Shane Told of Silverstein has created a podcast called Lead Singer Syndrome. The show is about lead singers in the alternative music scene and their life and struggles as told by themselves. The first episode is an interview with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth, formerly Attack! Attack!, and was recorded during Warped Tour 2015. As a huge fan of Beartooth, I was excited to listen to Shomo's first hand account of his career and the path he's taken.
Shomo started touring when he was 15 as a keyboardist with the band Attack! Attack!, eventually making his way to lead singer. I never was really into A!A! and after listening to the interview, I realize I wasn't the only one (it seems comparable to how people feel about Black Veil Brides, you love them or hate them). Shomo talks about the depression and ADHD that he dealt with prior to being a musician and those same health issues coupled with eating disorders and alcoholism that surfaced fully while working in A!A!
I found Shomo very relatable. While I may not be a professional musician, I'm also in my early 20s and have dealt with many of these things, too: depression, ADHD, eating disorders, alcoholism, being with people who aren't good for me, etc. And to hear one of my favorite musicians talk about their personal experiences and considering how that translates to their music is almost cathartic. I feel like I really connect to Beartooth on a deeper level than before.
I was surprised to learn that all the recording for Beartooth's album was done by Shomo. He wrote all the lyrics and recorded all the instruments for the album Sick. The four other members are featured for touring and live music in general. Beartooth has been astonishingly well received and for that all to be based on the experiences and the talent of one person is incredible. Sick comes straight from Shomo's heart and is his truth. While musing over being a highly metaphorical writer, Shomo says in his songs he alludes to his struggles with Attack! Attack! and his depression and suicidal thoughts that come from them. The day after he wrote the song "I Have a Problem" he quit A!A!
Most people that have listened to the album would assume that he wrote a lot about alcoholism and substance abuse issues, but that was all metaphorical, although he has dealt with alcoholism. He says it's easier for people to understand and accept that musicians deal with substance abuse issues rather than mental issues such as depression, which can be argued about most people with mental health issues.
The primary focus in this podcast is Shomo's journey with Attack! Attack! which Shomo hasn't spoken very much about, so it's very illuminating for folks that have been following him for the last seven years. Originally Shomo was the keyboardist and transitioned to guitar then to lead (clean and unclean) vocalist. After being signed to Rise Records via myspace, A!A! began recording their first album shortly after. Someday Came Suddenly, A!A!'s first recorded album after being signed, sold approximately 150,000 in the first year of sales which came as a huge surprise to most people considering the amount of criticism they received.
Told is an excellent interviewer, and is able to ask very perceptive questions because he's been an active musician for well over a decade. He's able to relate to his guest on a very personal level. Told is very astute and able to draw out some wonderfully insightful observations and stories. New episodes are released every Monday for the foreseeable future and I plan on listening to every single one.