Sevendust Guitarist: “We Love That We are a Biracial Band”
Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery joined The MetalSucks Quarantinecast last week to discuss what he’s been doing while on lockdown (besides recording and releasing a solo EP, that is), the current status of Sevendust, the future of touring, his thoughts on the ongoing protests for racial reform, the Black Lives Matter movement and more.
As one of the few high-profile bands in the metal community with a black member, we asked Clint whether the band had encountered racism directed at frontman Lajon Witherspoon:
“Fortunately not, [but] there’s been a couple times. We did Tattoo the Earth years ago and there were a couple people out there, white supremacist looking, that kind of thing. There was a little bit of conflict with that. If I could put a percentage on that, it’s been maybe a couple percent over the years that we’ve had to deal with true racism and that kind of situation.
“But for the most part, we’re met with a lot of acceptance and love. Lajon has always been pretty vocal about that and he speaks about it. He used to use that dialogue a lot during our shows, talking about ‘black is just a color.’ He’s always been proactive in that world but he’s said too that we’ve grown a lot. For him to be accepted in this ‘metal’ community, there’s not a ton of black artists in that world, in that role [of frontman], and for him to be accepted and loved as he is in that position, I think has been great and a testimony of how [society] has grown. We’ve been lucky, we’ve been met with a lot of love and acceptance so fortunately we haven’t seen too much of it. But we notice it, we keep our eye open.”
When we pressed Clint by suggesting that racism often presents itself in more subtle ways than the presence of skinheads at shows, for example, he answered:
“The subtle part is what we’re trying to expose, thing we didn’t even realize, things I didn’t even realize. Like, ‘Wow, that could be interpreted as racism or white privilege’ and all these different things. Who knows, man. There may be a little more of that because we had a good success level but there’s always been that [feeling that] if we were an all-white artist, would that have changed anything?
“And that fact is we don’t care. We love that we are a biracial band, we love that we have more of an open-minded audience. The people that love our band are obviously open to all of that and have no issues with any particular race or any color of skin or anything. They’re all… they accept us for who we are.”
When asked specifically about the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing racially-motivated protests taking place all over America, he said:
“Oh man, such a heavy question, and I’ve noticed when you ask that questions or present your answers or feelings for this, it can be very ‘under the microscope.’ Many people have strong ideas and opinions about it.
“I am absolutely supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. In respect, there’s things that I personally feel like I need to learn, research, listen. I’ve spent a tremendous about of time instead of talking and throwing my opinions out, knee-jerk reactions, I just wanted to listen and gather more information before I blurt out anything. I think it’s time for that. Listening is a huge issue in our communication and a lot of people are just throwing these platforms out and not looking at the information.
“But outside of the tragedy and watching that incident unfold, there’s been a beautiful amount of peaceful protests that I completely support. Violence is one thing I’m never going to get behind. I think that sometimes, it can possibly be necessary in a defense situation, but in that message, violence being in play, I just think it’s counterproductive to what needs to be happening.
“I am one person, I am one opinion, I’m a musician, I’m bi-racial. My dad was Native American, my mom is Irish, I grew up around brown and white and all these different beautiful backgrounds so it was always something that I accepted. I’m thankful that I was surrounded by that growing up because I feel bad for people whose environment is toxic and they’re taught the racism, they’re taught all these things that are hard to unteach.
“My heart goes out to the Floyd family and anyone that’s been a victim of that. But it’s an interesting time. I think you said too, with anything, pain is a great motivator. Sometimes these tragedies and these things can really make things change and move the needle in terms of how we are as people, and I think if you’re going to pull any positive out it’s the fact that people are trying to become more knowledgable, people are trying to make a change.
“Now my question is always, how long will it last? Is this going to come out and they’re going to kind of fall back into it? I think there’s been a lot of progress. I think there’s been a lot of growth, putting some of these terrible events in the past. The younger generation are evolving and there’s been more unity in general. I’m kind of babbling but I feel like credit should be given to the change so far. This is definitely going to light a fire under everyone to be better, do better, communicate better and really try to get rid of the obvious racism that is in this country right now.”
You can listen to the full interview via the YouTube player or audio embed below.