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Shinedown’s Brent Smith Talks New Album, Band Evolution, Being Famous + More

Dave Kim, Brent Smith
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Shinedown took over The Orbit Room in Grand Rapids this past Saturday (April 14) for a sold out show. The band is currently headlining the 2012 Avalanche Tour with Adelitas Way and Art of Dying as support. Shinedown frontman Brent Smith sat down with me on their tour bus to discuss their latest album, Amaryllis, the mentality of today’s music consumers, handling rock fame and more.

Shinedown released their fourth studio album, Amaryllis, on March 27. Smith has stated in the past that the record “reflects on everything we’ve done and where we’re heading,” and that it’s a culmination of everything the band has been through. While that could be said for any new album a band releases, Smith says that is not the case with Shinedown.

“I’ve always said that your first album you’ll get your entire life to create it, and then your second album you’re only going to get about six months,” Smith says. “I only say that because that was the experience we’ve had. On the third album [2008's The Sound of Madness] the climate definitely changed for the band because there was a shift. Not only the personalities within the band, but the overall health of the band was at stake.”

Smith continues: “Honestly I wouldn’t be with you here today had we not had the lineup changes [guitarist Zach Myers and bassist Eric Bass replaced founding members Jason Todd and Brad Stewart]. We were really in a lot of ways at a crucial point in time with our band because it was either going to be sink or swim. I focus on the health of the band because unfortunately we weren’t able to work out the dynamics between certain members. I have to be completely honest with you, if it wasn’t for Zach and Eric, this band wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Smith and I also touched on the whole Spotify issue in regards to artist compensation, which Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney wasn’t shy to share his view. The singer states that he thinks about the bigger picture and sees the streaming music service as an asset. He also knows that the industry has changed and there has been a shift in interest for singles instead of albums.

“The way that society is right now, they’re quite guarded when it comes to money, especially with music,” says Smith. “It’s very much a singles mentality when you talk about the digital consumer. They want to try a few songs before they buy the entire record.”

When I asked Smith if that bummed him out, the vocalist replied that he’s cool with it.

“It doesn’t necessarily bum me out,” he answered. “I’m totally fine. It’s kind of like a trial to see if you like the record, or if you don’t know anything about the band. But for us, we make albums. Amaryllis is meant to be heard as an album…because it really became a concept record without being conceptual. When we were writing the material it just evolved.”

“We would prefer people to buy the entire record, but we’re totally fine if they don’t know anything about Shinedown and they might have heard about us from a friend, or might like a song on the radio. Try a couple of songs and then I think eventually, if they really like the band, they’ll end up buying the whole catalog.”

You can watch my entire interview with Brent Smith below. Check out our photo gallery from the show here.

Follow Dave Kim on Twitter and Tumblr.

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