It isn’t merely a No. 1 hit. “Second Chance,” the recent platinum-certified single from Florida rock firebrands Shinedown, is an irresistible anthem that practically defined the summer.
As the track builds to a crescendo, gravel-throated bandleader Brent Smith howls the uplifting chorus with lupine ferocity: “Tell my mother, tell my father I’ve done the best I can/ To make them realize this is my life…sometimes goodbye is a second chance.”
The message is enhanced by the chart-topping MTV/VH1 video, which features an aspiring young ballerina defying her prudish folks to study dance.
What inspired such angst?
The answer lies deep in Smith’s Knoxville, Tenn. childhood, when his devoutly religious parents banned metal music from the family home.
Too late: Smith, who brings Shinedown to The City Sunday, already had discovered Guns N’ Roses’ edgy “Appetite for Destruction.”
“They were a band that was quite dangerous, a rock band that lived it, and they really charged this rebellion in me,” recalls the singer, who as a teen listen to contraband cassettes in secret Friday nights.
“That’s when my parents always went out. And my room was right above the garage, so I’d sit in the closet with my Walkman so I could feel the vibration of the garage door opening when they got home. But eventually, they found my stash.”
Smith’s folks were horrified, and urged him to excel in sports and schoolwork.
Instead, he left home at 18 to pursue stardom, sleeping in his car, on friends’ couches, even running afoul of the law, until he landed a development deal with Atlantic Records and wound up nearly succumbing to the hard-partying GNR lifestyle.
Now 31, the recovering cocaine/OxyContin addict is two years sober and – for the sake of his son Lyric – determined not to become “a rock and roll cliché.”
He cranked out 60-plus demos for Shinedown’s new third set, “The Sound of Madness,” with “Second Chance” making the final cut.
He says, “So it took me 20 years to be able to write that song. “I’d always had those words in my head, always wanted to say them, but I didn’t want to offend my mother and father.”
Smith was nervous when he premiered the album in his parents’ living room: “And when it got to ‘Second Chance,’ they both teared up. But they understood, totally understood where I was coming from. And now they’re my biggest fans.”
IF YOU GO
Where: The Regency Ballroom, 1290 Sutter St., San Francisco
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday