Latest release: Amaryllis (Roadrunner)
Website: www.shinedown.com

Floridian rockers Shinedown have just released their new album Amaryllis. It is the fourth for the multi-million selling band and their first for Roadrunner Records. 

Before they hit the road across America, Loud caught up with drummer and founding member Barry Kerch and had a few words…

Q: Hey Barry, how are things with you at the moment?
A: I’m doing well. I can’t complain. I’m just winding down at the end of my day ahead of the next tour of the States.

Q: How soon before that begins?
A: We start rehearsals this upcoming Monday, so we have rehearsal, and filming for a new clip. It’s going to be a busy time. We’ll be touring the States for the next two months, have a couple days off, and then we’ll be over in Europe for the summer festival season.

Q: How long do you anticipate being out in support of this album?
A: I’d say we will be on the road for this album for most of the next three years

Q: That’s quite a tour considering it’s like you’ve only just finished a huge cycle for the previous record.
A: I think we’re one of the harder-touring bands. We really enjoy it. We spent just under three years touring on that record and now we’ll probably spend the same amount of time touring on this one.

Q: And will Australia be part of the touring cycle this time?
A: Hopefully we’ll make it to Australia within the next year, I don’t know exactly when. Sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.

Q: Just from the songs that have surfaced so far, it seems like there’s been a bit of a backlash about the direction of Amaryllis: people are saying that it’s a bit too commercial.
A: I don’t think we intended to make it commercial. I don’t think, just because there’s a little support behind it, that we’ve suddenly become some big commercial band. Maybe there’s a few songs that will get played on radio, and there’s tracks that people like. There’s a lot of heavy songs on the record.

Q: Looking at the commercial side of music for a moment, it seems to me that rock is going through a bit of a slump in popularity and overall success right now. Would you agree?
A: I can agree with that. I think everything’s become much more difficult for rock over the last few years. There is a lot of crappy pop out there. But you know, it goes away, and rock comes back. There has been many bands that I’ve fallen in love with over the last few years, so there is plenty of great stuff around.

Q: People are always coming up with reasons for that sort of ebb and flow, but as a musician what do you think about the state of music at the moment?
A: I think there’s a lot of artists who have become lazy in their craft and they just let the computer do your work for you. It seems to just be a lot of cut and paste. I don’t think the level of musicianship these days is anywhere near where it should be.

Q: Regardless of what we were just talking about, it seems like Shinedown is doing reasonably well.
A: We just do the best we can. We work it and try to give it our best. It’s worked so far. Most bands have maybe five years of success in them. For us it’s been an honour and a blessing, but it’s also a lot of hard work and honesty.

Q: Tell us a little bit about “Bully”. It’s one of those topics that resonates with most people and the track appears to have made quite an impression so far.
A: I think bullying is something that’s always going to be with us, because when it comes down to it, it’s part of what we are. Let’s face it: we’re animals. Everyone has seen it as a victim, witness or perpetrator. Bullying was a hot topic at the time that song came together. We’re a bunch of musicians. We’re sensitive artists. You’re not going to get anywhere, I don’t think, if you don’t try to tackle tough subjects. I think that’s a problem we’re facing as a society at large, you know? We get frustrated with political correctness. I don’t know what it’s like there, but here in the States it’s ridiculous. You can’t speak your mind these days for fear of offending someone. But we can’t shy away from it just because someone might be offended. I mean, we stay away from politics, because we don’t really want to be a political band, but we think that there is some topics we should speak out on.  I just hope that it empowers them and makes everyone, the bullies, the victims and the witnesses, be able to come to terms with it and do something about it.

Q: Songwise, what can your crowds expect to hear you play when they come and see you this time out?
A: It’s hard when you have four albums. It is hard to decide. There will be quite a bit of the new album. It changes as it goes on, once we figure out which of the songs work better in the set, so by the time we finished this tour, the set list may be completely different from what it was when we started.

Q: Thanks Barry, it’s been a pleasure. Is there anything you’d like to say to your Aussie fans before we finish up?
A: I want to thank them all for listening and for taking the time out to listen to us. It’s definitely noticed and we appreciate it. We know who our boss is.