Morgan Rose , September 1, 2001

 

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Jason Perlman: You guys seem to be on the never-ending tour! You take a few breaks, but are right back out on the road even though the CD isn't due out for a few months.
Morgan Rose: Without a doubt. Never ending, yea, that's it exactly. The touring schedule that we put ourselves through for the first two records was inhumane, pretty much. We did about 800 shows on those two records. I remember reading something mid-way through the last record's touring cycle, where I think Rage Against The Machine did 190 shows on two records, and we had done like 426 on the first record. So definitely, we were able to tighten up live, but at the same time, it beat us up so bad because our live show is so energetic. It kinda evened it out, but we were still having to struggle to get through. It might have helped us out musically to be able to hone in our skills a little bit, but as far as the physical end of things, we were just devastated. But we figured that we don't have a major, gigantic label that's gonna ... we've gotten a lot of love from TVT, but they're obviously not one of the Big Three. They are an independent label and they have treated us like a major label, but we knew we had to go out there and bust it on the streets to be able to compete. So we did. And I think it helped us out, because we have a loyal following. A lot of these bands that I see, they have big songs but they don't draw that many people.


JP: By being on the road so much and playing live in cities multiple times on a tour, you have definitely built a solid grass roots fan base that love to see Sevendust, whether you have a radio hit or not.
MR: It's a good thing to have, you know? And I feel sorry for the bands that make a quick buck on big songs and they think they've nabbed that feeling. When the look at sound scans, they base it all on that and that's not a smart thing to do. Save your money because once that song doesn't stick anymore, then all of a sudden you got that problem that you didn't build that following in the first place. So it has worked out really good for us. The best example I can put on it is Ozzfest. To give you an example of it, when we did Ozzfest in '98, the bands that were on the main stage were Ozzy, Limp Bizkit, Megadeth, Tool, us, Coal Chamber and Soulfly. Combine all of those bands together and put them on a sound scan for a week, we probably had less than 80,000 records in one week. And I know for a fact, you can take Linkin Park off the main stage of this year, and I know the last year of Ozzfest they did over 100,000 in a week. And our Ozzfest was sold out every show, and their Ozzfest was not. That's just the way that it works. And that's not a knock on them because they are great bands. It's just the way that things are right now. A lot of music is being sold off the radio because hard rock music is now part of radio mainstream. And back in 1998 when we did it, it wasn't. So you built your following from the floor and you didn't have the help of the radio.


JP: Drowning Pool is out with you guys, and they are one of the hottest bands in the market. You have gotten to see them from the beginnings until now, what's it like being on tour with them again?
MR: They are probably going to do pretty well because they are the type of band that will just tour, tour, tour and just keep on touring. I mean, they are great friends of ours. We took them out before they had a record deal and everything has worked out great on this run. Because I won't lie to ya, I had problems dealing with this tour at the very beginning. I was very concerned about the fact that they had just done 50,000 records one week, we don't have a record out. They have already surpassed what our first record or second record has done individually, and I was like, 'What's going on here?' They are about to pass us up in album sales completely, and they are going to be opening for us. And they are hot as fire right now, and we don't have a record out. No one has even heard us in eight months. So I was really concerned about it. And I was told not to worry about it. My agent said not to worry about it. My band said, 'Don't worry about it.' Everybody told me not to worry about it. And sure enough, I went out and played the first week of shows and it was just great. I mean, they bring such a great thing to the bill. They bring a lot of excitement to the bill. But at the same time, they are the band that has sold a ton of records off the radio. Sold a ton of records off MTV and they are building the following right now. And they have a great following. But it's nothing we have to freak out about. Out fans are there, we don't have to rally worry about it. It's not like they are getting off stage and it's like a bomb scare going off.


JP: Has to be tearing you up inside to play the new music and the kids cannot go buy it for another few months yet.
MR: I'm with ya, believe me. It is definitely frustrating. It's frustrating but at the same time, it let's you kinda know what you can look forward to. I don't remember the crowd being as responsive to songs off the last record when we were touring the last record and nobody knew what the songs were. This record, they are going off hard off some of these songs. Some of them are going to take awhile and they are going to have to own it and absorb it, but some are easy enough to just grab a hold of pretty quick. I see some kids singing the choruses before the song is over because they've heard it enough times during the song that they already know it. And that is a killer feeling. I mean, I have a feeling this record is going to do really well just by the response we have gotten off of this run, so far.


JP: The one thing about kids going to shows today is their tastes are so versified. They may be listening to pop on the way to a metal show.
MR: Yea, it is definitely MTV and radio. More MTV I think than anything. They have paired up people, and made everything a universal type of deal. I mean, I hate to say it, but we did see Christine Aguilera and Fred Durst on stage together. That pretty much allowed it, Aerosmith, 'N Sync and Britney Spears were all on stage together with Mary J. Blige or something like that. It's like, mix every type of music together and make it okay. I mean, I think that's alright. I don't think it needs to be such a rivalry between styles. I mean, I don't think that it needs to be that crazy. I mean, I don't think you are going to see a bunch of people coming to see us really listening to 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, but you are probably going to see some kids that buy those records buy our records, if it's on MTV. Because MTV is saying this is what you should buy. That's the way it works.

JP: The one thing about Sevendust is you never went for the latest sound. You have been playing solid metal with harmony and chorus since your inception and haven't really traveled to far off that path.
MR: Rock music is definitely part of everything. Now it's all about two or four big choruses. Real simple and that's not quite us. But we are more old-school than a lot of these other bands. And definitely we are starting to move to be a little more simplistic then we were. If not for any other reason than we just found a niche now. It doesn't take five, six parts to make a song. It pretty much takes verse, chorus and a bridge.


JP: You also are a band's band. Almost any band I talk to in metal or rock will list Sevendust as one of their favorites.
MR: Well, I mean, we are pretty much just a bunch of red necks that came from Georgia that decided we were going to do what we wanted to do. And I think that we have that definite Jeckyl and Hyde type of attitude about us. I mean, we are probably one of the most loved bands by other bands because we get along with people like that. We have a lot of respect for everybody that we have played with. Then again, on the other hand, if we find that anybody has crossed us or fucked with us any way, then we are the worst people to deal with. We carry a large group of guys. I am one of the few small guys on this bus, and we will not hesitate to deal with it. We have done it before plenty of times. And we treat it like we are a bunch of red necks. We will fight over stupid things if we have to. But we are usually really easy to get along with, and we have gotten along with other bands really well. I am surprised that we haven't been taken care of by them, to be honest with ya. There are only a few that have really looked out for us over all these years that we have been playing. Creed, they didn't need anything from us, but they took us out. Those guys are great guys. Staind, those guys have gone to bat for us. They opened for us, they turn around and their hands are sitting right there, 'Anything we can do to help you out, we'd love to do it. 'We are probably going to go out with them in January. Then there are a lot of other bands that haven't given that hand back. It's like, 'Thank you for taking us out when we didn't have anything.' But then we say, 'Hey, let's go out with you guys.' And they are like, 'Uhhhhh, we are going to take out somebody else.' And we are like, 'Okay, you are not our buddy any more.' It's favoritism in this whole business. I think there is a lot of bands ... we like to take out bands that make a big, strong bill that are hard to deal with that make the crowd have a really enjoyable night. I think a lot of times, some of these bands try to stack their bill with bands that are a little bit easier to deal with, so they look a little bit stronger and a little better, and I think that's Pussified.


JP: I don't know if it's me getting older, but it seems the crowd has been getting younger. With the radio making metal more mainstream, that has to be part of it, but do you notice a new energy?
MR: That makes it a lot more fun for us. Because, like you said, we have been out since '98 pretty much, '97 is when we actually started. But it's been almost five years of touring and it has taken some years off of our lives. So, I see those kids getting off like they do, it energizes me. I remember playing football when I was a kid. I remember playing many other sports, and I remember the excitement would just grab you to where it didn't matter if you were hurt, it didn't matter were tired or anything, you would easily get the boost to be able to lower the boom on somebody. That's the way we feel when we walk out on stage; the minute the lights go off. It's like, we could have a 104 temperature, but that thing is at 98.5 the minute we walk on stage. And those kids, you see them give so much energy is nauseates me sometimes, but it gets me so jacked up that it makes our show better. We feed off it, definitely.


JP: Talking with DJ, the guitarist from Beautiful Creatures, he says he would like to spend as little time in the studio as possible, and the rest on the road. You have definitely put in your road time, do you feel the same? Let's record and hit the road?
MR: That's a good thing and a bad thing. On the first record, we had our whole lives to write it. And we still really only had 12 songs. We were always a live band. We didn't really give a shit about writing. We just thought, 'Let's get on stage and fuck shit up.' And then the second record came around and I remember we were all pretty beat up after that first record. We did 426 shows on that first record. We had never hand more than four or five days off at a time on that record. It was 21 months straight, pretty much. So when they told us at the end of that run, 'How much time do you need to get ready?' We said a month. That's 30 days. We never had more that four or five days off, this will be a cake walk. We took 30 days off and we went in and started writing the record and we basically grabbed the first 11 or 12 things we put down and said, 'There you go. There's a record.' And it took us six weeks to write it. And then we recorded it in about seven to eight weeks. And we were right back out on the road the following week. So we didn't give ourselves a chance ... No. 1, we didn't give ourselves a chance to absorb any of the material, which was our first big mistake. We can write the record in a few hours if we want, but we should sit with the material for a few days. We were writing songs the last day in the studio and tracking them and saying, 'There you go, there's a song.' That screws the fans out of stuff. That screws us out of feeling proud of what we accomplished. We did a great record I thought, for having six weeks to write it. But if we did it all over again, we would do it like we did this one. Which is more fair to the fans and definitely more fair to us. To write the record over a period of time. It took us about six months. We wrote way more songs than are on this record. I mean, we threw away dozens. And that was our way. Recording five, taking them home, taking a week off, listening to them and saying, 'You know what? Two of those songs don't ever need to be played again. Those other three sound pretty good. Let's move on.' That's the way we pieced it together. There's probably a dozen, two dozen songs that are recorded that kids might like, but we just said no way.


JP: So you can put out the 'lost' recording of Sevendust?
MR: We could break up after this record is released and have two more records.


JP: Thanks for your time, man. Your beautiful daughter is out there waiting for ya and I appreciate you taking the time.
MR: Thank you, Jason. Yea, I am becoming the family guy.