Shinedown Smith wins addiction fight
New look: Smith, second left, with Shinedown
Shinedown frontman Brent Smith is celebrating victory over his addiction issues, after losing 70lbs in a four-year struggle against cocaine, painkillers and alcohol.
The singer says he was driven to clean up when his girlfriend issued him with a stark warning – after he was “stung” by an insult about his weight on national television.
Smith tells the LA Times: “The weight came on about four years ago. I’ve toured for over 12 years, and for the first two records I was addicted to cocaine, OxyContin and alcohol. The coke and Oxy kept my weight down. But for the third album I quit the opiates and started to crave sugar. I was still drinking a lot of alcohol and started to pack on the pounds.”
In 2009 Smith and Shinedown appeared on the Today show on US TV, after which presenter Kathy Lee Gifford said, “At first I thought he was Meat Loaf.”
The singer recalls: “It really stung. I’m a fan of Meat Loaf but she wasn’t talking about a musical comparison. My heart kind of fell on the ground – it was like the performance didn’t even matter.”
The last straw came when his girlfriend spoke to him. “Teresa sat me down in November last year and said, ‘Listen to me. I love you and I’m not going anywhere. But this lifestyle that you’re leading is not going to work.’
“Teresa had told me it was time to get my life back. I felt like I’d been in a death spiral and I realised I needed to be healthy and strong for my family.”
Smith started work with a personal trainer, who cleaned up his diet and worked out a fitness programme he can complete on the road.
He says: “I have a four-year-old boy and he was a huge motivation. So were the fans. I had an epiphany and I haven’t had a drink since.
“I look completely different on stage now. The stamina I have in my lungs is so much better. I don’t have to wear a big jacket to cover the fat and get overheated.
“It’s amazing how much clarity I have and how my body feels so much better – health is such a big part of who I am now.”