SEVENDUST's JOHN CONNOLLY: 'I Don't Know If We Ever Really Wanna Retire'
July 26, 2023
In a new interview with Scott Penfold of Loaded Radio, SEVENDUST guitarist John Connolly was asked if he and his bandmates have given any thought to eventually retiring from the road. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I mean, here's the thing: I don't know if we ever really wanna retire, but we also sort of want people to, you know… Don't expect us to show up in the year 2025 and play 250 shows. The only way something like that would happen is if, for some freak reason METALLICA just, nobody likes METALLICA anymore and all of a sudden SEVENDUST is playing stadiums. We'd probably show up to play a few more of those gigs [laughs], 'cause I'm sure the way METALLICA is rolling is pretty sweet."
He continued: "But yeah, I think for us, it's just finding that balance and just being able to spend — I don't wanna say spend less time on tour, but I think the goal is to spend more time with our families, whether that be at home or on tour or wherever. I mean, a lot of our kids are going off to school; some of our kids are going off to school out of the country. So the family time has to have a big part in all of our lives. And when we started SEVENDUST, you don't have families, you don't have mortgages, you don't have kids, you don't have any of that stuff, there's no responsibility. So it's super easy to just go 100 percent and figure out what is SEVENDUST? We didn't know what we were when we first started. I mean, it took us four or five records and we were still scratching our head going, 'Well, you know…' [Laughs]"
Earlier this month, SEVENDUST singer Lajon Witherspoon was asked by Metal Hammer magazine if the end of the band is coming soon. He responded: "There definitely will be an end, but I don't see it any time right now. I just turned 50 and I feel healthier than I did when I was 30. John Connolly [guitar] just ran the Boston Marathon. We have a lot of energy, especially with our new record deal. The pandemic slowed things down, so there's a lot for us to do to catch back up again. We got to get to the U.K. and build our relationship back over there. So this is definitely not the end — not yet, at least."
Back in June 2022, BLABBERMOUTH.NETpublished an interviewSEVENDUST drummer Morgan Rose gave to "The Jasta Show" in which he revealed that there wouldn't be many SEVENDUST tours left. "I'm gonna be the one to let all the cats out of the bag, but I can just tell you that we're not gonna be around, full-fledged, forever, that's for sure," he added cryptically. Just a couple of weeks later, Witherspoon told 99 Rock WKSM that he was taken aback by reports of SEVENDUST's impending retirement. "I got a phone call early in the morning about, 'What's going on?' My kids are crying. They're, like, 'Daddy, you didn't tell us.' I'm, like, 'What are you talking about?'" Witherspoon recalled.
"I love Blabbermouth, but, yeah, that was kind of taken out of context. We're still here. We're kicking, man."
In Rose's interview with "The Jasta Show", host Jamey Jasta urged the drummer to stage a "four-year farewell" tour "like SLAYER" did, to which Morgan said: "There probably will be something like that. The funny thing is SLAYER is a legendary… They're SLAYER, you know. But regardless, relatively speaking, we have such close relationships. I started thinking about it. I mean, we did discuss this — the band has discussed, like, when's the end date? 'Cause it'd be nice to do it on our own terms and it'd be nice to be able to say goodbye to everybody properly. And I got emotional when we were talking about it, 'cause I was, like, there are so many people that we're friends and really consider very close that I don't hang out with. You have these, for sure — people that you've met on the road that you see 'em wherever it might be and you've seen 'em so many times that you know them absolutely by name and maybe you even have a drink or food or something when you go through town, but you don't hang with them other than that. And we've been [touring for] 26 years, and there's a lot of those people. And it's, like, shit, dude — that's gonna be, like, 'Bye.' We don't talk. We only talk when I come here. And we've been talking, for some of these people, for 25 years. And it's, like, damn. There's a lot of those people. And it fucked me up a little bit. I was, like, that's gonna be interesting to wave the stage that night and be, like, 'Damn,' and fuck off forever. 'Cause it obviously has been a gigantic part of our lives — more than half of it has been spent out on the road building those relationships. So it'll be a trip."
After Jasta told Rose not to sign a contract with his bandmates saying that they are not allowed to come back for a reunion tour a few years after their first farewell run of shows, Morgan said: "We're pretty fucking old to begin with. Somehow or another we've kept it together enough to be able to still do it at a respectable level. But it's gonna happen. I would be lying to you if I told you I didn't know when. It is gonna happen. But we're not saying anything."
Morgan went on to clarify: "It never means that we'll never play again. Anybody that says that, it's, like, you're insulting the intelligence of the public. I mean, look, MÖTLEY CRÜE is getting ready to go out [after previously saying they wouldn't]. They said they burned the book… I don't ever [say], 'Never, never, never. I swear to God.' ... The plan is that we've done it long enough. The body has taken a fucking beating. I've personally been to the doctor six straight days. I'm going for am MRI tomorrow. It's breaking down. I was in the gym, actually, right before we did this [podcast] just trying to do something to help [with my pain]. Twenty-six years of car accidents — that's how you've gotta look at it. I asked my doctor, 'Why is happening now? I'm in better shape now — way better than I was back then.' I was a fucking mess back then. And he goes, 'You're a hundred years old, dude.' [Laughs] I'm, like, 'Fuck!' Could I have done anything? He goes, 'You could have avoided some car accidents.' It's 26 years of beatin' the fuck out of yourself. It's all good until it's not. That was what he told me. He goes, 'The body is all good until it's not.' … I'm going tomorrow to see what this deal is, 'cause it's fucking debilitating."
In July 2022, Connolly addressed Rose's comments in an interview with George Dionne of KNAC.COM. Connolly said: "It's funny. Any time that we talk about this stuff, people are, like, 'Oh, that's it. They're quittin'. It's the end.' It's really not that at all. I mean, we're realists. We ask ourselves, are we gonna be jumping off trampolines and drum risers and stuff when we're 80? Are we gonna wanna do 300 shows a year when we're 80? Probably not. But I look a band like THE [ROLLING] STONES and I go, but you can still go out and do something whenever you wanna do it. So that's sort of what we've… I think what we're doing is we're looking at making records — at some point in time making records and doing a big tour to support the record. I don't think it's gonna be something that we're gonna wanna do like we're doing it now. I think we'll always make music in some way, shape or form or another, even if it's small doses, and I think we'll always tour — in small doses," he explained. "Pick and choose those moments, not grind it out. Do it enough to where it keeps you wantin' to do it.
"As you get older, the family time starts to weight down on the scale, as it should. And we've all got families and we've all got kids of different ages, going through different points — some are in elementary school; some are getting ready to go to college; some [are] drivin', which is crazy. There's more to life, and I think we've all appreciated the fact that we wanna nurture SEVENDUST to the point where we could perpetually do it forever. But you're not gonna see us three times coming through New York City on a tour. If we come through once, okay.
"But, yeah, you've gotta look at the age thing; you've gotta look at the motivation; you've gotta look at the family thing — you've gotta look at all of it and weigh it out," John added. "And instead of saying, 'That's it. We're wrapping it up,' we're just saying, I think we're gonna move into something different; we're just gonna move into a different model.
"It's funny, 'cause it's, like, okay, how many bands have said that they're gonna retire from touring and then all of a sudden [they are back]? That'll be us," Connolly admitted. "We could come in and say, 'There's not a chance that we're gonna play another show. We hate each other.' Two years later, we're gonna be out back out there going, 'You know what, man? We really didn't mean it. We probably shouldn't have reacted so quickly. We're down. We're gonna do it again.'
"MÖTLEY [CRÜE], they had contracts, and they're out doing a stadium tour. I'm, like, they should. You know what I mean? If you wanna play, play. And that's sort of what we're gonna do. I think we're just gonna move from the point of having to do it and having that be something that people have expectations on.
"The thing about it is to make a full-length record these days, I know people are into it, but people just want music," Connolly said. "They don't really care whether they get 10 songs every two years or whether they get a song or two every month, two months, which I think would be a more interesting model to go down anyways, because you can just — as you create, you'll know your moments. There's always gonna be those two or three songs that are, like, 'Oh, wow. I can't wait to play this for the guys.' And then you go, 'Let's go hop in the studio for two days. Let's go sit with Elvis [producer Michael Baskette] for two days, punch two or three songs out, stick 'em in a can, and then do that two or three times. And then if you wanna release a record, release a record. If not, EPs are super popular right now… Those kind of moves are the moves that, I think, are gonna keep the business… I think it's gonna keep fans engaged because you're not giving them the playbook, going, 'Okay, on this day here, here's the EPK. Here's the bio.' We've done it the traditional way. Sometimes that whole, 'Let's just drop it. Let's go record it and just drop it — drop the video, drop whatever.' So that, I think, is more interesting to all of us as we get a little older. Just any way that we can kind of keep it fresh.
"We're in a really good headspace in the SEVENDUST world… So that's why we're not saying 'never,' but we are saying at some point it's gonna get different. So you all don't be thinking you're gonna take a three-week vacation and follow SEVENDUST around on tour. You might take a week and follow us on tour, but I don't know if three weeks is gonna be necessary anymore."
SEVENDUST will release its fourteenth studio album, "Truth Killer", on July 28 via the band's new label home, Napalm Records. The follow-up to 2020's "Blood & Stone" was once again tracked at Studio Barbarosa in Gotha, Florida with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette, who has previously worked with ALTER BRIDGE and SLASH, among others.
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