Shinedown are well on their way to a new album, as far as writing is concerned. Singer Brent Smith recently revealed that the record-breaking rock band has nine songs ready for their next effort, the eventual follow-up to 2018's Attention Attention.

The vocalist uncovered the news during a Metal Hammer interview that emerged on Monday (Feb. 1). Asked for his determination on the "worst thing about being in a band," Smith referenced his work on fresh material with Shinedown bassist and Attention Attention producer Eric Bass. He also mentioned his side project with Shinedown's Zach Myers, Smith & Myers, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"COVID-19 [is the worst thing]," Smith replied, "though I'll be honest, Zach and I are among maybe 10 percent of the music population still able to do live events."

He continued, "As Shinedown, that would be impossible, though for the last two months, I've been working with Eric on 'Shinedown 7,' and we're about nine songs into that. But as Smith & Myers, and with a couple of crew guys, [live shows] are just about doable. You have to duck and dive."

Indeed, Smith has gotten creative about staying musically active during downtime related to the pandemic. When Shinedown had to cancel their 2020 "Deep Dive" tour dates, Smith & Myers released two collections — that's right, two — of original songs and rockin' cover versions instead.

Elsewhere in the Metal Hammer chat, the Shinedown singer admitted that he "cried the day that Eddie Van Halen died" last October.

"I was lucky enough to hang out with Eddie during the early days of Shinedown," Smith added. "He was among the sweetest, kindest people I knew."

The singer ended the interview on a more upbeat note, however, when he talked about his Shinedown and Smith & Myers bandmate's gift-giving talent. It seems Zach has a knack for unloading stellar presents.

"He's the king of surprising the people that he loves with unexpected gifts," Smith said. "You can be on the tour bus talking about admiring a Rickenbacker guitar from 1978, and days later, you'll walk into your hotel room, and there's a package on the bed — what the fuck?! Zach is so thoughtful."

Shinedown most recently released "Atlas Falls," a standalone single from 2020 that was initially earmarked for the group's 2012 album, Amaryllis. The song's sales helped raise funds for healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 crisis via the non-profit organization Direct Relief.

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