Brent Smith , March 2, 2004

 

Written & Photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Jason: The first question I have is that right before I came here I saw a commercial that talked about, like a Viagra-type of commercial that are like you have an erection for over four hours you gotta go see a doctor, my theory is like an hour is long enough. There is almost a bizarre thing about marketing going on in the industry. I think music gets lost versus style and appearance and all of that. But this band seems to be about music and that other stuff is fine if it happens, but you are not about being the best-dressed on MTV.
Brent: I think that with this band, the most important thing for us is essentially a live show and the music that is on the record. Not because we don't want to be in the public eye or we don't want people to know what we look like or whatever, to be completely honest with you we've been dying for a video, but you have to get to a certain level on charts, sales, and there has to be a reason sometimes with your label to do it. You have to prove yourself. We have an amazing label. Atlantic's incredible, but they're also known for working very hard and for proving yourself. You don't sign artists like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, AC/DC, Led Zepplin, Stone Temple Pilots and not know what their value is. And they're evoking emotion in people and making them believe you. We're just now starting to get press because of what '45' is doing, knock on some fake wood, but with the marketing side and everything, yeah, it's important. People don't like sit down and have a vision and like, 'Oh, there's a band. Their called Shinedown and it went like this.' We had eight months on 3 Doors Down, but one article, you know which, so, it's tough. We have to prove ourselves and build a fan base. Nothing's worth it if it's given to you and I think also, with that in this band not to be conceited in any means whatsoever, but at least where we stand as far as I'm concerned, is it gives us more credibility with bands and other people that see the band. Because sometimes, you can see an image and might be something that the label portrays you as and that's not really you. I never want that to happen. But this band, we were just finding out who one another was in a lot of ways once we were doing promo pictures and this that and the other and this band been's doing it for two and a half years now. I mean we're all brothers and probably go back like twenty years. So, we were always meant to be with each other we always knew we were with each other but we just now become that band that we know what we do.

 

Jason: You mentioned the 3 Doors Down tour and I’m was amazed. I saw their show in Dayton, would you expect 3 Doors Down fans to really be just die hard 3 Down fans but they really talk to you guys.
Brent: We just play what we are. We write the music that makes us feel, everybody that's out there in our audience, that's the reason that we're on that stage is because of them. It's their show every night. You go out there when somebody might not know who you are and but you don't have any right to be up there and go off on a crowd or anything, you have to earn it. Sometimes there's people out there that are like. 'Alright, let's see what you got, and you give it to them.' You give them everything you got whether it's five people or fifty thousand. We just try to, we're just honest, man. When we get up there it's just who we are. Because if we got up there wearing some leather pants and silk shirts and all that stuff, you see right through it. It's just not this band and it's more about music than anything else.

Jason: Being together for two and a half years and obviously through that time, you've been..
Brent: It's closer to three years.

 

Jason: You've been really inventing this band and what it is and ya know? Do you think at some point that you can over-invent. I look at Kid Rock and all his different styles and at some point it's almost like over...
Brent: Not to interrupt you...but one thing with Kid is that I think that he was always like he is now but he was doing something because he saw that he was so original and it really was. Yeah, it was taking from RUN DMC and Aerosmith and all those times. Of course they were the founding fathers of that and their the one's that came up with that ,with the help of Rick Ruben. But I think the way he is now, he's always trying to get to that because he doesn't apologize for it. I mean hell, the man came out with his second record, Cocky, and it wasn't doing nothing and all of a sudden he released 'Picture' and it was like see ya later, bye. Six million nuggets later, ya know, he's fine.

 

Jason: But do you think there comes a point when you can kinda over-invent, I don’t know if invent is the right word...
Brent: I think that if your not satisfied with who you are or you want to see how much of the envelope you can push, then yeah, go after it. Find out what's eating at you and express it. Don't hold it in because a lot of times when you hold it in then you really end up not only hurting yourself but hurting your fans too because they'll see right through it, if you're faking it, you'll see it. Sometimes they're very unforgiving so, you have to be careful. But yeah, I don't know if you can over-invent yourself, I think that as long as your honest, if you want to change then that's fine. If you do something just for the sake of doing it then I don't think that's good.

 

Jason; Going into this record how much did you have written before hand and how much was kind of like once you got signed and you knew you were going into the studio, how much did you try to write new material for?
Brent: Altogether, from the very beginning with the other band I was in that got dropped and I got re-signed to Atlantic. Ya know, I don't even want to talk about that because it's such old news. We probably had, as a band, about fifty songs. Before the band if you compile all the songs together I was probably close to three hundred or so, three years altogether. But that might be a little exaggerating because I can't remember a lot of them. There's so much backpile. We did that record, about six months went by, Andy Wallace nixed it and about another two months went by and the label came back, we don't like this shit, do some more. We went to Atlanta, wrote four more songs. Four of the songs on the Album got taken off and four we did with Rick got put on. And then for 45, the guy that I actually wrote the song with ended up getting another producer credit on just that song. There were like three producers, three mixers, about four mastering people on it. It's not what people think a lot of times. We got really lucky and we're very fortunate that our label developed us and me as well as the rest of the guys. Labels don't do that anymore, they just get a bunch of bands that sound like the same thing.