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Broken [Radio Vers.]
by 12 Stones
listener.rating 5.2/6 by 9 listeners
Heard by 47,213 since Apr 5 '05
Last spun 7 months ago
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December 15, 2002

Orlando, Florida, December 14th, 2000 - it's Sevendust's final show, the last of more than three hundred on a grueling eighteen-month tour in support of their second album, 1999's Home. Tack on the previous twenty-four months, which were spent recording their debut album, slamming through hundreds more gigs in support of that, then writing and recording Home, and you're looking at a final tally of over eight hundred shows and two albums (with combined sales of nearly two million) in less than four years.
Along the way, the Atlanta-based band reached new heights with fiery performances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and Farmclub, monster tours with the likes of Creed, and a nearly legendary, festival-stealing set at Woodstock '99. A heavy dose of success that ultimately exacted an equally heavy price.

"Everybody in the band plays so hard that if you were to look at our medical problems, we resembled a football team," says drummer Morgan Rose, who had to undergo physical therapy when he got home. "I don't want to make it sound like a sob story, 'cause we're living a dream here, but everything needs to be done in moderation. We're looking at each other and we've got guys that have shin splints so bad that it takes thirty minutes to wrap them, we have a bass player who needed surgery on his knee, and we're basically not allowed to get off the road."

The seeds of Animosity, Sevendust's third and finest album, were planted during that fateful tour and nurtured once the band got home. They finally reconnected with their families by taking their first vacation, a total of six weeks, in more than three years. It was during that time that all of their accumulated emotions began to pour themselves into reflecting on the past, contemplating the future, and the writing of new music. After this time of reflection, the band's immediate goal was to reorganize their business infrastructure, including a new booking agent, personal manager, business manager, and lawyer. Having befriended Creed on their last tour and admiring their business atmosphere, they hired Creed's management firm Jeff Hanson Management and Promotions, who immediately put together a new team of people to nurture Sevendust back to physical, mental, and financial health. With a new attitude and a new family surrounding them, Sevendust began to write, looking at the past and present with different eyes. "The title of the record says a lot," admits Lowery. "There are issues that we had with people who led us the wrong way and disappointed us, and this was a chance to get it off our chests. We finally felt some sort of closure with those issues by writing these songs."

Despite the anger and frustration that perhaps all the members of Sevendust expressed, it would have been too easy for Animosity to be solely an angst-ridden, explosive barrage of simple metallic rage. Sevendust had something completely different in mind, an idea that began with "Angel's Son," their biggest radio hit yet and a moving tribute to the late Snot singer, Lynn Strait. "We realized that we didn't have to try to be the heaviest band in the world," explains Rose. "Our initial goal as a band had been to be a brutally heavy band musically that also featured the unbelievable vocals of Lajon on top of that, but somewhere along the line, we separated ourselves from letting him showcase his voice. When we did Angel's Son and people reacted the way they did, we realized that we could do exactly what we had originally wanted to do."

"I set out to sing," says Witherspoon simply about his goals for Animosity. "I set out to sing my ass off, sing my heart out, and write songs, write real songs, and put our hearts into it."

Relocating to their new management's home of Orlando in mid-February of 2001 to write, the band enjoyed the luxury of having far more time than ever before to create the record they wanted: "For the first time in our career, I felt like we actually had time to get back to a normal life, then we started writing the new music," continues Witherspoon. "We had enough time to write the music, live with the music, and know the music so well that when we went in the studio, we were all so impressed with each other. We were just very proud and excited."

The band enlisted producer Ben Grosse (Fuel, Filter) and settled into Orlando's Transcontinental Studios to capture what Lowery calls the "contrast of heavy and light music together." First listen to the seething, coiled power of "Praise" or "T. O. A. B." for the heaviness and aggression that Sevendust is rightfully known for. Then flip to "Crucified" or "Trust" for an extraordinary combination of that aggression countered by beautiful melodies and passionate vocals, propelled even further by the tight, sinuously soulful rhythms that have also become a trademark of this versatile band. Exhibiting a new and more mature side of Sevendust, are "Angel's Son" and "Xmas Day," songs that showcase the band's depth with heart shattering, poignant expressions of sadness that reach an emotional level rarely heard these days in the heavy rock field. "It's basically about a friend who's lost their way and fallen to pieces, saying that they've given up hope," says writer Lowery of the latter tune. "And having to find a way, as much as it hurts, to say goodbye."

Then there's "Follow." While Sevendust kept this album close and personal, there was room for one guest appearance -- from good friend Aaron Lewis, lead singer of Staind. "Aaron and Jon Wysocki ( Staind's drummer) flew in and were playing golf with Morgan," recalls Witherspoon. "So we just said, 'Hey, would you like to come down to the studio and do a song?' So Aaron came down, we let him listen to a couple of tracks, he heard 'Follow,' and I said, 'I think this would be a great song for you to sing on.' He did the second verse and some harmonies on it, and it turned out great!"

The triumph of Animosity leaves the band brimming with confidence. With this album Sevendust redefines both themselves and their brand of hard rock, taking their anger and turning it into something that is at once heavy and beautiful. "We really hope that people out there understand where we're coming from on this record, and we're eager to see what they're gonna do," says Lowery. "It really means a lot to us what the fans think about this stuff. We wouldn't be doing it if it was any other way."

Sevendust's current state of mind is perhaps best summed up by the song "Shine," a gem of heaviness and harmony that expresses their desire to transcend personal, professional and musical boundaries. "I have such a hunger right now to make sure that Sevendust does the best it can possibly do, because it's time," concludes Witherspoon, all memories of broken bodies and dampened spirits erased. "I'm hungry again, the band is hungry again, the energy is there and we just can't wait to go and kick everybody's ass."

Lajon Witherspoon - lead vocals
John Connolly - guitars
Clint Lowery - guitars, vocals
Morgan Rose - drums, vocals
Vince Hornsby - bass

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