For years, Sevendust has made their mark on the work of metal with searing guitar riffs wound about Lajon Witherspoon’s melodic vocals. Sevendust’s latest release, Cold Day Memory (release 4/10) marked the triumphant return of the cornerstone of the band’s guitar sound, Clint Lowery. Guitar.com checks in with Mr. Lowery to discuss the reasons why he left Sevendust, the reason he came back, and the newfound love he found for the guitar in the intervening time.
Guitar.com: Let’s start off with a rundown of your live rig.
Clint Lowery: I use Paul Reed Smith Guitars. I have a couple Custom 22s that I use as well as a [PRS] single cut. I use EVH 5150III heads, I just started using those. I used to use Diamond heads. I run all that thru a GCX Ground Control and Switcher. For effects, I have a Phase 90, a TC Electronics Digital Delay, an Envelope Filter, I use a DigiTech Whammy, that’s in my rack and I use a volume pedal that I use for an expression of that because the action tends to wear out on those. That’s the skinny of my whole rig.
Guitar.com: What have you been doing recently to push your guitar playing?
Lowery: Man, Its funny you say that. I’ve been practicing as much now as I did when I first started out. I’ve just been working to get my speed back up again. I’m getting ready for the next record, which we’re hoping to do more of a technical, guitar driven record and I’ve been gearing up for that. I’ve been running scales, doing some legato, working on my downstroke, and playing to a click, trying to up my speed everyday. It’s been really fun, it’s like a rebirth for me and I’m really excited to be playing guitar again.
Guitar.com: Are there any set dates that you have for getting into a studio and laying down tracks?
Lowery: We’re still touring on our last record and right now, were not really talking about recording but we’re hoping to get into the studio and do some writing in the early fall this year.
Guitar.com: You’ve been a pretty busy guy lately; I’m told there’s a new Hello Demons…meet Skeletons album on the way.
Lowery: Yeah, I had a baby back in December and I had a little time off between Sevendust tours so I recorded the vocals and guitar tracks and had some friends of mine help with the programming and putting everything together for me. It’s just something I do outside of Sevendust and its never anywhere near the same vibe as Sevendust, its not conflicting. Its something I’ve always wanted to do is have a little project on the side where I can keep the creative muscles working. Its fun to do and its good subject matter I’m working with.
Guitar.com: What do you get out of your various side projects that you don’t get from Sevendust, because sonically, they are very different?
Lowery: I think what it does is it satisfies an appetite for the very mellow and very dark toned music. The other thing is that after working on that kind of music, it pressures me to want to play heavier stuff with Sevendust. I play acoustic a lot on the solo albums and side projects and after a while, I really want to the polar opposite and pick up an electric guitar and rock out.
Guitar.com: Do you do a lot of writing acoustically for Sevendust?
Lowery: Yeah, a lot of times it depends on the track. But a lot of times we will record the guitar tracks and then record the vocals singing to an acoustic track.
Guitar.com: I’ve got to say, I did enjoy that acoustic album you guys put out a while back. Are there any plans for another Sevendust Acoustic album?
Lowery: Yeah man, lately we’ve been talking about it a lot. We had no idea what we were doing with that album; we just wanted to switch things up a bit. But it was a really cool vibe and the label released it and we’d definitely like to do a follow up. Now there’s a little bit of pressure because we’ve got to have it mixed better than the last one. We enjoyed doing the acoustic thing, we’ll definitely do another tour if not an album – I don’t see why we wouldn’t do an album though, even if it was just an EP.
Guitar.com: If you did an EP, would you write new acoustic songs or rework some oldies?
Lowery: Good question. That’s one of the questions that we have been asking ourselves when we talk about it. I would imagine we’d do a little of both. The coolest part about playing acoustically for us, is that you have to strip the song down to its basic elements and it sometimes can expose little melodies and things like that that get covered up in the original heavier versions.
Guitar.com: When you left Sevendust to play with your brother in Dark New Day, was that a pivotal turn in your career?
Lowery: I was in a really bad place when I left Sevendust. I thought that a change of scenery would help but the problem was me. It took me a long time to get that. I was on the road with a great bunch of musicians and my playing was being effected by my problem with alcohol. So I took a break from that and it took me a few years after that to really get my life back together.
Guitar.com: Did the guitar play a role in your rehab?
Lowery: Yeah, that’s the only thing I had in there. It sounds kind or corny but it’s true. I went to rehab and I brought an acoustic guitar with me and that was the only thing that brought with me. It was a really big source of comfort for me - it gave me a whole new approach to playing and it gave me a whole new life.
Guitar.com: Well sir, I’m not alone in saying that it’s great to see you back with Sevendust and making music again because I’ve really enjoyed your stuff over the years.
Lowery: Thank you man, I appreciate it.
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