By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
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 buy a 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?