Hard Rock With Grunge Roots Powers Shinedown

After Platinum Debut, Band Turns Out Potent Hits

Shinedown promo photo
Shinedown. Promo photo courtesy Atlantic.

Shinedown plays melodic hard rock heavily indebted to grunge bands of the early 1990s. Shinedown formed at the beginning of the 21st century and originally included frontman Brent Smith, drummer Barry Kerch, bassist Brad Stewart and guitarist Jasin Todd. Smith had signed with Atlantic Records with another band, but when that group folded, he recruited new members to create Shinedown.

Letting Their Influences Show on Debut

Shinedown’s debut album, 2003’s "Leave a Whisper," produced a series of singles, including “45” and “Burning Bright.” Though Shinedown drew comparisons to Nickelback at the time, "Leave a Whisper" feels closer in spirit to the moody darkness of Alice in Chains, while Shinedown's cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Simple Man” revealed a sonic similarity to classic ‘70s Southern rock.

Smith demonstrated his powerful, expressive bellow of a voice, which compensated for some generic tendencies in the music elsewhere. "Leave a Whisper" sold platinum as Shinedown further boosted its profile by touring with 3 Doors Down.

A Confident Follow-Up

"Us and Them" (2005) was a more confident album than its predecessor. While “Save Me,” the accessible mid-tempo lead single that went to No. 1 on the mainstream rock chart, drove sales of "Us and Them," the more interesting material, such as the assertive “I Dare You,”  was deeper in the album. Again, the group toured as the opening act for 3 Doors Down.

Personnel Changes

Lineup changes affected Shinedown after "Us and Them." Stewart left the group in 2007, and then in April 2008 – two months before the band’s third album was to be released – it was announced that Todd was also departing. Todd’s exit came under odd circumstances – two days before the announcement, Todd was arrested in Jacksonville on charges of resisting an officer and disorderly intoxication.

Into the void came touring guitarist Nick Perri and bassist Eric Bass.

Shinedown 'Devours' the Competition

Despite the personal turmoil, Shinedown’s third recording, "The Sound of Madness," hit stores in June 2008. Powered by the explosive first single “Devour,” a protest song lashing out at the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War, "The Sound of Madness" was the strongest album yet by the band.

Helped by Green Day producer Rob Cavallo, Shinedown’s songs were the most articulate and compelling yet, seamlessly segueing from stompers like “Sound of Madness” to the emotionally affecting “Second Chance.” For the first time, Shinedown was the headliner of its subsequent tour.

'Amaryllis'

In March 2012, Shinedown returned with its first studio album in four years, "Amaryllis."  The lead single, “Bully,” proved to be a potent hit with fans, scoring high on the rock radio charts. On October 22, 2014, the album was certified Gold with more than 500,000 copies sold.

'Threat to Survival'

Shinedown released its fifth studio album "Threat to Survival" in September 2015. Smith co-wrote much of the album with producer Dave Bassett. The album's first single, "Cut the Cord," was released in June 2015, and it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. By Nov. 5, 2015, the album had sold more than 100,000 copies in the United States alone.

Current Lineup

Eric Bass – bass, piano
Barry Kerch – drums
Zach Myers – guitar
Brent Smith - vocals

Key Songs

“Burning Bright” 
“Save Me” 
“I Dare You” 
“Devour” 
“Bully” 
"Cut the Cord" 

Discography

"Leave a Whisper" (2003) 
"Us and Them" (2005) 
"The Sound of Madness" (2008) 
"Somewhere in the Stratosphere" (live album) (2011) 
"Amaryllis" (2012) 
"Threat to Survival" (2015) 

Trivia

  • Besides 3 Doors Down, Shinedown has also toured with Van Halen, Powerman 5000, Velvet Revolver and Breaking Benjamin.
  • “Devour” was used as the theme song for 2008’s "WWE Night of Champions."
  • Frontman Smith has cited Otis Redding’s “Love Man” as his favorite song.
  • The name Shinedown was inspired by an innocuous comment: Glancing at a painting in then-bassist Stewart’s house, Smith mentioned that it might look better if it had a light shining down on it.
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Grierson, Tim. "Hard Rock With Grunge Roots Powers Shinedown." ThoughtCo, Nov. 19, 2017, thoughtco.com/shinedown-biography-and-profile-2898311. Grierson, Tim. (2017, November 19). Hard Rock With Grunge Roots Powers Shinedown. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/shinedown-biography-and-profile-2898311 Grierson, Tim. "Hard Rock With Grunge Roots Powers Shinedown." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/shinedown-biography-and-profile-2898311 (accessed November 21, 2017).