Some people are flat broke, while others are flat chested. On this day, Sevendust happens to be flat tired, as in stranded “on the side of the fucking road!”
“This has been a nightmare of a day,” complains drummer Morgan Rose.
“I was asleep. I woke up because I thought we were at the venue. And we’re waiting for somebody to bring us a tire. Then we had an in-store at three o’clock. Now we’re not going to be able to eat. We were supposed to be here before one so we can load in, and we weren’t. Now everybody’s pissed off…”
Well, not everyone... Tonight, they’re in Fresno, playing the middle slot between Monster Magnet and Megadeth. Fifteen months on the road, “And our reception has been great,” Rose has to admit. And soon after they escape `Deth, they’ll find themselves in the land of Ozz, which has Rose particularly ecstatic, not only because the band has been upgraded from second stage to the main stage, but because “I get to see my women!”
He’s gushing like a schoolboy as he refers to his new girlfriend, Rayna, bassist for Coal Chamber. She’s obviously doing wonders for him because, by now, he’s considerably laid back, as he speaks about her. “I’m sorry we were late,” he acknowledges. “The trailer’s got another flat. They’re fixing it right now…”
“Well, if you guys would get a rickshaw, you wouldn’t have this problem,” I chide.
“Yeah,” Rose laughs. “This is crazy. Our bus broke down four days ago. We had to get another bus. And right when we get our bus back, the tire pops.”
Seeing as how they’ve been acclaimed by several publications (and fans!), a flat is the least of their problems…
What do you think about being compared to Faith No More and Living Colour?
Well, I think the Faith No More thing is a huge compliment. We love them. I don’t think we sound like [them], but if there’s anything in there that links anybody’s ear to it like, “Oh, it’s kinda a little Faith No More’s”, then we think that’s great. We look up to them. As far as Living Colour goes, they’re a great band. We met Corey and Vernon a long time ago, but I really don’t think we sound anything like Living Colour. I think because we have a black singer with braids, people look at that and go, “Oh, Living Colour…”
I heard your first band, Snake Nation, was like an Alice In Chains sounding band.
Yeah. Actually, we were really good. We were pursued by some labels, but we couldn’t get along. Vinnie and I were in that band. We couldn’t get along with the singer. It got to the point where going to practice was worse than going to work. It was terrible, so we decided to break off. When we did, our main objective was to play with guys we got along with. We had gotten to the point where, “It really doesn’t matter if it’s not that good because we’re not gonna make any money at this…” We weren’t searching for a record deal, or trying to be rock stars. We just love playing music. And we wanna get along with whomever we play with. So we went out and got John. Then, I saw LaJon. I stole him [from R&B band Body and Soul]. I saw Clint, and I had been trying to steal him for years. So I, basically, broke up three or four bands in Atlanta putting this one together. We had a lot of hype about us in town, so it was fun. But really it was that we were getting along. We never argued, or fought. We love each other like brothers.
You make it sound so blissful. Don’t you argue about anything?
Oh, yeah. We’re like brothers, so we argue about who left their shoes in the hallway… Everybody has their moods. We’ve been on the road for fifteen months, so we’ve been living in a box. And we’re a little antsy right now, but it’s great. We wouldn’t do anything else. We’re happy as hell to be doing what we’re doing.
Let’s talk about the song “Black.”
It’s one of those things where it’s not strictly about racism, but it takes a little tap on it. [LaJon] states it pretty clearly: if people would mind their own business, the world would be a better place. Everyone’s trying to stick their nose in everybody’s business, instead of worrying about themselves.
Do you think race relations have changed for the better or worse…?
I have a severe hatred toward racism. I can’t take it. It pisses me off so bad. And we’ve tried to not be a cliché band of trying to step in and change everybody’s minds. But, at the same time, we made the statement in the record. LaJon got that quote from a Daniel Wolfe book [“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…”], and we thought that was a beautiful quote to put there. That’s exactly how we feel. I think that [racism’s] come a long way. A few of us are pretty naive to racism because we’re not racist. We don’t see it because we’re boxed in. On the other hand, we’ve had one occasion where we had to have to deal with it in Ventura, California. We were totally blown away. I couldn’t believe there were actually people who were like that. I’d never really run across it. I was brought up that there was no color. We’ve got every different nationality there is in this band. If anybody wants to be a bigot in this band, there’s no way it could happen. The melting pot is full.
Was that incident pertaining to LaJon?
Yeah, it was all LaJon… There were a few punks standing in the front giving the “Heil Hitler” sign. We felt bad for [LaJon] because they obviously didn’t know what the hell they were doing. I don’t think they knew what it meant. They were just looking at it as, “I’m a bald guy that has been brought up to have something against people that aren’t white. And [LaJon’s] not white, so I’m going to show how I feel about it…” I did everything I could to get that punk on the stage. But they wouldn’t come on the stage. And we weren’t gonna leave the stage, get sued, and have to deal with these punks forever. So we let it go. LaJon said he couldn’t believe people were that naive and stupid to be doing that. But he handled it like a man. He was great.
What about “Face”? On the surface, it sounds like you’re condoning rape, but, of course, you’re not.
That’s basically consensual S&M. I’m sure there’s plenty of people that can relate to it. It’s about a girl wanting to be “taken” aggressively. That one hits pretty close to home [laughs].
Did you know there would be some controversy with that song?
We were told that we’re gonna get it. Some people were like, “I don’t know if you should do this. The first album out of the gate, you’re gonna stir up controversy…” I was like, “Fuck that.” We wrote the song. That’s the way it is. If anybody has a problem with it, and they think we’re condoning rape, then we’ll respond that they should listen to more than just the two words [“Rape me”] that are in the song.
What about “Wired”? Did anyone have a drug problem?
I don’t think any of us had any real problems. We just dabbled a little bit. So that’s written about that. We were gonna call it “Venetian Blinds” as a joke because anybody that does a little too much coke, or speed, knows that you spend the majority of the night sitting in the room looking out the blinds…
Why did you guys go through so many name changes in the beginning?
We started out as Rumblefish, actually.
Which obviously came from the Matt Dillon movie.
Yeah… We’re sitting here with the name Rumblefish in Atlanta. A friend of ours went into a 7-Eleven where they had bargain tapes. He pulled out a tape that said Rumblefish on it because he thought it was us, maybe, so he brought it back. And it was some band from Europe signed to Atlantic. So we were like, “Oops, guess we gotta change the name.” So we changed it to Crawlspace. And that lasted for a while. We got signed as Crawlspace. We’re on the Mortal Kombat: More Kombat CD [“My Ruin’] as Crawlspace. But the problem was there was a band in Los Angeles named Crawlspace. This guy owned it. We were out there doing Foundations Forum, and he approached us, and said, “Listen, I own the name. You’ve gotta change it.” And that really sucked because our album was ready to be released, and all the artwork was done for it. All of a sudden, we had to change the name. That held us back a little bit, but I think we ended up with a better name anyway.
Did the name Crawlspace come from anything in particular?
That was the John Wayne Gacy thing (laughs). John came up with it — John Wayne Gacy putting all of those people in the crawl space. He said that’s a cool name for a band. So we went with it. We haven’t used our minds too much as far as the name went. We figure the band makes the name. Pretty much, we wanted to have something that sounded cool. Sevendust was Vinnie’s idea, actually. It’s really a bug killer for plants.