By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
Here's your second chance to catch statuesque Sevendust front-stud LaJon Witherspoon's gorgeous smile, shoulder-length dreads, and naked bust. The biracial mosh-metal band five tattooed-in-all-the-right-places Atlanta dudes who toured with rapcore act Limp Bizkit are about to rebroadcast their music-mercial, Live and Loud, for two weeks, including a Channel 2 airing in New York at 1:30 a.m., April 3.
More a documentary than a Ginsu knife spot, the maxi-ad features six in-concert songs off the crew's self-titled TVT debut, tempering heavy strums with occasional breakouts from deep-throated screaming into three-part harmony. In-depth interviews, too: when asked about Sevendust's best-known track, "Bitch," LaJon sweetly drawls that it's about an old roommate of his, and guitarist John Connolly giggles that they're not trying to step on any music-biz-women's toes.
Subtly woven into 30 minutes of testosterone and audience salutes are a pair of sneaky two-minute breaks where you suddenly remember you're watching a commercial: The TV audience is given the option to buya taped copy of Live and Loud for $19.95. TVT reports that the Sevendust CD which spent 30 weeks in Billboard's Heatseekers Chart top 10 and is now approaching gold saw sales increase from 3000 a week to 5500 during the show's initial autumn run.
At the time, the label recouped only about a quarter of its $400,000 investment. But TVT is adding $150,000 to the campaign regardless; this just might be the highest-priced music infomercial ever. Cornballs can bandy about "payola" accusations, but as Sevendust manager Jay Jay French points out, "Labels will do just about anything to get their bands heard." And why shouldn't they, when the airwaves ignore guitars this gargantuan otherwise?