It's hard to believe Shinedown -- they of the ambiguous neo-grunge generation -- have been around for 15 years. By some indistinguishable from their neo- or post-grunge comrades such as Seether, Hinder, Breaking Benjamin, as well as their current touring co-headliners Three Days Grace, Shinedown actually have achieved greater commercial success than most groups of their ilk.
The smash hit "Second Chance" -- a song originally dismissed by the group for being too "pop radio," according to drummer Barry Kerch -- has given Shinedown a whole new audience, though the band was doing perfectly well for its previous one, thank you. Although it actually only released four studio albums since 2003, Shinedown is juggling supporting last year's "Amaryllis" with recording its follow-up.
Don't expect to hear any of the still-embryonic songs when the band plays the Savannah Civic Center on March 12.
When Lowcountry Current caught up with Kerch, we asked him about the new album, if Shinedown is ever confused with other artists and his fantasy drumming gig.
Question. What's the status of the new record?
Answer. It's still in the works. It's one of those things (where) it'll be done when it's done. When you're making music or drawing a picture or writing a book, you really can't put a date on it. We have a lot of material, but it's not right yet.
Q. Is it hard to write and record on the road?
A. It can be kind of taxing, absolutely. It depends on the day. Some days you just wanna sit when you get a day off. Days off are precious out here. Those days aren't days off. You're in a hotel in another city, not sitting on the couch, enjoying your creature comforts. You're sitting in a hotel room. It can be very difficult. The bands out there that tour the way we do--and there are a lot of them--it's very difficult. At the same time, it's a blessing. Don't get me wrong. We love what we do. It's the best thing I've ever done in my life, aside from having a child. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. Some days you wake up and go, "Really? I get to do this?"
Q. How do you decide who gets to go first between you and Three Days Grace?
A. (Joking) We told them we're going on last. No, I don't really know how it works out anymore, Because you have management and booking agents involved, and everybody else. It worked out on this tour that we're playing last. I guess you could say we're headlining. That was decided very early on when we were booking the tour. And now it kind of works out because their lead singer [Adam Gontier] left. They got a new singer [Matt Walst], the bass player's brother. But it's gonna be a fun show regardless. We're bringing our "A" game regardless.
Q. Is there another band out there that you're commonly confused with?
A. Honestly, I've never run into that. The only thing I laugh about is when we did this "Simple Man" [by Lynyrd Skynyrd] cover years ago. There are younger kids that would come to the show and say, "I love your song 'Simple Man.' I love that song.'" "Man, that's a cover. That's not our song." It's funny that kids think that that's our song.
Q. Is there a band you've always been a fan of that you think should have been more popular than they were?
A. Tesla. They were a wonderful and still are a wonderful band. They're still around. They never got the respect that they should have gotten. There's a million of those of bands. There's a million bands out there that'll never been seen, that have better players and better songs than I will ever hope to write.
Q. If you had to pick one band that you could be a member, who would it be and why?
A. For me it'd be Zeppelin because of their sheer bad-assed-ness. If I could even live in the shade of John Bonham for a day, I would.
Q. Did you get a chance to see the reunion show?
A. I saw the DVD. And what a moment that's gotta be to have [John's son] Jason Bonham play. I can't imagine, being a father. It's almost too emotional to watch to be honest.