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Will Fame Shine Down on Them?

Opening Band for Three Doors Down Awaits the Big Time

By Pey-Hua Hwang

Staff Writer

Sometimes when you interview a band, you interview a group of people that are all first and foremost musicians. They dropped out of high school or they only made it halfway through college or they went to Julliard and then decided classical music wasn’t for them. However, Shinedown is an exception to the rule.

Two of their band members are actually scientists by training. And you thought that scientists didn’t know how to rock and roll. The drummer, Barry Kerch, majored in Anthropology and and bassist, Brad Stewart, majored in Biology and worked as a chemist for Bacardi Rum before becoming the bassist of Shinedown. It’s almost like that old McDonald’s ad, “Hey, it could happen,” and for Shinedown it has.

They met up with Three Doors Down through their record manager, were given a two-week tour test run and have been on the tour since. They were “inducted,” so to speak. I spoke to Kerch about the rigors of being on the road as a new band. “Touring is tough,” he said, “It’s an expensive habit.”

Since giving a performance is costly to rent the venue, transport the equipment, and pay the headlining band, small bands end up on the short end of the stick. For example, on tours like Ozzfest, bands often have to “pay or play for free.” The exchange is that the smaller bands get publicity and exposure to possible future fan base. Touring, however, has definitely allowed the band members to bond. “We became a family very fast ... even when shit is breaking all over the place we’re still out there smiling and having a good time,” he said.

When asked about which songs on their album the various band members like the best, Kerch mentioned that he personally liked “Better Version” the best because it had a “little more soul,” and he was trained in funk and jazz. He said that the lead would like all of the songs best because he wrote them all, the bassist liked “Left Out,” because it was heavier in sound and their guitarist preferred “No More Love.”

Kerch was also very frank about the business side of the music industry. “You can talk about doing it for the music all you like, but in that case you might as well be a starving jazz musician ... If you want to be able to make a living then you have to write a big pop song,” he said.

However, Kerch believes that even if Shinedown doesn’t become a household name that all of the band members would still keep in touch. With savvy in both music and economics, Shinedown certainly has a shot at the big time. I wish them luck, and after all, maybe someday there will be a band of engineers.