Shinedown Guitarist Zach Myers Checks in From Rock on the Range
Shinedown have had much success with their latest album 'Amaryllis,' which includes their radio hit ‘Bully’ and the new single 'Unity.' Loudwire had the chance to catch up with the band’s guitarist Zach Myers backstage at Rock on the Range today (May 19) and he talked about the songwriting process for the album.
Myers also talked about fellow bands like Adelitas Way, New Medicine and Halestorm, his musical inspirations and artists he would like to collaborate with, as well as the organic health items that are on Shinedown’s tour bus.
What’s going on next for your guys after Rock on the Range?
We go to Philly tomorrow, then we go home for nine days and then go to Europe for two weeks, home for two weeks. We do a little touring on the July festivals in Canada and then we start Uproar in August.
Touring in Europe like that and touring over here, do you notice any discernible difference between the audiences in Europe and the American audiences? Any weird stuff you guys pick up on?
I love America, I’m from America, I’ll never leave here but the crowds over there are awesome. They show up at 8 o’clock in the morning and they’re there all day and they are the most die-hard and they all do this bounce thing and they sing and it’s just amazing, man.
You guys have done so many tours and been onstage so many times, there’s probably a million weird things that have happened but what is – so far, maybe in the last two or three tours, the weirdest thing you’ve seen on tour, that’s like a shocking, show stopping moment?
We played a show one time and it was like 20,000 people and this kid in a wheel chair got lifted up and was crowd surfing in the wheel chair and then all these other people in wheel chairs started, it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. The fact that the unification of those people, helping those people out was really cool.
For you, what are some of your musical inspirations and whom would you most like to collaborate with?
Collaborate would be U2, that’s my favorite band of all time. I’ve become friends with Dave Grohl and he’s such an amazing guy, I’d like to collaborate with him too. Influences are Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix for me, Adam Duritz from Counting Crows as a song writer, Ed Roland from Collective Soul, Jimmy Page, people like that.
Even though you’re immersed on inside the music industry, are there concerts that you get excited to see?
Yeah, mostly smaller band, that not a lot of people have heard of though. This guy Ryan Bingham from Texas, he wrote all the music for ‘Crazy Heart’ I’m a big fan of his, a lot of country music - Brad Paisley, I love Brad Paisley so I get excited for that. Van Halen just canceled the show in my hometown and I’m friends with Wolfy the bass player, I was gonna go but they canceled it so I’m bummed out. I was excited for that.
Now that Shinedown’s obviously established and rocking it out, have you had any moments where you have a band that’s up and coming, have you ever taken any under your wing and help them out?
Yeah. we do that a lot -- Adelitas Way, New Medicine. I love New Medicine, one of my favorite new bands, so we did that with them. Halestorm, we did that with Halestorm for years, we let Halestorm tour with us before they even had a record out.
What is Shinedown’s song writing process like, do you guys get the lyrics first and then add music or do you do the music first, how does that usually go down?
You know it’s different at times. Brent [Smith] will come with a lyrics or me or Eric [Bass] will have a piece of music. Brent’s a riff hummer like Brent wrote the riff to ‘Sound of Madness’ without even playing guitar so that’s how it works sometimes. I wrote the riff to ‘Bully’ we were talking about what we were gonna write about and I was sitting there just having a conversation just kind of noodling around the guitar and Brent was like “That, let’s write that” and that’s how ‘Bully’ got written.
What is your take on the whole landscape of the digital music scene? Shinedown’s been one of those bands at the tail end of how the music industry was [before] and then the explosion of the Internet. What do you guys feel from a band perspective is different, more challenging, what’s going on with that?
We got so lucky, this record - out of the gate we sold 105,000 records the first week, which is unheard of nowadays for a rock band. We still love the physical record, we came from the end of that era so it is what it is, I love the physical record, I get the sight of digital, I get that but it’ll all come back around – like how people collect vinyl now, CDs will be the cool thing in 10 years. They’ll be like, all these guitar kids will be like “Oh these are super rare.”
What do you guys do to wind down? What are some of the nerdiest stuff Shinedown does behind the scenes?
My drummer’s gonna kill me, my drummer plays Magic cards. My little brother works for us, he’s on production assistant so they play Magic cards together. We play video games, we have a big dressing room case with a 60 inch flat screen and every gaming system in the dressing room, I play mostly sports games, 'NBA 2K,' 'Madden,' 'Tiger Woods.' Barry [Kerch] plays 'Halo' and 'Call of Duty' and stuff.
What is the weirdest thing on Shinedown’s tour bus?
We’re all pretty healthy so probably like organic peanut butter or these weird pumpkin spice granola bars. Yeah we’re pretty lame man. We use to be a lot more fun, we’re not anymore.
Interview by Andy Green.