bandmates prove their metal with new tunes
By Dave Wedge
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Godsmack singer Sully Erna’s
writer’s block was his band’s gain.
Erna, who normally handles nearly all the songwriting for the Bay State-bred
metal kings, fell into somewhat of a funk following their last world
tour, leaving his bandmates to come up with the power-packed riffs that
fill their new disc, “IV.”
“Sully didn’t write right away,” guitarist Tony Rombola
said this week in a phone interview from his New Hampshire home. “Usually
Sully feels a lot of pressure to write the music. He was a little overwhelmed.
In the downtime, we sat around and just kept writing songs.”
Not only did Rombola, bassist Robbie Merrill and drummer Shannon Larkin
come up with the bulk of the music on the new album’s 11 tracks,
they wrote enough material to launch a side project. They added Dropbox
guitarist Lee Richards and Ugly Kid Joe singer Whitfield Crane and called
the group Another Animal.
Their debut is being mixed in Louisiana and is expected to be released
on Universal in the fall.
“With all the extra music we had from Godsmack and the songs we
had together, we had the album,” Rombola said. “It wasn’t
a lot of work, though. We were just motoring, writing all this music
Although Rombola insists Another Animal poses no threat to Godsmack’s
future, he said it was a nice break to get out from under Erna’s
“It was so much fun. There was no pressure,” he said. “It
was really good for us as band guys because Sully’s very dominating.
He has the final word with everything. It was our chance to do what
The writing process may have changed, but “IV” is classic
Godsmack - from the grinding punch of the first single, “Speak,”
to the haunting acoustic number “Hollow.” Their first studio
album in three years, “IV” features 11 tracks of the trademark
tribal metal that has made them one of rock’s top-selling acts.
“I think we just do
what we do. We write music and put it out and hope people like it,”
Rombola says. “You can’t do much more than that. You just
do your best.”
Formed in 1995 by Erna, a former drummer from Lawrence, Godsmack spent
years playing North Shore clubs until their demo landed in the hands
of a DJ at WAAF 107.3 FM. They quickly became one of the region’s
top acts and exploded nationally after stints on Ozzfest in 1999 and
Thanks to a devoted legion of fans, their last album debuted at No.
1 on the Billboard chart, and there’s no reason to think “IV”
won’t do the same when it comes out on Tuesday.
“Sully’s probably the biggest rock star in the band, as
far as cars and the whole rock-star thing,” Rombola said. “I’m
pretty grounded. I grew up building houses for 12 years. We’re
just musicians and we’re doing well, which is great. But we’re
And with a Godsmack world tour in the planning stages, Rombola is enjoying
some quality time at home with his family before heading off again into
the rock-star world.
“Everyone’s got their head together right now,” he
said. “Personally, I’m on top of the world. I’m in
a great place right now.”