Breathless prose has been written (including by yours truly) about how rock music is passé, how it's popularity has waned thanks to the decline and fall of rock radio (WBCN is no more, WAAF plays hits from the '90s), but don't tell that to the guys from Shinedown.
The veteran hard rock band from Jacksonville, Fla., who come to the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Wednesday night in a strong triple-bill with Three Days Grace and special guest P.O.D., has seen all four of its studio albums either go platinum, gold and/or peak in the top five of the Billboard album chart.
And in a world where rock acts have a hard time charting on the pop singles chart, Shinedown's biggest hit, 2008's "Second Chance," made it all the way to No. 7. And all 16 of the band's singles have reached the top 5 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart as well as charted on the Alternative Songs chart.
We spoke with drummer Barry Kerch, one of two original members still with the band along with lead singer Brent Smith, recently about the band's success (they've sold more than 6 million albums worldwide and the band's current album, Amaryllis, entered the charts at No. 4 upon its release in March 2012), how it stays at the forefront of rock bands, and the tour with Three Days Grace and P.O.D.
Kerch said the band has finished its next studio album, but hasn't settled on a release date. As he has said elsewhere, he told me that, "It's an adventurous record. We took a lot of chances. We used orchestras and things rock bands don't do. We really took our time with it. I would sit down with headphones and immerse myself in it."
He described the songwriting and song selection process as "nerve-wracking. At the same time, you think, 'Will fans like this? We don't want to alienate them just to make something different. We want new fans, though, too. You always want to grow. That's what makes it so difficult."
Part of the evolution of Shinedown comes from looking at superstar acts like U2 and the Rolling Stones. "You listen to their discography and it sounds like them, but they've changed over the years in a great way. Take Joshua Tree and Zooropa (from U2). There's a total transformation to keep up with the times," Kerch said.
As for the Lowell show, Kerch is excited to pick songs from Shinedown's ever-growing catalog. "It becomes more and more difficult to pick songs for a show, but it will be the biggest show we've ever done."
Shinedown and Three Days Grace, with special guest P.O.D., play the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40.50 and $25 and can be purchased at www.tsongascenter.com, the Tsongas Center box office or by phone at 866-722-8780.