Bob Zerull of Zoiks! Online recently conducted an interview with SEVENDUST guitarist John Connolly about John's side project PROJECTED, which also features SEVENDUST bassist Vince Hornsby and CREED/ALTER BRIDGE drummer Scott Phillips. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Zoiks! Online: I was checking out your web site and it seems like PROJECTED started as a bunch of friends getting together having a good time that turned into something more. Is that about right?
John Connolly: Pretty much. I don't want to say we set the bar low, but we said we're just going to go in here and have fun with this. We had a bunch of songs lying around that we wanted to take in. Originally, it was just going to be me going in there and doing most everything. The more we talked about it and the more we got together a game plan and studio time, the more we kind of started talking about, "Hey, Scott, remember ten years ago when we first talked about doing that thing, that side project? Well, what are you doing in March?" [laughs] Literally, it was pretty much that. Erock [Eric Friedman] was like, "Hey, man I want to get in on this." I had already talked to Vinnie about doing it, because we knew that [fellow SEVENDUST members] Morgan [Rose] and Clint [Lowery] were going to be doing CALL ME NO ONE. It literally came together, for lack of a better description and explanation for how it really happened. It wasn't like I sat down and said, here is my top fifty drummers that I'm going to go after, here's my top 25 guitar players — it wasn't that at all. It was just us saying, "Hey, man, let's just go in and do what we always said we were going to do." I think the end result at the end of the day surprised us just as much as it surprised everyone else.
Zoiks! Online: You're taking on the vocal duties. How difficult of a transition is it to be a frontman?
John Connolly: You know, it's hard to describe. I think the first thing that you go through is the acceptance that there's no one to hide behind. With SEVENDUST it's, like, let LJ [Witherspoon] do his thing and I'll duck in back there and stay out of the way a little bit. With PROJECTED, all of the sudden, it's, like, "Wow, the sound of your voice is what is going to carry this whole deal." Coming to terms with that is an interesting thing. First of all, you have the fact that you've never done it. Then throw in the fact that we're going to record at home, too. Let's do it in probably the worst environment we could possibly be doing it in. [laughs] It's nice and convenient to be able to do it when you want to do it, but you have the UPS guy unloading stuff, you've got lawnmowers in the background, dogs barking, 'Just Dance 3' blending in a little bit. You throw all those things in the mix and you hang on and ask, is it doable? What do we have here that works? But yeah, it's tricky, it's a lot of different learning processes, but it's definitely a cool experience to actually step out and say where is my voice, what is my voice.
Zoiks! Online: On your web site, in the "About The Band" section, you mention how it was nice to work with no pressure, no preconceived expectations. There's been talk that the next SEVENDUST record could be the last, and if the band does decide to call it a day, how much of it do you think would be due to the music industry and the business side just sucking all the fun out of your art?
John Connolly: If that were the case, that would be the reason. In all honesty… Obviously, you can look around and you can't say it's not because they don't want to make music, because they're making music in different bands now. [laughs] That drive is still there, the thirst and the hunger to actually just make new music regardless of what it says at the end of the day. If it ever ended up being where SEVENDUST called it quits, it would be because of that very reason, the fact that we couldn't find a way to make it work on the business side of things. I mean, for us, in all honesty, that is our biggest struggle. It's never a musical thing that's a struggle. It's just a lot of it comes down to the business stuff. To be quite honest with you, we just went through our last major change about five or six months ago and things are starting to look positive. We made a few key changes in the off time. I don't want to say that we will or we won't. I don't really intend on it, but you never know. As we get older and everyone tries new things. I think SEVENDUST will be something that will always be there if we choose to do it. Not saying this is the last record, but if it were the last record, it'd probably only be for a minute; I don't know that we would ever call it up forever. We get asked that question a lot because we had discussed, maybe we should do one more full album, one more full cycle and then not really take a break, but do what we did this time, we went and made a PROJECTED record, did a CALL ME NO ONE record. It would be kind of nice if at some point in time we could spend a little time on those things. Those are the only things that I think would call for us hitting the pause button again. It's the five of us, which is kind of a strange situation to be in. Fifteen years ago, class of 1997, how many bands are still all together, the original five guys? I'm, like, "Holy shit!" We really do enjoy each other's company. We're just excited to get back into the studio and make music again. This break has been, even though we worked on music and did side projects and different things, it's different. When you're writing for SEVENDUST, you're writing for SEVENDUST. It's hard to explain. I know what's PROJECTED and I know what's SEVENDUST. I wouldn't say that this is the last.
Read the entire interview from Zoiks! Online. The chat is also available in audio format.