BOSTON MUSIC SPOTLIGHT

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Godsmack gear up for big Boston show

We caught up with Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin to discuss the band's current tour with Rob Zombie and their new release, IV.

They are arguably the biggest band to come out of Boston in the last decade. Now, five albums into their career, Godsmack is working harder than ever. Our new hometown ‘bad boys’ will be back in town this Thursday at the Tweeter for a triple shot of rock that includes Shinedown and Haverhill native, Rob Zombie.

“Its going great man,” says drummer Shannon Larkin before a soundcheck in Atlanta. “We’re pretty much kicking ass now,” he declares as the band finished its first week of a nationwide tour.”

The band is touring in support of their latest release, IV. “It was much different this time,” says Larkin referring to the band’s recording process for the new album. On their last full-length release, Faceless, they went to Miami, where they moved in together. They were together all the time and recorded, though lead singer Sully Erna led the work for the majority of the record. Following that, they recorded the all-acoustic EP, The Other Side, in less than a month in Hawaii.

However, when it came time to get back to work on another new album, Erna was struggling with personal problems. Having to deal with other issues in his life, Erna took some time off while Larkin, who replaced founding member Tommy Stewart in 2002, joined guitarist Tony Rombola and bassist Robbie Merrill in a practice studio.

“It was completely the opposite of what happened with Faceless, where all of us were around together,” remarks Larkin, who is the band’s only non-Bostonian. They locked themselves in a Tewksbury studio and started writing together. Larkin states, “As a result with the three of us we wrote almost 40 songs before Sully came in.”

With an additional seven songs by Erna, the band had a great amount of material to use. Legendary engineer Andy John (most famous for his work with Led Zeppelin) assisted with his expansive knowledge, while Erna produced the entire album himself.

For the second consecutive time, Godsmack’s new album debuted at number one on The Billboard 200 charts after its release in April. A very satisfying feet for a band that, as Larkin candidly admitted, feels the mounting pressure of fans, management, and their record label.

IV’s first single, “Speak,” is exactly what we have come to love from Godsmack, a classic straightforward hard rocker. “Living In Sin,” the album’s opener, finds Erna reflecting deep within his life struggles as does “Hollow,” which would have fit in perfectly on The Other Side. However, in IV’s best track, the southern rock (harmonica included) fused “Shine Down” gives him hope in an immortal love from a higher being.

After the album’s release, Godsmack hit the road overseas. The band wanted to play a lot of new material and therefore felt that they would get their international dates first. Larkin says, “We wanted to give time for our fans to get the new record and get familiar with it so that we could play more songs from it.”

When Godsmack returned, their management asked if they would be interested in touring with Rob Zombie. The band overwhelmingly approved. “He’s a lot like us in that he brings the big stage show, with the pyrotechnic and a very energetic performer which we like having on the bill,” says Larkin. They then actively pursued Florida rockers Shinedown to open the show. Larkin comments, “They are just an amazing band, write great songs, great singer, and truly nice guys.

“By the time we get there, it’s going to be a well-oiled machine,” says Larkin about the tour that touches down at the Tweeter Center on Thursday night. He continues, “We’re very excited, getting stronger each show…we’re going to destroy Boston!”

By: Rory Flynn, Editor-in-Chief