Life is changing, all the time. For some people, change is welcome, for others perhaps not. For Sevendust frontman Lajon Witherspoon, it means gearing up for yet another journey on the road with his band (of brothers) to bring their signature sound of soulfully thunderous metal to a stage near you.
But change has also meant growing up, growing older. As he’s grown closer to the Sevendust army, his family has also grown larger (with all this growth, he still stands all of 5-feet, 9-inches). Throughout his life and career, Witherspoon has built countless meaningful connections, with fans and contemporaries becoming friends and family.
One such bond was formed with James Lynn Strait, frontman for the alt-metal band Snot. Having shared the OzzFest ’98 stage, the two became fast friends. Nearly 20 years ago, Strait was killed — along with his dog and constant companion, Dobbs — when his car was involved in a six-vehicle accident on the California freeway. While the rest of the music community mourned Strait’s passing, Witherspoon and Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery eulogized their brother the best way they knew how: in song.
“Angel’s Son” was originally recorded with Strait’s former bandmates for the Strait Up tribute album, which also features vocals from Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Brandon Boyd of Incubus and Corey Taylor of Slipknot, among others. Sevendust later recorded another version of “Angel’s Son” for their third studio album, Animosity. The song has been well received by audiences everywhere and is regularly included in the band’s setlists.
As nearly two decades have passed, “Angel’s Son” has been dedicated to more and more lost loved ones, including Lajon’s brother, Reginald, Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell and his recently deceased brother, Vinnie Paul. As Witherspoon himself says, the song has also taken on new meanings, with even global tragedies striking a chord.
While “Angel’s Son” played a part in my recent conversation with Lajon Witherspoon, we also talked about Sevendust’s recently announced 2019 tour, meeting up with old friends, his distaste for tiny reptiles (no, really) and his upcoming solo project.
Here’s what he had to say.
Kevin Tall: LJ! how you doin’, man?
Lajon Witherspoon: I’m fine, how you doin’, brother?
KT: I’m doin’ great! Thanks for taking some time to talk to me today, I really appreciate it.
LW: Not a problem at all, it’s great to talk to you.
KT: So, you’re fresh off touring with Clutch and doing the summer festival circuit, how did the road treat you?
LW: Oh, man, It was incredible. I hadn’t toured like that in a long time. Maybe due to the way that Clutch tours, probably, like three, four, five shows a [week]… it was crazy. What happened in the middle of the tour, Neil [Fallon] got sick and they canceled several shows, so at one point in time, we had to do six shows in a row.
It was crazy, but I think it was kind of good for the soul. We hadn’t done that since we were kids and every show was incredible; the headline shows were great, the Clutch shows went over very well for us, and what a good time, y’know? For me it was very emotional to go back out there with those guys, because we hadn’t done it, like, since ’97, or ’98, to see us all together again was great. Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, they were a great band too, so it was a lot of fun.
KT: Awesome! How has the fan response been to playing the ‘All I See Is War’ material live?
LW: It’s been great, everyone seems into it. It really makes us feel good because it’s an album we couldn’t wait to write, since we’d taken off such a long break. To be able to work with Elvis Baskette was incredible too, and to see the response, it’s been exciting and it’s still exciting because I still feel it’s still fresh and people are still learning and we’re still doing these songs. It’s been real fun.
KT: You’ll be gearing up for Europe soon enough, are you excited to get back on the road?
LW: Y’know, just excited, period, about going back to Europe. We haven’t been to the U.K. in several years, so that’s really exciting, to be able to rebuild relationships there and rock it. I’m really excited. We don’t leave until the 29th of November, so we have time to unwind and be with family and be here for the holidays. Then we go over there for 10 or so days and then we come back for the Christmas holidays, so we’re excited.
KT: Yep, get some Turkey in you for Thanksgiving and then close out the year in Atlanta.
LW: Yeah, looking forward to that. We have three shows up to the new year, so that’s exciting. We do the album ‘Home’ in its entirety, for those hardcore Sevendust fans. That should be something exciting.
KT: I might have to travel up for that. I’m in Tampa and I don’t know if that drive is intimidating enough to keep me away.
LW: Oh, it’s not too intimidating, man, but I’d rather be in Tampa, I’ll tell you that. I love it there [laughs].