Step into the light
Brent Smith and Shinedown are ready to wow crowds
Shinedown is headlining the 2012 Uproar Festival for the first time and the band is more than ready to prove to audiences that they belong in the spotlight. We caught up with lead singer Brent Smith to talk about their latest record, Amaryllis, their dedicated fans and what to expect when the sun goes down on Uproar and Shinedown finally owns the stage.
Talk about your busy 2012, the new record and Shinedown’s growth.
We spent all of last year working on Amaryllis. We’re not known necessarily for writing a lot on the road. We really take the time and the initiative to focus on the performance while we’re touring. We spent all of last year working on the record, writing the material and getting it ready. We started touring at the beginning of this year and we’ve already played 11 countries. We’re hitting the ground running when the records are finished. They’re not finished; it’s just the beginning. With our last record, Sound of Madness, we toured for 31 months and 447 shows on the books. Amaryllis is a very emotional record for us. We’re known as a band that’s quite fearless in the studio, and with our production when we go out and play live. We are on a huge tour right now — Uproar, co-headlining with Godsmack. It’s the biggest production that we ever put together.
Talk about the live show and delivering that show to the crowd.
For us, we always said that one thing about the way we present ourselves to the rest of the world is that we only have one boss; and our boss is everybody in the audience. It’s extremely important and very imperative that there is a constant humility that surrounds the band because we know that it could be taken away from us at any time. You can’t ever be satisfied. You have to constantly grow, not only as a musician, but as a performer and keep delivering to the audience what they expect, which is what we consider the wow factor. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon that is your career. I’m not necessarily looking at Shinedown 2012. I’m looking at Shinedown 2014 and playing stadiums. We always want to be able to play for as many people as possible because we feel like we know that our band as a whole talks about real subject, real life issue and situations. At the end of the day, it comes down to the music. This production didn’t happen overnight. It’s time to take that step. We’re ready to have this kind of production and do we have something to prove? Absolutely. We’ve been given an amazing opportunity to be able to do for a living what we dreamed of doing since we were kids.
How important is it for you to still be taking the time to meet and greet the fans during these large shows?
I think that it’s extremely important that you understand that you wouldn’t be on that stage if it wasn’t for the fans. I get nostalgic thinking about it and emotional thinking about it. We have the most loyal fan base; the most incredible fans that I’ve witnessed. The loyalty and the love and respect go both ways. It’s extremely important to touch each other; to stick your hand out and shake someone’s hand and say thank you and look them in the eye so that they know it’s truly genuine from your heart. The personal interaction has always been very important to us.
What can people expect to see as Shinedown takes the stage at Uproar?
The tour itself between all three stages is an extremely eclectic tour. It’s quite a rollercoaster ride all day long. One of the great things about Uproar is that the style of the way it is presented; there is really something for everybody. It’s a long day. People start at 1 p.m. if they get there really early. By the time it gets to the end of the night when we get on stage, people are still there and they still want to see what going on. What they should expect? Basically the house will be brought down in a good way. We’ve seen a lot of shocked faces which is exactly what we planned on doing. It’s a big production and they should expect to see the greatest show they’ve ever seen.
How does it make you feel when you’re on stage and people are singing back your words in this atmosphere?
It makes me feel blessed and very, very humble. It also tells me that what we’re doing does make a difference in people’s lives. It does build them up. If they didn’t think they can rise above, by the end of our set, they can go back to their lives, go back to their cars and drive away from the venue, and we hope that after seeing us, that they feel they can accomplish anything in the entire world. All they have to do is put their mind, heart, body and soul into it and they can get it.