When bands like Godsmack come to mind, you immediately think of all the hits, the drum solo, Sully’s larger than life persona and drive and determination. You think of the air of unity that they portray. Well, I can confirm that those things are all real in the world of Godsmack. I had the privilege of chatting with long time drummer Shannon Larkin.
Chris: Hey Shannon, I want to thank you for taking the time out to talk to us.
Shannon: Hey man, my pleasure!
Chris: First of all I want to congratulate you on the new album. I reviewed it for the magazine so I have listened to it a bunch of times and I like it. A lot!!
Shannon: Wow! Thanks man. We are very excited about it.
Chris: With all the years and albums you guys have, when you go into the creative process, is it about a desired sound? Or is it all about feeling for you guys?
Shannon: It is about a desired sound and vision. It is all Sully’s vision. We are all handpicked players by Sully. We have used different producers on all of our albums. When we put out a record, we typically go on tour for a year and a half to two years. So, when that cycle is over with we go our separate ways for about a year. In that time, myself and Tony have a side blues project called “the Apocalypse Blues Review”. So, we focus on that to stay busy. With this album Sully had a new vision. Sully decided to work with producer Eric Jon. Who is also a songwriter, so this was the first time that someone from the outside has been a part of the writing process. This was also the first time we ever put out a full fledged balled in Under your Scars, which was also scary territory.
Chris: When I hear that song, I hear the remake you guys did of Nothing Else Matters a few years back. Now, you guys made the sound you own and put out a song that captured the same emotion.
Shannon: Whenever we are on a break, Sully also has some solo stuff he does, and he is such a prodigy. He realized working with Eric that he had a whole other vocal range that he felt comfortable in. So, that allowed him to go somewhere different. Also, he learned the piano which is where Under your Scars came from.
Chris: I also feel some different sounds, song structures during the first half of the record.
Shannon: Funny you say that, because those are the songs Eric had a hand in writing. More anthemic choruses. Then the second half is more what you expect from us. I just hope that our old school fans aren’t too pissed and once they get to the middle of the album they feel reassured that we are still us.
Chris: When you guys get to working on the process of a new album, is it a collective thing? Or is it all Sully?
Shannon: We are a band. Brothers. I knew Sully for like 15 years before Godsmack. Whenever I was in town on tour going through Boston, Sully would come down and take me to do my laundry. LOL With every new album we have different things going on in our lives. For example, Tony has been sober for over 2 years and me for over 3. Sully has gone through heartbreak more than once. Something that is terrible for him in his personal life, but not terrible for Godsmack. He puts his heart out on his sleeve on some songs. That’s kinda where the title of the album comes from “When Legends Rise” is another way of saying Rebirth.
Chris: After all these years, do you still get excited about touring?
Shannon: Hell Yeah! The studio is the work, Live is where we play. It’s the reward! You know, I am a drummer. I love the drums man. So I go in the record, and on this one we spent a lot of time on it. I’ll do my take to get the feel and what not, then Sully will come in and put his producers hat on and get me to do some different stuff arrangement wise. At the end of the day it’s all about passion!
Chris: This is coming from a musician that has 4 albums out and still aspiring. I want to thank you and the boys for continuing to put out records and test the market with new material, when lets be honest you guys could tour successfully on all your hits! You are an inspiration to artists that still believe that it’s possible!
Shannon: Wow! Thank you, that means a lot. Listen, music is like gambling to a certain extent. You just got to keep at it and keep believing. Never give up on your dreams. Keep working hard and good things happen!
Chris: Thanks again for taking the time out to speak with us.
Shannon: Hell Yeah man!
In conclusion, what can you say about a band that is coming up on 20 on years! Say what you want, they won’t be listening. They are too busy putting out albums and selling out shows!