Having scaled that next level of success, Kerch and the band have learned to take the good along with the bad. “The more popular you get, the more people there are out there with baseball bats and telling you you’re a sell-out. Or a Nickelback rip-off,” he says. “I hate that.”
The way Kerch sees it, there’s a reason Nickelback has sold bazillions of records, so the comparison is not really an insult, “but that’s not what we strive for. We play music that’s in the same genre maybe and we came out around the same time, but that’s it.”
There’s another image problem that dogs the band to this day. “Because we’re southern guys and our singer has a very thick accent people think of us as rednecks or ignorant,” he says, speculating that such perceptions are due partially to Shinedown’s cover of Lynyrd Skynrd’s “Simple Man” back in 2003. “That gets really frustrating, the stigma of that. The cool kids and the cool scene it seems automatically blacklisted us. But it’s rock music. Why get angry about it?”
The thing that matters most to this Jacksonville boy is longevity. The idea is that five years from now will look much like today: finishing up another record or pleasantly exhausted in the middle of a tour. “We actually enjoy being around each other and we enjoy playing music and we enjoy touring still after ten years, which a lot of bands can’t say.”
Grateful that he doesn’t have to do a 9 to 5, Kerch says he wouldn’t hesitate to wade through snake-infested water again if that’s what was required of him. “I will if I have to because you’ve got to provide for your family but we want to keep going. We want to be — for lack of a better example — the Aerosmiths or the U2s. The people that continue to tour for life.”
The new release from Shinedown, Amaryllis, alternates between the metal riff-rock songs their live fans love and more accessible power ballads enhanced with keyboards, sampled strings, and even tympani that seem designed to draw more middle-of-the-road fans to the band. Barry Kerch is an inventive and slamming drummer who has to be seen live to be fully appreciated.
This aptly named up-tempo track has explosive drum parts that nimbly shift to follow the guitar riffs. You can think of the opening as a metalized version of the Motown groove with the snare on 1, 2, 3, and 4. At the verse Kerch offers a tasty groove with the bass drum pounding quarter-notes and his snare accenting 3 & 4 & in every other bar. He occasionally opens the hi-hat though it’s hard to hear in the mix. Next, he brings up the energy by adding a snare backbeat before tearing into the chorus and moving to his crash cymbal. The last two bars of this section begin with three quick double bass drum notes before repeating. This transcription ends with a restatement of the intro riff.
This is one of Shinedown’s mid-tempo radio-friendly rockers. For this one, Kerch enters with a common yet powerful pattern that accents 1 (2) & and 4 on his crash cymbal and snare, and fills in between those accents with his kick drum. The verse has an interesting and unusual pattern with the snare on (2) & 4 and tom accents to make it flow more smoothly. It sounds as if he’s playing his hi-hat simultaneously with the toms, though it’s hard to be certain since, like many discs produced today, the cymbals are buried in the mix.