GODSMACK's SULLY ERNA: How Becoming A Successful Touring Musician Distorts Your Reality
February 8, 2023
In a recent interview with Shannon Hernandez, a.k.a. The Shan Man, of 98KUPD, Arizona's Real Rock radio station, GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna spoke about some of the important life lessons that he learned in the early days of the band's major label success. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think one of the first growths in this whole venture of making this a professional career rather than just being a musician and jamming with bands in garages… Once you step into the ladder of climbing to the top and the big leagues, I remember the first thing that I kind of learned was that it distorts your reality. And what I mean by that is when you're a young band and you're doing the grind and playing the circuit and trying to get a deal, and you have this group of friends and you all hang out and they support you on the weekends with your gig and you go home and have beers with them and shoot pool at the bar, all those things are normal. And then you go to your job and you go to rehearsal at night, and that's your reality. And then the dream of being in the big time and on a stage and doing this for a living is really the fantasy. But as you become successful, that turns around and reverses itself where you're touring so heavily… I mean, there was times we were doing tours where it was seven shows in a row with one day off, nine shows in a row with one day off, eleven shows in a row with one day off. You do that for two or three years in a row, you just become a robot. And then, all of a sudden, your realities get twisted, and now that becomes your normal daily thing. And when you go home, all the things that used to seem normal to you are foreign. And you go to a bar, and you see the same group of guys and friends that you would hang with, and all of a sudden they kind of act and treat you a little different. It's a little bit of a standoff — you're staring at them, they're looking at you, and they expect you to be this thing now 'cause they've now seen you for the last so many years on MTV or in articles and on videos. The behavior changes."
He continued: "Even though I think we've done a great job over the years of keeping ourselves humble and grounded and never forgetting our roots, that was one of the first things I really noticed that changed — was the realities getting kind of turned upside down. And then, over the years, you get a grip on everything. And the real people stayed by you, and the people that are there for the wrong reasons stayed away. And then everything normalizes again. And you eventually learn who your circle is and your family and your friends. And we've been in that place for a while now, where we just have a great support team around us and good family and kids and friends and all that stuff. And we do our job; we go out there and we enjoy what we do. We've been blessed to be able to have a career that we love and we can actually make some money at. So all things are good now, and have been for a long time."
Erna went on to say that it was "weird" and "awkward" seeing some of his old friends for the first time after coming back home from GODSMACK's earliest tours once the band had hit it big. "You know these guys, all these people for so long, and then, all of a sudden, they claim that you've changed: 'Oh, he's changed now,'" he recalled. "And in reality, they are the ones who changed, 'cause they treat you a little different when you walk in the door, which makes you respond differently and feel uncomfortable. So, it's that thing."
GODSMACK's new album, "Lighting Up The Sky", will arrive on February 24 via BMG. The LP was co-produced by Erna and Andrew "Mudrock" Murdock (AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ALICE COOPER).
The first single from "Lighting Up The Sky", "Surrender", which arrived in September, 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.
In September 2021, GODSMACK's latest album, "When Legends Rise", was certified gold on by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for sales in excess of half a million copies. In addition, two more of the LP's singles (the title track and "Under Your Scars") were also officially certified gold by the RIAA. The album's first single "Bulletproof" earned a platinum digital single award in September 2020 and was previously certified gold in the U.S.
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