Sevendust Aim For October With Third LP

Heaviness, maturity promised on Atlanta rockers' next effort; song titles include 'Deadset,' 'Crucified.'

Sevendust fans may have a chance to see some of the recording of the band's third album on national television — that is, if they're ardent fans of "Making the Band."

The Atlanta rockers wrote and rehearsed the as-yet-untitled project at the Orlando, Florida, boy band factory Trans Continental Studios and will return there next month to record.

"We always see all of Lou Pearlman's bands," Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon said of the teen pop architect. "The Monkees were rehearsing beside us one day. It's such a crazy bunch of people. They all know Sevendust in some way. It's weird to be jamming out and see the O-Town guys peek their heads in the room and jam to our sh--. 'It's cool, man, just make sure nobody sees us on those TV cameras you guys got.' "

So does this mean there will be a pop influence on the new material?

"Sh-- no!" Witherspoon said, laughing. "If anything it inspires us to be more heavy."

Sevendust set out for Florida at the beginning of the year to get away from the distractions at home. (Ironically, Home is the title of their last record.) Witherspoon has enjoyed working there so much, he's looking to purchase a place in Orlando.

"It's a good energy there," he said. "I love being in the sun and by the water. People are in such a good mood down there all the time."

Not all of the new album will be recorded at Trans Continental, however. Bassist Vinnie Hornsby and drummer Morgan Rose will lay down their tracks at the studio of another chart-topper — Outkast's Stankonia Recordings in

Atlanta. Sevendust recorded two tracks there last year: a cover of LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali" for the Take a Bite Outta Rhyme compilation and "What U See Is What U Get" with Xzibit for Loud Rocks.

"Those guys are tight, really cool guys," Witherspoon said of Outkast. "Last time we hung with those cats, we were talking about [collaborating], but those cats are too busy."

Sevendust will have some guests on the new album, but Witherspoon wants to keep it a secret and refused to give any clues.

As for the producer for the record, the group, which also includes guitarists Clint Lowery and John Connelly, has enlisted Ben Grosse (Filter, Fuel).

"The first time we all talked to him, we were in a conference call and he got on the phone and said, 'Kick ass. I would love to work with you guys,' " Witherspoon said. "He was really into the music we had just written. He went down the list from the song he liked best to his least favorite. He knew the choruses and everything. He was interested in working with us, but not changing us."

Sevendust have written more than a dozen songs for the album, which they hope to release in October.

"A lot of it is heavy, 'let's get crazy' Sevendust," Witherspoon said. "But then there is a mature level of music coming from us as a group of guys that has been together for seven years. This album is going to have a lot of honest emotions."

Song titles include "Deadset" and "Crucified," the latter an angry song about the ugly fallout the band had with former manager Jay Jay French.

"The situation he put us in was very bad," Witherspoon said. "Jay Jay opened our eyes to a music industry where you can work so f---ing hard to make this dream you've always had real, and when you finally have time to relax and see what you have, you realize that this cat who has been sitting in a New York office has all the money."

Witherspoon declined to give more details, but said Sevendust settled out of court with French and are now handled by Creed's manager. "We're going on now," Witherspoon said. "It was a good move for everyone."

Other songs on the album — or at least their titles — are less serious, particularly "Useless as T--s on a Boar."

"We normally start jamming and sometimes a song is there, but you don't want to rush a name, so you give it a subtitle," Witherspoon explained. "After looking at that one a while, I said, 'Let's keep that name.' A lot of the songs end up that way."

Although the new album won't have any acoustic tracks like "Angel's Son," Sevendust's recent hit from the Lynn Strait tribute album Strait Up, Witherspoon said the band has written some slower, introspective numbers.

"We've had people tell us that 'Angel's Son' is great and ask if we're going to do more," Witherspoon said. "I can definitely say there will be more. It's not like something that's never been there. We had a song, 'Prayer,' on

[1997's Sevendust], which was slow and about growing up and praying with my older brother. Those songs have always been there [in hard rock]. It's just cool for radio to play them now."

Sevendust are scheduled to play WBCN's River Rave at Foxboro Stadium on May 26 with Marilyn Manson and fellow Atlanta rockers the Black Crowes, but have no other dates scheduled, a rarity for a band that has gained its following with relentless touring.

"We want to be out on the road. I miss it. I can't wait to get back out," Witherspoon said. On the other hand, "The process on the third album has been incredible, because for the first time ever, Sevendust has actually had time to sit down and be off the road and write and collaborate as a band

again."