GODSMACK's SHANNON LARKIN: 'We're Now At A Point In Our Career Where Maybe Our Lives Can Come First'

December 14, 2023

In a new interview with V13 Media, GODSMACK drummer Shannon Larkin spoke about being able to tour at a more relaxed pace after the band's announcement that its latest album, "Lighting Up The Sky", will likely be its final collection of new material. Shannon said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When you're in a band that's successful, like we are, you dedicate your life to that. And if you wanna make it, and this business is like professional sports something — you've gotta be talented but you've also gotta have a lot of luck and timing and there's all kinds of things, and the main thing, though, is you have to just focus your life; you're 100 percent in it or you're not gonna make it. And so for the last 20, 25 years now with the guys, we put the band before family and before friends. And people said, 'Well, before family. What do you mean?' Well, like I'd have to call and say, my wife and kid, we wanna go on vacation in July, when my wife didn't work and we'd go in July. So I have to call management and say, 'Hey, can I go and take my family on a vacation?' Oh, we can't. We got the METALLICA tour in July. We can't. So I have to say no to my family. So the band comes first. How about that? And so we're now at a point in our career where maybe our lives can come first. And we can still do the band."

He continued: "We've never said we're breaking up after this record — never. Because we feel like we can go on and just prioritize our lives. And Tony [Rombola], our guitar player, and I talked about it. And it's also, you have to look at mortality once you get in your mid to late 50s and look at, okay, what's the average lifespan now? And it's up to like 75, 76 years old. So say it's 76. I'm not sure the exact number, but it is over 75 now that people are living, where in the [19]20s, it was 50. That was the average age of death. Now we're up to, like, 75, say it's 76 years old. And I'm 56. And so I'm thinking I only have 20 years, and 20 years blows by in life. So I have 20 years left. So since I've prioritized for well over two decades this band and this thing, which has been the most important thing in my life, I would like to maybe as I get older, be able to go and take my daughter to Japan for a vacation, or whatever, and not have to like get permission. In other words, the control — we are controlled by GODSMACK and have been for decades, and it's by choice, it's a conscious choice, but it's still control. And I'd like to someday be able to say 'no' to going on tour or it gives you that control… And it's the lure of money. We can make a lot of money, but my arguments has always been… I'm not a guy… If you look at goals, there's some people in the band, oh, their goal, '20 million I wanna make,' or 100 million or whatever. And then my goal was a million. So I feel like I don't need money or want more money. But again, this is me because everybody's different. So I bought a small house. And it's a personal thing then. It becomes, like, really, why are you doing it? Is it for money? Is it for fame? Or is it for happiness? And in the end, I feel it should be for the music and what makes you happy — happiness within. And it's hard to find stillness within when you're in this crazy, chaotic business that is basically a big party that we're the host of… And it's a lot of just internal contemplation, really, on, 'God, what do I wanna do for the rest of my life?' And we feel also we've worked really hard. People misconstrue how much work is involved with being in the band, especially when you're young. I was the same thing — when I looked up to [LED] ZEPPELIN and I'd read the books and see the stories, and it looked like just this fantasy world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. But really, it's not. It's a big business that you work your ass off. And when you're out there for a month or two on the road away from everything you love at home, whether it's family, pets, your bed, your pillow, your music — I don't know — you start to get, like, 'Wow, why am I out here?' Well, for money, and money sucks. Again, it's my opinion. But it feels good to be at a place now in our lives and careers where we really don't need to make another product. We've been lucky enough and fortunate enough to have radio hits. And so it's that time."

Larkin added: "Another thing then, you're labeled a nostalgia act. And people tend to use that as a negative term — 'Oh, they're a nostalgia [act].' Well, to me, nostalgia means longevity. And you can take all the gold records off my wall and the accolades or covers of magazines and all that shit, the main badge of pride that I've gotten and wear from being in this band for 20 years is longevity, dude. And especially in a business where less than one percent of you even get a record deal, let alone less than less than one percent have success or have less than one percent have more than two records out. And the list goes on and on about that less-than-one-percent stat. It's a very small success rate in music, 100,000 demos go to labels a year, and less than one percent of those are heard or signed. So we're definitely very, very grateful for where we're at… And the fans that are, like, they're bumming on us because, 'Oh, last record. Why?' Well, it's not just 'cause we're old, which we are, but we'd like to have some control in our lives back too, and not make it such a business now."

GODSMACK will embark on the "Vibez Tour" in February 2024. The band is set to deliver a series of intimate evenings featuring acoustic/electric performances and untold stories in theatres across North America. The first leg is scheduled to begin on February 15 in Catoosa, Oklahoma, while the second leg will kick off April 9 in Valley Center, California.

GODSMACK kicked off its 2023 U.S. tour on May 4 at the 107.9 KBPI Birthday Bash at Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado.

"Lighting Up The Sky" was released in February via BMG. The LP was co-produced by frontman Sully Erna and Andrew "Mudrock" Murdock (AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ALICE COOPER).

The first single from "Lighting Up The Sky", "Surrender", which arrived in September 2022, marked the first release from GODSMACK in four years, following their globally acclaimed and gold-certified 2018 album "When Legends Rise", which earned the Erna-fronted outfit a No. 1 spot across U.S. Hard Rock, Rock, and Alternative album charts.

Photo credit: Chris Bradshaw

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