The members of Shinedown want their fans to get the full experience of their latest album, “Amaryllis,” in their live show.
When nearly half the tracks on the album include a full orchestra, this can be a challenge. But the band isn’t afraid to use a little technological trickery to accomplish this.
“It’s the magic of computers, honestly,” drummer Barry Kerch said recently from Battle Creek, Mich., a stop on the band’s co-headlining tour with Three Days Grace. The tour, also featuring P.O.D., will be at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday night.
“The songs are coming together great and they sound great live, but when it comes to the orchestra parts you run that track. You have to. People want to hear the record — they don’t want to hear just us singing and playing. And we’re not gonna pay a 30-piece orchestra.”
Having those orchestra tracks for playback is just a small part of the big show the band has set up for this tour, which has been running since the beginning of this month and was recently extended through March. Along with pyrotechnics, a staple for any modern metal or hard rock group, Kerch hinted at a few more surprises as well.
“We want to be one of the bands that put on a big production — bands out there like U2,” Kerch said. “And you have to do that, you have to use modern technology. Gone are the days of the Beatles records, with only eight tracks — people want to hear what they hear on the radio, what they hear on the album, and that’s what we’re trying to give them.”
and Three Days Grace, with P.O.D.
Where: Glens Falls Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Glens Falls
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
How Much: $40.50
More Info: 798-0366, www.glensfallscc.com
Unlikely success story
Since 2001, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based hard rockers have plotted an unlikely success story over the course of four albums and 16
singles. In that time frame, the band has gone through lineup changes — with only Kerch and lead vocalist Brent Smith remaining from the original group — and some minor controversy over the song “Beyond the Sun” from the band’s second album “Us and Them” (2005), which was originally written by the band 3AE but was credited to Shinedown (the case was settled out of court).
In 2008, the band released its third album, “The Sound of Madness,” at a tumultuous period in its history. The year before, original bassist Brad Stewart left the band, soon joining modern rockers Fuel; guitarist Jasin Todd exited shortly thereafter.
The album ended up being masterminded by Kerch and Smith, with a revolving door of guitarists and bassists contributing. Despite all this, the album ended up being the band’s most successful, spawning five singles, including “Second Chance,” which held the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Chart for 10 weeks beginning in December of 2008.
“Amaryllis” is a much different story. Thanks to the nearly 21⁄2 years of roadwork the band put behind “The Sound of Madness,” guitarist Zach Myers and bassist Eric Bass had plenty of time to integrate into the band. All four members contributed equally to the writing and recording process this time out.
“It was a pleasure; they’re both extremely talented individuals, and it took a lot of pressure off of myself and Brent,” Kerch said. “It also gave us different sounds and songs — ‘I’ll Follow You’ was written around a piano riff Eric used to play on sound check in our acoustic tour [in 2010]. To have those new ideas was great, and I look forward to — not that we’re getting ready to go into the studio yet — but I look forward to working with these guys on that level again.”
“Amaryllis” finds the band expanding its sound from the radio-ready hard rock riffs and belted vocals that have become its trademark. Tracks such as “Adrenaline” and first single “Bully” find the band upping the aggression, but as the orchestra’s involvement would suggest, many of the songs expose the band’s softer side. This wasn’t necessarily inspired by the band’s acoustic tour, although Kerch said they’re hoping to do another one at the end of the touring cycle behind the album.
“Being in the studio is just a whole different vibe,” Kerch said. “The acoustic tour was good for us — we were able to stretch out and be musicians. For us, it was more of us being able to play together, sit back and not necessarily put on a big rock show.”
So far the band’s fans have been embracing the changes in sound. The mellower material has also brought in a wider audience, including more women at the shows.
“Some of the fans have their favorite records,” Kerch said. “We have those fans that come up to us and say, ‘Man, “Leave a Whisper” [the 2003 debut] is my favorite record,’ but they also turn around and say they love the new record, they love this song. . . . It’s neat to see these thoroughly tattooed guys sing along to ‘I’ll Follow You.’ And we see a lot more girls showing up at the show, because there is a softer side to the record.”
The band is also continuing its long-standing partnership with professional wrestling, which began when “I Dare You” from “Us and Them” was used as a theme song for the WWE’s “Wrestlemania 22” in 2006. “Energy” from “The Sound of Madness” has also been used as a theme song for WWE. Most recently, “Adrenaline” became the official theme for WWE’s “Extreme Rules 2012.”
“It’s done nothing but good things for us — it started early on when they heard one of the songs,” Kerch said. “When the time came that they wanted another song, they asked us — we’ve never approached them, they just use it, and it works well for them and the audience. When you have your song played in front of millions of viewers, that doesn’t hurt us at all. And they get to use a song they like and it helps the wrestlers.”
Shinedown will be keeping busy after the tour with Three Days Grace wraps. The band is planning a festival-styled summer tour, along with jaunts in Europe, South America and Asia.
There’s already talk of another album — in an interview with Britain’s New Music Express in November, Smith revealed that the band had already recorded another full record of material. But for now the priority is still touring behind “Amaryllis.”
“We made the mistake going into our second record of rushing it, and you can tell it in the record itself — the sound, it was rushed,” Kerch said. “We definitely have a lot of songs written, but as far as releasing anything new anytime soon — we’re too focused with what’s going on now with ‘Amaryllis.’ ”