'Attention Attention': Guitarist Zach Myers Discusses Shinedown's New Album
Attention Attention is the new album from multi-platinum rockers, Shinedown, and the follow-up to the band’s acclaimed 2015 release, Threat to Survival.
Produced in-house by bassist, Eric Bass, the 14-track album—an emotional and physical journey that follows an individual’s life from the lowest lows to the highest highs—is perhaps the band’s most raw and personal to date. .
From the ominous opener, “Devil”—with its rush of unpredictable rhythms and roaring guitars—to infectious tracks like “The Human Radio,” “Black Soul” and “Brilliant,” Attention Attention is a powerful and enduring statement about the resolve of the human spirit.
In addition to the new album [which will be released on May 4], Shinedown are prepping for a major summer co-headlining tour with Godsmack.
Guitar World recently spoke with the band’s guitarist, Zach Myers, about the new album and more in this new interview.
Attention Attention has been described as a concept album. Was that the original intention going in?
We didn’t really set out to make a concept record, and it wasn’t until we got to the middle of making the album that we began to realize what it was. It wasn’t something that was forced but came very naturally. But it’s not a concept in the typical sense. It has its own vibe.
How would you describe the concept?
It’s funny, our last record was called Threat to Survival, and this record is almost about self-survival. At times, it’s about one person and other times, it’s about all four of us. We write about what we know, and that’s ourselves and what we personally go through. The album starts out with “Devil”, which is about being in the worst place you can possibly be. It’s when you’ve dug yourself a fifteen-foot hole and now you have to figure out how to get out. Then the album ends with “Brilliant,” which is romantic serendipity. A coming to light within yourself and realizing that you can do many things on your own.
Where does the band draw inspiration for its songwriting?
Writing wise, it’s different every time. It can start with something that Eric has; or a lyric that Brent has; or even a riff that I have. We write very organically. I don’t think we’ve ever decided to write a song about A, B & C. We all just sit down and feel where the mood is going to take us. When you force yourself to write for a record, it’s easy to get stale and out of your own element. We’re known as a songwriting band, and a lot of people really connect with Brent’s lyrics. it’s something we take very seriously. Lyrically, we really had a lot to say. All the songs on the album have their place in the concept or can be listened to individually.
What can you tell me about the track, “Black Soul”?
For me, you’re still in a very dark area of the record when that song starts. You’re gasping for air after “Devil” and seeing where you are and what’s around you and trying to figure things out. You’ve dug the hole, and this is when you start sticking your fingers in the dirt to start to climb out.
How about “The Human Radio”?
We touched a little bit on this in the video where everyone is always on their phone and no one is really paying attention to what’s going on in the world around them. It’s a sheep mentality. Collectively, it’s about the human mentality of where the world is now.
This is the first time Eric has solely produced a Shinedown album. What was it like working with him in this capacity?
Tons of comfort. We did the album at his studio in Charleston. That place is like home for us. Eric has a great quote. He said he’d rather us go crazy making an album than us watching someone else go crazy trying to make it. He’s a brilliant producer and was the best at policing us. Even though he’s in the band, he was able to take mental steps away from it. Sonically, I think it’s one of the best sounding records we’ve ever made. Every tone was meticulously thought out.
What’s your live setup like these days?
I’ve been using the Fractal A XL+. I was a big rig guy for a very long time, but really love the convenience of the Fractal. I still run cabs on stage though because I have to have it. Guitar wise, it’s always been the PRS for me. There are 3-4 of my Signature models that I use each night.
What can you tell me about Shinedown’s tour plans?
We’ve got some festivals coming up in May and then some co-headlining shows with Five Finger Death Punch. That’s always fun because both bands play same amount of time and have the same production. Then this summer, we’ll be doing the same thing with Godsmack. We love those guys and get along with them so well.
What excites you the most about the new album and this next phase of the band’s career?
I’m excited for people to hear the record and take away from it what they will. On Threat to Survival, we took a little bit of a different approach guitar wise. With this one, it’s guitar all the way through, and the songs have been really fun to play. I’m looking forward to people hearing the record and taking away everything that we’ve put into it. We may never disclose the full concept of the record, but each of these songs is strong enough to stand on its own.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.