Shinedown's Brent Smith was recently on Audacy Check In and he talked about the meaning behind "A Symptom Of Being Human," touring with Papa Roach and Spiritbox, how their acoustic set at Blue Ridge Rock Festival happened, and more. The show sent over some excerpts.
"A Symptom Of Being Human" and talking about mental health: "I mean, it's a very interesting song because it's also a part of a very interesting record. You know, 'Planet Zero,' me and you have talked about this before, the album was written in the midst of a pandemic when people were just confused and afraid and scared, and kind of didn't know what tomorrow was gonna bring and what have you. So like, when we finally got into the room together during that time, I think the biggest focus that I looked at and the band looked at was how do we present something that is pure awareness of the fact that listen, we're all human beings and we're all a work in progress, and we're a band that's been talking about mental health for the better part of two decades before it was necessarily in the media, or that it was in you know, certain headlines and what have you. And thankfully, now it's talked about much more. And 'A Symptom Of Being Human' is exactly that."
"The way that we look at things, especially in the rock and roll community, it doesn't matter - in our community, man, it is anyone from anywhere at any time is welcomed all the time. And even if it's a total stranger, you know, sometimes just asking a person how they're doing, or if you notice a friend of yours or a family member, or something of that nature, and you can just kind of tell that something is off behind the eyes. The worst thing you could do is be quiet - And I think for 'Symptom', that's what it was. We tried to create a song that let everybody know, create a song to let the world know you're not alone, and inside of that, the balance that we have when we're writing this song is that we want people to understand that they're not alone and you're allowed to have as many human moments as you need in your lifetime."
Feedback on "A Symptom Of Being Human" and other songs: "I've had parents come up to me before and say that the music that we write brought their teenage son or their teenage daughter kind of back to life and, you know, back to them. And whenever you're talking about those types of things, I often will tell people I started writing songs, not because I wanted to be famous. I started writing songs because I had something to say, but also, it was cheaper than therapy."
"Just to see how empowering it is for our audience to continuously be growing. It's very much (age) eight to 80. You see a lot of people from a lot of walks of life at our shows, which is probably one of the things I'm the most proud about with Shinedown, is like literally anyone from anywhere at any time. Like I was saying, everyone's welcome, you know?"
When working out and managing his mental habit became a habit for him: "I think a lot of it for me happened when my son was born... I said to myself, 'Well, I'm no good to him if I'm dead.' And I was doing a lot of bad things - my past is pretty much out there, you know, you can look me up and, you know, I have issues and I have a history with substance abuse, and I've never hid that from anybody. I don't necessarily talk about it a lot. If people will ask me about it, I'll go into it with them. But you know, that's the one part of my life that I have to do one day at a time. That's the one part of me where I can multitask and I can compartmentalize, and I can schedule things for the future and lay certain things out and be an artist and be a businessman and do all those things and evolve as a human being, professionally, personally, and all that. But my addiction, and that other guy that's in me, I have to respect the fact that that's a part of who I am. And a really, really special person in my life, a really good friend of mine, a few years ago, when I was really finding my sobriety and finding the gym and getting myself in shape, she said something to me that, I think she kind of put me on a course for success because she made me understand, like, 'Look, you can't outrun this guy that's in your head. It doesn't work that way. But what I will tell you is you are way more dangerous when you're sober.' And for whatever reason, man, when she said that to me, a light bulb went off..."
Stream an edited version below, or check out the audio version for the full interview here.