Download 09: Shinedown

Ruth Booth caught five minutes with slightly merry vocalist Brent Smith and guitarist Zach Myers from new US rock exports Shinedown before they hit the Second stage at Download 2009.

RB: What's your worst ever festival moment?

Brent – "I don't have a worst moment in festivals, because really to be truthfully honest, in my opinion, festivals, you have to go in to it with an open mind, because you will not get a bathroom. You will have to go to a porta-potty, you will have to smell faeces, and if you have baby wipes, use them."

Zach – "My best and my worst festival moment are probably in the same one. We just played my hometown about a month and a half ago, and it was pouring down with rain all day, literally all day. Like at 6am they're like 'Oh, you're playing your hometown today? BOOM' and the sky broke out. But then we actually had one of the best shows I think we've ever played there, so it was really fun."

Brent – "We had an endless sea of people."

Zach – "And also the bridge was all lit up in the background, it was really cool. So that's my best and worst. It sucked that it was raining and it was all muddy backstage all day, but this show was amazing."

RB: Correct me if I'm wrong Zach, but isn't this your first festival season where you've been a proper member of the band, rather than just a touring member?

Zach – "In Europe, yes. We did [Rock Am] Ring and Park in '06, and I'd only been in the band for like a year, so."

Brent – "He's the only guitar player that matters, just in general. Not just in this band, in the whole scheme of the world. It's just Zach Myers."

RB: I hear you're working towards a new album next year?

Brent – "2011. Because in January we have, starting in next year we have Australia to do, we have New Zealand to do, we have Japan, South Africa, South America. It's just constant touring. Plus we have the rest of the US to do. In November of this year we come back to the UK and to Europe as a headliner again, so we're working on it, but I don't think it'll come out until 2011."

RB: Ah, I was wondering if you were breaking out any new tunes today.

Brent – "Well, we just released [current album] 'The Sound Of Madness' over here…"

RB: I thought it was already out?

Zach – "Yeah, March 18th or March 2nd." [Brent yells over to the band's rep and asks when the album is due out] "Okay, we're finding out things that we didn't know. Our record's not coming out until 2012, apparently. No, we're going to play through. We fumbled in March, and now we picked up the fumble and now we're running it in for a touchdown in July, and the record will have 'Second Chance' on it."

RB: 'Second Chance' is your new single, isn't it?

Zach – "Yeah. We had a trick. We're trying to get a Platinum record in the UK. So we'll release it and then they'll go 'wait, where the crap is the song at?' and then we'll go 'ah-ha! Now you've gotta buy the record all over again! We got you!' Nah, we're totally kidding. We had no idea that just happened."

RB: So do you have any special plans for your first Download festival set?

Brent – "Zach's going to take his pants off."

Zach – "For a song. Brent's going to get completely naked. But that's the last song. We like to moderate our nudity. And all the women leave their boyfriends by the time he gets all his stuff off."

Brent – "Mainly cos they're shocked that all my organs are actually on the outside. You ever heard of the expression 'heart on your sleeve'?"

Zach – "Hard on?"

RB: So what do Download and Donington mean to you?

Brent – "It's just a huge honour, for me, and I know for Zach too. We've never played it, and even in the United States, it's a very well known festival. We're just very blessed to be here and have the opportunity to play for everyone today. I hope they enjoy the set that we play – it's a short one, we're only going up there for 30 minutes, but the goal is for everyone to look around at each other after we're done playing and go 'what the hell just happened?' That's kind of the feeling we would like everyone to have. We're stoked to be here."

Zach – "Yeah, other than Woodstock, it's probably pretty much the most famous festival there is."

RB: Are you going to be checking out some of the classic bands on today's bill? We've got Def Leppard, Whitesnake…

Brent – "That's because we're on the bill. Well, the band is named Shinedown. It's shining down."

Zach – "Actually, we talked to Joe Elliot earlier, and he said that Def Leppard wasn't even going to play 'til they found out we were on the bill, and then they were like 'oh, we gotta play, we'll just headline the main stage'. So we were gonna headline the Main Stage, but we were like, 'oh, Def Leppard, they're from here'."

Brent – "It was just a lot easier that way."

Zach – [To VF, sounding hurt] "You're laughing like it's a joke"

Brent – "You're moved, aren't you?" [More seriously] "We actually looked at the two days prior to this one, and we're very honoured to be here today. The bands that are on the Main Stage, and the bands that are on the stage we're on as well; our friends in Sevendust are here, Volbeat's here, which we're big fans of, Clutch is here. ZZ Top, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, it's crazy. It's kind of like being in a fantasy world right now."

Well, I was going to ask what your dream festival line-up, but I guess this is it!

Brent – "This has taken it, right now. This has definitely taken the prize."

Zach – "Put Foo Fighters, U2 and Aerosmith on this bill, and definitely every band we'd ever want to see would be here."

Brent – "Yeah, we probably wouldn't leave!"

Are there any final words you want to leave Download with?

Zach – "Thank you! That's all I can say. The reception in the UK's been awesome."

Brent – "For me, I would have to say that to all the fans, whether they've been there from day one, or they're brand new and they're just finding out about this machine we call Shinedown, just remember that the way we look at life is that we only have one boss – it just happens to be everyone in the audience! So we thank them for not only giving us the opportunity, but for putting us on the stage, so thank you to them, they're the reason why we're here. So, thanks a lot, cheers!