Shinedown in 2015
|Origin||Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.|
Shinedown is an American rock band from Jacksonville, Florida. Formed by Brent Smith in 2001 after the dissolution of his prior band. Smith, still under contract with record label Atlantic Records, recruited the band's original lineup of Jasin Todd as guitarist, Brad Stewart on bass, and Barry Kerch on drums. Consistent for the first two album cycles, a few lineup changes followed in the late 2000s, eventually stabilizing with Smith and Kerch, as remaining members alongside newcomers Zach Myers on guitar, and Eric Bass on bass. The group has released five studio albums: Leave a Whisper (2003), Us and Them (2005), The Sound of Madness (2008), Amaryllis (2012), and Threat to Survival (2015). Shinedown has sold more than ten million records worldwide, and has had 11 number one singles on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, the third most of all-time, behind Van Halen and Three Days Grace.
The band's origin's trace back to frontman Brent Smith's prior band, "Dreve", which had signed a record deal with Atlantic Records in 2000. The record label, unhappy with Dreve as a whole, dropped the band prior to releasing an album, but retained Smith, who they felt was worth developing separately as an artist. Atlantic signed Smith to a development deal where record representatives helped him with his song-writing ability, and helped him recruit members for a new band, which would become Shinedown. Smith moved to Jacksonville, Florida and began work on the project in 2001. The first member he recruited was bassist Brad Stewart, through local Jacksonville music producer Pete Thornton. Smith and Stewart began recording demos together in a small local studio, whose owner recommended they meet with her fiancé, guitarist Jasin Todd, who Smith brought in as the third member. The original lineup was rounded out by drummer Barry Kerch, who was the seventh drummer the band had auditioned for the spot. The four worked together on creating demos, and submitted their work-in-progress material to Atlantic, who approved of the material and green-lighted a full-length album.
The resulting work was the band's debut album, Leave a Whisper, which was released May 27, 2003. While not an immediate success, through the extensive touring and successful singles, eventually certified platinum by the RIAA in the United States, indicating sales of over 1 million. Four singles were released from the album "Fly from the Inside," "45", and a cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, "Simple Man", and "Burning Bright". All four singles charted in the top five of the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, peaking at fifth, third, fifth, and second, respectively. The band toured extensively in support of the album, playing over 400 live shows over the course of 2003 and 2004. The band ended up touring for 24 months straight, doing various tours with Van Halen, Seether, and Three Doors Down. The band later released a live DVD titled Live from the Inside that documented the live shows of the touring cycle.
The band didn't start work on a follow up album until 2005, with the band finding the touring lifestyle too hectic to start writing or recording material. This however, left the band with limited time to record new music, with their record label pressuring the band to get the album out in a six-month time period. Despite the time restrictions, the label did not pressure the band on the album's musical direction after the commercial success of Leave a Whisper. The band worked with music producer Tony Battaglia, and chose to go in a more "mature" and "stripped down" direction for the album's sound, Kerch describing it as just "pure rock". During the same time, the band was also approached by Hollywood Records to record a song for a tribute album for the band Queen, something the band agreed to out of their respect for the band. They recorded a cover of the track "Tie Your Mother Down", which was released on Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen, released in August 2005.
The band released their second studio album, Us and Them, on October 4, 2005. The album debuted higher than Leave a Whisper on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at number 23 versus Leave a Whisper's number 53 peak, but the album ultimately sold less than its predecessor. Despite this, the band's three singles from the album, "Save Me," "I Dare You," and "Heroes", ended up being more successful than their prior album's singles. The lead single, "Save Me" was the band's first to reach the number one spot on the Mainstream Rock Charts, and held the position for twelve weeks in a row. The second single, "I Dare You", also peaked at number 2 on the same chart. Notably, both songs were also the band's first to have crossover success on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, hitting 72 and 88 respectively.
The band again toured heavily in support of the album, including the 2006 iteration of the SnoCore Tour with Seether, Flyleaf, and Halestorm, and later opening for the Godsmack and Rob Zombie co-headlining tour of North America. Promotional support came from other areas as well; then-American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry performed the song live on the show, helping its crossover appeal, and was used as a theme song for WrestleMania 22. The success of the singles helped propel sales of the album in the long run, ultimately being certified gold by the RIAA on November 13, 2006. and as of 2013, Smith had estimated that sales sat at approximately 990,000 copies sold.
Work on a third studio album began in early 2007; while the record label requested an album to be created in six months, Smith declined, stating that he was not happy with the results of working under the time restraints on the last album, and wished to take his time on the album. The label agreed to this, ultimately allowing Smith to take eighteen months to prep the album. Part of the long development time was due to internal issues within band members; during this time, Smith fired both Stewart and Todd from the band. Smith let Stewart go due to disagreements with the direction of the band, feeling that Stewart was no longer happy or committed to the band. Todd was fired due to major disagreements with Smith, and personal problems that were getting in the way of the band. Then-touring guitarist, Zach Myers, later recounted that both Smith and Todd were going through significant substance abuse issues at the time with drugs and alcohol, which lead to much infighting between the two. The band almost broke up during the period, but Smith firing Todd and stopping his drug use helped eliminate the internal issues, and helped the band move forward.
Smith spent much of 2007 writing new material, alone, for the third album. Sessions were prolific, with Smith writing over 60 songs during the period, though that he now lacked a guitarist and bassist was a constant concern. Smith recruited a number of studio musicians for its recording sessions; Dave Barrett contributing most of the album's guitars, Tim Pearce, contributing some additional guitar, and Chris Chaney contributing most of the albums bass guitar. The rough demos were sent from the record label to music producer Rob Cavallo, who, upon hearing them, told Smith he wanted to produce the album.
The final result, The Sound of Madness, was released on June 24, 2008. It debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200 top album charts, selling 50,000 copies in its opening week. In order to start touring in support of the album, Smith assembled a new official lineup for the band, consisting of Nick Perri of Silvertide on lead guitar, Eric Bass on bass guitar, and upgrading touring member, Zach Myers to a permanent rhythm guitarist position. Perri toured only briefly with the band in 2008, before leaving to pursue a solo career, a move Smith was fine with, as he felt the band operated better as a quartet, leaving Myers as the primary guitarist.
Through multiple successful single releases, and extensive touring, the album ended up being the band's best-selling, staying on the Billboard 200 charts for 120 consecutive weeks, and eventually being certified double platinum in the United States, indicating two million units sold. Six singles were released from the album: "Devour," "Second Chance", "Sound of Madness", "If You Only Knew", "The Crow & the Butterfly", and "Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)", each one topping a Billboard rock music chart. Of particular note was "Second Chance", which crossed over to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 7, and eventually being certified triple platinum, indicating three million units of the single sold.
The band, with its new lineup, once again toured extensively in support of the album release, spending over two years on live performances. Of note, the band headlined the "Carnival of Madness" tour, which involved larger, 10,000 capacity arena venues, and a later "Anything and Everything Tour", which involved acoustic performances in smaller venues and Q&A (question and answer) sessions with the crowd.Somewhere in the Stratosphere, a live album/DVD, was released in May 2011, documenting performances from both tours.
Work on a fourth studio album began in February 2011, with the band spending the first half of the year writing and demoing over 33 songs. The band again decided to work with Cavallo as a producer, but moved into a new sound and lyrical direction on the album, capturing a more of a message of "empowerment, perseverance, and inspiration", inspired by Smith's then-recent change of getting sober and living a healthier lifestyle, and the new band members contributing to the writing process for the first time on an album. The recording process wrapped up about a year later in February 2012, and the album, Amaryllis, was released the next month, on March 27, 2012, in 30 countries simultaneously, through a joint release between Atlantic and Roadrunner Records in countries Atlantic did not distribute into.Amaryllis debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 106,000 copies in its opening week. While the opening sales doubled the debut of The Sound of Madness, overall sales fell well short, with the album only being certified Gold, indicating a half million copies sold.
Five singles were released from the album: "Bully", "Unity", "Enemies", "I'll Follow You", and "Adrenaline". The band's singles once again fared well, albeit it slightly below The Sound of Madness singles; "Bully" and "Unity" topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts, "Enemies" and "I'll Follow You" peaked at number 2, and "Adrenaline" peaked at number 4. Additionally, only "Bully" managed to have any cross-over success, break into the Billboard Top 100 chart, at number 94. and eventually being certified Gold as well. Shinedown also contributed the non-album song titled "I'm Alive" to the soundtrack of the 2012 film The Avengers.
In November 2012, Smith announced in an NME interview that a follow up Shinedown album had already been recorded. Smith stated "We've actually, we have another record of material. It's actually recorded...It's still very massive, it still has an epic feel to it all, but the tempo is a little slower, and the subject matter is a little different. I would say it's actually a bit darker, a little bit more mischievous." Despite the announcement, the band proceeded to move continue on with the Amaryllis touring cycle, touring through 2013 to complete another two year touring cycle. Shinedown and Three Days Grace embarked on a co-headlined tour beginning in February 2013, and went on another iteration of the yearly "Carnival of Madness" tour with Papa Roach in later 2013.
In April 2013, Smith and Myers recorded ten acoustic cover songs, selected out of a pool of over 4,000 fan requests, selecting a variety of different types of songs, from Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" to Adele's "Someone Like You". The tracks were released across two separate EPs, Acoustic Sessions on January 28, 2014, and Acoustic Sessions Pt. 2 on March 28, 2014, with performance videos created for every track on the first EP. The band took much of 2014 off, a rarity for the band, which had pretty consistently moved back and forth between recording and touring for each album cycle. The time off was for the band to rest, specifically Smith, who had damaged his vocal chords and contracted oral thrush from the constant years of touring prior.
The band's fifth studio album, Threat to Survival, was released September 18, 2015. The album debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, selling 65,000 in the first week, lower than their prior album, Amaryllis. Despite the drop in sales, the band still found success in their singles. Four singles were released from the album, and three of the four singles - "Cut the Cord", "State of My Head", and "How Did You Love" hit number one on the US Mainstream Rock charts, while the other, "Asking for It", peaked at number two. The band went on a U.S. arena tour with Sixx AM and Five Finger Death Punch in late 2016.
In February 2017, Smith announced that they had begun work on a sixth studio album. Bass had been working on writing 22 separate pieces of music over the course of their 2016 touring, separate from the rest of the band, who wanted to just concentrate on touring. Bass had just begun presenting the material to Smith, who, while unsure how much exactly would go into the future album, did say that he was very impressed, and that the material may fit together into a concept album, a first for the band. They joined Iron Maiden on tour in Europe in April and May, and began recording soon after. The band tentatively plans to finish the album in late 2017, release a first single in January 2018, and then release the album in April. In January 2018, Myers announced that the band had finished the recording the album, and that Bass was working on finalizing the production and mixing of the album. Myers also described the album's sound as "heavier than Threat to Survival".
Shinedown's music has most commonly been described as hard rock,alternative metal,post-grunge, and alternative rock. In August 2013, Kerch disagreed with more specialized genre ascribed to the band, stating that "We're just a rock 'n' roll band" while conceding that each album did have a markedly different rock sound to them by design. The nu metal label has been applied to the band's earlier work by journalists on occasion, though the band disputes that term as well. The band's first album, Leave a Whisper, largely stayed away from having any guitar solos, something then-guitarist Todd felt was undesirable due to the popularity of nu metal at the time of recording album, though he felt the band was never particularly part of the genre's movement. With nu metal falling out of popularity by the mid-2000s, they began adding guitar solos more prominently to their music, starting with their next album, Us and Them.