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The Carnival is coming to town! The Carnival of Madness that is. The stacked package tour featuring Shinedown, Papa Roach, Skillet and plenty more rolls into town next Saturday night for a night of fist punching rock that is sure to please all. I had a chace to catch up with Shinedown guitarist Zach Myers this week to talk about the current tour, life on the road, his shoe addiction, waking up next to farm animals and much more. Check it out below.

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So, Shinedown out headlining the big Carnival of Madness tour going on right now, out  with a stacked bill of support. How are things going thus far?

ZM - Everything is amazing man, I think today is show number 8. All the bands get along great, the shows have been amazing and we are really looking forward to getting back to St. Louis to do it for those great fans there. That place has been supporting us well for a really long time. We love it.

Even though you guys launched the Carnival of 2010 and you headlined the first year, you stepped away from it and had other bands headline the last few, what was behind that decision?

ZM - We did it in 2010 and then in 2011 we just played one show all year because we were making Amaryllis and writing it and then in 2012, it was ok let's go do Uproar and change it up a little bit because I didn't want to be sucked into the Lollapalooza thing where you start this thing and then it's like, ok, you're going to headline it every year. The tour will kind of lose it as far as value if it is just like 'we know what Shinedown is gonna do'  or 'we know that Shinedown is gonna be there'. I think we kind of let it take on its own thing and it did ok the last couple years -- but I think for us it was important before we end this Amaryllis record cycle that we come back to it. 

On a much larger headline tour like this, you guys have much more freedom as far as set time, set list, production elements -- who puts the production elements together for the bigger tours? Do you guys discuss those things as a band as far as things you would like to incorporate?

ZM - Most of the time, it is us and the paper plate version and figuring out what we want to see and then once it kind of gets into the elements, Brent will kind of take that over. He's the one that will stay up and spend an 18 or 19 hour day just kind of taking care of video and all that and what he wants to see there. That is kind of his deal but the set and stuff is kind of all us collaborating on what we want to stick with and maybe try to do something new that people have not seen before as well.


Seems like you guys are on a never ending run of  dates and it has been that way for years, is constant touring necessary for bands to survive in today's industry?

ZM - Yes, it is important to stay on the road but I think it is equally important to know when to go away and for how long because if you just tour all the time and never go home, people are going to get sick of you, I don't care if you are writing new songs or not. You have to give them a break from you and let other stuff come out, like we always say -- you have to make them miss you know? That's what we did with Amaryllis, we took a year off we played 1 show in 2011 and just taking that break helped out when we came back because people were excited to see this band again and excited to be a part of Shinedown and that is important to us. You can say it again and again but I think in the end, both are of equal importance.

Seems like the band has been somewhat reinvigorated by the return to health of Brent? How are you guys different now than you were a few years back?


ZM - [LAUGHS] I could tell you a million ways...I don't know if they would be appropriate for this interview or whatever [LAUGHS]. I think it is just -- everybody is happy. Happy to be where we are now, happy to be playing music with each other. This band of 4 people genuinely gets along and that was not necessarily always the case back in the day and there was always another element or maybe other things pushing that to where it was not the case but now everybody is happy, everybody is healthy, everybody is sober and just kind of hanging out man. It's fun because we go on stage and like playing music with each other, we are 4 people who like going on stage and playing music together and that is the most important part. And offstage, we work out together every day, we hang out together on days off -- it just comes back to that thing where we enjoy each other's company and we are actually really friends outside of this thing and I think that is where the important part kicks in.

Is that where the health aspect came in, I have been watching this band for a LONG time, you guys have grown up and matured and learned how to live a healthier life for yourselves on the road as opposed as it used to be with maybe more of the wild antics and crazy nights, right?


ZM - Yeah definitely,  Chris is almost 7 years clean and almost 2 years sober. And for the rest of us, I have been sober for a while and Berry has a beer every now and again. But nobody in the band does drugs at all. Things are a lot different than they used to be and finding that and maturing in what we do has been very important.

Finishing up the touring cycle for Amaryllis, it has been a long run, now that you guys are coming out the other side from this release and the entire cycle of it, what do you guys look back on this release as? Obviously it has been greatly successful commercially, but was there any pressure for you guys in putting this album together coming off 'The Sound of Madness' to try and recreate that magic?


ZM - I mean for me, I don't know if anyone else was nervous but I was and I kind of openly admitted that. But I think once we got about half way into the writing of Amaryllis, that sort of just drifted away. I knew that we had great material already when we were about 15 songs in, and I think we wrote a total of 34 songs for this record so it was just -- half way through I was not worried about recreating the 'Sound of Madness' because we had a record that was going to be great in its own right. I think everything about this record is better than the 'Sound of Madness'. I think we just groove and we became better songwriters and better musicians on this record.

Shinedown and especially Brent and yourself are big into social media with a lot of interaction with fans. How do you think that has changed the landscape of music and promotions today?

ZM - I think we honestly all kind of fought it for a little while. I think it was one of things where we liked the mystery of it for so long. I think about it like, when I was a kid, I never knew what Jimmy Page was doing. Like, I want to use my imagination you know? I want to be like "I bet right now that Jimmy Page is worshiping Satan or snorting Dr. Pepper through his nose" and then you look on Twitter and it is like oh no, he just got doing Yoga. But, we finally gave into it and we realize we are living in an internet world where everyone knows what you are doing all the time anyway so someone else will tell them so it may as well be you yourself telling them or taking a picture of it, or a video or a Vine or whatever the hell else.


On your Instagram, it seems you might have a bit of an addiction to shoes. Is that the case?


ZM - [LAUGHS] Yeah, I guess you could say that. 


You are a Jordan guy thought right?

ZM - I am for sure. Die hard. I always have been...I probably have like 150 or 160 pairs of shoes.

What are the best ones or your favorite? I am sure it is like choosing a favorite child or something?

ZM - [LAUGHS] Oh man! I would have to say that I really like Space Jams...those are big. So if I had to pick one, that would probably be the one for sure.

So, kind of an off the wall question -- what is the worst place you have ever had to sleep on the road in the history of the band?

ZM - We slept on ferries in Europe and stuff but nothing too bad.. Nothing crazy....like I have never woken up next to a farm animal or anything. At least as far as I know. [LAUGHS]

What is the plan for the band after the Summer tour wraps up and moving into 2014? New album? New songs being worked on?

ZM - Well, were going to do Carnival and then I think we are doing a tour called Anything and Everything which is more like a Storytellers tour where you get to come and watch this band in their element just playing songs and telling you the stories behind them. It is just a really cool vibe for a tour in a theater-type setting and you sit down and listen to a band for 2 hours tell you stories of how these songs were created and play them for you in their rawest form possible. It is one of my favorite type of tours we have ever done so I am excited for it. So we are going to do that and then we will see where next year carries us. I know there has been some talks about maybe starting to write a new record at some point next year so we are looking forward to that as well. We are very excited about what the future will bring.

Appreciate your time very much man, stay safe on the road.

ZM - We appreciate you. We will see you September 7th in St. Louis, thanks for having me.

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Do not miss Shinedown headlining the Carnival of Madness tour on September 7th at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater along with Papa Roach, Skillet, In This Moment and more. These guys always put on a stellar show and this is sure to be no different. You can still get your tickets by clicking HERE. Get more from Shinedown at their website by clicking HERE.


 
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Check out past interviews and show reviews in the archive by clicking HERE

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@JBoyd024

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