Shinedown's first hit "Fly From The Inside" was the result of one of those fortunate "demanding" situations. While recording '03 release "Leave A Whisper" the Jacksonville (FL) group was getting pressure to write a hit single. So "Fly From The Inside" was composed in a few hours. It was time well spent since the song scored on the Modern Rock charts (breaking the Top 10). On tour, they opened for Seether and 3 Doors Down.
Shinedown formed in '01 after Brent Smith left his previous band at the altar - just about to sign a recording contract. Though claiming Lynyrd Skynyrd (local heroes) and Led Zeppelin as major influences, Shinedown leaned more toward the Tool-Staind vein. They found local success "selling the drama" - riding Smith's vocal fury and strident guitar lines - that led Atlantic Records to sign them.
Shinedown followed "Leave A Whisper" with a superior '05 effort, "Us And Them," containing the #1 Active Rock hit "Save Me."
In April, '08, Smith reported that Silvertide guitarist Nick Perri had replaced Jasin Todd. The announcement came just two days after Todd was arrested in Jacksonville, FL, on charges of disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer. Smith added that Todd's departure from the group "all went down awhile ago." Todd eventually landed with Fuel.
Smith also announced that Eric Bass was the band's bassist. Barry Kerch was able to put on good spin on the changes. "The guys that were with us before just didn't work out," explained the drummer. "The last thing Brent and I could do was let this band die, for ourselves and our fans."
Shinedown released their third album, "The Sound Of Madness" in '08. "Honestly, that is the only name that this record could have been called," said Smith. "It's built around the madness that happens in everyday life." Smith went on to say, "When I am dead and gone, I want people to say that this was a record that the world needed." Produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance), "Devour," the lead single, was Shinedown's second #1 on the Active Rock chart. The song was heard on WWE pay-per-view Night of Champions 2008, in the soundtrack for the '09 film, The Final Destination, and on Madden NFL 09.
Second Chance", the second single, became the group's biggest hit to date peaking at #7 on the Billboard 100, eventually going double platinum. Ironically, the band hated the song when they first wrote it.
"The Sound Of Madness" spent 120 consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200 chart and also went platinum.
Later in the year, Shinedown appeared in the HBO documentary Blindsided, which told the story of guitarist Jared Hara who went blind at the age of 11 due to a genetic disease. As part of the film, Hara jammed with Shinedown on their tour bus and performed in-concert with the group.
The Sight Of Madness, the band's first digital video album, dropped in '09.
Off the road, Shinedown began work on a new album in '11 but according to guitarist Zach Myers it would be a while before it came out. "We aren't a band that goes into the studio and makes a record in six weeks," stated Myers. "'The Sound Of Madness' took 24 months to write."
In the meantime, Shinedown issued "Somewhere In The Stratosphere," a deluxe 2 CD/2 DVD package with audio and video from two full live sets, one acoustic and one electric.
As work on their next album progressed Smith discussed the project in an interview with Artisan News. "We can't compare any of the other records to this one - just like we can't compare the first one to the second one or the third one to the first one," said Smith. "We pride ourselves on being a band that each record sounds completely different than the last."
Shinedown unfurled their fourth full-length album "Amaryllis" in '12. "It's not a record for the faint of heart," admitted Smith. "Every single song makes a statement. I was looking for the kind of emotion that made every hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Because of that, I feel in my heart and soul that this album is a game changer for our band." The set was recorded at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood with Cavallo returning to produce.
Accompanying the album was an e-book titled For Your Sake: Inside the Making of Shinedown's Amaryllis. It had behind the music stories and was available for iPad via Apple's iTunes store. "With so many people getting their music digitally these days, they don't always get to enjoy the full experience that you get by exploring physical CDs or vinyl albums," explained Smith.
Three years passed before Shinedown issued their fifth album, "Threat To Survival." The '15 set was delayed when Smith suffered nodules on his vocal cords and then had to deal with a fungal infection in his throat. "We have poured our entire being into these songs and into this album," wrote the band in a statement.
Produced by Bass, the set contained the track "Cut The Cord." Also, "How Did You Love," the fourth single from the album, went #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart. It was the eleventh time they topped the survey.
2003 Leave A Whisper
2005 Us And Them
2008 The Sound Of Madness
2015 Threat To Survival
2005 Live From The Inside
2011 Somewhere In The Stratosphere
What separates Shinedown from dozens of other mainstream Rock bands sporting Grunge influences and rebellious attitudes, is Smith's vocals. They are on a Chris Connell level in terms of passion and impact. That, in and of itself, is a rare find.
If Shinedown suffered a sophomore slump, at least commercially (their debut "Leave A Whisper" went platinum while follow-up "Us And Them" merely achieved gold), they returned with the multi-platinum worthy "The Sound Of Madness." "I think the biggest thing was I didn't want to sugarcoat the way life can be sometimes," said Smith.