SHINEDOWN’S Zach Myers-”Bands that use 45 minutes of their 2 hour set to talk politics should be shot!”
Atlantic recording artists Shinedown formed in Jacksonville, FL in 2001. Since then, they have released three albums full of countless hits, such as “Fly from the Inside”, “45″, ”Save Me”, and more recently “Devour”, “The Crow and the Butterfly”, and who could forget their brilliant cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Simple Man”. All the while they have been touring their asses off, and playing in front of packed houses, and surprisingly enough none of them have included me. I don’t know how it came to be that I never had the chance to get out and see these guys, but I can’t believe what great shows I’ve missed. That being said, it should come as no surprise that when the opportunity arose to interview guitarist Zach Myers at a stop on this summer’s Carnival of Madness tour, I jumped at the chance. Here’s how it all went down as Zach and I talked about everything from the tour, to Ozzy, to oil spills.
AWAY-TEAM: First off, I’d like to congratulate you on the tour, and the success of the fifth single off “The Sound of Madness” , “The Crow and the Butterfly”. I saw that it just hit number one on the Active Rock charts, and it’s poised to do the same on the Mainstream Rock chart.
ZACH MYERS: Thanks. That’s five number ones on this record, we’re so very blessed, and we’re really excited. And now we just found out they’re gonna release one more single, so we’re gonna go for six.
AWAY-TEAM: Can you tell me what that’s gonna be?
ZACH MYERS: I think it’s gonna be “Breaking Inside”, but I’m not sure. I can’t confirm that, but I think that’s what it is.
AWAY-TEAM: So six singles AND you’re gonna knock Ozzy off the top spot. That’s pretty cool.
ZACH MYERS: Yeah. We did already, actually, on Active Rock. Sorry Ozzy.
AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) Back to the tour, you guys have assembled a killer lineup, how did this all happen?
ZACH MYERS: The idea came up…Brent (frontman Brent Smith) wanted to do a festival tour, our manager also wanted to do a festival tour, our manager manages all of these bands. So it was pretty easy to put together, ya know what I mean, it was all in house. It was cool man. It was something that we asked all these bands, we picked the bands. It was a fun idea, when we put it all together, and ya know the best thing about the summer is festivals. And these are all bands that would be on a festival anyway, so we went to every single one of them and said “Why don’t we put on a festival. Our own festival, and travel around” The backstage vibe is way cooler like that. Festivals are just like class reunions, you get together and see all your friends again, so why not have that for a couple months. So it was a very easy idea to put together. It was a no-brainer.
AWAY-TEAM: You mentioned that you thought summer festivals were fun. Is this something that you plan to do annually?
ZACH MYERS: It is gonna be an annual thing. But it’s gonna be almost like when Limp Bizkit did the uh…
AWAY-TEAM: Family Values?
ZACH MYERS: Yeah. We’re not gonna be on it every year. I know that we probably won’t be on it next year, but the following year we’ll probably do it.
AWAY-TEAM: So kinda “One on, one off”?
ZACH MYERS: Yeah. But it will be an annual thing. The Carnival will be an annual event, but who headlines will be different from year to year.
AWAY-TEAM: With Ozzfest kinda winding it’s way down, it seems like the perfect replacement.
ZACH MYERS: Yeah, and you never know, maybe we could move it to like two or three stages. We would all love that.
AWAY-TEAM: That’d be great. In ten words or less, what can a fan expect to see at the Carnival of Madness?
ZACH MYERS: Madness. It’s a carnival. (laughs) Um. Loud. (pauses) Five of the greatest live shows you’ve ever seen.
AWAY-TEAM: You guys had a Live DVD that was scrapped back in 2007. Any chance we’ll get a Live DVD/Album from this tour?
ZACH MYERS: I can tell you that we’re gonna record a couple shows. DVD’s are so hard pressed now with labels, because they don’t really make any money off of them. They put money into them but they really, no matter how many you sell of them, it’s not like the old days where when you sell a concert DVD, you can’t really sell a million copies of one. Ya know what I mean? I couldn’t tell you the last person who did that in the last ten years, so. We actually talked about doing it ourselves, and funding it ourselves. This is way too cool of a show to not put out a DVD of some sort. If there’s not a DVD, after this we’re doing an acoustic tour and we’re definitely gonna film alot of that, so…
ZACH MYERS: Umm. At the earliest, I would say at the end of 2011. At the very earliest. We’re gonna take October off, and go write in L.A. We’ve been writing alot anyway, we wrote the Alice in Wonderland song (“Her Name is Alice”), we’ve written “Diamond Eyes” for The Expendables. But yeah, we’re gonna go write in October, then we’re gonna go do this acoustic tour, and then I think we’re gonna wind it down in about mid-December. Kinda take a break, take about a month or two off, and then start it all back over again.
AWAY-TEAM: You guys recently joined the ever growing list of bands that are boycotting BP Petroleum…
ZACH MYERS: I don’t know where this is coming from.
AWAY-TEAM: Not true?
ZACH MYERS: No. We’ve been asked that like five times. I don’t know where… I disagree with it, I think it’s completely fucked. We all live in the south, so ya know that’s our home…Do I get gas at BP when I’m home? No.
AWAY-TEAM: So I guess the question still does apply. If you had the podium at a BP board meeting, what would you say to them?
ZACH MYERS: What can you say? Who’s fault is it? It’s really not their fault. In all honesty, it’s not their fault when something like that happens. It’s a natural disaster, they didn’t pop the cap off the thing. But it is their fault for not fixing it sooner, or not having a plan in place. They really, if they would’ve kept their mouths shut, then it would’ve been fine. But this guy kept going on and saying things like “There’s more shrimp in Louisiana”. This guy’s an idiot, ya know what I mean? He’s put his foot in his mouth so many times. When you’re the head of a company and you have to have security to escort you back to Europe so people don’t kill you, it’s because you’ve opened your mouth too much. But no, as a band we can’t get involved in that. It’s not our place, we’re not a political band. The most political we’ve ever been is “Devour” and that’s just us talking about what WE saw when WE were in Iraq. But other than that, we’re not a political band, it’s not our business. Eric (bassist Eric Bass) and I are very political as people, but we don’t bring that into the band. You don’t talk about politics, and you don’t talk about religion, that’s just something that you don’t do.
AWAY-TEAM: This is your work. You don’t talk politics at work.
ZACH MYERS: Yeah, and bands that use 45 minutes of their 2 hour set to talk about politics should be shot! I’m sorry, it’s people that pay to hear you bitch? So what? No one cares! U2 is one of my favorite bands of all time, and yeah Bono will slip things in here and there, but he doesn’t take half an hour. And that’s the thing about it, it’s finding that line, ya know. Some bands don’t do that.
AWAY-TEAM: Well thanks, man. I’m looking forward to the show tonight, and thanks for your time. Have a good show.
ZACH MYERS: Thank you very much. We’ll do our best. This is only our third show of the tour, so we’ll see how it goes.
AWAY-TEAM: Just warming up.
ZACH MYERS: Just warming up, and my whole body hurts already. (laughs)
AWAY-TEAM: Well, hey Zach thanks alot. It’s been a pleasure.
ZACH MYERS: Thanks. I appreciate it.
For more Shinedown, including Tour Dates and to purchase their music visit http://www.shinedown.com/
Special thanks to Zach Myers for so graciously giving me his time, and to Julie Lichtenstein at SKH Music for making it all happen.