SHINEDOWN vocalist Brent Smith appeared on the May 12 edition of “Whiplash”, a weekly program hosted by Full Metal Jackie that airs on the Los Angeles radio station 95.5 KLOS. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band’s longevity:
Brent: “Being in the industry the last 18 years, we’ve seen a lot of great bands come and go. We’ve tried to always just maintain. The major part of what we do is built around honesty, no matter what. We’ve just never had a Plan B overall — the main focus was SHINEDOWN and what we had to say and what we still have to say, because we do feel that we’re relevant, or at least that’s what the public around the world tells us. We take that very seriously… We only have one boss, and it’s everybody in the audience. Where we are now, it’s interesting, because we’ve never forgotten about when we started almost two decades ago. We still keep that youth inside of us. We walk out on stage, and it’s still like being in the third grade forever. You have to pinch yourself still to this day. We’ve very humble and very receptive and very respectful of the fact that the platform to be ourselves. I think we’re still growing. I think there’s still more to say. I think think there’s still more places to play… We just always try to stay humble as to why we started it — because we wanted to write songs, we wanted to play for people and we felt like we had something to say.”
On the group’s latest album, “Attention Attention”:
Brent: “When we started talking about the album after it had been finished and it was ready to go and ready to be presented to the world, we did use the term ‘concept record’ for a little while, but for us personally, because it was such a personal record, ‘Attention Attention’ for us, it’s about the four of us. What we want people to take from it is [that] it really is a story album, but whoever you are, we feel like it has points and different viewpoints for each individual. Whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you’re young or older, what your religion is, your ethnicity, where you came from — the thing about rock n’ roll and the rock ‘n’ roll community is, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’ve been or where you’re going. Everybody is welcome. I think when I look at the album a year afterwards from when it was released to where it is now and how it’s really taken [on] a life of its own, I think it’s a record that really establishes a couple of things. One is I see the album helps people gain back their empathy for each other. That’s a lot of what ‘Attention Attention’ is based on — it’s based on being a human being, and not forgetting that we are here on this planet together… The other side of that is just not being afraid of your failures, not being afraid of things in life that you want to achieve and what you want for yourself personally and for the people around you, but not dwelling on your failures. You’ve got to learn from those things, because that’s what teaches you. You’re not going to be defined by your failures; you’re going to be defined by the fact that you refused to give up. I think in a lot of ways, there’s a lot of triumph in this record, but we don’t sacrifice the yin and the yang, because sometimes you’ve got to fall in a hole to figure out how to get out it. That’s the beauty of the yin and the yang — everything that’s good has a little bit of bad, and everything that’s bad has a little bit of good. It’s all built around balance.”
On what he’s grown to enjoy about touring over time:
Brent: “I’ll be honest — I like now the fact that I don’t wake up every single day with a hellacious hangover. Everybody has a past. So do I, and in the beginning, it was a lot of alcohol. I’ll be candid — anyone that knows me knows me and knows a bit of my story knows that I have issues. I still have issues with substance abuse… I don’t have to like that part of me, but I have to respect it, because every day that I’m clean, I look at it as a good day… I have no idea what I’ll do tomorrow, because I have to live one day at a time, but in the beginning, I was younger, but man, I do not miss the days of waking up after a bender and just being worthless.”
On his sobriety:
Brent: “[It’s] one thing that I take very seriously now more than ever, because I have an 11-year-old son, I have a lot of people around me that depend on me, and I love them and I want to take care of them, and I’m honored to be able to be a part of their life. At 41 years of age — and I’m not embarrassed about my age — I feel stronger now mentally, physically and really in a lot of ways spiritually than I did when I was in my late 20s/early 30s. That just comes with growth. I think that I’m a better performer now; I think I’m a stronger performer; I think I’m a better writer. ‘Attention Attention’ is the band’s sixth album, but technically, it was the very first album that I wrote, from its inception to the time that it was finished and mastered, completely sober during the entire process of making the album. The other records, there were some moments here and there where I wasn’t going into the studio wasted per se, but I was still drinking at the time and probably doing some other things that I shouldn’t have been doing. It’s a bit of a badge of honor in a way that I was able to, going now 20 years into the band and in my opinion, ‘Attention Attention’ is probably the most profound piece of work we’ve done since ‘The Sound Of Madness’. Being able to do the whole record completely clean, it was a bit of a triumph for me.”
“Attention Attention”, SHINEDOWN‘s sixth studio album, debuted at No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums chart last May. The follow-up to 2015’s “Threat To Survival” marked SHINEDOWN‘s first full-length effort to be produced entirely by bassist Eric Bass. The 14-song release that tells the story of a character who starts out defeated and slowly overcomes pain and personal struggles and becomes confident at the end. The album also lyrically touches upon Smith‘s former drug addiction and Bass‘s depression.