"I didn’t get in to music to become rich or to get famous, I got into it because it was cheaper than therapy." - Brent Smith, on his music motivation "My son definitely, 100 per cent, is the reason why I’m here today, and he was a catalyst for a lot of the songs on the new record. I owe a lot to my son. He’s one hell of a dude." - Brent Smith, on being a dad “We’re going to be exactly who we are but, you know, we want you guys to like us. We’re beyond stoked. I hope Australia’s ready for us.” - Brent Smith, on hitting Australia
Feb 19, 2010. By Jordana Borensztajn.
Despite selling more than six million albums, it’s taken Shinedown almost an entire decade to make it Down Under. We’re talking about a band that’s not only garnered a reputation as one of America’s most successful mainstream rock acts, but if you don’t believe it, the proof’s in their hits. All 11 singles the Floridian quartet’s released have soared to the top of Billboard’s mainstream rock charts.
As unbelievable – and appalling as it might be – to discover Australia’s been so slow off the mark with Shinedown, it seems we’re not the only country playing catch up. In addition to Australia, the U.S. rockers also have virgin visits planned for Japan, South America, and some spots across the UK.
With a wild history that includes drug battles, band squabbles, departing members, love, loss, heartbreak and a whole heap of fun, the band’s finally getting the recognition it deserves. Last year they were nominated alongside Green Day and Kings of Leon in the Alternate Rock category at the AMAs, and they were also approached by Disney to write a track for the hugely anticipated upcoming blockbuster Alice in Wonderland.
Just because the accolades are finally starting to pour in after nine long years, it doesn’t mean frontman Brent Smith is going to be resting on any of the band's laurels. “You can’t believe your own hype, you really can’t. It’s shaky ground for me, and I’m never going to be satisfied. It’s not part of who I am. I didn’t get in to music to become rich or to get famous, I got into it because it was cheaper than therapy,” he explains to Nova.
“I always tell people that the will to live will always outweigh the ability to die. I’m constantly, and the band is constantly, evolving every day. You can’t get comfortable. You have to constantly out-do what you’ve already done. You have to push yourself creatively – not only as a person, but also as an artist.”
Smith says the band’s got a stronger sense of purpose right now than it’s ever had, and this cohesion and connection helps takes their musicianship to a whole new level. “Everybody knows why they’re here, and everybody wants to be here. I don’t want to ever be looked at as a cliché. I did drugs for seven years of my life, like, hardcore. I was a massive drug addict and was addicted to everything under the sun. But the day my son was born I stopped doing drugs and it was something that was killing me, and it was killing me probably during the making of this record, but I pushed my way through it,” he reflects.
“This is the most personal record I’ve ever done in my entire life – that the band’s ever done. I want people to remember this record as a record that the world said ‘needed’ to be made. I felt like we tapped into something, and that we were making a difference with this album. It’s the most personal record I’ve written, lyrically, and it was time. With this record it was time.”
Just like everybody says, being a dad has changed Smith’s life. In fact, he admits that he wouldn’t have come this far if not for his little boy. “My son saved my life, he really did. When he was born I realised it was no longer about me anymore; that I’m responsible for another human being.
"I work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. I worked hard before but I brutalise myself now. My son definitely, 100 per cent, is the reason why I’m here today, and he was a catalyst for a lot of the songs on the new record. I owe a lot to my son. He’s one hell of a dude, he’s awesome.”
Pumped to be heading Down Under for Soundwave, Smith says he’s been dreaming about playing in Oz for a cracking long time. “It’ll be our very first time playing in Australia and we’re beyond excited that we’re finally getting the chance to come to your beautiful country. It’s been 10 years now of waiting to get that opportunity. I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s always been very mysterious and romantic in a lot of ways. I want to surf – and I’m not going to lie, I totally want to hang out with a koala bear,” he says.
“Have you ever seen lightning in a bottle? That’s what you should expect from our show. When you have something to prove, that can be an unstoppable element for a band, and we definitely have something to prove – that we belong there with you guys. It’s a huge honour to come to your country because we’re guests, and it’s your house. It’s a big deal to us.
“We’re going to be exactly who we are but, you know, we want you guys to like us. We’re beyond stoked. I hope Australia’s ready for us.”
Make sure you catch Shinedown at Soundwave which kicks off on Saturday in Brisbane!
VENUES AND DATES FEBRUARY/MARCH 2010
SATURDAY 20 BRISBANE, RNA SHOWGROUNDS SUNDAY 21 SYDNEY, EASTERN CREEK RACEWAY FRIDAY 26 MELBOURNE, SHOWGROUNDS SATURDAY 27 ADELAIDE, BONYTHON PARK MONDAY 1 PERTH, STEEL BLUE OVAL