5 minutes alone - Sevendust's Clint Lowery: "Steve Vai broadened my perspective on what could be done with the guitar"

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Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery talks Vai, a PRS called Bruce Lee and the real key to survival in a band...

Got my first real six string

“I was originally a drummer, but I became a guitarist because I struggled to find musicians who wrote songs. My first instrument was this Aria Pro II, I don’t even know if people will have heard of it, but it was a metal-looking guitar with a thunderbolt across it in Candy Apple Red. I don’t have it but I know the guy that does and I recently contacted him to see if I could get it back. I’m not sure if he wants to give it up…”

Show me the way

“My number one is probably Steve Vai. He opened up a lot of barriers for me, just attempting to learn his material when I was young opened my mind. It broadened my perspective on what could be done with the guitar. He was more of an extremist, very vast in what he did stylistically. I’ve had the chance to meet him a couple of times, but I’d love to sit down and learn more…”

Just a castaway, an island lost at sea

I affectionately named it Bruce Lee, and it even has an old Bruce Lee sticker on the back. It’s been my go-to for every record

“I have this PRS Custom 22 that I got about 15 years ago… I affectionately named it Bruce Lee, and it even has an old Bruce Lee sticker on the back. It’s been my go-to for every record… since getting it, it’s been on every recording I’ve done. There’s nothing special about it other than the wood and the way it feels and plays. I just have an incredible connection to it!”

Wait for the blackout

“There’s been a few, haha! I once had a total shutdown in Europe… I think it was Download. We were only a few minutes into the set and my tech at the time didn’t understand the power conversion. Everything blew up and I never got the amp going again… we went past our time slot.

“We’d been dying to get out to this festival for such a long time. It was our most gut-wrenching experience: we had the momentum, the crowd were there, and all we got was just a little taste of what it could have been.”

The last hero

“I only ever had one real guitar teacher, this guy called Robbie Green who himself had been taught by Jimmy Herring, a pretty well-known player. Just watching Robbie’s phrasing and note choices as he made these four-track recordings by himself helped me understand a lot more about music.

“Eventually, we would write solos together - he saw I had a knack for it and wanted me to develop that. He also got me into speed playing, more alternate picking- based stuff. He used to tell me every note needed to have its own area code and definition. That’s when it all opened up to me and I started to get faster and faster. He was the gatekeeper that showed me the way!”

It’s always better when we’re together

Touring is an artform in itself and you need to learn how to survive

“Touring is an art form in itself and you need to learn how to survive. When you’re putting a band together, it’s very important to find people you gel with personality-wise. There are a lot of great musicians out there, but I would rather have someone that’s on the same page and we can grow together than have someone incredibly talented that goes left when you’re trying to go right. Discover what it is that you do best together.”

A change would do you good

“There’s a guitar intro for the song Waffle that I had more expectations for… what we ended up using was the scratch track. It’s this little spooky riff that was once part of an long elaborate intro - in the end, it became just a little placeholder and now it really frustrates me every time I hear it!”

Sevendust’s new album All I See Is War is available now via Rise Records.

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