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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
John Connolly Sevendust - Interview
The Rockpit interviews

JOHN CONNOLLY

SEVENDUST


Sevendust

Sevendust were last in Australia in 2011 for Soundwave Festival but it's been a while since they did a headlining tour. That will change come March 2016 when the band come down for a tour in support of their latest album "Kill The Flaw". We had a chat with guitarist John Connolly to talk about the tour as well as how things have changed over the years since the band first started.

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Andrew: The first thing we should talk about is the upcoming Australian tour. Good to see you coming back again!

John: Yeah about time right! [laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Well I guess the last time you were here was for Soundwave about 3 or 4 years ago.

John: Yeah exactly.

Andrew: How was that for you?

John: It was awesome! It was a great experience for us. From the music side, the fans were great but there's always logistical issues - ex-managers and ex-labels aned stuff like that kinda didn't put things together so we were put in a difficult situation but this time we have it all sorted out [laughs]. It's all done and we're excited, we're ready. We are actually really looking forward to being able to pull this off because the whole Soundwave thing was disheartening in the fact that we couldn't get back over there but in some ways this is the type of tour we want anyway so at least we can do a proper, full headline hour and a half set which will be really cool.

Andrew: Yeah obviously a headlining set is something that the hardcore fans love to see. Are you the kind of band that prefers the club gigs over the festival type shows?

John: Both of them have such cool things about them. We love the festivals because we get to see a lot of friends being in bands and stuff like that. It's always cool to play at a big spectacle, a stage like that. Soundwave is great because you get to travel with all the other bands so it's kind of a guilty pleasure for us being able to hang out with so many of our peers and stuff. But there is something really cool about being able to see everybody that's in the crowd out there in front of you, the intimacy and the length. That's the other thing is usually if you are headlining, you're lucky to get about an hour or so. On the headline run we're going to be able to take advantage of having more time up on stage. So there's definitely an upside to both of them.

Andrew: Some of us at The Rockpit actually caught you at the Earthday Birthday festival over in Florida earlier in the year and they said you guys rocked it!

John: Oh nice!

Andrew: I had never heard of that festival but I guess it's for some radio station or something?

John: Yeah it's down in Orlando, it's one of the big Orlando radio shows. It was a radio show that we weren't even supposed to do this year, we were actually supposed to do it this year coming up because I guess the way the timing of the show was, I think the show was about a month before our record was actually going to be released. The way they looked at it was that we were still touring the old record. I guess there was all kinds of drama with Bush, I guess there were some death threats or something going on earlier and we were off and they called us up out of the blue and asked if we wanted to do the show. And my manager calls me first and I live in Orlando, I'm going to the show either way because I'm really good friends with the Tremonti guys and the Hell Yeah guys so I was already planning on going down. It was just a matter of whether I had a guitar when I walked in the door [laughs], so it was really cool for us.




Andrew: Now you got the new album that came out about a month ago, "Kill The Flaw". Fantastic stuff, how are the fans responding to it?

John: Thank you! Fans are responding to it great, I mean I think it's a two part thing. Number one it's a different record than expected which is always a good thing. But I think secondly we waited on it, this is the first time we've had a record done...we finished it probably late March/early April and then we didn't release it until October. We kept it really quiete, normally we would be blowing up the youtube channel with webisodes and sneak peeks and this and that and you know what? We've done that so many times, let's do the opposite. Let's just kinda go quiete for a little while and at the 11th hour once we're ready to really release, we'll announce certain things. I think we really got beaten to the punch by Disturbed because they had a whole record hidden and noone even noticed but we had something similar going on.

Andrew: It's funny because I was talking to Dan (Donegan, Disturbed) a few weeks ago and we were talking about how they kept it a secret and I was blown away by how they were able to pull that off.

John: He didn't even tell us! We are friends with the guys and he was kinda hitting around about it but he never really came out and said it. I was blown away by how secret they kept that [laughs].

Andrew: Yeah especially in this day and age with the internet and all that, it's pretty amazing.

John: Oh yeah!

Andrew: You mentioned that you didn't do a lot of stuff before the album's release, do you think these days that it's a cool thing to sort of bring some of that sort of stuff back? Because, at least for myself personally, we kinda miss the mystique and secrecy of an album release. Do you think some of that is missed by the fans?

John: I think with stuff like with us kinda doing our little thing and Disturbed going completely off the radar, I think things like that are going to be shaken up a little bit. Trust me, it's cool. I love facebook, I love twitter, I love youtube, love instagram and I love the world of social media and the instant gratification. I love doing the meet and greets with the fans and stuff like that but at some point you do kinda look at it and go, 'Wow we're very exposed'. And we want to be that band that is super exposed. I think after a while you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you kinda know what the end result is going to be so we figured, 'Alright let's mix it up a little bit'. Let's try something that people aren't quite expecting. It's that mystique thing because back in the day, could you ever imagine emailing Ace Frehley and asking for a guitar pick and have it send it to you. Stuff like that are things that we always try to do but when you put it into perspective as to what we were used to, it's a totally different day and age. I think the world is much smaller because of all the socials and internet and all that good stuff but that whole mystique factor is definitely something that takes a hit from it. Putting a little more of it back in is something that was intentional this time for us.




Andrew: Do you think that is the biggest thing has changed for you since you guys first started?

John: Sure! Between file sharing and whatever shape or form you want to call it, back for us when we first started, Napster was the biggest thing I guess that we had to worry about and now you got all these different things. But yeah the internet has changed the whole way we do things and the way we let fans into our world.

Andrew: I just wanted to ask you quickly about the upcoming tour to Australia, with the new album, you obviously will be playing a few new songs as well?

John: Oh for sure, absolutely! We're going to be chomping at the bit. The Australia tour is kinda of a cool tour in a lot of ways because we've done a few headline-ish late sets where the director came out because we had a couple of batches of dates that we kind of needed to fill in. So when we were doing the Godsmack run, in order to get from point A to point B, we connected the dots so we've done a few headline shows but we haven't done the proper full headline set for the record. The first time we do that will actually be in Australia so we're really looking forward to it. So yeah I mean we always try to put as many new songs as we can for sure.

Andrew: Awesome! Because you guys have been around for a number of years now, is that getting difficult to put a setlist together.

John: Oh of course [laughs]. I mean I don't even voice my opinion until everyone has at least thrown their two cents in and then you kinda look and go, 'OK how many songs do we have on that sheet of paper', and then you start cutting things out. It's always a challenge when you have as many records as you have song spots in your setlist [laughs]. But it could be worse, definitely a nice problem to have for sure. I'll take it!

Andrew: Absolutely! We're looking forward to seeing you guys come over here, should be a fantastic tour. Thanks for your time today, it's been a pleasure talking to you and we will see you in March next year.

John: Absolutely, looking forward to it man!


Check out our other interviews with Sevendust members Morgan Rose and Lajon Witherspoon discussing the Australia tour and more.


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SEVENDUST AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:

Friday 11th March - AUCKLAND, The Studio
Sunday 13th March - PERTH, Capitol
Monday 14th March - ADELAIDE, The Gov
Wednesday 16th March - GOLD COAST, Coolangatta Hotel
Thursday 17th March - BRISBANE, Eaton's Hill
Friday 18th March - MELBOURNE, 170 Russell
Saturday 19th March - SYDNEY, The Metro

Tickets and tour details can be found at Metropolis Touring.


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on November 25th 2015