Change The Record’s Mark recently got the chance to interview Barry Kerch drummer of Jacksonville, Florida’s very own hard rock megastars Shinedown who are quickly taking the world by storm.
They spoke about Shinedown’s past, finally getting to the UK, performing to the troops as well as pinpointing the overall key to their success.
First of all, what is your name and your role in the band?
Hey my name is Barry Kerch and my role is to count to four and hit stuff. Well, kind of, I am the drummer.
As you are just getting known in the UK after the Disturbed tour, tell people what they can expect from Shinedown?
They can expect a high energy rock show. We love to play and love to tour. We are a going to give you 110% every time.
You’ve sold more than six million albums worldwide to date, how does this make you feel considering you only released your debut album Leave A Whisper in 2003?
We feel amazing. All of us are extremely lucky to still do what we do. We just want to keep doing this and conquering the world. That’s our honor.
What do you think the catalyst was to Shinedown making it big in the US?
Hard work and our relationship with our amazing fans and radio. It didn’t happen over night and we still have a ton of work to do, but it is what we love.
When you released your debut Leave A Whisper in 2003, 45 was the one of your first tracks to go mainstream, due to the lyrics of the track not being mainstream-friendly, “I’m staring down the barrel of a 45, swimming through the ashes of another life” did this cause any problems in the media in any way?
Sure it did, it actually got our video banned from MTV. I don’t really understand it though because at the same time Jay-Z had his song 99 Problems and it got played. There was a double standard, I think they really just didn’t dig us at the time. Doesn’t matter to us though. We speak from the heart and tell it like it is.
What did you want to do different whilst recording The Sound Of Madness that maybe you didn’t do on Leave A Whisper and Us and Them?
We wanted to take our time, concentrate, and make it as big as possible. We used a lot of different things like piano, synths, and a 21 piece orchestra. It is a well produced and large sounding record that we are extremely proud of.
If you could have picked one more single off the album Us and Them, what song would you pick and why would you pick that song?
I would have picked Shed Some Light, I absolutely love that tune.
You covered Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man, is there any reason you did that or was it just a spontaneous cover?
At the time our now ex-guitar player Jasin was married to Ronnie’s daughter Melody. (The original singer of Skynyrd) As a tribute to her and her mom, Judy, we did that tune. From there it just took off.
Tell us where the song Second Chance came from, it seems quite an emotionally packed song and it would be quite interesting to get the meaning from you
Second Chance came from Brent’s relationship with his parents. Not that he doesn’t love them but they didn’t necessarily understand his dream. Now they are his biggest supporters.
How did it feel the first time you heard your single on the radio?
I was brought to tears honestly. Maybe not be the most hard core rock thing, but I truly was that emotional. To this day I still get that feeling when I hear our songs on the radio.
Why has it taken you so long to get to the UK?
We had a lot of work to do over in the States and it took a while to get our label on board for getting us over here. We have wanted to come over for 8 years now. We are so happy to be here now.
You played in Iraq for the troops, how did that feel to be doing that?
One of the best feelings of our life. Regardless of your political agenda or feelings towards the war, the men and women in the armed services are just doing their jobs. For that reason alone you should always support them, and we always will. Also, it was a lot of fun to fly in military helicopters and vehicles.
The band has gone through quite a few member changes over the years, has this affected the writing at all?
It has just added to the cannon fodder. Really, Brent has always been the main song writing so not much has changed.
What’s the best thing about being in Shinedown?
Doing what you love with a group of great friends and musicians. I get to live my childhood dreams.
If you weren’t in Shinedown, what would you be doing as a job do you think?
Still playing drums, teaching lessons, and back to work as a biologist. I worked as a biologist in Florida cleaning lake systems of their feral weeds. I actually have a degree in Anthropology from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. I have enough chemistry however to work as a basic biologist.
Do you have any advice to any young bands that just want to make music?
HAVE FUN, write good songs, and play what you love. The rest will follow.
Change the record, who should we be listening to in 2009?
Black Stone Cherry, and MGMT. Two different things but bands that I enjoy.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview, I have been a fan since you released Leave A Whisper but have not had a chance to see you so hopefully you will make it over here a lot more in 2009 and spread your sound of madness all over the UK.
As long as the fans show up we will make the effort to keep coming back. Thank you so much for the interview it has been my pleasure. Sincerely, Barry Kerch
Shinedown are about to majorly blow up in the UK and it’s about time they did after three consistently brilliant albums.
So, be cool, and check them out before they do!