As Shinedown this spring continues the tour cycle behind its recently released fifth studio album, “Threat to Survival,” guitarist Zach Myers said life in the chart-topping rock band is better than ever.
“Our relationships in the band are healthier now than they ever were,” guitarist Zach Myers said in a recent phone interview. “There’s no bad blood between anybody in this band. That’s hard when you’ve been in a band for 12 years and have five albums out and you’ve sold a certain amount of records and had some success and everyone is doing well. That makes some bands fall apart. I don’t know, I think it’s a mutual respect and I think it’s a love for, I don’t want to do this on stage with anyone else. There’s not a person in my band that I would replace.”
A big forward step came during the period that produced Shinedown’s 2012 album, “Amaryllis.” Before starting on “Amaryllis,” the four band members got together for what became a five-hour meeting during which all grievances were aired and the band members came away with some understandings that have allowed the revamped lineup to gel.
Shinedown went on to have a productive tour behind “Amaryllis,” which produced three No. 1 rock singles, “Bully,” “Unity” and “Enemies.” Then the four band members took a break that extended for nearly two years, during which time founding member Brent Smith moved to Los Angeles and had a child, while Myers got married.
Such life changes gave the singer (who is Shinedown’s lyricist) plenty of fodder for the lyrics on “Threat to Survival,” which he calls it his most autobiographical album.
“None of those songs were written out of thin air. Those are all real situations. Those are all real feelings,” Smith said.
“That’s 11 scenarios that make up ‘Threat To Survival.’ I think of ‘Threat To Survival’ in a lot of ways is a guidebook to life maybe, just from the experiences I’ve had over the years that I’ve been alive.”
Musically, Shinedown brings some new sounds and sonic touches to its music on “Threat to Survival” (note the youth chorus and synthetic sonics on the No. 1 rock single “Cut The Cord”).
Meanwhile, songs like “Outcast,” “Dangerous” and “Asking For It” (a top 5 rock hit) retain hook-filled hard rock sound of the previous four studio albums. The production on the latest album is also more stripped back.
“On ‘Amaryllis,’ everything on the record, we threw, we did a million tracks,” Myers said. “Like, there are sometimes 30 guitar tracks on (certain songs) on ‘Amaryllis.’ On this record, it was more about what fits the song. What can we do for the song that will make the song what it is? And (for instance) ‘Cut The Cord,’ there are like three guitar tracks. We just kind of took this really raw approach to the production.”
If Shinedown embraced a more stripped back approach to “Threat to Survival,” that’s not the approach the band is taking with its live show, which figures to include many of the more than 20 singles the group has notched so far in its career.
“It’s a show we’ve never ever done before as far as visually. It’s a completely different look,” Smith said. “It’s pretty over the top. It’s really, really been fun to be a part of and to design and to put those layers into the show.”