GODSMACK vocalist Sully Erna recently spoke with Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's latest album, "When Legends Rise":
Sully: "I've got to tell you, it's really been an impressive album cycle so far. We're having so much fun with it. We really, really love this record and chose to get behind it as hard as we have because of that. To see it performing and having the people enjoy it and seeing new people... it's really opened up doors, I think, for a broader fan base. It's been great. I've really enjoyed the ride so far."
On expanding their sound:
Sully: "I think it's extremely important, and it's been a learning experience. As we were just coming up in the '90s, I was a very young, angry guy that had a lot of other issues going on, and it's no wonder that that music came out a lot more aggressive. As we've grown, our lives have changed, and we've evolved as humans and people and songwriters. I would expect the music would grow with those personalities, and grow with the fan base. The same 25-year-old kid that was listening to GODSMACK in '98 is now 50 years old, or whatever, and has an 18-year-old kid of his own, so they're discovering the band through their parents. There's a whole new generation, if not two, that's come up since then. I think it's important that the music has to evolve and we don't write the same stuff all the time, but it's also important that we try to keep the thread of the integrity and the power of what the band has built our career on and not shift too much in one shot and freak out the audience and alienate the core fans."
On the band's current active rock radio hit single, "Under Your Scars", and the nonprofit The Scars Foundation:
Sully: "It really has the most layers to the story out of all of the songs I've ever written, and really has become an extremely important song for me because it now lends itself to such a bigger purpose. The song came to me because I went through an experience with someone that I realized that sometimes, as humans, our nature when we have some of these imperfections or wounds that we carry inside of ourselves and they're exposed, we tend to shut down and walk away because we're embarrassed by them or feel unworthy or vulnerable or whatever it is. The song was really about finding acceptance and living with these scars that we have and showing them off to the world, really, instead of hiding them, so we can hopefully inspire others to tell their stories, and maybe that's how we'll start making a dent in this insane suicide epidemic that we're experiencing. That whole thought process, and when that song came around and it was really about finding that acceptance, it kind of triggered the whole idea to birth The Scars Foundation. I always wanted to do a nonprofit and dedicate my time and energy to give back, but I could never really find my lane, because I wasn't affected by someone who passed away from cancer or AIDS or some of those things that are very important as well, but just never affected me on a personal level yet, and hopefully won't. But these kind of categories — bullying, PTSD, suicide prevention, severe depression, addiction — those are all the things that I grew up around and experienced myself, and I felt like maybe this is really where my expertise lies, because I lived it. Being affected by people that I've lost over it, I try to think of every kind of category that funnels people into a depressive state of mind, and that's what The Scars Foundation became. It's not only helping people on a global level by raising money to give to these experts in those fields, but it's becoming a community where people can just kind of go and talk and tell their stories and try to inspire others to come forward and flush it out. Depression, that's the invisible killer. You can't see it like you can if someone was an amputee or a burn victim or something that you can offer help to. We have to flush it out and get it out of the body, and I think that's the only way to do it — to try to get people talking and inspire them somehow through our own stories."
On meeting his heroes:
Sully: "It really is a gamble sometimes. I've been just as disappointed as I've been blessed with meeting some of my childhood heroes. I've noticed that the real legendary bands — the bands that have every right to be arrogant or egotistical if they wanted to be — are the bands that are the coolest. When you meet James Hetfield [METALLICA], when you meet Steven Tyler and Joe Perry [of AEROSMITH] and Neil Peart from RUSH, some of these iconic bands that I've loved listening to, I find that they are the coolest guys... I think that's the way to treat people in general, and I've always been a fan of trying to be respectful and treating everybody equally and just being kind. I get it — we're all on a schedule, and things get monotonous after a while [with] pictures and photos and interviews and things, but it's what we signed up for. You can't be a complainer about it. You just have to understand it's part of the day's work. I've found another way to actually start enjoying it again, because I like hearing people's stories. I like talking to people. I may not always have the time to do it, but I always try to treat people with care and respect... I'm sure there's plenty of people out there that think I'm an ass, but I really do try to be mindful of that every day, because I know how it feels to be on the other side of it. Especially with this cause that I'm behind now, the last thing I want to do is make people feel unworthy. Part of this whole program is to try to get the people that feel unworthy to understand that they're not, and that we all have these imperfections, so why would I want to treat people any differently?"
GODSMACK is continuing to tour in support of its seventh studio album, "When Legends Rise", which came out in April of 2018. The band recently announced a fall American tour with HALESTORM, which kicks off September 20 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.