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Shinedown looks to grow

Music inspired by their past, life experiences

It’s been three years since Shinedown has played a stage in Fort Wayne, but frontman Brent Smith believes tonight’s show will make up for the band’s absence.

Smith says the show is the biggest production ever put together by the rock band, which is co-headlining the tour with Three Days Grace.

“The amount of anticipation we have been experiencing (leading up to the show) has been very prevalent for us,” Smith says by phone from Los Angeles. “We’ve got the show of the year.”

Smith says tonight’s show will be “very interactive, very theatrical, very visual. It’s what rock ’n’ roll is meant to be.”

He says it’s a night of No. 1s not only for Shinedown but for Three Days Grace.

“We don’t want people kicking themselves in the ass because they didn’t go see the show,” Smith says.

Shinedown is on tour with its fourth album, “Amaryllis,” which was released in March and has already produced several hit singles for the group, including “Bully” and “Unity” – both topping Billboard’s mainstream rock songs chart.

The album itself is described as bruising and full of scars. Smith says the album’s songs stem from personal experiences – many with an unforgiving tone.

The band has received some blowback about its first release “Bully,” whose lyrics include such lines as “All you’ll ever be is a fading memory of a bully/Make another joke while they hang another rope, so lonely/ Push them to the dirt till the words don’t hurt, can you hear me/No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die, you’re a bully.”

Smith, who says he was bullied a lot when younger, is adamant that the song is not condoning violence but survival.

“If you’re being attacked, you have the right to attack back,” he says.

That same unapologetic tone can be found on the entire album. “We’re a very honest band,” Smith says.

In the song, “Enemies,” Smith describes the tune as being “careful of the toes you step on because it might be the ass you have to kiss later.”

The band’s latest single, “I’ll Follow You,” was released Feb. 4, and according to Smith, stands alone on the album as “one of the most intricate songs.”

“I’m a songwriter and lyricist. I was born to be a storyteller and that’s who I am,” Smith says. “I write songs because it’s cheaper than therapy. It’s a release for me.”

Overall, the band wanted to make a bigger sounding record then previous albums, Smith says. He says the band never wants to make the same record twice.

That’s one of the reasons Smith says he’s stoked for the tour and for the fans.

Shinedown is expecting to spend some time touring with “Amaryllis.” After its U.S. stint, the band will begin its international tour for the rest of the year, hitting such countries as South America, Asia and India, Smith says.

As for the band’s future, Smith, who describes Shinedown as “a living work of art,” wants the band to continue to grow and continue turning out songs fans can enjoy.

If you go

Who: Shinedown with Three Days Grace
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.
Admission: Tickets, from $25 to $40.50, available by calling 1-800-745-3000

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