The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





Godsmack has been one of the biggest Rock Bands in the US for almost 20 years charting number on album after number one album, and this week latest release '1000HP' debuted at number three on the billboard charts. It's surprising that such a high profile band has never made it to Australia.... until now - we caught up with drummer Shannon Larkin to find out all about the new album and their Soundwave appearence next year... Sadly this is a liitle short and sweet due to a late connection...

Mark: Hi, Shannon, how are you? We woke up to some great news this morning; you are going to be playing the Soundwave festival over here, next year.

Shannon: Hi, I’m good thanks. You know, I just did my first Australian interview, and I did not know that!! I just found out myself, I’m very excited!

Mark: It was only announced about an hour ago, so it’s hot off the press!

Shannon: That is so cool, man, I was in a punk band called Amen in the nineties, and we came down there and toured in about 2001/2, and did the Big Day Out. I love the country. About 12 years ago I joined Godsmack, and we have never got down there! We’re kind of like The Angels, one of the greatest bands of all time, had big success in Australia, but didn’t do much here in America, and that’s why we haven’t been down there, for whatever reasons, we never really had the opportunity, but now we do, so we’re very excited!

Mark: It’ll be great, it’s one of the things we do miss out on, I’ve seen you guys a couple of times over the years in the US, but we have missed out seeing you over here. Your last three albums have all got to number one, you must be pleased, and with “1000hp” it’s gone straight to number 3 on Billboard?

Shannon: Yeah, we’re very happy, beside our self with happiness!! What can you say, it’s amazing, the fact is the two albums that beat us on the Billboard chart here, are a soundtrack album, and a pop compilation! So, I look at it like, at least we’re a rock band, and so for us to go up there and compete with Rhianna, that was pretty good!! We’re real happy!

Mark: That’s right! You’ve already kicked off the “Rockstar Uproar Tour” over in the States as well, playing with some great bands there, how’s that going so far?

Shannon: It’s going brilliant; I mean the crowds have been amazing! We’re in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania tonight; I go on stage in about an hour and a half, and the crowd looks “sick” out there, man!! It’s a beautiful day, about 75 degrees, and sunny right now, perfect weather for outdoor concerts, most of the concerts are outdoors, in amphitheatres, which are my personal favourite venues to play. The first three shows were amazing, Detroit is one of the best cities, one of my favourites, in the whole world to play, the crowd’s energy is amazing, and they go mental!

Mark: We are actually reviewing your show in Detroit, so it should be good!

Mark: What’s the best thing about getting back on the road, after a period of recording? What do you look forward to most?

Shannon: Playing every night! We play constantly, anyway, like even if the band takes time off, like we took a year off before making the “1000hp” record, to get out of each other’s faces for a little bit. We toured extensively on the “Oracle” tour, and four dudes, living on a bus, after a while we just needed some time apart. But the best thing about it is being able to play with great equipment, and we have video monitors, so I can hear everything perfectly mixed, sounds like the record that I’m playing, which isn’t like that in the garage, or in the club with other music, so that’s the best part! There’s also the really nice tour buses over here, in Australia the cities are so far apart, so last time I toured there, we would fly to each city, but in America everything’s so close together that you live on this bus, but they’re very comfortable, it has all the amenities of a hotel, you’ve got your PlayStation and whatever, so it’s like you’re pampered out here! At home, I’ve got a dog and a sixteen year old, a wife and a house! I have way more responsibility at home than when I’m out here being a Rockstar!!

Mark: The new album sounds great, it’s very “punky”, full of energy, you really get the feeling of the power of rock music when you put the album on, and of course you save the slow one until the end. Is that something you wanted to capture, that power and energy of Godsmack?

Shannon: Yeah, each record we do, we try to add some kind of different element to it. From the “Faceless” record, we had David Bottrill produce, and he went with a very metal sounding record, and then after that with the “IV” record we kind of wanted to be more “bluesy” on that one. So, our classic rock roots, that we all grew up worshipping, Led Zeppelin, early Black Sabbath; we tried to go with more of that on the “IV” record, and be a little different from “Faceless”. Then of course we went and made an acoustic DVD, which was completely different to anything we had ever done, that led us then to “The Oracle” which we tried to make our heaviest record. So, this one we tried to go with that Punk Rock energy, it’s not Punk Rock, but has the energy. Our favourite band is AC/DC, and when they first came to America, the first place they played was CBGB’s, it’s like punk rock almost AC/DC, to this country and to all of us kids who first heard it. So, we tried to bring that four chord chorus, down stroking, sixteen on the hi-hat to it, which to me reminds me of AC/DC, but you can’t change your sound so drastically, or then you alienate your fan base. But saying that, you can’t keep making the same record over and over again, only certain bands can do that, like AC/DC, I keep mentioning them because they are one of my favourite bands!

Mark: Hanging over your heads at the moment, of course, is your 20th year next year; was that maybe one of the reasons to getting back to those punk rock roots? Are you sort of looking at coming full circle? And, are there any big plans for next year?

Shannon: I guess it had something to do with it, also the fact that we stepped away from each other and the band for a while. Tony and I did a Blues project, Sully went away and did some acting, did a horror movie. We stepped away, and people even told me that Sully wasn’t even sure he wanted to come back to do this thing anymore, he never approached us and said that, but I guess the thought was crossing his mind. And I think what happened in the end when we got back together, Tony and I live in South West Florida, and Sully and Bobbie, live up in Boston still and we have our headquarters up in Boston also, we said why don’t you guys come to Florida, it’s beautiful, we can get a hotel on the beach, we have a rehearsal place down here, and he said you know what, that sounds cool! So, after not seeing each other for over a year, Bobbie and Sully flew down to Florida, and within two weeks of jamming every day, we had like sixteen songs on the board, which a lot of them made it on to the new record. After that, it was like don’t know what you got till it’s gone syndrome, once we all got together we realised we had something together, and that there was a reason we were all in a band! We get on well and play together well as a band in all sorts of ways, musically, and in the pub!!

Mark: It’s such a solid album, it’s hard to pick a favourite on there, are there any tracks that you’re particularly looking forward to playing live?

Shannon: I like “FML”, it’s my favourite track on the record. But, it’s for a selfish reason, in over a decade of being with the band and of making records, it’s the first song I just played straight through one time, and got up and walked in to the control room, and listened to it, and it was perfect one take, which is rare in this band! And I love Sully’s lyric! Its funny, I’m 47 years old, I didn’t know what “FML” meant, and my 16 year old daughter said, “Dad, are you stupid?” I don’t even have Twitter or Facebook, she said it’s “fuck my life!” I said “Don’t say that!!” Ironically we’re not playing that song yet on the tour; because we have had hit songs in America over the past fifteen years that we have to play, that’s why it’s going to be so good to come to Australia because we can play whatever bad ass songs, you know what I mean, and not have to worry about playing the radio hits!!

Mark: It will be so cool to see you at Soundwave later next year! Thank you so much for your time, take care, and good luck with the tour.

Shannon: Well, thank you, Mark, come out and say hi!

Mark: Thanks, mate, I will. Cheers.



Shannon spoke to Mark Diggins August 2014





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