On June 6, Holland’s FaceCulture conducted an interview with GODSMACK vocalist/guitarist Sully Erna and drummer Shannon Larkin. You can now watch the chat in two parts below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On why it has taken GODSMACK so long to return to Europe:
Sully: “I hate pointing fingers at people, but, unfortunately, we had a lot of complications with our old manager and our record label. And there was just never any follow-up. There was never any records in the stores, there was never any press. We were out here doing the work with some of the biggest bands — BLACK SABBATH, METALLICA — and there was just no follow-up, there was no support from the label. And it just became really difficult for us to continue to tour out here, because we weren’t getting any funding. So we had to reassess the whole situation, and we eventually replaced our manager and we went ahead and straightened things out with our record label. And then, obviously, we brought Spinefarm onboard, who’s been really a tremendous help to us. And so, we’re hoping as long as they continue to do the right things for us out here, so we’re visible, then we wanna come here as often as we can, because… We have some work to do, but our goal in the end is to be headlining these festivals.”
On the inspiration for the early GODSMACK songs:
Sully: “A friend of mine had passed away. He had committed suicide. He hung himself in the basement. And this was before I wrote anything. And I remember sitting in my girlfriend’s bedroom; I was sitting on the floor and I was really upset. And I was writing on an acoustic guitar. And I ended up putting this song together called ‘Another Day’. And to this day, I’ve never released it. It’s a very emotional song for me. Maybe one day I will. But that’s what started it. My point to this is when I wrote that song — and, I mean, I was really upset… crying and just like… ‘Cause the lyrics started to come out. And I put myself in his shoes and I was trying to think of, like, ‘Wow, what kind of pain was he feeling to actually do it.’ Because you have to be experiencing some intense fucking pain to literally take your own life. And when I kind of immersed myself into him and was writing these lyrics out about how alone he must have felt, how painful it must have been to be in that position, and then how I felt afterwards, it really lifted a lot of that bad feeling from me. And so I think it was right then and there where I identified how music could be therapeutic for me, [that] I [could] use it as therapy. And so, from that point on, whenever I experienced some kind of emotion, whether it was great, or whether it was really sad for me, is when I started writing. And that’s when the first batch of GODSMACK songs started happening. That’s when I started writing ‘Moon Baby’ and ‘Now Or Never’ or ‘Time Bomb’. It was either angry, or it was sad, or it was a little depressed, or whatever… frustrated. And a lot of the first GODSMACK songs came from my experience in relationships.”
On whether GODSMACK‘s early success felt like vindication after spending years grinding it out on the Massachusetts club circuit:
Sully: “No, I just think we got really fucking lucky. [Laughs] Like Shannon said a long time ago, it takes a little bit of talent and a lot of luck, and that’s the truth, because we know musicians out there that are ten times better than us, and they’re still sitting in a barn somewhere or working in a store selling shoes or something, and they’re brilliant musicians, and they’re just never gonna have that opportunity, because sometimes it’s about timing and luck. And, for me, I had never even been a singer [prior to fronting GODSMACK]. I just went from drums to singing, and I couldn’t even sing that well; I was terrible. But I just started practicing more, I started looking at other singers that I really admired, like Steven Tyler and James Hetfield, and people like that, and great showmen. And I took a little bit of this and a little bit of that and I started to develop something of my own. But back then, people were freaking out. They were, like, ‘What, are you nuts? You’re gonna sing? You’re a really good drummer. That’s crazy.’ People didn’t think I could do it, and I think that’s what kind of drove me to wanna… to really do it. Because I felt like, ‘Nah, I can do this. And I can do this better than the singers we were auditioning.’ ‘Cause at first I was playing the drums, and it was Robbie [Merrill, GODSMACK bassist] and this other kid on the guitar. And then we’d take the stuff, we’d record it on a little box and I’d take it home and write lyrics. And after a while, we were auditioning people, and they were just all singing high still — we had just come out of the ’80s. And I didn’t want that for this band. I wanted something tougher, like a METALLICA. And so, that’s kind of how the whole thing started.”
GODSMACK‘s sixth studio album, “1000hp” (One Thousand Horsepower), was released last August.