In a new interview with Ronni Hunter of Columbus, Ohio’s 99.7 The Blitz radio station, SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith was asked what he looks forward to doing the most once he gets off the road after a long tour. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’m an anomaly when it comes to the rest of the guys that I’m in a band with. We all have families, but I don’t actually own a home. So I have lived in hotels pretty much my entire life, or at least the duration of… Like, the last 20 years I’ve been a gypsy by every account. But the thing is that I had a house in 2011; I owned it in California. [I had it] from about 2011 to 2016, and then I sold it to a family of four because I was never in the home. And so I’ve been on the road and living in and out of hotels since roughly 2016. But when I do go home, and home is where your heart is, the way that I look at things, and where my heart is is with my 14-year-old son who is in Florida. So I’m with him 90 percent of the time when I’m off the road right now — I’m in Florida with him — but there’s definitely no kicking up my feet and [laughs] hanging out, because having a 14-year-old is a roller-coaster ride. He’s a great kid, but when I’m home, I’m dad. And the other thing, too, is me and his mother are really, really close and she has a son with another man. And we’re very much a blended family, and we spend holidays together, we ring in the new year together, we try to always be with one another when I’m in Florida.
“The reality is that as these boys are getting older, there’s a responsibility that we have as we’re co-parenting — the three of us, really,” Brent added. “And that’s something that I don’t take for granted, that I’m able to, when I am off the road, that having that stability for our kids is a big deal. ‘Cause I’ve never made it about me. And the cool thing, too, is my son just doesn’t really care that his dad is in a band, because it’s never been about me when I’m home, and he’s very much into sports. He’s an awesome basketball player; he looks like he’s got some pretty significant game. A lot of basketball practice, a lot of just trying to get him locked in to his school work. School in this day and age is not like school when I was a kid; it’s way different. They demand a lot more responsibility of the kids at a younger age. And [we’re] just trying to keep him focused and on point, make sure that we’re guiding him and his brother in the right direction.”
Last October, Smith told the FM99 WNOR radio station that he never pushed his son to follow in his footsteps. “Growing up, I always wanted him to pick his path; I want him to go in the direction that he wants to go,” he said. “And it’s really a beautiful thing in a lot of ways, ’cause he’s his own dude; he’s his own guy. When I’m with him, we don’t talk about me; it’s all him.
“I’ve told him this before, and he understands it. I’m, like, ‘I can be your friend later. I’m your father. I’m your dad. I’m responsible for you. And I wanna give you encouragement. I wanna set you up with understanding the value of hard work, that your word should be bond, and to be honest and to be a gentleman.’ And I have to say he’s exhibiting all of those great traits. Because I want him to be a real man. I want him to understand who he is. Later on in life, he may be more interested in it or what have you, but I just try to never make it about me…. The other thing, too — I’m not the tallest guy in the world; I’m five [feet] eight [inches tall]. My son is 13 and he’s already almost a foot taller than me… It’s, like, ‘How’s it going up there, son?’
“My son is really respectful. It’s a very proud moment for me too. All of his teachers go out of their way to let me know that he’s extremely charismatic but he’s also not cliquey at all. He is friends with everyone. They’re always very open with me about how… His teachers have said, ‘He’s one of the most empathetic kids here.’ It doesn’t mean he’s a pushover. But people, they gravitate towards him. And that makes me feel good, man, ’cause I always want him to be respectful.”
Four years ago, Brent said that his “number one priority in life” was his son. “I think how my success is determined is by how much time I can give to my son,” he said at the time. “I keep it very private in the world that he lives in — like teachers at school, people around him, they don’t really know what his dad does, because me and his mother, who are really really good friends even though we’re not together anymore, have a respect for each other and she knows that I want him to have a childhood. I want him to have an upbringing that is healthy, not only physically and mentally but where he is not pigeonholed into one particular group because of who his dad is. That’s my success: making sure he has a childhood, making sure he gets everything he needs for himself, but also making sure he understands that he has to work for it. So, my success is bringing up my son and him being a great man when it’s time for him to become one. He’s so amazing on so many levels, so I measure my success by him.”
More than a decade ago, Smith credited his son with saving his life. “I stopped doing drugs,” he said. “I was immensely addicted to cocaine and oxycontin. I was being the clichéd rock star. Cocaine and oxycontin I got hooked on real bad, but my son saved me from my vanity and selfishness. I’m lucky to be alive. I wasn’t knocking on death’s door; I was in the room doing shots with death.”
SHINEDOWN‘s new album, “Planet Zero”, will be released on April 22 via Atlantic Records.
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