Q&A; with Shinedown's Brent Smith


During the past three years, hard-rocking act Shinedown has garnered much attention while opening for such bands as Powerman 5000 and 3 Doors Down.

And now after much touring and hard work, the Jacksonville, Fla., outfit has finally earned its own stretch of headlining gigs.

Lead singer Brent Smith, who'll rock Baltimore tonight when the band plays the Preakness Celebration's Miller Lite Nites concert series, called LIVE last week to talk about newfound success, major label stardom and what's next for this up-and-coming act.

You've been getting an immense amount of radio play, and the band recently appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Do you bristle at the label "overnight success"?

The thing about it is, [we're] not an overnight success. The band has been together for three years. If people understood how much work was involved ... before we even got to do the record.

Does the band consider itself a nu-metal act?

We've been called everything from alt-metal to nu-metal. We're a rock band; we don't ever sit down and try to analyze everything. We just play music that we feel is everything that we are.

The lyrics to your song "45" caused controversy when some critics said it made suicide seem like an answer to a problem. Can you dispel any rumors about its negative meaning?

I knew when I wrote "45" that it would probably start something. The lyrical content ... is about somebody who is very special in my life. It is by no means glorifying suicide. For me, it's about this person who had two roads they could go down. And the hope is that they go down the right one and that they choose to stay. [The song] is an affirmation of life. It's about hope; it's about understanding. Sometimes [life] can get very bad, but ... you have to fight through it.

Has life changed at all since you signed with Atlantic Records?

The amount of stress [is increased]. There is a lot that is expected of you. You have to be humble and you have to be honest and you have to work your [butt] off. Because there's always someone else in line waiting to kick you out of your place.

So what is important to you now?

The fans. At the end of the day, they're all that matter. All the glory goes to them, because they're the ones that make sure we get to stand on that stage.

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