Godsmack Drummer: 'We Gave The Band A Fresh New Sound'
Godsmack are just about to hit the charts with a new killer record "IV," which is released today. The album has already got some awesome previews. We couldn't miss the opportunity to talk to the band's drummer Shannon Larkin about how "IV" was created, why they didn't trust anybody to produce the record and whether there is any future for metal bands.
UG: Hey, Shannon! Thanx for taking time to answer our questions! So where are you right now?
My pleasure... Right now I'm in the offices of Universal Records, been doing the press thing.
The work on your new album "IV" is over now. Sully Erna has stated recently that after 'Faceless' you started to spread your wings and "IV" is a killer record. So, what is it about? What makes it killer record?
Well, the band (me, Robbie and Tony) wrote a shit load of songs and gave them to Sully, which never happened before. It added a different approach for him vocally, and gave the band a fresh new sound, without losing the vibe of the old stuff. He also has a lot of songs that he wrote on the record too, so it's a nice mix of the two.
Besides of drumming, did you take part in the songwriting process?
Yes, I write on the bass, and got a couple cool ones on the disc, like "Voodoo Too," the sequel to "Voodoo" I wrote with Sully, and a few lyrics made it in there too. The new record is much more of a band vibe than any of the previous ones.
How did you collaborate writing the songs? Did you write in the same room, or sent music files via internet?
We are a same room kind of band. We pick up our instruments and jam together, trying to allow some kind of spontaneity and even magic to happen on the air in the room, as strange as that may sound. It's quite the "old school" way of doing it that we love and adore.
Yeah, a lot of new bands don't even really talk writing songs - just send mp3s in emails =) That's a weird idea to make a sequel song. Whose idea was it to make "Voodoo Too"?
I had written this cool thing, and then sully came up with the verse riff. 6 hours later the song was done. We didn't know it was a sequel until days later when sully showed up and sang us the idea.
So, what sequel about it? Lyrics? Or the sound theme?
Both actually... When you hear it, it has those tribal drums and hypnotic bass line like the first "Voodoo," which is what inspired Sully to write similar lyrics similar. The chorus is very chanty and trippy, we hope you'll like it as much as the first one, as we really do!
Working on "IV," you say you used Marshall amps instead of Mesa Boogie that you used for years. What made you change the equipment? Is there a big difference in the sound?
Well Andy Johns had a lot to do with the recordings and sounds, and I can tell you now he did an awesome job, as the record sounds killer. The guitar tones are still warm and crunchy, just not quite as oomphy, ya know? Unless you are a guitarist, you probably won't notice too much difference simply because the tones fit the songs so nicely.
So, did Andy Johns produce the record or Sully did it all by himself?
Sully produced it by himself, with Andy recording, engineering, and mixing.
"One thing is for certain, and that is: rock (or metal) will NEVER die - it just goes underground for a time."
Why did you do it - you're self-confident now or you just had bad experience with your previous producers?
No, all the previous guys were great. It's just that producing is mainly making the songs and parts of the songs better, and sully really knows exactly what we should sound like, how the songs should be arranged, etc. So why give some dude 100,000 bucks to basically just engineer and record us anyway. And yes, we are very confident in Sully as a producer too.
There's an obvious lack of rock and metal nowdays on TV and radio. It's been like that for a while. Do you think it's gonna change soon or there's no future for metal anymore?
I wish I knew the answer to that one, as I love all things rock and metal... But alas, I cannot predict the future. One thing is for certain, and that is: rock (or metal) will NEVER die - it just goes underground for a time. That's fine with me, cause it always comes back hard.
Wish I could chat more but I do have some more things to get done while I'm in the big apple! Take care and rock on! Looking forward to seeing EVERYONE on the long and winding road in May!!!
Shannon, thank you so much for your time and good luck with your new album!