Interview: Shinedown

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How do you follow up headlining the Rockstar Uproar Festival of 2012? By headlining the Carnival of Madness tour in 2013 of course.

Shinedown may be best known for its pop-rock anthem that permeated airwaves in 2008 and 2009, “Second Chance,” a song for those willing to give up everything for their dreams but, much to the surprise of many, the band is a collection of hardcore rockers. Shinedown’s most recent album, Amaryllis, has already vetted six singles that cross over both pop and rock radio including “Bully” and “I’ll Follow You.” Although music fans have never been as welcoming as they were with “Second Chance,” there is certainly still a very large audience for Shinedown, earning the band a headlining spot in yet another hardcore rock festival.

The Carnival of Madness tour is about to kick off in Asbury Park, New Jersey at the iconic Stone Pony Summer Stage. This isn’t Shinedown’s first go around with the Carnival tour either. The band is returning to the tour for the first time since the very first Madness tour in 2010. This seems to be almost a reunion tour of sorts with Sevendust returning; In This Moment, fresh from last year’s Uproar festival; and Papa Roach, who missed most of Uproar 2012 because lead singer Jacoby Shaddix had to have vocal surgery.

Pop-Break was granted the opportunity to chat a bit with drummer Barry Kerch about crossing genre borders, returning to the Carnival, and how important a great mentor can truly be.

Photo Credit: John Stephens and Jonathan Lipking
Photo Credit: John Stephens and Jonathan Lipking

Pop-Break: Last summer was Uproar, this year is Carnival of Madness, what about this tour appealed the most to you?

Barry Kerch: It’s going back to our roots. We did the first Carnival of Madness tour and that was our first major summer headlining festival that we had ever done. To come back around and do it again and improve upon it was great, because we have a lot of cool stuff that’s going to happen at the show that I think will pleasantly surprise the fans. I think it’s going to just be a great show. We’re excited to do it and the lineup is cool. They’re all friends of ours and we know each one of those bands brings their full A-game and puts on a hell of a show so it’s really exciting for us.

PB: That’s awesome. Well your tour is kicking off here in Asbury Park. I know that it’s at the infamous Stone Pony. What are your thoughts on getting to play here now with everything that happened with Sandy and the past year having such an effect here. Have you guys been thinking about that at all?

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BK: You know, we do and we don’t. Because really we just want to go make everybody happy. That’s what we like to do. We put on a show. Our job is to entertain.

PB: That’s what we need!

BK: Being a Floridian, I’ve been through quite a few hurricanes and I know how devastating they can be and, especially for you guys who don’t get them as often, it really did a number to you. We’re happy to bring any sense of joy to the shore because I know how scary and devastating they can be from my own experiences. We’re just happy to get there and to kick off such a wonderful tour that’s going to have video and pyro and stuff everywhere. It’s going to be a great break for some people.

PB: We look forward to it here! I interviewed a band last year on Uproar, Mindset Evolution, and I had asked them what the best advice that any band had given them was and one of the guys, Bradley (Prentice) told me that one of the best things he was ever told was by one of the guys in Five Finger Death Punch; he said no matter what, find a way to get on tour with Shinedown and that’s what they did! So what are your thoughts on that being such a big thing for them?

BK: That’s awesome! That just made me smile. It’s humbling. I think with us and the way we tour, we learned a lot from the early tours we did. Three Doors Down was the first major tour that we went on and they were patient with us. We were green; we were making rookie mistakes and instead of them getting angry, they taught us. They taught us how to treat opening acts. They taught us how to be a professional band and this was at the height of their career. They were killing it at that time. I mean we’d do things like as soon as lunch was up, we’d be the first ones in there eating catering before the band and crew got to eat catering, like the headlining band and crew. You don’t do that! But instead of getting mad at us they said, hey guys can you just wait for thirty minutes so we can go and get our food. You know simple things like that, that you don’t think of or don’t know, not being a tour band and in turn, now that we are lucky enough to be a headlining band, we try to return the favor. Our crew is our family and we treat the other bands like family and we teach them everything we possibly can and if they screw up we don’t get mad. We just help them learn. Touring with Shinedown is always a good time! We walk around with smiles on our faces. We’re not angry. We’re happy. And that’s very sweet of Five Finger Death Punch because they’re sweetheart guys too, so that’s very kind.

Photo Credit: John Stephens and Jonathan Lipking
Photo Credit: John Stephens and Jonathan Lipking

PB: You guys are revered there. On that same note though, what bands do you revere that you haven’t had the opportunity to tour with, after this one of course.

BK: I think for myself, of course, a band I would love to tour with at some point in the future would be Foo Fighters. I have a huge respect for their musicianship and Dave Grohl. I’m a fan of the music and I think their fans would really dig us so I would love to tour with that band.

PB: I saw you guys for the first time last summer, and the vibe and the power and the control on stage was mind blowing. I was utterly blown away by everything.

BK: Thank you.

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PB: I’ve listened to Shinedown and I know a lot of people I was with, knew “Second Chance.” We knew the pop rock songs, and I know right now people are loving “I’ll Follow You,” but I wasn’t expecting such a hard show. Do you find it’s hard to play the line of this main stream rock when you have harder rock songs?

BK: Uh, yes and no. Because even the harder songs are good songs!

PB: They’re all great songs!

BK: We try to balance it for the show. I think it’s hard for us to go from a song on stage like “Devour” into “45” because you’re still trying to catch your breath. As you saw, we’re pretty high energy on stage so I think that’s the hardest thing. But it’s a rock show and we love entertaining. That’s what we’re there for. People pay so much money for those tickets and we’re going to give 110 percent back to them. With this Carnival show, we’re pulling out all the stops. There’s going to be so much crazy stuff. You won’t know what you’re seeing. And it’s fun for us. To look out there and to see people aged 8 to 80, to see men and women, to see people sing your songs back, it’s the coolest thing, whether you’re opening for someone, (right now we’re out on the road with KISS in Canada, and we have to win their fans every night because they’re there to see KISS, not Shinedown) or headlining. But to see a kid in the audience with his face painted up like Gene Simmons singing “Second Chance” is a lot of fun and that’ll do it for you. Do it for the fans.

PB: That’s not something I would have ever pictured!

BK: It’s weird! It’s intimidating.

PB: I could imagine. Alright, so I know that on Facebook you guys were doing this thing with what song should you cover. What’s going on with that?

BK: It’s done. Brent and Zach did ten songs. They video-recorded them and we haven’t figured out exactly how we’re going to release them. We’re kind of waiting till towards the end of this record cycle to have something to lead into when we’re recording the next record but they’re done and I believe, as far as I know, we’re releasing them to Youtube. It’ll be a free things for the fans and there’s a lot of really cool covers. So we’re holding on to it dearly and holding it close to our chest though I’ve already heard them and they sound awesome. So it’s going to be a cool treat for the fans.

PB: So tell me a bit, what type of vibe are you pushing for this Carnival of Madness? Give us some insight because you keep saying it’s going to be crazy. What do we have to look forward to?

BK: It’s a carnival!

PB: Alright! I’ll take that.

BK: It’s just a big carnival! I think we’ll have some performers there and just some cool surprises for our stage show, and I know Skillet is bringing a bunch of fun stuff, Papa Roach, In This Moment. It’s going to be a show.

PB: That is awesome. Well I’m super looking forward to it myself. Anything else you want to say to the readers of Pop-Break.com?

BK: Thanks for reading, thanks for taking the time, and thanks for being a fan! That’s really all I can say is thanks! We’re happy to do this on a daily basis and one of the very lucky rare ones to say I’ve been doing it for ten years in this band so it’s my pleasure to always do these things. Thanks for taking the time!

Click here to purchase tickets for this The Carnival of Madness’ Stone Pony show.

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