Articles Men Men's Fitness Men's Health

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 55: Brent Smith

34 total views

Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior Podcast With Mike Sarraille is a podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers from all walks of life. In episode 55, we spoke to Brent Smith, rock icon and lead singer of the chart-topping band Shinedown. 

Known for his raw, emotive vocals and hard-hitting lyrics, Smith is no stranger to overcoming challenges and pushing himself to the limit. From the band’s early days in the music industry to their meteoric rise, Smith speaks candidly about the high cost of fame. With his signature blend of authenticity, vulnerability, and tenacity, Smith inspires listeners and tells us what the band is up to now.

Listen to the full episode above (scroll down for the transcript) and see more from this series below.

This interview has not been edited for length or clarity.


Michael Sarraille 00:11

What’s up everyone? Welcome back to the Men’s Journal everyday warrior podcast. I’m your host Mike’s really a we’ve got a guest who I’ve known about for a long time because I’ve listened to their, their music was just telling them I listened to it in a combat zone. And it’s funny how you tie music to certain things. You know, I had a playlist when I was flying into missions that I listened to, which actually isn’t all that would say it’s frowned upon. I should be listening to the radio, which I was, but that it also listened to that playlist on Extract on the helicopters when I was coming back. And that was simple man, the rendition that Shinedown did Brent Smith, frontman and vocalist is with us today. Brent, I can’t thank you enough for joining us, man.

Brent Smith 00:53

Thank you, man. I’m super pumped to be here. Again. Thank you for your service, man. Appreciate you very, very much. I’m very well here today.

Michael Sarraille 01:01

You guys have a short list of accomplishments. It’s actually rather unimpressive. 6.5 billion global streams. Number one rock hits 15 platinum and gold singles, platinum or gold certification for every album 10 million albums sold worldwide and major media plays in the band is currently named number one on Billboard’s greatest of all time, main stream rock artist charts. Man, are you guys actually going to ever start like trying? Or is this just, this is a half assed effort. So far.

Brent Smith 01:37

You know, we’ve been talking about it for a couple of years now, maybe we should put some effort into our career, you know, maybe we’re on every level we should be, we should be doing so much better. Now, man, I think it’s just, we all come from the the dynamic of First of all, music to us is like medicine. It’s what kept us alive. You know, the one of my favorite quotes of all time, is from a philosopher named Frederick Nietzsche. And he said, Without music life would be a mistake. And I always for whatever reason, I’ve identified with that since birth, I think. But for us music is is more than just, you know, what you’re listening to, it’s part of it becomes part of your DNA. And for us, Shinedown as a band, lyrically, we’ve been talking about mental health for the better part of two decades. And I think that you have to go through it, you have to experience it, I can’t necessarily tell you that when we’re writing the songs, and when we’re coming up with them, that we’re pulling it out of thin air, there has to be something that we had either gone through experience, places, people, certain scenario situations that we’ve been in, we pull from that, but we’ve always kind of talked about, sometimes you have to fall into a hole to figure out how to get out of it.

Michael Sarraille 03:10

So let me so first off to Nietzsche, dude, you said it earlier music is is this, you know, medicine for the soul for everyone. It’s amazing how when a song pops on how you’ll tie that to a memory in your life of a specific event, interaction with friends, but, bro, we had music blaring all the time at training events when we could right before admission when guys are getting ready. Again, you were listening to it on the helicopter inserting into a mission and then of course you take it turn it off. But what he’s absolutely right without music. God, this would be a fourth freaking boring world. Let me ask you this, do you because it seems like it maybe was you said you’ve been pouring into your lyrics for over two decades to make sure that it has a message. But thinking back to my 20s You guys were a great band. But you’re you’re naive to the world in a lot of ways you don’t know what you don’t know. Do you think that process you become you’ve become more deliberate in that message through your music versus the early years?

Brent Smith 04:21

Well, it’s interesting, I have to kind of tie it back to the beginning. And the only way I know how to really dissect this or present it to you is to do very, very honestly. So I gotta be honest, if I go all the way back to the very first album for us, a very, very close friend of mine once told me, you will get your whole life to do your first record. And if that record is successful, you’ll get about six months to do your second one. And that was exactly what happened. And, you know, fingers crossed. We were lucky with the first album and I think about you know, he was right and the friend of mine that said that was actually Brad Arnold. Okay doors down. And so they they were like the first band it’s interesting because leave a whisper which is the debut album it turns 20 this year on May 27. Yeah. And that in and of itself is astonishing to me. But yeah the music that you grow up with man and like I go back to when I was like 1415 years old I was heavily influenced by like punk but like hardcore punk like I’m talking about the exploited Yeah, Ghazi you know, I mean, straight edge, not straight edge.

Michael Sarraille 05:50

For those that don’t know, where were you born and raised?

Brent Smith 05:54

I was born in Knoxville, and

Michael Sarraille 05:56

we’re in a punk. You’re in Knoxville, Tennessee. Okay, I was like, Yeah, I would say California. So punk was was prevalent out there. We’re trying to go to ranted concerts and no effects concerts and yeah, guys as much as possible, man. So I’m with you. You still listen to a lot of punk or as your Yeah.

Brent Smith 06:16

And, you know, even to the point, like I listened to like the dwarves I was listening to, you know, I go all the way back to bands like television, you know, just wild stuff. But the unique thing about that was during this time, I’m like 14 years old. I remember my father coming into my room. And I’ve got this up blasting. And my dad is like, Brett, I have no idea what these people are so mad about. But like, I understand, you’re evolving. You’re a kid, you know, angst and all that but he gave me a cassette. And he said, When you get a moment, listen to this. And I was like, alright, Dad, I took it. He left the room. I throw it in the corner. About two weeks went by and I’m like cleaning up my room or what have you. I still see this very, very vividly. I found the tape. I grabbed the tape. I put it in a cassette player. Yeah, dating myself.

Michael Sarraille 07:07

We’re young when it

Brent Smith 07:08

happened. Yeah, exactly. I put it in the cassette player. And what my dad didn’t realize that he had done was that he completely opened up an entirely different world to me because what was on that cassette was a guy by the name of Otis Redding, and oldest reading got me to our green which got me to Percy sledge, which got me to Sam Cooke, Sam hook. Sam Cooke got me to Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye got me to Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. So he opened up this world of r&b and soul music where it was the very first time that I heard people use their voice as an actual instrument. And it just kind of changed me. I was just like, I don’t even know this existed, you know. And so that might that right, there was something that my dad had no idea what he had done. But he did something very magical for me. He he made my my listening palette, very vast and very broad. And so I’m always kind of looking at the peripheral. I’m not trying to be tunnel vision. When I’m a kid, I was listening to after 14 years old man, I was listening to anything and everything I could get my head dude,

Michael Sarraille 08:21

I’ve got such a wide, eclectic taste in music. And I’ve actually found that I’m going more back to it wasn’t even my roots. It was prior to my roots like 70s You know, for Leonard Skinner to Fleetwood Mac to CCR. It’s a will Charmin who’s who’s running the backstage. When we do like Instagram videos of us jumping out of airplanes, he wants to, you know, naturally the younger generation wants to put the current music and I’m like, No, go with like, you know, Fleetwood Mac, this song or Suzie Q from CQ, CCR, throw it in there. And so I’m trying to revive for the younger generation, like, hey, there was another genre of music that led to your, your genre, and it’s still cool as hell.

Brent Smith 09:09

I think that that’s very prevalent now. Especially I have a 15 year old son, so Generation Z. The great thing about this new generation is that they don’t care about a born on date with music, like, I mean, look at Kate Bush with stranger things and I mean, look at Metallica with, you know, Master of Puppets and Stranger Things. I mean, also to that new series that just came out on HBO, The Last of Us, they like, rekindled Linda Ronstadt. She ended up after that episode where they were playing that Linda Ronstadt track like her strings went up something like 14% You know, and, but I noticed that more like with the Tick Tock generation also to all of the sound bites that they use, like this generation, they don’t care when a song came out, they just care if it’s cool or not. Or like the

Michael Sarraille 09:56

the you mentioned, the Kate Bush thing with running up The Hill. I had forgotten about that song until i Straw saw Stranger Things and then I went and downloaded again. And then you bro I’ll listen. Yeah, I will download a song and I will listen to it for like three days consecutively just on repeat. And of course, you know, what I’m getting annoyed with, with is the, you know, the headphones nowadays and your Apple phone will tell you like, hey, we suggest you turn the volume down. It’s like, Well, I appreciate your suggestion. I’m going to ignore that. In fact, I wish the volume would go higher on on these things. But dude, I want to get into your perspective because you’ve been through so much. But simple, man, what? Did I listened to your version? More than the original? What? What led to doing the rendition on that one?

Brent Smith 10:51

I’ll be honest with you, it’s an extremely long and detailed story. I’m gonna do my best to make it as kind of compact as I can. Because I know we only have so much time. The reality of the simple man rendition came out of I don’t want to necessarily say that it was an accident, but it definitely was not planned. So the original guitar player for Shinedown is a gentleman by the name of Jason Todd. And when I met Jason over 20 years ago, he had married into the Leonard Skinner family so Ronnie Van Zandt, who was the lead singer of Leonard Skinner, who passed away in the crash. His daughter melody, that’s who Jason was married to. And so Judy Van Zandt, at the time, when I found myself going to Jacksonville, Florida, from Tennessee, working all these things out, trying to kind of put a band together and what have you, I just found my self, you know, kind of a part of this family. And the interesting thing is, is that at a certain point in time, when I was in Jacksonville, I ran out of money, and I just didn’t have I was going to have to go back home and I’ve been down in Jacksonville for off and on about a year. Judy had found out which was Ronnie’s widow and Melody’s mother, Judy had found out that I was running low on funds and what have you, and she, she, she wanted to talk to me. So I came over to her house, and she said, what’s going on, and I said, I just duty, I gotta either get a job, or I gotta get something. I’m just I don’t have enough money to stay down here and live at the Comfort Inn at the beach. So without a word of anything, she gave me a key, she gave me a post it note with a passcode on it. And she gave me a garage garage door opener. And she was like, stay in the guest house. There’s no furniture. There’s not even a TV in there. It’s just abandoned, but it’s got heat and air and running water. And you’ve got a place to stay and I said I can’t pay you. I don’t have any money. She was like, I don’t want you to pay me. I just want you to stay here. Keep working with the band do what you need to do. Fast forward about a year. And I did tell her at that time. I said I don’t know how I’ll pay you back Judy, but I promise you I’ll pay you back. She has me rent free for one year. And so what happened was we were on the road first record to come out. We came back to Jacksonville and I sang her simple man you know she owned the club with her daughter called the Freebird live it doesn’t exist anymore in Jacksonville but at the time it did and I sang her that one night while we were on tour we happen to be in Jacksonville we playing a show singer that one night that was kind of my thank you in my mindset but the reality was we were leaving Jacksonville we went to AAA Fw A F in Boston which at the time was a massive radio station and a DJ by the name of mistress Carrie that week she was having the bands that were coming in like do their own songs that their their newest single but also like a covered you know it or what have you. And we tried to play some song I can’t even remember what it was. But then myself and Jason were in the studio. And Brad and Barry, the original bass player and obviously our our drummer Barry were in the studio as well. And so Brad was like, play simple man. And I’m like no way like because I just learned it the night before to play it for duty. And I was just like, I don’t know if I can I don’t know if I remember the verses the lyrics. So I did it and they recorded it. Now you have to understand something. This isn’t the early days of mp3 this is 2003 they recorded it. When we did it in the studio. The phone lines like started to add flowed. And we left the studio, went on tour, had a show six weeks later, our own show and like a small club came back to Boston. When we came back. Mr. Carey said, I gotta show you something. And she slid in a piece of paper over to me. And all it had was the number of 500,000. And I was like, what is what is 500,000? She was like, we put what you saying, the simple man from Lynyrd Skynyrd. We put that on our website so people could download it. It’s been downloaded in six weeks, over 500,000 times. So what happened then was the label caught wind of it, we went to Sanford, Florida, me and Jason cut it just me and an acoustic with him. We stripped it back on our debut album, and it became a single. And at the time of this, Judy owned 51% of the Leonard Skinner catalog, The song became number one, it exploded that trajectory for the band. And I remember when I came back a year after that, when it became number one, I looked at her and said, I told you, I’ll pay you back. So that’s the that’s the story very, very, that’s about as

Michael Sarraille 16:19

to the original version you cut in Boston is not the one that’s on that. That’s now the mainstream version. You guys went and read

Brent Smith 16:28

it. No, we went, Yeah, you can find you can go online and get the W A S version, like on YouTube or whatever. But the thing about it is we went immediately down to Sanford, Florida. You know, when we saw this, obviously, the label was like, you’ve got to go record that. And so we went but here’s the thing. We cut it in three takes, I think Jason did like one path two or three. He didn’t like what he did like two or three passes on the guitar. We didn’t overthink it. And I didn’t go in there and try to emulate what I did in Boston. I just sang the song, the way that I would sing it not taking anything away from Ronnie. But if you listen to Skinner’s version, and you listen to our version, I kind of made it my own. You know? And some people appreciate that. And some diehards are like, you know, you shouldn’t do that or what have you. But that think that’s why it connected with people was because I wasn’t trying to make a carbon copy of something. And it wasn’t a planned thing that happened. It just kind of happened.

Michael Sarraille 17:35

You see I see that differently. I take that as a compliment. If someone cites one of our manuals, somebody cites something out of my book, and uses it for their game. They it doesn’t bother me at all. I take that. I always like to say that plagiarism is the highest form of flattery. Now, you guys plagiarized. But that’s I mean, that is that’s an awesome story, man. Let’s talk about leadership. Because you probably one of the few frontman, singers I’ve ever met that likes to talk about overcoming, you know, challenges, perseverance, tenacity, you talk a lot about your personal experiences, which I always take. And I say this on every podcast, vulnerability is one of the most the highest forms of moral courage, in my opinion. And it does not mean you’re weak. And I’ve done that with your addiction and all that you’ve learned. But more so you guys have been talking about mental health. Let’s be honest, before it actually became the hot topic that it is today. So you’ve been talking about it for roughly two decades, where if someone mentioned mental health to me in the early 2000s, I’ve been like, what what the fuck are you talking about? Man Talk Talk to me about

Brent Smith 18:52

or roughly the same age. And I think we’re what would be considered Generation X, some people have said that we’re the most dangerous generation, because we were like, you didn’t have like therapy when we were growing up necessarily. And it was kind of like you were told really, in a lot of ways, like just figure it out, you’re gonna have to figure it out. And then we were right on the cusp at the beginning of like, dial up in the internet, where we had enough skills for our own understanding of the world and how the world can throw different obstacles in front of you. But yeah, every generation is different. You know, millennials aren’t like Generation X. Baby Boomers aren’t like Generation Z. It all depends on how you look at it. But yeah, I mean, I when I was growing up, I was very fortunate. I had a very, very loving family. A very understanding mother, a very understanding dad. My grandparents were like, a huge part of my work ethic my granny which is my mother’s mother, who is still alive today. I got my work ethic from her and the That’s kind of how I was raised wasn’t to like, push down your feelings, but that you had to use it as fuel. You couldn’t let it like eat you alive, you had to figure out a way to overcome it. And in some cases, you wouldn’t always win, but you never ever stopped trying, that was a lot of like, how I was raised like, don’t quit, whatever you do, don’t quit

Michael Sarraille 20:25

your show. I know with Planet zero, the new album, one hits on a number of fronts in terms of the lyrics trying to speak to, to American mainstream society, from I don’t want to say you guys attacked the world culture. Unless you’re gonna you’re gonna say that, but basically, don’t shut off dialogue, don’t shut off conversations, be receptive to what people think so that a dialogue, eventually, solutions can come out of it. But

Brent Smith 20:53

well, we wrote the record in the middle of a pandemic, you know, so it was, and a lot of things were brought to the forefront during that pandemic that weren’t just about the pandemic, I’m the biggest more than anything, a lot of what it was about was maintaining that do not silence, your freedom of speech. Like I want to know what you think, I don’t want, I don’t want it, I don’t want somebody to be silenced. Because maybe they have different beliefs than I do, or they think differently than I do. I want to be able to have a dialogue and be constructive. And that was the biggest principle of it all was this ideology of trying to silence people and what they believed in and also tell the truth. At the end of the day, just tell the truth.

Michael Sarraille 21:44

You know, when I heard a good quote, When you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said. There you go, man, you just said, so. You don’t want I don’t want to turn this into a political speech. But you do talk about empathy. What point Yeah, so yeah, you said Gen X is not exactly setting the best example for the next generation. And the next generation being different is not a bad thing. That means we’re evolving. But oh, no point, did we lose our civility and empathy for people with dissenting opinions? Because it just seems like, yeah, you’re shut down right away,

Brent Smith 22:24

it has a lot to do. Well, ultimately, I mean, I gotta put it, you know, right there at the forefront. I mean, it has a lot to do with how mean you are communicating, right now. You know, look, I often will tell my son, this, again, my son is 15 years old, he has a smartphone, he’s extremely technologically savvy, he knows more stuff about an iPhone than I do. But the thing that I always tell him is, I want you to know that this device that you have, is a tool, and it can be used for so many different things. And lots of what it can be used for is positive, but it can also be very, very destructive, what I don’t want you to lose sight of is this, you are in control of the of the device, the device doesn’t need to be in control of you. And so I think for all of us, a lot of where all of a sudden, it became, hang on a second. Everybody is starting to lose, really, their compassion for each other and their empathy for each other. Because social media is it’s the wild wild west. I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s crazy, like what, you know, kids at a young age, what they actually can see, you know what I mean, at an earliest stuff that we never saw, you know, at our age, like, I mean, it’s insane. But here’s the thing about that, there’s two sides to that, because any question that you have any thing that you want to know about any kind of main acknowledgement, like you can take your phone out and ask it how do I perform? How do I take someone’s appendix out? You know what I mean? Like how do I you know, what’s the you know, mathematical problems, things about history, you got a fat check it a lot of times, but the device can be used in a lot of good ways. But I think the empathy it you start to become numb, like your mindset when you see things that are happening out in the world. And you see it on this device and this screen and and it just it just numbs your perception of the world. I’ll often tell people, man, put it down and go outside, like go like just leave it and go outside for a minute you would be it’s wild to watch people with AIDS. leave their phones somewhere or they don’t know where they put it, they go into a panic attack. You know what I mean? It’s crazy.

Michael Sarraille 25:06

So I just released this book, the everyday warrior, I was on an expedition. I was actually in Antarctica when released. But we talked about social media. And I just love how you said, it’s a two sided coin. There’s some great things about social media, that I can watch what’s going in with, with former Brothers in Arms, who may be in New York when I’m in Texas, and I’m watching their smile with their family. And that’s, that’s awesome. But that thing is all consuming. And we so for this generation that grew up with it. By the time they are 70, on average, they will have spent six years of their life on social media. Six years, somebody can become a pretty good guitar player in six years, somebody could start a business in six years and get it profitable. That’s a massive amount of of time. We said what I said is do this one thing. And this is hard, because you know, I’ll tell you one more thing is come the weekend. Turn your social media off, go live your adventure with your buddies, your your family, your spouse, and then turn it back on Monday. And if you want to, you want to post about your adventure, do it. But if you can just train yourself like Pavlov’s dog, to just put that phone down or turn media off on the weekend, bro, for your mental and spiritual health. It is huge. But the funniest thing, Brett, when in Orca, we had zero Wi Fi, zero cellular? Yeah, I was gonna say what is it and there was some dudes from actually one Tyler from Starlink. So they connected the camp for the first time ever, with Wi Fi. And they also tested they also tested on top of mountain Vinson. And funny you would catch guys to include myself where you still have your phones on yet because you want to know the time and stuff like that. But I would see guys were sitting around a table eating or drinking coffee, they would pick it up. It was habitual, they pick it up to see what was on social media in there. Oh, yeah. And they put it down. And even after nine days, they didn’t break it, you didn’t see him picking it up. It’s it those things or are addictive.

Brent Smith 27:20

I actually had never heard it the way that you just presented it, though. That’s actually a really, really good way of looking at it. Because the weekends, you know, historically through time, you know, that’s your weekend. That’s your time to kind of relax with your family and what have you. You know what, that’s a really good method, if you can do it, which is just you still have your phone, but you just don’t look at the social media on Saturdays and Sundays, you just like after Friday, just don’t look at it. You can pick it up on Monday. It’s not like it’s going anywhere.

Michael Sarraille 27:48

We’re about to start a live podcast with four other dudes who are hilarious. John Welborne, who played in the NFL, to MMA guys, and then one guy who was a former seal, but now like a renowned human performance, Doc, doctor, and we’re going to tell people, hey, this Friday evening, sign off, go live your life as a reminder. Yeah, and we do it in the book. But when you’re talking to your son, I can tell you are a devoted father and you’re trying to pass lessons on. But that’s the point leading kids is no longer no different than a band in your guys. You’re trying to develop the people below you, whatever.

Brent Smith 28:26

And I also let him Sue that’s the other thing man. Like, I that’s sometimes you know, the old guard is like, I’m the boss. I’m the dad when you’re 18 you can do whatever you want. But right now, what I say goes I’m not necessarily like that I like we communicate back and forth with each other. He teaches me a great deal. I

Michael Sarraille 28:46

will mirror that. I’ll say the relationship with my children and they’re located in Virginia Beach. I’m in Texas went through awful divorce divorce. I’m not in a position to be do as I say, type of guy. So I do have conversations, but do their their EQ for their age. Is there 10 years ahead of me in terms of emotional intelligence, I’m pretty impressed with that. Pretty well. You’ve been through a lot brother. Especially the addiction man i and i know once you got back into fitness, you lost 70 pounds. That’s insane. What are those three to five things that you’re trying to teach your son those those lessons you’re you’re imparting, because again, you never know what’s going to be your last day. But what are the primary things you’re trying to reinforce with them?

Brent Smith 29:37

The biggest thing, probably I don’t have them in, you know, three or you know, three, four or five different things. I don’t have them in any specific order. One of the main things that I focus primarily with him on is ultimately believing in yourself. Like there are gonna be moments in your life where like you’re not going to have people around you and it’s going to have to come Um, from you. And that’s going to be through experience and trial and error. And that’s okay. Like, you’re not going to win everything that you go after every time you go after it. But probably the biggest focus with him is that I don’t want him to be afraid of his failure. Like, I tell him all the time, do not be afraid to fail kid. Because here’s the thing, you got to have those moments to fail, so that you know what to do next time, or do you know how to grow and how to get to the next level, because your life and your legacy is not going to be built by your failure, your life, and your legacy is going to be built by the fact that you refuse to give up. And another element to that is I tried to teach him how to lead from the front, and try to be the hardest worker in the room and surround himself with like minded people. You know, as he gets older, he wants to know a little bit more about how I got where I am and where I’m going and more about the band. Because I think that there’s something that I should touch on here for people that may not know, the ins and outs, you know, of my relationship with my son. And there’s a reason for that, because it’s a personal relationship between me and my son. But the thing is, is from the moment he was born, I’ve never made it about me. So when I’m with him, because I’m on the road, 280 days out of the year. And it’s been like that since he was born. And I’ve had him on the road with me when he was younger. And he’s been to different countries with me and things of that nature. But as he started to develop, and he got like, by the time he was like 10 years old, you know, moving into, you know, 1213, you know, becoming a teenager or a young man. It’s just been very, very important that when I’m in front of him, like when I’m physically in front of him, I’m very lucky that we have this technology, like FaceTime, I can see him because the last time he doesn’t want to talk to me on the phone, he doesn’t want to text me he wants to FaceTime me, which I have absolutely no problem with. But the thing is, is that I just, I make it about him because he’s in the development stages in his life. And so he doesn’t really ask a lot about the band, his friends, and even some of his friends, parents, they kind of know who is that is, but I also don’t offer myself up either. I’m there to do whatever I need to do, to make sure that he is getting everything that he needs from a physical standpoint, and from a mental standpoint as his father. But a lot of it all ties into that. Like I said, I’m trying to teach him to believe in himself to have confidence in himself to not beat himself up. You know, as long as he’s trying at everything he’s going after, you’re not going to win everything. Don’t let it get in your head. He’s a he’s a really, really. He’s, it’s pretty wild to watch. He’s the only freshman in his high school that’s on the freshmen and the junior varsity basketball team. So he, you know, I’m five, eight. He’s 15. I’m 45. He’s already six foot one, you know, and I hope he doesn’t stop growing, because he very much is looking at a future. And you know, he’s up every morning at 4am He’ll throw 300 You know, he’ll throw 300 shots up before he goes to the bus stop. You know, I mean, he basketball he’s looking, you know, at the NBA, it’s something to do sleeps with a basketball. You know, so I mean, I want him to stay focused on that. But I just try to teach him. You know how to be mentally tough, but at the same time. He’s not afraid to cry. And that was something that I told him at a young age too. I said, Man, don’t be afraid. Like if you need to cry, cry it out. If anything, let it go. Don’t keep that. Don’t keep that inside man. Like you’ve got to release that because it will eat you from the inside out.

Michael Sarraille 34:16

Who said he was a basketball coach. He actually said it. I’m trying to remember his name. He passed away from cancer. Think laugh and cry every single day. And I probably

Brent Smith 34:27

I know exactly what you’re talking about. His name? Yeah, yeah, I think so.

Michael Sarraille 34:31

I think this whole you know, this whole thing with crying. There is nothing like a good cry. There is nothing like your cry it. I’ve been a part of it where there’s a circle of seals hugging one another. And they’re just bawling. And that’s okay, man. That’s okay. You just need that every once in a while he get it out.

Brent Smith 34:48

It’s like, Dude, it’s it’s like it’s like shedding your skin and coming up new. You know what I mean? Like for the longest time there was this like you Keep it in Don’t cry, don’t you know be a man. I’m like, What are you talking about? Like, you know, that corrodes you. Like the whole point of crying and getting it out when it’s emotional, whether it’s sad or happy. You know what I mean? Like, that’s the beautiful what the body is like, the way we’re designed. It’s a, I mean, I learned a lot about this. During the pandemic, I learned a lot about the human body, I did a lot of research the design of our body, it’s a masterpiece, the way that it’s put together, it’s by design, crying is, so you can release that energy and be refreshed from it. You know what I mean? Like, if you just keep it in and just corrodes, you’re inside. You gotta let it go, man.

Michael Sarraille 35:46

You know, it was a, I wouldn’t say a crying fit. But I remember the specific moment I was with my kids in a Disney film was at the Croods a specific scene where they’re asleep. I mean, they got what were they? They were like five and an eight at the time. And so they’re passed out overdosed on popcorn, and I’m in the theater and right start bawling. That was also the realization I’m like, okay, something’s off. I’m not right. And that’s when I started talking to, to someone that was the best choice I’ve ever, ever made. It was not a quick process. But I know you’ve been down that. Do you ever use your music? Because I know you talk a lot about you guys within the lyrics talking about the ups and downs of life. Do you ever use your music with your son like, hey, go listen to to this song in look at the lyrics, man? Or do you not try to mix those two.

Brent Smith 36:47

I don’t necessarily do that specifically with my son. I do know, just because me and his mother were never married. But we have a good relationship with each other. And, oddly enough, his mother’s mother, his nana, his grandmother on his on his mom’s side, she has told me before that when she’s in the car with him, or what have you, if they’re driving around, and they’re listening to the radio, and I come on, he will a lot of times he’ll, he’ll turn it up and they’ll like, listen to it. Like it’ll be background noise. And then if he hears my voice, he’ll turn it up. But I’ve never really told him to, like, you know, go specifically and listen to our music, I kind of leave that up to him in a lot of ways. He has a different kind of musical taste anyway. But I mean, the good thing is, is that will always be there for him in the future, you know, as he gets older, and he, you know, starts to mature. And, you know, I think that once again with him, it’s I want you to be a kid, you can be and you got plenty of time to be an adult man. You know what I mean? I want you to be a kid, right?

Michael Sarraille 38:05

There’s a great line from the new version of the movie dune. I know they’re coming out with the second part where the father looks at the son says, Hey, whether you choose to be the ruler of our family or not, is your choice. All I ever needed you to be was my son. That’s all I ever needed you to be and totally stole that line and use it with my son. But you know, hey, plagiarism is the highest form of flattery and that’s the truth. You know, I had a great guest on His name is Dr. Johnny Kim, I I happen to go through SEAL training with him. We ended up in the same team this guy came from a highly abusive situation where his father was abusive. His father ended up getting killed by the police department when he was 18. And we never knew that but oh my god, you talked about him and how he and his dad had a very different definition of success. And he talked about with your children all I want them to know is this a lot of the things that you’re trying to reinforce you’ve got to define what success looks like for yourself but it’s got to be it’s got to involve not being afraid to fail believing in yourself leading from the front putting the work in and if you do that, then if it’s been a pianist a because this guy is now an astronaut Dr. Johnny Kim, a doctor professional sports player then that’s your decision to make I found that extremely extremely powerful man yeah man let’s let’s talk about the revolutions Live tour coming up in zero man what we’ll close out with this COVID was nobody got through COVID Clean it impact I don’t care if you want to be the tough guy. Nobody nobody ever made everyone reflect and reassess. What’s What’s your intent with Planet zero if you want to drive something home if you want the people to listen to it, and take things away and with this this tour? What does this all mean to you guys? cuz I know this, this has been a long process for you guys for this album.

Brent Smith 40:06

Yeah, I mean, the biggest element of it was once again, these way, you know, the way that we felt during this time. And you gotta remember something. I remember when I arrived to Charleston, with Eric, our bass player who’s also the producer, engineer and the mixer of planet zero. He’s also the producer engineer in the mixture of the last album, attention attention. But when I arrived, at the height of the pandemic, I left California in June of 20, as it moved out to chop up and moved. Well, let’s see, I was so I was in California at the beginning of 2020 January, working on a side project with me and the guitar player, Zach Meyers, called Smith admirer. So we were in the middle of writing this double album, and then the pandemic happened. And so, you know, you had to, I had to shutter where I was, because of the whole thing was, hey, we just need 15 days to flatten the curve, 15 Days turned into 15 months. So by the time I was in, you know, it was June 1. And I said, you know, to management, everybody, and we had, we had hooked up with an amazing organization called Direct Relief, raised a half a million dollars with them for COVID-19 response. But then through the label and management, I was just like, I’ve got to get out of here, guys, like, I can’t just stay here, I’ve got to get to my guys, I gotta like, I’ve got to get out of here. And that was wild not to go off topic here. But I arrived in terminal five, at LAX, which is the international terminal where I went out. Me and the attendant, were the only people in the we were the only I have video of it. Like, I remember walking in and like, this is a city in this in this airport, and terminal five, IN LAX, that is a city, and me and the and the attendant that gave me my ticket were the only people in there. And so I arrived and in Charleston. And you know, me and Eric started to work on material. And we had this idea of like, let’s try to think three years ahead, let’s try to have like a crystal ball method. And we tried that for like a day. And it did not work. Because we’re trying to write like this isn’t going on. And this isn’t happening. And it just is not. There was just no way around it. And I remember Eric looked at me with everything that was going on, on the television, everything that was going on in the world, there was a lot going on, man. And I remember Eric looking at me, and he said, it feels like we are on Planet zero. And that’s where it started. But I think it’s important to understand what we learned from that also is everyone talks about the internet, being undefeated, it’s not true, Mother Nature is undefeated, and always win. That’s another. Yeah. And that’s an element about what the album represents, like you only have a short amount of time on this planet. You know what I mean? Like you only have a finite amount of time, and you’re not promised tomorrow, stop with this idea that everything has to go to 11 all the time, stop with just trying to be that that dynamic of not wanting to miss out that, you know, you have a device that you’re looking at what you don’t know if it’s telling you the truth, if it’s made up? Is it real? Is it false? Is it is it benefiting you? Is it hurting you? You got to ask questions, of course. But the whole record is about our society, and that we have to take care of one another. And we all have to be accountable for each other as well. We all are related to each other in some way. We all came from, from the same principle, we all came from the same part of the universe, I will dispute it with anybody that tells me otherwise like, well, I didn’t come from you. And I’m not related to this. And that’s not related to me. Now, man. It’s all connected. All of it is and we want people to be able to ask questions. We want people to be able to learn from one another. But you also have to tackle really, really tough subjects sometimes, and you need to allow the other person to speak. Like even if you disagree with them, have a conversation, try to make it constructive. It doesn’t have to escalate into being violent or disruptive. Everybody’s different, but the only way forward in our personal opinion as a band and as for guys that are very much family and very much brothers. The only way forward truly is together, we all inhabit this planet, you know, with all the other organisms and the creatures, you know, around us as well, there’s a respect that has to be involved in that as well. And ultimately, we don’t want people to lose their humanity, or their empathy for each other. Because we do believe that human beings are inherently good. That being said, you also have to protect yourself and the people around you. But for me, with everything I see in the world today, I see a lot of people kind of on their knees, because they don’t know how to handle their feelings and what they’re feeling inside. If you see somebody out there, and you see that they’re on their knees, or they’re, they’re on one knee, even, instead of walking past them, maybe consider helping them and pick them up. You know, that’s a lot of what it’s built around man is is is respecting each other and trying to be there for one another. Yeah,

Michael Sarraille 46:06

this this is a topic for a much longer conversation, the divisive ness is you know, bro, I hate to be the guy that tears ties everything back to the military. But you know what, the one thing I did respect about is it didn’t matter if you’re black, white, straight or gay, Democrat or Republican? Like, nobody cared? Nope, none of that should matter. It’s what you know, we were under one flag. You saw people for the merit of their character. That’s what I respected. And yeah, we’ve got a real leadership problem within this, this nation, and you talk about accountability, dude. You know what? Yeah, holding somebody accountable? Well, first, it starts with you got to be able to hold yourself accountable before you can hold others accountable. And I know you agree with that. I’m preaching to the choir. But accountability is a is a hard conversation. How I reframe it when I because I do leadership development for for companies, is I say, guys go back to parenting again, one of the highest forms of compassion, or love, is accountability. If you see your son or daughter do something wrong, what do you do? You don’t hesitate to pull them over. And hopefully in a professional and tactful way without yelling, you say, Hey, listen, what you just did there? Why did you make that decision? Do you feel was the right decision? No, you know, it wasn’t the right decision. Now, how are you gonna change that moving forward? I mean, ultimately, as a parent, what do you want, you want your kids to be good, competent human beings, who contribute to society impact others around them? And ultimately, they have to be self sustainable? Because they’re, you know, you can’t keep them in the coop? Forever? How excited? Are you guys about this tour and getting that mass message out there? I gotta imagine going on tour, you’re just smoked by the end of it.

Brent Smith 48:00

Man, well, no, I mean, it just, we work really, really hard. But the good thing is, is, you know, 20 years of doing it, and doing it professionally, you have to keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Because there is a way to do it productively. You know, we have a staff when we’re doing these bigger shows our staff has grown to about when you count the band, and everybody involved with the buses and the trucks and everything. All together, we have a staff of roughly 77 people. And then we got to other bands, a lot of times when we’re doing these tours and what have you, and then they have a staff. So at any given day, you know, we’re responsible for roughly 180 people per show. It’s a big, you know, you’re building a city man. And, you know, and creating this environment for people. But for us, it’s a huge part of what we do. The live aspect of our shows are what we’re known for, because we’re always trying to outdo what we’ve already done and make it exciting for people but our main mission with the audience is, you know, if they walked into the venue, the fairgrounds, the festival, wherever we’re playing, the goal for us is if you walked in, we want to try and have you float out, you know, so it’s always it’s about lifting people up and, and making, you know, I still to this day, man, like, you know, my granny once told me, she said, find something that you love more than anything in the world and you’ll never work a day in your life. I will tell you, it’s a lot of work. But it is a labor of love. And I still am very humbled and grateful and I take it I don’t ever take it for granted man, that I truly get to do what I love for a living. And honestly, Mike, I’ll tell you this to feel very, very fortunate that from the moment I entered the earth, I always knew what I wanted to do, like I’m doing today Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a singer and a songwriter and a performer. And that’s what I’m able to do. So

Michael Sarraille 50:07

it’s that rare lover blessed, because there’s a lot of people out there, especially with COVID that made them reassess. And quite frankly, they don’t know where their next passion is. And, you know, sometimes that’s fine, dude, you’re gonna figure it out. Just be iterative. So the tour starts April 3, in Saginaw, Michigan. Yeah, ends September 7 10th. In Virginia International Raceway. Let me ask you this, do you because when you look good, I mean that I’ll let you stay on top of your your fitness and diet. When you’re on the road. I’m assuming I’m assuming you guys are on a tour bus, correct?

Brent Smith 50:44

Yeah, multiple buses.

Michael Sarraille 50:46

Do you do like a body scan before you leave? And when you come back, do you do?

Brent Smith 50:52

No, nah, like, you always know. Like, here’s my this is how I know I’m in my fighting weight. My pants 30 to 30. As long as I got a couple of thumbs in between the 33 I’m good to go.

Michael Sarraille 51:07

Again, 20 years on the road. Do you have a system down? Do you have a trainer that’s saying, okay, hey, man. You’re probably not going to get to a gym every day. Did you guys bring some travel stuff? Or do you do make it a point?

Brent Smith 51:18

Well, that’s the thing we create it? Well, we, because we’ve been doing it for so long, we were able to so we this this particular tour, most doors were running between six to 12 buses. So there is always one bus once it is dumped for the day, it becomes what we call the yard. And so that truck becomes the yard. So there’s a heavy bag in there. There’s an elliptical, there’s an assault bike, there’s a treadmill in there, there’s multiple weights in there, there’s kettlebells, and they’re just resistance bands, mats on the floor. We all try to get in there all together a lot of times and we’ll do amaranth or we’ll do circuit or we’ll do Tabata, and we just do it with each other more than anything. And then as far as the diet is concerned out there, most of the time, we’re really fortunate to carry catering, but you just advance it, you know, you try to give everybody a little bit of stuff. And you always make sure there’s two proteins, there’s always a pasta, there’s always a vegan and vegetarian option, there’s always a salad bar. So it’s kind of one of those things where you know how to eat right, you know what I mean? So, you know, we we keep cookies and cakes and stuff out there for people that want them and what have you, but there’s always juicers and, and what, but just doing this over time, you learn that we kind of begin in the military, we kind of run it like a military out there just with how active we are. And, you know, we’re essentially working out two times a day to be able to do what we do on stage. Because you know, especially in the summertime, what we’ll end up doing is when you’re in those hotter states, and you’re starting to cook around 90 100 degrees, you start talking about touring, amphitheaters or festivals, right in the middle of June to basically the end of August, early September, we will hotbox ourselves in those trucks every day. So it’s like double the heat in there, we’re usually working out by no later than four o’clock, the workouts are usually an hour to an hour and a half. And then you know, we’re drenched, and then I need to eat by six o’clock, because I’m usually on stage by nine I have to have three hours before I go on stage. And if we didn’t do that, if we didn’t work out like that, if we weren’t, you know, have that kind of mobility and what have you, we wouldn’t be able to do. I mean, quite frankly, at our age, what we do on stage, I’ve always looked at ages like a number, but you have to be conditioned to do it.

Michael Sarraille 53:49

With regards to the workouts are you guys coming up with those? Or do you have somebody that sort of is pushing you?

Brent Smith 53:55

We all Yeah, like each guy will get and our our videographer will get in there with us to Sonjay so sometimes, you know we’ll have other crew members they’ll come in if they all everybody knows like four o’clock every day we’re in there. So like if you want to come in and do it with us you can but like we’ll rotate it so Eric may come up with it one day Barry might come up with it the next day Zack may come up with it the next day they may all look at me you know where the weakest shows and be like we don’t want to think Brent just come up with something every day and then I’ll put it together but yeah, it’s very much a we’re all Well dude if

Michael Sarraille 54:31

you’re up for it. I’m looking at the locations if Men’s Journal received an invite to come film with your workouts we would love to do it yeah and may stick around for the show if those ticket extended Bring it on, man. I’ve got a few last question zoom. We closed it out in a traditional way. Do you guys hate Texas? What What the hell man?

Brent Smith 54:55

No, we we played Texas last year. We did it We did with Irving, Texas last year we did Houston we did Dallas and we’re just don’t have any Texas on this run at the moment we got another part of the year. That’s not the only door we’re doing is April 3 through you know, may 9, I think is what it is. But now we

Michael Sarraille 55:20

all right, we’re gonna hold you to that Bozeman, Montana, we will be there if we have an invite from you, sir.

Brent Smith 55:29

You want 1,000% have an invite, and you got carte blanche man, we got the red carpet laid out whatever whatever show you want to come through man at a

Michael Sarraille 55:37

time bring it on. Beware be weary of the invites you extend. So you rep we’re all concerned about our legacy in your legacy is cemented. But what does that mean to you is when your time comes? And you look back on your life? What would you hope? People think that’s what he stood for. And that’s the message he sent. And this is what I learned from him.

Brent Smith 56:08

Um, so it’s an interesting question. You know, I got asked a question one time that was you’ve had your moment. And you’ve gone to the great beyond, and there you stand in front of God. What would you like him to say to you? And I said, I would like him to say, go back, you’re not done. So, you know, my demise, if you will. And some people look at that word is like, well, that’s like, you know, we’re all gonna pass away, it’s part of life. I think if anything, a legacy is not only what you contributed, while you were alive, but it’s the impact that you left on people. And once again, the biggest impact that I would want, that came from me to the people around me and to the people out, you know, on this planet, and beyond, is, no matter what, believe in yourself, like, don’t, at the end of the day, you come into this world, alone, in a lot of ways, and you’re gonna leave the same way. But you’re all we’re all made up of energy. You know, this is a shell more than anything. It’s funny, because sometimes people will talk about when someone passes away, and they’re at the funeral, and they’ll talk about I can’t believe they’re gone. Isn’t it so sad that they’re gone? And I tend to disagree with that, because I look at it. I look at it like this, they’re not gone. They’re everywhere. You know, so you don’t I don’t know if you asked, I don’t know if you necessarily ever really die, you know? Yeah, man. It’s, it’s, it’s all in your perception. But more than anything, I hope that people will say that I was a vessel for encouragement, and believing in yourself and ultimately leading from the front and do the best to be the hardest worker in the room and surround yourself with like minded power

Michael Sarraille 58:25

powerful powerful words. Know if the dead if the living left in impact, then you definitely the dead don’t die. Well, Brett, we’re gonna spread the message about this tour. I’ll contact your team about Bozeman. Thank you. Because I’ve got a crew of Yeah, have some special operations guys that would love to come and get a workout with you on that. On that day, if it’s available.

Brent Smith 58:51

Dude, you you have an open invitation at any time and for you and whoever you want to bring man I’m telling you right now like you got carte blanche red carpet all the way

Michael Sarraille 59:02

anytime see the world. Thank you for joining us today. In thank you for the music that was on my iPod. Again. In those combat zones, man, you talk about the impact you have, even if it gave me just a brief minute of relaxation before turning it back on man. So for everyone, thanks for joining joining us to the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. I’m your host, Mike Sarraille. Until next time.

Share this Post

About Us

What started as a mission to share what's happening in the fitness and nutrition world today has grown into your daily go-to for your active lifestyle news.