Shinedown Interview

By Mario Trevizo

Published on Friday, August 20, 2010

Recently Shinedown embarked on what was dubbed the Carnival of Madness, a touring festival that is planned to become a yearly event. The band’s last release The Sound Of Madness came out in 2008 and Mario Trevizo had the chance to speak with guitarist Zach Myers to find out more.

I interviewed some of the other bands earlier, and it seems like everyone has toured together quite a lot before. Is this sort of like a reunion tour for you guys?

It’s sort of like a traveling festival. The thing about a festival is you get to play with all these bands that you normally don’t get to play with all the time. So it’s like a big family reunion. So yeah, in some aspects you could say that I guess. It’s just really fun because we’ve never gotten to tour with Sevendust before. Sevendust is one of our favorite bands. We’ve already toured with all of these other bands, but I’ve always wanted to tour with Sevendust. This is the first chance we’ve gotten. So it’s a lot of fun.

Did you guys, as the headliner, get to choose all of the bands that were coming out with you guys on this tour?

Yes.

Okay, cool. I remember in ’09, on the Stimulate This! Tour, you had played with Chevelle. Did you talk with them about this current festival tour then or did it all just sort of come up recently this year?

We had started talking last year about doing our own festival that is actually going to carry on even without us. So next year, The Carnival Of Madness will be around, but we won’t be on it. It’s almost like a Family Values type thing. But yeah, we had talked about it before. Another good thing is that the same manager is managing all of the bands. That made it super simple to put together.

So are you guys also planning on picking out the line-ups each year as it goes on?

I’d like to think that since us and our manager kind of coined this thing that we’d at least have something to do with the line up. I don’t know to what extent we’d actually have to do with the line up if we’re not on the bill. But hopefully, yeah, we’ll get to pick and choose, and hopefully by next year maybe we can have a heavier year with different bands, maybe even a lighter year.

You guys came out with your record The Sound Of Madness and now you are on this tour The Carnival Of Madness. Is there any relation? Is this your biggest supporting tour towards that album?

It’s what we wanted to do when we started this record. This is the tour we wanted. We wanted it to be this big. So this is actually the last tour for us, for this record. So basically…

You wanted to go out with a bang.

Exactly. We wanted to go out with a bang. This was kind of just a tribute to the work we put in for this last album.

What do you feel is the greatest element that you incorporated in this album that you feel truly gives it that uniqueness?

I mean, the songs. You know? The songs are the strongest songs that we’ve ever written for any record. So that’s kind of what made this a lasting record. And it for sure what made it as successful as it has been. So we’re really stoked on it. The songs are definitely what made this record a success, just the overall passion that we put into everything.

I noticed that you mention that your songs are a lot more “blunt” this time around, and in a way, you are saying what other people can’t really say for themselves. In other words, you have created a message that other people can relate to. So what is the overall theme you are trying to express with these songs you have put out?

I mean, it’s love, hate, heartbreak, and everything else. It’s drug use. It’s all of the things we have been through together as a band. Brent was a highly addicted individual until this record. There’s no shyness about that. No one is covering it up. It’s just an honest fact. He was a very addictive person. The thing about this record is that he wrote songs about life, about real life. Instead of writing about other people, he took all of his experiences and wrote for himself. It was really good for this band.

Yeah, it’s definitely relatable.

Psh yea, and that’s the thing. It’s relatable to other people’s lives. Everyone has been through or at least knows someone, or is going to know someone who is going to go through these things that we’re writing about.

With the songs that you are expressing on The Sound Of Madness, was that a lyrical goal you wanted to eventually hit when you started out? To create songs that really could hit home with people, or did that just come together on its own?

I don’t think we shot towards trying to relate. Like I said, I think we just took these opinions and things we had gone through in the past and put them into the record. We didn’t sit down and say “we’re going to make this record more relatable to people.” That wasn’t the goal.

Now that this is the last tour for this record, does this mean that you all are getting ready to write some new material and hit the studios?

We’re going to take a little break after this tour, about a month maybe. Then we are going to go do an acoustic tour in November and December. Then yeah, we are going to work on getting another record. We’ll probably take about two months off and then start writing and things like that.

Hopefully this time next year we’ll have another Carnival Of Madness.

Hopefully this time next year we will, but we won’t be on it. I actually can’t wait to see who will be on it.

Is there any one festival that you’ve attended that you feel has given you the best response?

Every time that we’ve played Rock Fest in Kansas City. It’s the biggest one-day festival in America, it holds 65,000 people, and although it’s only one day, it’s amazing. Every time we’ve ever played there, it’s always been so much fun. We’ve always gotten the best reactions.

Something I’ve noticed at your headlining is what Brent does to incite the crowd. It comes to a point where he slowly raises his hand, and the higher he raises it, the louder the crowd gets, until it almost feels like there a million people screaming in the room. Where exactly did that idea come from?

That idea came straight from Brent. Brent is a big energy guy. His main thing with energy is that he wants everything to be conducive with how he feels. You know, he’s the leader of this band. He’s the general. He’s the sergeant. He’s the guy that leads us into war every night. Whatever it is that he is feeling energy wise, he wants to make the crowd feel that. He’s always been great at getting the crowd energized.

Speaking of war, after your trip to Iraq, you wrote your song “Devour” that was relatable to that. What kind of emotions were you feeling when you got there? Were you saddened at all looking at the situation?

It doesn’t make you sad, and it shouldn’t make anyone sad. It should make you realize that there is something going on. For better or for worse it was a good thing, but it needs to be stopped. We’re not a political band, we’ve never written a political song, and “Devour” is not a political song. “Devour” is just a pro-troop song. That’s what it is. It’s not negative to any sort of thing. “Devour was a sign to president Bush saying “Look. Here’s a mirror, this is what you did.” And I mean not necessarily all in a bad way, in a good way too. This is what you have to walk away from. Whether it’s a mess or not, this is what you did. So yeah, that’s all that is really.

Let’s say that you are at the point where you are done; you’ve done everything you can with your music. What is the most memorable factor you would hope people would take from Shinedown and the songs you have written?

I would hope that people took this band as a band that told the truth. We try to be that band. We don’t hide anything from anyone. We don’t have any secret drug addictions; we don’t cheat on our wives or anything. Everything is out there. Everybody in the band is clean now. Everybody in the band is sober. We’re just an honest band. We try to be and we will always be. I hope people walk away with that.

Well that about wraps it up for me. Thank you so much for your time and input.

Thank you man, that went great. See you around.

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