I was like, ‘What?!’ Ha ha!” 

Was Woodstock ’99 really as bad as it looked?
Dani Carvey, email 

“Yes. There was trash everywhere. The best part about it was when we got onstage. We hit the first note of Black and thousands of people came running over the hill to see us. That night, we went to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We were on the stage watching, they were butt naked and the crowd was massive, but then we saw fire. There was a big boom from one of the water tanks exploding. Security rushed all the artists onto their tour buses and told us to duck down. It was so crazy!” 

You’re touring with Alter Bridge. Who’s your favourite – Mark Tremonti or Myles Kennedy?
Ruth Paris, email 

“That’s messed up! Ha ha ha! I love them both dearly. I’ve known Tremonti longer than I’ve known Myles, but I love them both. They’re brothers.”

You’ve been working on a solo album – what does it sound like?
Chelsee Walters, email 

“Awesome! It’s more radio-friendly, with a lot of soul and R’n’B. There’s a bit of country in there too. I have a lot of songs and some label interest. Sevendust are really busy right now but, after we slow down, you’ll start hearing more about my solo stuff.” 

Hammer: There better be a disco song with double-kick drumming on there! 

“Don’t joke around, you might hear that! Ha ha ha!” 

In your new video [for the song Fence] you get attacked by zombies. What’s your zombie survival strategy in case it ever happens IRL?
Goughy, email 

“I’d definitely make it out alive. I have certain weapons. As a matter of fact… [Lajon reaches offscreen, then pulls out a handgun he had framed on the wall] my best buddies got me this. It’s a .50-calibre Desert Storm. With that, along with several other of my firearms and certain weapons that have been built for me, I think I can handle myself in a zombie apocalypse! I got some weird stuff around here, man! I have an axe down in my farmhouse. If a zombie ever saw it, he’d probably wake up and run!” 

Who’s your favourite musician ever, living or dead?
Jade Wardle, Facebook 

“Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard. I got the chance one time to talk to Little Richard on the phone. He told me how proud of me he was. He said, ‘You better keep it up!’ and told me to always look good when I go out. You never saw Little Richard not looking good.” 

Who’s your favourite wrestler… and why?
Matt Wilkes, email 

“Right now, it’d be Baron Corbin. He’s a good friend and a top wrestler in the WWE right now. My favourite growing up as a kid was Koko B. Ware [80s wrestler famous for carrying a parrot]. I was a hardcore fan, watching every morning and every night. So, yeah, Koko B. Ware, Jerry Lawler and the Fabulous Ones were my heroes back in the day. I have, like, five championship belts hanging in my garage.” 

Who would you rather fight – cocaine bear or meth shark?
Sara, email 

“Cocaine bear would fuck you up but, with meth shark, the drowning after you got eaten up would suck. I’ll probably have to say cocaine bear, because you might be able to do away with him before he eats you.”

Sevendust's new album Truth Killer is out July 28 via Napalm

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.