On Aug. 5, 2014, Godsmack released their new album "1000hp" and Examiner.com had the opportunity to attend the band's album release concert at the iHeartradio Theater in New York City. Fans are rejoicing that the guys are back. Sully, the lead singer, told the crowd that because of various differences, the band decided to take a break and go off and pursue their own side projects.
However after getting back together, they really put in one hundred percent of pure effort into their new album and it really shows in the music. Many may remember Godsmack’s unique take on the metal genre, often combining rock and thrash elements into a blend that was really exclusive to the group. Though with the release of a new album, Godsmack took the effort move their music in new directions, which is especially evident in their song "Something Different." This song, which Sully claims is the best single on their album, is a masterpiece of interweaving melodies and lyrics.
Though while the album is named for their song "1000hp," which in all respects is an excellent song, reminiscent of Godsmack’s unique supercharged style, "Something Different" takes the cake, outlining their new direction in the music industry. "Locked and Loaded" is another song that stands out for the darker, heavier tone that Godsmack usually shies away from. It shows that Godsmack as a group is diversifying their musical style. They also played a couple classic Godsmack songs like "Keep Away" and "Straight Out of Line," showing how well their music flows and branches.
Overall, the entire concert was a fantastic experience, and while Godsmack sounds great in studio, experiencing them in concert is a whole new animal. The passion was felt throughout the crowd as fans roared and cheered along with music. Special shout out to that eight year old boy who was drumming to the beat with his own drum sticks. Godsmack is back and more powerful than ever and whether you are a longtime fan or somebody casually interested in rock music, you should definitely check out "1000hp."
"Godsmack" consisting of Robbie Merrill, Sully Erna, Criss Angel, Shannon Larkin, Tony Rombola also participated in a Q&A. Read what they had to say below:
Now many fans were wondering if the band would continue when you took a break, it was such a long break, so tell us why you’re back again.
Sully: Well you know we had been touring for so long, it was 12, 13, 14 years at that point, pretty much straight, and you know looking back in hindsight man, we were just really tired and exhausted and wanted to take some time off. And during that time we certainly didn’t expect to have 4 years off. Once we were apart we started doing some side projects and things like that and you know you start asking the question whether you can return as a band and that kind of thing. It was a confusing time, there were some issues we had to deal with, with the label and the management, we kind of rebuilt our team and after so long we started talking about getting together and doing a little bit and seeing how that felt. Looking back now, it was just we needed some time apart, but I will say this, the band is stronger than ever now, we are getting along better than ever now, and we wrote a really great record that we hope you guys would enjoy. It’s the return of Godsmack man and we will be here for another 15 or 20 years.
Alright how about this, after that long break, did it bring a lot of new ideas to the song writing and production of the new album?
Sully: Well you know Tony and Shannon live in Florida now and they were down there. They have the rehearsal space and they were doing a lot of writing. I was at home doing a lot of writing and when we got together we kind of combined a lot of ideas and we sat down and chalked up the songs. We knew they had to be strong and not weak and it wasn’t really until the band started jamming together that we started to find songs like "1000HP" and "Something Different" and stuff like that. So the magic came back once we started playing together pretty quickly.
So you guys did a lot of side projects. Was that a good thing or a bad thing or does that make this album a mash up of all your side projects?
Sully: Well it certainly helps us expand a little bit and you know when you work with different musicians and different people, it opens up your creativity in different places. You know I can only really speak for myself, but when I did the Avalon record, I worked with some really different artists and I learned a lot from people from completely different backgrounds, classical backgrounds, jazz backgrounds, blues backgrounds and I think it really helped me when I came back to Godsmack, thinking outside the box and taking a lot more different textures and colors in my melodies and things like that.
And Dave Fortman, your producer, are you still working with him again?
Sully: Yeah great guy man, funny, super easy to work with, great head for melody, great musician and you know he worked great with us on the "Oracle" record, so we figured we’d give him another shot and we know sonically that this guy can mix so well, so we knew sonically this record would sound great.
And you built this new headquarters for the band in Boston, and decided to record the album there, is it hard working in your home town when you’re trying to get songs done and things like that?
Sully: You know I don’t think it's hard man, it’s kind of like a luxury to be close to home and your family and your friends and your kids and stuff like that. We were really focused because being in your own place and not being bothered you can kind of be a little bit more relaxed and focus on work.
So have breakfast, grab a cup of coffee, and go into the studio?
Sully: Yeah I don’t drink coffee, but you get the point.
So we heard that "1000HP" is the song that brought this album into fruition, is that first one that you guys wrote?
Sully: No, actually "Horsepower" and "Something Different" were two of the last songs we wrote. We had quite a large batch of songs before; I think we wrote 25 songs for this album and we really took our time choosing what we thought were the most accurate, the best material that we could for the album. We didn’t really try to premeditate our writing style, but towards the very end when we were jamming as a band, songs like "Horsepower" and "Something Different" came out and that really set the tone at that point and I really wanted to just keep writing, but unfortunately we were on a timeline and he had to set the track and the record so hopefully more stuff like that comes out in our next record.
Well speak about "Something Different," because it sort of lives up to its title, or not necessarily not something one would expect from you guys, talk about that.
Sully: Yeah, it was one of those songs that I was in the room noodling around with some chords and stuff and Shannon, I remember, was behind the drum kit, he was reading a book or something, and he was watching me. I wasn’t really sure how it was going and he was trying to figure out where I was going with it and then I decided trying to babble some lyrics, whatever, and once again the song kind of wrote itself very quickly, within five or six hours we had it finished. And it’s a great song man, at least for me, it’s the first time that Godsmack has started venturing and using commercial hooks in a sense without losing the integrity and the power and the popularity of the band. Lyrically I think it can connect to a lot of people because it’s really about being in a relationship that gets lost and all of a sudden one day you’re not heard or seen anymore and I see black, you see white and then people kind of go their own ways and I think it’s something that people deal with on a daily basis. It’s one of those times, where it was the perfect storm, the music was very melodic and catchy, but the lyrics and melodies kind of parody each other, and it became a really powerful song for us. It’s that song that I feel might be the biggest single in the record and hopefully will take the band to some new level.
Next year Sully is twenty years for Godsmack, what do you think about being a band for so long?
Sully: You know it’s been a learning process for the whole length of it. You know when you first get together and you start to be in a band, you got these guys that you connect with musically and that’s what it’s all about, the fun, being in a garage, being in a jam room, and just loving the music. When it becomes a business and you’ve been on the road so long, you can really get lost in that world and it becomes very impersonal at times and you forget about the love of the music. And through that becomes struggle and exhaustion and things like that. You start drinking and medicating and all of a sudden hangovers bring the law over and drinking and fights. And so it takes a while to get over those things and learn each other, figure out the do's and don’ts and who’s aggravated because somebody left their socks in the hallway and who’s brushing their teeth too loud. But you know thankfully the band, we went through some troubled times and we went and did the right thing and we did the right thing for a few reasons. We went to get some help from professional people, because we wanted to make sure we regained the brotherhood again and more importantly we did not want to be one of those bands that because egos and individuality got in the way we break up, we disappoint ourselves and we disappoint the fans. They get lost and they forget you know, the people that stuck by you for decades and all together we are here for each other and we really are four different people with four different lives and you have to respect your personal time and your privacy, but when you get on stage we do as much damage as we can.
Yesterday, Godsmack was on hand to sign albums at Boston’s Newbury Comics store at Faneuil Hall and Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh declared Aug. 6 “Godsmack Day,” in recognition of the band’s Boston roots and long success within the music industry. The band is from Massachusetts, they have had three number one albums, they have sold four million albums worldwide, they have had twenty one top ten rock radio hits, including sixteen songs in the top five over the past fifteen years.
Steven Stettner contributed reporting.