Shinedown Set For ‘Attention, Attention’ At Pavilion
Even as modern rock band Shinedown gained success with growing audiences and record sales since it debuted its first multi-platinum album in 2003, the hard knocks followed.
Frontman Brent Smith struggled with sobriety while bassist Eric Bass battled deep depression. But from these dark times, the group, which includes Zach Myers on guitar and Barry Kerch on drums, found inspiration for a new concept album of gut-wrenchingly honest tracks about fighting personal demons.
Now on a co-headlining tour with Godsmack, Shinedown shares the pain — and process of healing — through its newest album, “Attention Attention,” which fans can hear live Friday, Aug. 31, at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton.
Drummer Kerch spoke with The Times-Tribune recently during a stop in Oklahoma City about why this collection of songs is among the most honest work he and his bandmates have ever done, and how Shinedown’s shows have improved with time.
Q: You’ve toured various venues in our area throughout the years, including the Pavilion in 2012 during Uproar Festival and a 2013 stop at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Tell us how your live show has evolved since local audiences last saw you.
A: It’s evolved a lot. A lot more production, things that happen during the show, because we’ve grown as a band. ... We’ve had a lot more successes (since then) and take money earned and put it back in the show. You pay a lot of money to go to a show, and you want to be entertained. We really take pride on doing a good show and take a lot of time to rehearse to make it right.
Q: Back then, the band was focused on putting on a spectacle to keep the attention of people who had been standing around for 12 hours or more during an all-day festival. How does the approach change when it’s just a double-bill concert?
A: No matter when you’re on, you’ve got to give 110 percent. It’s almost muscle memory. It goes down to fans — they deserve it. ... With just two (bands headlining), each of us has 75 minutes to play our show, so that part of it is fun, and we get along with those guys (in Godsmack). That’s good for rock ’n’ roll.
Q: I know the new album has been described as a very deeply intimate look at psychological issues. How does that affect you on stage when you’re sharing such personal feelings and experiences before a crowd of thousands?
A: Brent (Smith) put it best: For us, it’s good to get it out. It’s better to talk about those things than bottle them up. We’ve always alluded to those things in our records before, but this was more brutally honest. The record is a concept, and those issues are put on a central character, but it’s still a reflection on us and what we’ve gone through. It’s a double-edged sword. ... It releases energy from you, and you also have fans come up to tell us their interpretations, which might be the total opposite. But if it makes them feel better, we’ve done our job.
Q: What else can we expect to hear besides the new album?
A: We’re excited about the new stuff, but with six albums, it’s hard to pick a 12- or 13-song set. I think it’s a good mix of everything. I don’t think anyone will leave disappointed.
Q: Is there a moment during live shows when you know it’s a good night or that you’ve left a strong impression on your audience? When you’re looking out at the crowd, what are you hoping to see to know that your fans are having a good time?
A: When I’m looking out at the crowd and you see those smiles and people reacting to songs … and they clap and have a good time or you see lighters up and down. From my position on stage, I typically only see four rows and then it’s a sea of people, so I try to connect with people in the front rows and have true interactions.
Q: On the flip side, what makes for a good night for you as the performer?
A: My best days are when I get up there and you turn your brain off and not think and have a perfect, flawless show. … Those are few and far between. But when you get one, you walk offstage and feel like a king.
Q: Why is it so important thesedays to present such honest music?
A: The mystery of rock ‘n’ roll and who you are is gone. You can’t hide it anymore, so why not give it to them? That’s what people are looking for. I would love to not have social media. ... I find it boring … but I have to play ball, so I think that’s why it’s changed music in a way, and you have to make your music more honest. All those lyrics are real. They’re not trite. They’re not made-up stories.
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If you go
What: Shinedown and Godsmack
When: Friday, Aug. 31, 7 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton
Details: Tickets cost $20 to $99 and are available through the box office,
livenation.com and by calling 800-745-3000.