IF YOU GO

What: Sevendust concert

When: 6 p.m. Aug. 24

Where: Top Deck, 515 E. Main St. in Farmington

Tickets: $25

More info: www.mbe505.com

Farmington — The five members of Sevendust had a record label contract before they even had a name for their band. They had been called Rumblefish and then Crawlspace, but both names were already taken and they received notes demanding payment if they wanted to use the names. So they gathered in a garage trying to come up with a name.

Sevendust members pose for a publicity photo
Sevendust members pose for a publicity photo (Jeremy Adamo Courtesy photos)

Then Vinnie Hornsby, the bass player, came up with the name Sevendust, based on the pesticide commonly used in their homestate of Georgia, Sevin Dust.

But people shouldn't draw any deep meaning. The band's guitar player, John Connoly said they liked the way it sounded.

Sevendust will be performing at 6 p.m. on Aug. 24 at Top Deck.

Sevendust released its most recent album, "Black Out the Sun" in March.

The title song was written by Clint Lowery, the lead guitarist, following his father's death.

"They were a very tight-knit musical family," said John Connoly, Sevendust's guitar player.

Connoly said music allowed them to write down what they were feeling.

"It's one of those things musicians have as a gift," he said.

Connoly describes Sevendust's music as soul metal.

"We're all metalheads," Connoly said.

However, Lajon Witherspoon, the lead singer, came from more of a rhythm and blues background.

"The more natural he is, the better we are," Connoly said.

This background makes the music more melodic than most metal music.

"We fit somewhere in the gray area in the middle," Connoly said.

Nonetheless, it was the powerful sound of a live performance that always fascinated Connoly.

He said he enjoys being in the band and he thinks it is where he is meant to be.

"You just have to follow your path and it gets you to where you are," Connoly said.

He played in other bands before forming Sevendust with the other four members. The other members were also in bands and each of them was experiencing a lot of drama, such as vocalists with "lead singer syndrome."

The five of them found themsevles hanging out together. They liked making music together and enjoyed each other's company. Connoly said one of the reasons they are still together is they surrounded themselves with people they enjoyed being around.

The first song Connoly wrote, "Black," was a success. That song was the band's debut single.

"For me it was a transformation," he said.

"Black" marked the point when Connoly switched from playing drums to playing the guitar. He had majored in percussion performance while attending the University of Georgia and Georgia State University.

"Black" is still one of the staple songs of a Sevendust performance and Connoly said the band plays it every day.

Sevendust, a soul metal band, will be performing in Farmington on Aug.24
Sevendust, a soul metal band, will be performing in Farmington on Aug.24 (Jeremy Adamo Courtesy photos)

Connoly started playing the guitar because it made writing music easier for him. However, his percussion background came with him to his guitar playing.

"I'm a very rhythmic person," Connoly said.

But melody has also been important in Connoly's music. Even while majoring in percussion, he played a lot of melodic insturments like the marimba.

After switching to guitar, Connoly kept the music simple at first, sticking to a couple of chords. He described it as "playing drums on the guitar."

As much as Connoly loves playing with Sevendust -- the five members have been together 20 years, a huge accomplishment for any band -- he said they have to take a break every now and then.

"Sevendust is a big part of our life, but it's not the only part," he said.

All of them have children and wives. After a while on the road, they begin to long for home. So, for a year, they took a break from touring and creating albums. Some members worked on side projects. Connoly and the bassist, Vinnie Hornsby, worked together on another record called "Projected."

Lowery took a break from 2005 to 2008 and Connoly said the band was not the same.

"If coke goes and changes one ingredient, it will affect the flavor," Connoly said.

During the last 20 years, Sevendust has developed a certain sound. Connoly said he will listen to songs on "Black Out The Sun" and think they could be on the band's first album. However, the band members still try to experiment with different techniques.

But Connoly adds, "We're not going to experiment at the expense of the song."

Some of the more experimental songs are cut from the album. Connoly said when bands experiment a lot they run a risk of "over-busying the music."

"AC/DC had their formula, Van Halen had their formula," Connoly said. "20 years down the road, Sevendust has their formula."

And the future continues to look busy for Sevendust. The band plans on releasing three singles this year, finishing with "Picture Perfect" in December or January.

In January, Sevendust will be returning to the Four Corners area to play in Shiprock.

Connoly also hopes the band can produce an acoustic album and take that music on tour in 2014.

The idea for the accoustic tour came while the band was trying to promote its 2003 album, "Seasons."

Sevendust traveled from town to town doing shows, but the members didn't want to give the same electric show they were known for. Instead, they sat on stools and played accoustics, starting with a 45-minute set. Over the course of the tour, they added songs.

While in Athens, Ga., the band hired a sound crew and made a DVD. When the record company saw the DVD, it decided to release it along with "Seasons."

"We kind of killed our own record with our acoustic record," Connoly said, refering to the fact that the acoustic music outperformed the album.

The tour, which went to 14 towns, opened the band's eyes. Connoly said the members realized their fans wanted to hear acoustic. For the next acousitc show, Connoly said he hopes to provide many more towns with "a long evening with Sevendust."

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.