Shinedown – Brent Smith, Vocals
You?re preparing to hit the road with 3 Doors Down, so where are you right now?
We?re on the highway, in San Antonio, Texas, tomorrow 1st date of the tour. About an hour away.
You must be excited.
I?m always excited always excited to be on the road.
How long of a break did you take in between ?Leave A Whisper? and ?Us and Them??
I?ll be honest, we got off on the road on the 5th off March, the label said they would give us a month off, and about 2 weeks in I kind of got really freaked out. I was just concerned because we didn?t write anything on the road, so there was a lot of tension building. In 2 weeks in I wrote a lot, got with the band, we worked it out, and got the songs prepared, and we wrote 23 tracks. Then the producer came in, and we did drums and bass in Jacksonville and then I went to Orlando, and we did vocals, guitars, and the lyrics. It?s kind of funny ? out first single ?Save Me?, we only had 4 songs written at the time it was released to radio. We never left the road though, we did festival dates, we tried to not leave the public eye which was important to us.
Shinedown seemed to almost come out of nowhere a few years back when ?45? took the world by storm ? how long have you guys been a band for?
We?re going on 5 years now, I think in January or February it will 5 years.
It?s a ruthless business, and for those who don?t know, how?d you lot land a deal with Atlantic?
Its kind of a really long story, I?ll tell it the easy way though. I?m originally from Tennessee, and I was originally signed to Atlantic, but was dropped after 9 months. Atlantic?s A&R and Steve Robertson gave me a development deal, which led me to Jacksonville to put the band together. We took 3 years of demoing and getting ready for the 1st record, and tried to see who was going to be in the band, what it was going to be called, etcera. They gave me a huge honor, and they don?t do it like that anymore. To do a chance to develop as an artist and find the compatible people ? but we we got in all 4 of us, we could all see it was meant to be, it was a lot easier to work and and see the band we were going to become. Then we went to LA to do the record. ?Leave A Whjisper? jad 3 producers on it, with a ton of songs done by different guys. After that, then we just toured relentlessly. We built off stuff and did like 435 shows in 23 months ? we did it all with radio and touring ? we don?t say no to anyone, and we are very very fan oriented. The only reason we get onstage is because of the fans. At the end of the day you want to write and record and do it for yourself first, but all said and done it is ultimately up to the people. That?s where the focus comes from. A lot of bands that sell millions don?t connect with their audience. They nicknamed me The Reverend because I want the people to feel empowered and without them we are nothing. So early on I took that very seriously so I made the shows develop and let the audience know to be empowered. I just want them to know we can?t do anything with out them.
How many copies did ?Leave A Whisper? sell?
We just received our Platinum record last week, it still sells 3,500 a week ? it?s at 910,000 right now I think.
The next single off ?Us and Them? is set to be??
I hope to have plans for about 5 more ? ?Save Me? is climbing rock radio, it just broke Top 10 in all 3 formats. Our first show is tomorrow, so we JUST got out on the road. The road is the place you have to go. It?s not for everybody though. We?re just happy.
An intro video on your official website stated that the lyrical content on ?Us and Them? is pretty personal, written about personal things ? so is it the regular ?My girlfriend broke my heart? sort of stuff, or?
None of it has to do with relationship stuff; it?s about the band ? its us and them about the band, and against all odds. We have our own circle though; I want the whole world to know who the band is. The record is really about the people I meet on the road, and who I got a chance to hear a lot of great stories from. I get the chance to listen to certain people talk to me about their life and its just some inspiring details, and that is something I am taken back from. The theme of the record is a youthful theme and the artwork, it?s a completely original piece of artwork, and that picture was something I dreamed up one night. We had it sketched out and brought it to life with the color ? the layout on the first pressing is a limited edition release we?ll have out for 90 days. It?s a 36 page booklet, and we put the lyrics in the album this time. But I guess the underlying fact is that it?s based on our fans.
?Leave A Whisper? seemed to be chock full of radio singles, and hooky rock riffs ? how does the new material compare?
Its by no means ?Leave A Whisper? part 2, it?s a lot more rooted, more solos, and its?its broken down into a more classic rock feel with modern intensity,. Jason played a lot more guitar, but he played the instrument. Brad PLAYED the instrument; he became and honed his craft as a bass player. I stepped outside the box on the vocals, and I feel unfortunate I didn?t have a lot of time to do it, and we wanted to keep perfecting it. There?s no real top or ?I?ve Arrived? theme with us. We like to grow. There are a lot of radio songs on the record, but there are album tracks too. It has a beginning and an end, like a story. On this record the lyrics a lot harder and there are points to it.
Any cover songs this time around?
Not this time, no.
Two albums, and a DVD later ? what are Shinedown?s ambitions and goals for the next 12-18 months?
I?m kind of one of those guys who says the future, I stay really humble, what I want to see is to still be doing what we?re doing and for fans to still come out and for shows to get even bigger. I don?t tell people I?m going to work today or this is my job, this is what I do, this is my honor. And I am getting to live my dream. I just want to still be doing it, even 20 years down the road.
Is there anyone in particular that you would like to tour with?
We really wanted to go out with Audioslave, just because Cornell was a big influence. I think Seether got it, but I really wanted to do it. As far as bands that are out now?Staind, and Nickelback, any of those guys. We?ve toured for months before with 3 Doors Down, and it?s a huge blessing to tour with them again. We?re really fortunate.
Are there any plans to hit up the likes of Asia, Australia, or Europe?
As far as the band is concerned, no plans just this minute, we need the States locked down first.
After 3 Doors Down will you go on a headlining run?
If we don?t hop on another tour with arenas, we?ll be touring as a headlining act.
Here?s one for you ? It?s interesting to perceive how the internet has taken over helping a myriad of artists, so how much has the arrival of MySpace helped the band, or at least the marketing of the new album?
You now apparently its doing us an extreme favor! We just got on it the other day. We put a few clips from the full length up, and literally after a few days we had 77,000 hits ? all of that is extremely crucial nowadays, the way records are distrusted, the computer is an instrument that everyone needs to have. You?re obsolete if you don?t have one! As long as it?s helping people understand music isn?t not necessarily free, and downloading is bad, it?s ok, but check it out if you want to buy it ? to download the entire record, its brutal as a musician to hear about that. It?s tough to swallow that pill. If it generates more of a feeling of wanting to buy or find more info about an artist out that?s cool, I do think it opens understands a new highway..
Awesome. Any last words for your fans Brent?
We?re coming for ?em. Let ?em know we?re back! Hopefully they are ready for it, and we?ll be there ASAP.