Prior to SHINEDOWN's performance in Helsinki, Finland on December 1, guitarist Zach Myers spoke with South East Wreck Metal. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's recently released concept album, "Attention Attention":
Zach: "I don't know if anyone who's ever done a concept album went into it thinking it was going to be a concept album. I think that we wrote songs the way we always write songs — we never are all four in a room; it's always kind of separated — but once we were halfway through and we wrote 'Get Up', it kind of created this arc of this character. You knew that this album was a story in a way. The detrimental side of it came down to sequencing — how you put the songs in what order. We never were like, 'We're going to make a concept album.' I don't even know if THE WHO or PINK FLOYD did that — maybe PINK FLOYD did it. I don't think it was a preconceived idea. We realized the songs were telling a story. Every album, I think, tells a story, but this album told a very specific story."
On the band's success at American active rock radio:
Zach: "This has been a crazy week. We broke the record for most [Rock Airplay] Top 10s of all time on Billboard. That was really cool. Then we just got our 13th Mainstream [Rock] No. 1, so we're tied with VAN HALEN for the [second-]most number ones of all time. It's kind of cool and weird. We're so normal outside of this. I'm still the kid that's like, 'You would even say my name at the same time as VAN HALEN?' The fact that we're tied with VAN HALEN for number ones is utterly insane."
On the difficulty of choosing a set list after having so many hit singles:
Zach: "I make the set lists. It is impossible sometimes. You want to play new songs, and you want to make people happy and play the hits too. We can't play 25 songs a night, so you really try to figure it out. It is hard. I know the band JOURNEY has a thing where they call it the 'dirty dozen.' We kind of have that, so you've got to play those for the most part. We can't play a show without playing 'Sound Of Madness'. We can't play a show without playing 'Simple Man'. We can't play a show without playing 'Cut The Cord'. There's definitely songs that are like, you're not going to make it out alive if you don't play those songs. It gets harder every record. We're a band that writes 50 to 60 songs for a record, and we pick the best ones, so we obviously love all the songs we put out. When you do that, it makes it at times excruciating to try to make the set list. You've got people that will always want to hear songs that they're not going to hear... You're never going to make everybody happy."
On touring Europe with IRON MAIDEN:
Zach: "We know we don't sound like IRON MAIDEN. We're not a metal band — we're a hard rock band. We're not like MAIDEN. The fact that those guys invited us to come on that tour meant the world to us. It was a learning experience of how to be a touring band over here. When we headline, the crowd's ours. Of course, you can mess it up — you can ruin it — but most of the time, the crowd's in your hands. When you're opening for that band, I feel like 80 percent of IRON MAIDEN fans like IRON MAIDEN, and that's it. They don't even listen to other music. To win over that crowd is probably, I feel, like one of our most accomplishing things we've ever done. European people are brutally honest. Maybe it comes out more when they speak English, but to have people come up to you and go, 'I've seen 200 MAIDEN shows. I've seen 100 bands open for MAIDEN. You guys got the best response,' or 'I hated you guys at first. Now, I've bought every record.' We've played with METALLICA; we've toured with KISS — bands that have these die-hard fanbases. That is the most die-hard fan base of any band I've ever seen. The first four songs of that tour, every night, were rough. You go out on stage and you play a show, and you [usually] see people with their fists up and stuff. When you open for IRON MAIDEN, you just see heads, and they don't give a fuck about you. You slowly win them over. I commend that band; I commend their fans. I'll be honest — everybody's like, 'We have the best fans in the world.' No, you don't — IRON MAIDEN has the best fans in the world. I've never seen anything like it."
On SHINEDOWN's fan base:
Zach: "A lot of times, we'll see a grandparent, a son and a kid — three generations coming to see shows. To me, that's what music's about. Music's about passing that down to your family, and hopefully your kids like the stuff that you like, and their kids like the stuff that you like too, and they're not listening to SoundCloud rap."
"Attention Attention", SHINEDOWN's sixth studio album, debuted at No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums chart back in May. The follow-up to 2015's "Threat To Survival" marked SHINEDOWN's first full-length effort to be produced entirely by bassist Eric Bass.
SHINEDOWN will embark on a U.S. headlining tour in February. Support on the trek will come from PAPA ROACH and ASKING ALEXANDRIA.