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Broadway Metal
With flame tornadoes, video cues and moving platforms, Godsmack comes to Nissan
By Josh Eiserike
jeiserike@potomacnews.com
Thursday, August 24, 2006


In addition to being a retirement haven, South Florida might also be a getaway for privacy-seeking rock stars.

After spending eight to 10 months a year on tour with his band, Shannon Larkin wanted peace, quiet and time with his family.

Larkin needed to relocate to the East Coast from California to play drums for the band Godsmack, who are based in Boston. He was not interested in living anywhere that got cold, so he moved to Cape Coral, Fla. This way he could fly up in the morning for a business meeting and fly home for dinner with his family.

For a drummer in a top-selling rock band, life of anonymity with his family provided the perfect contrast to life on the road.

"I thought, there's a bunch of old people and nothing to do," said Larkin. "Perfect."

Touring with Rob Zombie this fall, anonymity might not be an option for Larkin. The two hard rock acts roll into Nissan Pavilion on Sept. 2, with supporting band Shinedown.

Larkin, 39, has pounded the drums for Godsmack for the past five years, joining the band to record its third album, "Faceless." He has previously drummed for Ugly Kid Joe, played on a Vanilla Ice album and even sat in for one set with Black Sabbath.

This past spring, Godsmack had finished performing their single "Speak" on "The Tonight Show with Leno," when they found a bottle of Dom Perignon backstage, courtesy of their record label, Universal. Their new album, "IV," had just debuted at No. 1 on the charts.

Larkin said "Speak" was a No. 1 radio single for 12 weeks, and that the band did some warm-up dates in Canada and Japan to prepare for the tour, their first in a couple of years.

"We're back in shape, back in form and ready to rock," he said.

Larkin added that he is looking forward to sharing the bill with Rob Zombie, not only because he's never had a chance to see the legendary rocker, but also because he's a horror movie nut.

"Rob Zombie is the best," said Larkin, about the Zombie-directed horror movies.

Larkin added that his favorite horror movies include "Evil Dead 2," directed by Sam Raimi, and "Homecoming," from the "Masters of Horror" series, directed by Joe Dante.

Like a good horror movie, the Godsmack stage show is full of over-the-top special effects.

Larkin said the stage show includes "tornado flames"-fans that blow flames into a tornado effect, moving platforms and videos that correlate to the band's lyrics and music.

"It's kind of like a Broadway play," said Larkin. "Everything has to be timed perfectly? but the main thing is the songs."

If a Godsmack concert is similar to a Broadway production, it should come as no surprise that in addition to bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, Larkin admits to being a Madonna fan.

"At first I wasn't a fan of her music," said Larkin. "She changed to fit the current music trends without sacrificing her integrity."

As he was buying Madonna albums simply because he liked the artist, Larkin became a fan of her music as well. He also said that he likes artists, such as Madonna, who create whole albums as a body of work in the age of the 99 cent-a-song download.

The Nissan Pavilion date is also somewhat of a homecoming for Larkin. The drummer grew up in Martinsburg, W.Va., and attended his first arena concert - Judas Priest - at the now-demolished Capital Centre in Landover, Md. (The Capital Centre was briefly known as the USAirways Arena). The band has a day off before the concert, and Larkin said he looked forward to spending time with family members and old friends. He has 25 spots on his guest list.

"It's a big star on my itinerary," said Larkin. "I'm proud to have grown up in the area."