DAYTON DAILY NEWS

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Dayton Daily News

The most recent addition to the Godsmack team, Larkin came on board a little more than four years ago.

Speaking last week from a tour stop in Pennsylvania, he said Godsmack frontman Sully Erna first asked him about being a part of the ensemble when Erna was putting it together 10 years ago, but Larkin, who'd been playing in rock bands since high school, was already committed to the heavy metal group Amen.

"Then, our first album sold 30,000 copies, and theirs sold 3 million," he said with a rueful laugh.

So, when Godsmack and its original drummer, Tommy Stewart, parted ways, Erna turned again to Larkin. This time, Larkin was free, and he didn't hesitate. He said he had no
problems joining a band that already had a set list of hit songs. He'd been paying his dues a long time, and he was happy to experience what success felt like.

Larkin's primarily metal and punk rock background also caused no difficulties when he set to merge his often dramatic playing with Godsmack's style, which has evolved toward a more classic hard rock vibe, particularly on the band's 2006 album release, IV.

Larkin said the new album's sound represents where the group is now, especially Erna, who in addition to writing many of the songs featured on the album, produced the project as well.

"It's like a fingerprint," Larkin said. "But unlike a fingerprint, it keeps changing with time and age. We don't want to make the same record over and over again."

The latest album, the band's sixth, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, and the first single, Speak, spent 12 consecutive weeks at No. 1.

The success feels good, especially after spending so many years paying dues, Larkin said. "The main thing with me in my life now - I'm 39 - is just to have fun with this and enjoy every show as if it were my last."

how to go

Who: Godsmack, with Breaking Benjamin and Hourcast.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Hara Arena, 1001 Shiloh Springs Road, Trotwood.

Tickets: $38.50, available at the Hara box office and all Ticketmaster outlets, including by phone at (937) 228-2323 and online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-7309 or
csimmons@DaytonDailyNews.com.