OVER THE COURSE OF THEIR 17-YEAR career, Vince Hornsby and his bandmates have weathered plenty of lows, including bankruptcy, the departure and return of guitarist Clint Lowery, and continual problems with record labels. Despite Sevendust’s turbulent past (perhaps inspired by it), the five-piece Georgia metal outfit’s latest album, Cold Day Memory, debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Top 10 Rock Album chart and marked the band’s highest rank on Billboard Hot 200 charts, at No. 12.
Nowadays, the 44-year old Hornsby happier and more content than ever, something that becomes obvious as he races around a motocross track during a pause in his hectic touring schedule. If there’s one thing Hornsby takes very seriously, it’s forgetting the hardships and enjoying the ride. From August 26 through October 15, Hornsby and Sevendust will be taking laps around the country as part of the Rockstar UPROAR Festival.
How was the process of writing and recording Cold Day Memory?
Once we had a good idea of what we were going to do, we went to a little rehearsal room with a Pro Tools rig and just jammed without vocals. Then we went up to Chicago to work with our producer, Johnny “K” Karkazis, and that’s where I fell in love with one of his vintage Fender Precision Basses. He has close to 200 basses and guitars, so we had a lot to pick and choose from. But man, that P-Bass was something special.
Sevendust employs a number of dropped tunings. Is it a challenge to make your bass heard over the guitarists’ already low tone?
Man, I’m always asking the guitarists to take it easy with the tunings. The way those guys write, I swear we’re going to have to start buying telephone cables to use as bass strings. Between Clint [Lowery] and John [Connolly], I have two monster sounds blasting from both sides of me, and then I’m supposed to fit in there somewhere. That’s the main reason I use a pick—to cut through. But you know, our music needs that low, nasty tone to it.
We use a bunch of different tunings, but I have the songs transposed in my head to the point where I can rock it during a live show and not have to think about it too much or change basses too many times.
I understand you’re working on a signature Dean bass.
I’ve been using a Dean Hillsboro 4-string for a while, and now we’re working together to design a custom signature series. I want to move to more of a classic style, something like a P-Bass with a heavy body. I love rosewood necks, too. The basses I’m playing right now sound kind of like Jazz Basses, and I want more of the Precision sound. I went down to the Dean factory in Tampa, and they’re great people and easy to work with. I can’t wait until the bass is finished—it’s going to be beautiful.
You’re famous for wearing your bass way down by your knees. What inspired you to swing so low?
I don’t know how it started. It just felt natural and I kept with it. You know, I used to wear it a lot lower even than I do now. It’s rock, man! You’ve gotta have that thing low. These days, it’s still low, but it’s above my knees because I had some knee surgeries. Don’t forget, I’m an old man now. When I’m in the studio, of course, I sit on a stool because I can play it better that way. But don’t tell our fans that.
HEAR HIM ON
Sevendust, Cold Day Memory [2010, Atlantic]
Bass Dean Hillsboro 4-string Strings Dean Markley Roundwound .115
Rig Peavey Tour 700 Series head, Peavey Tour 810 8x10
Picks Dunlop In- TuneGP .88mm