Interview: Godsmack Drummer Discusses Alice In Chains, Black Sabbath & New Album

Godsmack is a hard rock group that formed in 1995 and hit mainstream success with their debut self-titled LP. After the release of yet another successful album, “Awake,” drummer Tommy Stewart left the band and was replaced by Shannon Larkin, known for his work in Ugly Kid Joe. With Larkin onboard, the group delivered “Faceless,” “IV,” and “The Oracle,” which all hit #1 on US rock charts. After a hiatus and frontman Sully Erna’s solo album, “Avalon,” the band reunited to record their most recent LP ,”1000hp.” We got to ask Shannon Larkin some questions while the band is on tour for the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR festival.

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Promotional poster for Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival 2014

You guys are currently on the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR festival. How has it been so far?

Uproar has been overall great. Great crowds, good vibes backstage, and great food and parties.

Godsmack recently released their sixth studio album, “1000hp.” Can you talk about the writing process and how it compared to previous releases?

After taking some time off, when we fired it back up the writing process went very smooth, and with no drama. Everyone came to the table with lots of riffs and ideas and we were all on the same page as to what we wanted to achieve musically.

First Webisode of Godsmack’s series “The Making of ‘1000hp'”

On the last track of 1000hp, “Turning to Stone,” you explored some non-conventional percussion and drumming techniques. What pushed you to experiment with this style?

Quite simply, Sully. Being a drummer himself, he really pushed me hard on this record, wearing his producer hat and bringing out the best of my style and playing.

Godsmack hit the level of being festival headliners within the past few years. What was the band’s reaction to hitting this peak and the success that followed?

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have gotten where we are in this hard as nails business. We are very grateful and take nothing for granted.

Do you find it frustrating to be in a rock band in a society and era that has mainstream focus on pop and hip-hop artists?

Not really frustrating, but sometimes disheartening. We came up in a different era where rock was king, there was no cell phones or internet, and if you wanted to see a band you liked, you had to see it live on stage. But hey, you just roll with the punches and keep bringing it.

Godsmack was compared to Alice in Chains frequently in their early years. What is your take on the comparison and what is your view on Alice in Chains?

Firstly, we all love Alice in Chains. We love great songs, and that is what they’ve always delivered. That said, I never thought we sounded like them. Perhaps the song “Voodoo,” but even that’s a stretch, in my opinion.


Music video for “Voodoo,” the band’s third single off their debut LP

You have drummed for a variety of big-name bands including Stone Sour, Black Sabbath, Candlebox, Glassjaw, and more. What would you consider to be one of the main highlights or memories in your career?

Definitely, the Sabbath gig, talk about surreal! I was a 12 year old kid listening to Sabbath records (that’s right, vinyl) in my bedroom, then fast forward twenty years or so and I’m onstage with em’. Doesn’t get much better than that in the “dream-fulfilling” part of my existence.

Although Godsmack is your main priority right now, what is the status of your other projects like Another Animal and Ugly Kid Joe?

Another Animal was a one off side project, but we never say never. Ugly Kid Joe is still kicking it, having released a new set of songs last year called “Stairway To Hell,” which we are all very proud of. Tony Rombola and I have a blues band we are doing called Blue Cross.

Another_AnimalCover artwork for Another Animal’s 2007 self-titled debut album

What are some bands you’ve been listening to recently?

I’ve been listening to Ramones constantly since Tommy’s passing, and also Seether, who are on tour with us now and kicking ass.

Who are some musicians or bands on your bucket list that you would like to either tour or collaborate with?

All of us dream of playing with AC/DC. We got to play with Metallica and Sabbath, so the only dream left is the thunder from down under, and the clock is ticking.

What can fans expect for the future of Godsmack?

The future of Godsmack is to keep making music and touring until we feel we aren’t (or can’t) give 100%. Only then will we retire. I promise we won’t be old farts giving half-assed shows for the money. As long as we are strong, will will rock on.

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  • #GoogleMyAss

    This band is ungood.

  • billy

    good read, checked out Blue Cross on youtube & it’s a nice departure

  • CraigPW1984

    I never understood people calling them Alice In Chains with the exception of their band name being the name of an Alice In Chains song and a couple songs on their self-titled album (“Whatever” mainly being the song where the vocals share resemblance to Layne’s during the verses, at least to me). Other than that I’ve never seen them as AIC rip-offs like many others state. Their music doesn’t sound like AIC at all. I’ve always liked Godsmack but their recent material is just ok. First and second albums are definitely their best.

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