KT: I know! So, bear with me on this one. About 15 years ago, you guys stayed at this hotel in Ybor City, rehearsing before the acoustic tour and recording ‘Seasons,’ and you met this kid who worked in the parking lot and happened to have a Sevendust sticker on his truck. A decade and a half and a journalism degree later and here we are.
LW: No way, man, I remember that! What town was that? Started with a B… Brandon?
KT: It was in Ybor City.
LW: Oh Ybor City? Right there? We used to always go to… is it the Green Iguana?
KT: Yep. Well, it’s no longer the Green Iguana, it’s Kelly Days [Firehouse Tavern] or something right now. But yeah, some of the stuff in Ybor is mostly the same.
LW: You were the kid in that parking lot?
KT: That was me, brother.
LW: I remember that. Wow. Not only because Florida is such a beautiful place, for us, we’ve kind of grown up there. That was a real cool time in our careers and our lives. Growing up and starting out, and being able to be there was so exciting. So wow, thank you for even saying hello back then and supporting then.
KT: Hell yeah, man! I think I totally geeked out and had you guys sign bottles of 7Up or something stupid like that.
LW: Right on, man! It’s good to talk to you.
KT: We’ve seen each other a few times after that and it’s always been great catching up. I think the first time was at the meet & greet line in Tallahassee for the acoustic tour and you turned to one of the guys and said ‘That’s that kid from the hotel in Ybor City!’ which was a little mind-blowing for me.
LW: Oh yeah, wow, that’s awesome! That’s crazy! I can’t wait to get back to Florida. If you could only see what’s going on here at my house right now in Kansas, it’s been snowing since this morning and there’s already about two inches on the ground.
KT: Florida doesn’t see snow. We don’t do that.
[Editor’s note: total missed opportunity to make a pun with the lyrics to ‘X-mas Day’]
LW: What’s the weather like there right now?
KT: It’s very Florida out right now. Mid-80s, probably.
LW: You’ve gotta be kidding me. Something’s wrong.
KT: But that’s always been special to me, to not only get to meet you but then be recognized by you. It’s funny, because, in Tallahassee, on the acoustic tour, that was the first time I heard you say ‘Sevendust doesn’t have fans, just friends and family.’ That’s always resonated with me, and obviously, you did a good job proving it shortly thereafter.
LW: I still believe that, I still say that to this day. They don’t feel like concerts, they seem more like family reunions, which I like. Not only seeing people from years ago, like you. But now these people have kids and some of the kids have kids. It’s turned into a family affair; you can’t get away from it. What a beautiful thing to still be — if it’s the word — relevant in the music industry. I really appreciate what we’ve been able to accomplish, not by ourselves, but together as one.
KT: A dozen albums, a few record labels and a couple hundred if not thousands of tour dates later and here we are. Looking back on everything, you’ve had quite a long time to kind of grow that family; how’s the ride been?
LW: It’s been great. We’re maybe not the biggest band in the world, with some of the things that some of the other cats have, but we’re very happy to be alive, to be blessed, to have family, to be able to slow down a little bit more and not tour the way we did when we were younger. You can’t really be creative if the only thing that you know is to be out there on the road 24/7. You have to come home, you have to figure out something to write about, you have to have different experiences. I think that’s what we’ve been able to do and I hope that continues. Well, it has to because I’m too old to be trying to do it any other way. I think that lends to good writing and longevity of a band, to be able to balance being a husband, being a father, being a friend, uncle, cousin and all of the things that come with everything in life, not just one thing.
KT: Right on. Getting into the deeper, maybe less cheerful stuff…
LW: Uh oh.
KT: Yeah. I’m just going to signpost it. We’re coming up on 20 years since the death of Lynn Strait. Your emotional tribute to him, ‘Angel’s Son,’ — which still gives me goosebumps — is eventually going to be older than he was at the time of his death. How does that feel, point blank?
LW: That’s crazy. That song has manifested into this beautiful, healing type of song. I get so many videos, letters, and social media that say ‘I played that song at my father’s funeral, my grandfather, my brother…’ I feel like that song will always be that type of song.
When we wrote it, like I’ve told the story before, when we found out that news, Lynn was the first person, if it makes sense, that’d died like that at the age we were at. Does that make sense? For me anyways.
It was strange for them to ask us to do this tribute and I didn’t know what to write about, up until we went to the studio when me and Clint had put that chorus together, and I had no verses for the song and I was a nervous wreck. [We] went in that studio and the lights went off and the guys in Snot were in the studio watching, the music came on and I started singing. ‘Life is changing…’ I did that first verse right off my heart and kept going and did the second verse.
Songs like that don’t always happen, so I felt like he was there with us. It was one of those magic songs and I feel like that was captured, people kind of gravitate towards that. I hope that song is always going to be around, not only for Lynn but for anyone that’s lost anyone out there that can understand that.