INTERVIEW: Morgan Rose (SEVENDUST)
Levi: You know, when I was back in high school you were like one of the biggest bands. Everybody knew who you were even if they didn't like heavy music, they knew the name Sevendust, and so I'm really excited. I saw you guys last time you were at Soundwave and it was pretty cool so it should be an awesome show.
Morgan: Yeah, it could be a lot of fun. It's going to be a long set. It will be the longest one, probably the longest we've ever done.
Levi: Okay, because when I saw you at Soundwave, the only thing I was disappointed with was the set only went for half an hour so by the time I got into it the show was over.
Morgan: We're trying to put something together. We're going to end up putting something really special together for Australia because we haven't really headlined Australia since 2001. That's long, maybe it was three or four, I don't know, a season. It was like ten years ago you know and that was like the greatest experience that we've had over there. Then we went back and played with the Ozzy and we came back and we did Soundwave. As cool as that is, it’s just different you know? I mean we want to play longer, we want to be able to... We don't play Australia enough to just go out there and play 30 minutes. We're going to make up for the last ten years in one night, every night. Every night we'll make up for it.
Levi: Awesome man. What can we expect from the set list? I know you've got like ten albums now so is it hard to choose all the songs to play?
Morgan: Well, I mean like I said, that's why I've got to do really long... I think that we're going to incorporate some of the acoustic stuff in there as well. It will be a bunch of the old stuff and some of the new stuff. I think it's just going to be a hodge-podge of just everything. We're going to try to incorporate every record I think.
Levi: Okay, yeah awesome. On a different note, a bit of sad news lately. One of my all time favourite bands, Stone Temple Pilots had their singer Scott Weiland pass away. I'm just wondering were you a fan of the music? And did you know him personally or did your ever cross paths?
Morgan: Oh yeah. We're huge fans of them and I've actually just played a show with Scott Weiland probably less than two months ago at a festival.
It's a big loss you know. Yet another one of the people that we grew up on and just a real sad story. Just a real sad ending, and you know, oh man. It hit everybody pretty hard here, but we've dealt with this loss now too many times. Whether it be self-inflicted or whether it be by the hands of somebody else. We've lost a handful of our really close friends and people we consider our colleagues and part of our little family.
Levi: Yeah, when you saw him the last time you said it was about two months ago, did he seem all right? Was he in good health?
Morgan: You know he was doing a signing before us so we basically, we said our hellos and goodbyes really quick because they were taking off and we were going to do a signing and then play. You know, he looked okay. He looked... I wouldn't have expected that this would have been happening necessarily. I know that he had his demons...
Levi: Yeah, and I know that you guys tour a lot. Is it hard for you guys to keep healthy and fit on the road? Is that something that you make a priority for you guys?
Morgan: Our bus is like a gym almost. I'm the only one that doesn't mess around with it. Clint and John and Lajon, they work out almost every day. They've got stuff in the bus and they've got gyms that they all have set up before they even get to town. They're hardcore into it. Me, I don't mess with it, I try to stay skinny as possible and that's my excuse. Laziness is another word.
Levi: Well you play drums so that's cardio there.
Morgan: Yeah. Luckily though I go up and burn a lot of calories when I'm up there so I use that as my excuse as well. I don't have to go up and do all that stuff that they do, but I could probably use a few days in the gym myself.
Levi: Yeah, now you've been... What year did you guys form? Was it 97 or was it 98?
Morgan: 97 was when we got signed.
Levi: Yeah, you've definitely had some peaks. I know when you formed, I don't know call it what you will, alternate metal or NU metal but it was absolutely massive and for a while you were one of the top guys up there with Korn and Limp Bizkit. Then we kind of went away from NU metal for a while and now it's sort of having a bit of a resurgence again. What has it been like being super famous and pretty big and then famous again, is it weird?
Morgan: We never really paid too much attention to it. We always kept our heads real level when it came to all that stuff so our whole thing was we never noticed any real change for us. The loyalty we have to our band, its so much different than I've seen with some of the other bands in that we make sure that it wasn't like a clique to be in. Over here at least, our thing was that we are at least our thing was we have such a huge relationship with the people that supported the band that it really didn't matter what anybody else outside of our circle thought. They were going to be loyal to us and were going to be loyal to them, so it never really got that much smaller or that much bigger. If anything it's gotten bigger now because we've gotten some commercial success now with the Grammy’s and all that.
Other than that, I don't know what happened. It's like, I saw it would be other bands, and we really got nervous about. We were like oh man if that's happening to them that's got to happen to us because we were all kind of lumped together. Then I realized, no, our numbers are very close to the same as they've always been. Down to the record sales, to the crowd size, to everything. It's just you know, obviously you know what's more popular in the big picture and like hard rock music I guess. Everybody is trying to say that metal or hard rock or rock or whatever is on the decline but it will never go away. It's never going to go away. They've said that... I remember hearing this speech years ago, and I remember hearing it when we first started, how hard rock was dead and all of a sudden it was huge and it took over everything. It was like oh rock is back and it's like, it doesn't ever die, ever.
It just isn't the most popular style of music for the entire world at that point. We're from the United States, or our country. It takes a back seat for a minute, but it never goes away. It's just not popularized as much as it can be, or as it was, or as it will be again. It's just, hard rock music is always going to have a place because there's always going to be people that like that kind of music. It's always going to happen.
Levi: Yep, for sure. I don't think it's going to go away. There's new fans coming in all the time and it's a good genre of music. I know people wanted to criticize it at first and there was a few cringe-worthy bands but for the most part I love all those bands and I hope those stay around and more people do that kind of stuff.
Morgan: Yeah, it's crazy that there's so many bands that the internet has made it to where... I mean take bands that you might never... I mean, me personally, somebody said, "have you heard of this band?" I'm like, "I've never heard of them" and they're like "oh you've got to check them out." I'll check them out and I'm like oh I like this. I'll get on Instagram or something and the bass player has like 17 million followers and I'm like, I've never even heard of this band. It's like, this dude's got 4 billion people that love him and I don't even know this band that I love, I've never even heard of him.
It's like the underground side of that is massive. I mean like really having music and this new style of heavy music. There's a band called Northlane that I keep telling everybody from Australia that I fucking love down there and they're like one of my favourites. I had to have some young kids that I lived with introduce me to them. They were like oh, you like that, listen to this, and I was like what the hell is this? It was awesome man. I have to... It's almost like I have to sometimes turn to the kids, to turn me on to what's cool right now. Which makes me feel like I'm like 90.
Levi: I'm the same man. I'm always finding out about bands that are apparently huge and I've never heard about them and it's supposed to be my job to find out about these bands so, it's almost impossible to keep up with.
I know a while ago, it would have been early 2000s, you actually got the chance to perform Walk with the great Dimebag Darrell. What was that experience like? Were you pretty star struck at the time or were you pretty good friends? That wouldn't have been unusual I guess?
Morgan: Yeah we did it a lot. Yeah, he was a very dear friend of ours. We were extremely close, and I mean that particular time, we did it with him many times but that particular time, him and Vinnie would... We'd go into Texas and it was the sick one of their buses and they would just jump in the bus and they would have a driver and the two of them. It could be brutal, I mean those guys can drink. You'd wake up in the morning and there's the bus right next to us and we'd be hanging out and do our thing all day and they weren't even playing. They were just hanging out with us. You're like yeah you're doing ‘Walk’ tonight. He's like yeah man I'll do a part. He was just, you know, it was a dream to become friends with him. We had admired him for so long and it didn't take long after we started to meet them.
I remember the first time I met him and I asked him if I could get his phone number and he wrote his number, he took his hat off, and he wrote his number with a sharpy on the inside and I still have that hat. First time I ever met him which was years and years ago.