Zach Myers' career trajectory with Shinedown has been enviable, albeit a little strange: Since 2004, he's gone from guitar tech to temporary bass player to rhythm guitarist, and with the departure of lead guitarist Nick Perri in 2008, he's now the multi-platinum band's sole axeman.
"We're feeling great," Myers says after a mid-afternoon soundcheck at the House Of Blues in Atlantic City, New Jersey. "I've been the only guitar player in the band for four years now, so I'm pretty used to it. And we're so much stronger now. Everybody's getting along, playing great, sounding killer - it's pretty cool."
That much is evident on Shinedown's recently released album, Amaryllis, a muscular and mature effort that has already yielded one radio smash, Bully, with more on the way.
The stage crew is about to lock down equipment before the show, but before they do, Myers gives MusicRadar a walkthrough of his guitars (a small Paul Reed Smith showroom), effects and amps. On the back of one of his PRS Private Stock models is a hand-drawn message: God Bless Levon Helm. The legendary Band drummer and singer had passed away a few days ago, and Myers heaves a heavy sigh, reflecting on the man he considers himself fortunate to have known.
"I not only had the pleasure of playing with Levon, I even got to write a song with him," he says. "He was a brilliant, tremendous man in every way. He will be missed, most definitely."