clint_lowery_main.jpg“! I look at you guys all the time!” These are the first words out of Clint Lowery’s mouth when he greets MetalSucks on his tour bus. Our intrepid reporters quickly burst into semi-nervous laughter before Lowery admits that a statement he released on Dark New Day’s MySpace page was a direct response to an editorial our own Vince Neilstein had written about that band just days prior (he’ll also make reference to at least one other piece Vince has written during the course of our interview).

“I hope no one was pissed,” the surprisingly tall Lowery says apologetically in his thick Georgia drawl before he takes a seat on the nearby couch. It’s kind of a surprising to hear Lowery ask us if we’re cool with something he said, since we’re pretty much accustomed to being the proverbial Assholes. But it illustrates what a genuinely nice dude Lowery is, and how legitimately happy he seems to be back in Sevendust after a three album absence.

The fans are happy, too. Later that night, at the band’s gig at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, they create huge pits as violent as anything you’d ever see at a Hatebreed show, seemingly in Clint’s honor. This loyal and rabid fanbase is the reason Sevendust has survived while so many of their peers have fallen by the wayside. And with Lowery back in the band, it seems that they’re now poised to be more powerful than ever before.

After the jump, read Clint’s thoughts on leaving Dark New Day, returning to Sevendust, and what lies ahead for him and his bandmates.

So you’re back in Sevendust. What does it feel like?

It’s awesome, man. We’re a couple of weeks into it now, and, y’know, it’s just been a huge warm welcome from the fans, the band… it’s the way it used to be, y’know, we’re just laughing and continuously telling old stories and just kind of re-acquainting ourselves with each other. It’s just been unbelievable, man. The history that we’ve had, it’s kind of easy to… we’ve done so many shows, we’ve done so many things together, it’s easy to find our niche again and get back on the same page. So it’s been oddly smooth. I thought it was gonna be a little more difficult, but it’s just been really easy.

So how did the whole thing come about? Did the band reach out to you or did you reach out…?

7d2.jpgI always stayed in touch with Morgan [Rose, drummer] the most, y’know I talked to him more than anyone else in the band during the separation. And it was one of those things where we had a lot of conversations about it, y’know, hypothetical “Hey, what would happen if we did this?” [conversations], and just kinda thinking about it. And then I was doing the Dark New Day thing and they put out some more records. Sonny [Mayo, Lowery’s replacement] did a great job doing those albums, they were happy, I was kinda happy, but we always entertained the idea of [me coming back]. And this last time we had that conversation, for some reason it just seemed like it was more potent than the others. And the state of Dark New Day, and where they [Sevendust] were at… it was kind of odd timing, because, y’know, Dark New Day was working on a new record, they [Sevendust] were just coming out with a new one, and a lot of people thought it was odd timing. But we just thought it was better… it would be better for Sonny. We’d already had the conversation, me and Morgan, and I’d actually reached out to the other guys, just to be friends, just to say “Hey, how are you doing in life?” Not [talking] about music or anything, we just wanted to be brothers again. And that kind of led to the natural conversation, y’know, “Should we play together?” And then we had had these conversations, and they were pretty serious, and we didn’t feel like it would be fair to wait knowing that there was a possibility that it might happen – for Sonny to be there and to just go behind his back, we didn’t think that that was right. We knew it was something that we wanted to do so we said “Let’s just go ahead and do it” instead of having these conspiracy theories, or having to keep it to ourselves, me not having to tell Dark New Day, y’know… we wanted to be honest with everybody.

So are you on good terms with the guys in Dark New Day?


Are they a little sour about the whole thing?

Yeah, I mean… at the end of the day I think they’re supportive. I think they understand why, because, y’know, it’s about survival now. And Dark New Day… there’s been issues with Warner Bros., the label, they’ve been dragging their feet about putting the new album out. And there’s a lot of changes going on at Warner Bros., I don’t wanna bad mouth them… it’s just, me, I live my life day-to-day. And it’s like at that time, when I was talking to them [Dark New Day], this was something that I felt I had to do for me. So they supported it.

I’ve known those guys my whole life. My brother, obviously, my whole life, I will always do music with him, so he knows that, too, so… of course, it’s a break-up, y’know? There’s feelings, there’s emotions, there were harsh words said… most of the guys are cool, there’s a couple of guys where we had some words, but we’ve buried it and we’ve moved on.

Were there any lingering Sevendust issues that you had to iron out before coming back to the band?

Yeah, man. It was like, kind of… we didn’t really talk about it, but there were some understandings I think we all… I knew my faults, I knew what I did, and when I left abruptly, I was going through a lot of issues at the time… so there was a lot of things that I regretted about that last split, about the way it happened. And I think they realize I was taking responsibility for that.

There’s gonna have to be changes as far as that kind of stuff, and, honesty and being up-front with each other… we were, we started out like that, but then I got into a situation where I wasn’t being completely honest with them, they were in a situation where they were doing things that weren’t exactly… that I don’t think they thought were fair, either. It’s a relationship, it’s marriage, you say and do things that aren’t always right all the time. But, honestly, I take a lot of responsibility for that, as far as how crappy a way it was for it to end. So there’s a lot of different things that we are aware of that we wanna do differently, and they were doing [those things differently] already.

Now Sevendust obviously went ahead and made three albums while you were away. What do you think of those albums? You’re obviously still gonna be playing some material from those albums live…

Yeah, yeah, man, Hope and Sorrow, we’re playing three songs off of that, and some songs off of Alpha and Next… I mean, I’m a huge fan of those records. It’d be ridiculous to say I didn’t listen to ‘em when they came out. I bought ‘em and I love ‘em. I was always rooting for them to do well, and especially the way the music business is now, any metal band that does anything positive I’m supportive of. So of course I was really in their corner, because we were fighting that battle together for so long so I’m still gonna fight for them emotionally.

So is it weird playing those songs live?

It is, in a way, I mean, y’know… it’s kind of like… (laughs) I was comparing it the other night, I was like you’re going through a divorce, and then you get remarried and your spouse had a baby and you gotta kinda take care of the baby (laughs). These are my stepchildren (laughs).

But I’m sure the more we… ‘cause it was kinda that way before, you know, John [Connolly, co-guitarist] would write songs from A to Z that I would play that I had nothing to do with. The only difference between these songs and those songs is that I didn’t actually record ‘em. But John had true visions of the songs he wrote, and he’d do the same for me – he’d play songs that I would write from A to Z. But it’s definitely a little weird.

That brings us to our next question… we’re sure you’re aware that there’s a contingent of your fan base that, rightly or wrongly (and you can tell us if it’s wrongly), is under the impression that you were the primary songwriter on those early albums, and feel that the stuff the band did while you were away doesn’t quite live up to those albums. But you don’t seem to feel that way at all.

No, I mean, I think it was different… it’s like someone was saying the other night, “Man, it wasn’t the same when you were gone,” and I’m like “Well, I’m kinda glad it didn’t stay the same, ‘cause otherwise what was I even doing there?” (laughs)

clintlowery.jpgI guess towards the end especially I had the opportunity to put a lot of my ideas down on the records, y’know John wrote a lot of the riffs and it was fifty-fifty kind of… he had his songs, I had mine. We never really wrote together – which is another thing I want to be different this time. But I had my own thing… a lot of people have the idea that I bring a lot of the lighter stuff, and during our career, I did get into a lot of melody and harmonies and different stuff like that. Especially when “Angel’s Son” came out, it kind of opened up a new door. But I’m a huge fan of that real heavy stuff. A lot of people just assumed, because of “Angel’s Son” and a couple of things that I was doing at the time… Seasons was a very light Sevendust record, and that was the last one I did with ‘em, and that was because of a lot of things, it wasn’t because… I initially wanted that to be the heaviest record we ever did, and then we got [producer] Butch Walker, we got TVT saying “You need to write a more commercial record,” and we’re like “Okay, maybe we’re getting older and we should do this,” so there were a lot of variables in there.

But my whole thing is, y’know, I have another voice in it, Morgan’s got… We call it “The Crow,” this (makes screeching noises)… and then I had my little voice that I would throw in. So I think when you take that piece out, it just kinda changes the template a little bit. But, y’know, I’m flattered when people say that, ‘cause I did write a lot. And they also wrote a lot as well. I mean I try to stay humble… as far as the band’s concerned, they can do without me, obviously. They’ve proved that.

So moving forward, what’s the plan? Are you guys gonna tour a lot on this record, or are you kind of anxious to get back to business and make another record?

I think that, um, Morgan Rose is an asshole… oh my God! (laughs)

[At this point we realize that Morgan Rose is standing behind us. He quickly shows something from a local newspaper to Clint – we didn’t get to see exactly what it was – and then, as both men crack up, makes his exit to the back of the bus.]

I mean, right now we’re just concentrating on the new record. Obviously the first thing we wanna do is write new stuff, and come out with a new record. But I don’t think anyone’s in that big of a hurry. I think we just wanna commit ourselves to this record and see what happens, run the cycle out, enjoy being back together again, learn how to be around each other again, and then that’ll come. We’re here, we’re back together, we’re gonna do another record – there’s no question. I don’t think it’ll be as quick as everyone thinks – I think we’re really gonna make sure that we do the right record this time.

You said before that Dark New Day had some problems with the Warner Bros. label. Seeing as Sevendust’s label, 7 Bros., is under the Warner umbrella, is that a situation where you feel like you’re still in the family, is there a conflict of interest there?

I should probably shut up on this (laughs), but it’s in a gray area. I don’t know exactly what Warner knows about me being in Sevendust. I haven’t really discussed anything with them, it’s not like we’ve put it in their face. They have to make a decision about what they wanna do with the Dark New Day record. Being under the same umbrella, I’m sure that makes it a little easier on them, as far as them being able to swallow the idea of me leaving Dark New Day. It definitely makes it easier, but like I said, I haven’t talked to them yet. But I’m a day-to-day guy, so I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Right now the only thing I’m concerned with is playing tonight. I literally do it day-by-day.

So we don’t know that you were necessarily around when the band pulled out of the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Tour…

Yeah, I wasn’t around, I hate that decision, and I would have never agreed with it. No, I’m just kidding (laughs).

Is there an alternative in the works?

I don’t know. I think that there’s a few different options that are getting thrown around.

clint.jpgI think with that whole Mayhem thing, there was a certain radius you can’t play and certain time frame you can’t play around that tour, and with them having a new record coming out, it was kind of impossible for them not to hit these certain markets. And there’s a huge gap of time, months, when you can’t go to these certain markets, and you have to do that, and I don’t think it made sense to them at the time.

I think that’s a great tour, hopefully we’ll be able to do the Ozzfest stuff, there’s a couple of shows there… I mean, me personally, I’d love to see the band do a metal type tour where there’s some other bands that are heavy as hell. Just ‘cause there’s just outstanding, and there’s a lot of energy there… I mean, I like playing with all kinds of bands, I think it’s great, but I’d like to see us do something Mayhemish in the future.

How’s this tour going so far?

Great. I mean, you know, we could be touring with Oakridge Boys and I would be excited about this tour (laughs). It’s about being out playing with these guys right now for me.

But the fans have been great, Saliva is great, [support act] Neverset is really good…

The fans have been really happy to have you back?

If they’re upset, they haven’t been saying it, so thanks for being quiet (laughs). If you ain’t got nothing nice to say don’t say anything.

Cool, man. You have anything else to add?

Naw, man… MetalSucks, that’s the best name for anything I ever heard. Y’know, I get it. You don’t really think it sucks, but you do (laughs).

-AR & VN

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