GODSMACK Drummer On Band's 'Conscious Effort' To 'Mature': 'We Didn't Look At It Like A Sellout'

GODSMACK Drummer On Band's 'Conscious Effort' To 'Mature': 'We Didn't Look At It Like A Sellout'

Prior to GODSMACK's performance at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California on October 13, drummer Shannon Larkin spoke with Two Doods Reviews. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether the band ever gets sick of playing certain songs:

Shannon: "It's not really like that. The longevity thing is our biggest badge of honor. You can take all the accolades — gold records, No. 1 hits, Grammy nominations, all that crap — and it means nothing compared to that badge we have called longevity. You know how hard it is to get signed in this business, let alone be a band of the same dudes for 17 years? It's just crazy. We're most proud of that. On stage, we mix it up enough. We've been fortunate enough to have hits at radio — radio has been very friendly to us over the last 20 years — so we have, I think, five No. 1 songs that we don't even do in the set. If we get really sick of a song, we can drop it and typically replace it with another song the crowd will know. We're lucky like that."

On what inspires him musically nowadays:

Shannon: "Tony [Rombola] and I are really into the blues. We have a blues band called THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE, and our second record just came out. We just did KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD [BAND] shows in California on a break. We were out seven weeks with SHINEDOWN; Tony and I get off the bus, [spent] two days [at] home, get in an RV with THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE and then fly to California [to play] five shows with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, [flew] home for two days, [then got] back on this [bus] for the last month. We're burning the candle at both ends, but it's because of our love of blues. The first record was very traditional. Traditional blues guys and fans, it's a clique, almost like punk rock was in the early '80s before GREEN DAY and [THE] OFFSPRING and the commercial [success] happened. It was something that was almost like a club, and was exclusive. They looked at us, like, 'Oh, these rock stars trying to be blues guys,' so on the new record, we kind of let our classic rock influences come through. It's not as traditional blues, because the first blues we were experiencing was LED ZEPPELIN. BLACK SABBATH famously called themselves a blues band when they came out, because the term 'heavy metal' hadn't been invented. It's just slow, moody, it's very heavy, but the chords are beautiful, and it's a whole different-sounding thing than rock. It gives Tony and I not only something to listen to that isn't abrasive to our ears on the bus, but also a different genre to explore while we're on breaks. Sully [Erna] does his solo work, which is very piano-driven, completely different. I think it's good for all musicians to get away from what they're doing every day of their life, and play with different players, different genres of music. It helps you as a player. Also, it makes us kind of recognize and be grateful for this big machine that we're in, GODSMACK."

On GODSMACK's latest album, "When Legends Rise", being more "approachable":

Shannon: "It was a conscious effort. We all turned 50, and we're like, 'We're not young and angry and full of piss and vinegar anymore.' We have kids, and we're over 50 now, and we're like, 'How do we do this gracefully?' We don't want be standing on stage and all of the bands we take on tour are all 30-something, so we don't want to be trying to compete and pretend and be fake, standing on stage going [growls], when we're not really mad and those dudes anymore. For the first time in the band's 20-year career, Sully came to us and said, 'Look, we've got to mature our sound somehow.' Tony and I simply don't write like that, so he explored with other writers outside the band for the first time. I think when he first said he was going to do that, we were like, 'Oh my god.' It was scary. 'Are we selling out?' Truth is, we didn't look at it like a sellout simply because it was a conscious decision because of our age and we want to be real. Number two, we've been successful for a long time, so we don't need to 'sell out' because we have money and we're comfortable in life. We could end tomorrow and we'd all be, 'Okay, it's good. Everything's cool.' Selling out is if you're playing a style of music you don't like to make money and it's all about money. The truth is, we didn't think about that as a sellout thing. What we did think of was our fans, though, because you don't want to alienate your fan base to where they're like, 'What are they doing? They're not my band anymore,' especially after they've followed you for as long as our fan base has."

GODSMACK was recently forced to postpone its previously announced European tour following the unexpected death of Rombola's son. The month of European dates was set to kick off on October 29 in Stockholm, Sweden. These dates will now take place in early 2019, details of which will be announced soon.

GODSMACK played the final show of its summer North American tour at the Aftershock festival.


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