GODSMACK's SULLY ERNA Says AEROSMITH's BRAD WHITFORD Has Become A 'Really Good Friend': He's 'A Real Sweetheart'
May 26, 2023
GODSMACK was joined by AEROSMITH guitarist Brad Whitford on stage on May 23 at FirstBank Amphitheater in Franklin, Tennessee and again two days later (May 25) at the Sonic Temple festival in Columbus, Ohio for covers of AEROSMITH's classic power ballad "Dream On" and THE BEATLES' "Come Together". Asked in a new interview with the 99.7 The Blitz radio station how the collaboration came about, Erna said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Actually, me and my fiancée and my manager and his wife and a couple of other friends and their girls, we all took a trip to the Bahamas together. And my manager also manages Joe Perry. So we just kind of all got to know the AEROSMITH camp over the years. And Brad and his wife Lisa came with us, so we spent 10 days with them in the Bahamas and just became really good friends. And I started talking to them about The Scars Foundation [which has been established by Erna and GODSMACK to help raise awareness of the mental health issues that so many are faced with today], and they were just head over heels for it. So I connected them with our executive director, and we've all kind of been in the mix ever since. And then the next thing you know, Lisa and Brad reached out and just said, 'Hey, we're gonna come to Tennessee and Ohio and Michigan and we're just jumping on your bus and we're gonna hang.' And I'm, like, 'Well, cool. Then we're doing an AEROSMITH song. 'Cause that has to happen.' And that's kind of how it started."
Sully went on to say that it's been "surreal" playing with one of his early musical idols.
"I've gotta tell you, man, for me, it was like… As you know, this band [GODSMACK] is from Boston, and AEROSMITH's from Boston, so they were my childhood heroes for sure, and I know some of the other guys [in GODSMACK], of course, love AEROSMITH," Erna said. "'Cause we all grew up with the same music — AEROSMITH, RUSH, [LED] ZEPPELIN, [BLACK] SABBATH. So it's still humbling and so rewarding to know that we're still living out our childhood dreams 25 years later touring. And I remember Joe Perry is actually the reason why I wanted to be a rock star. I started playing drums when I was three years old, so I'd always been a musician. My dad's a musician, my great uncle was a famous composer in Sicily. So music's in our bloodline. But it wasn't till I was about 13 or 14 years old and I opened up the 'Live! Bootleg' record and I'd seen Joe Perry holding up a B.C. Rich [guitar] with his hair covering his eyes and a blond streak. And I was just starting to get into weed and I was, like, 'That's what I wanna do right there.' So it was no longer about being a musician; it was about being a rock star. So, ironically, Joe Perry is the one that kind of flipped me in that direction. And, of course, we just have a lot of history from our childhood going to AEROSMITH shows and things like that. So it's been very surreal. And Brad's such a nice guy — a real sweetheart, man. We've just become really good friends. And it's just such an honor to share the stage with him."
Back in July 2019, Erna paid tribute to AEROSMITH, crediting the legendary rockers with playing "an enormous role in sculpting me to become the musician I am today."
Erna made his comments afer attending an AEROSMITH concert in Las Vegas, where the iconic band was in the middle of its "Deuces Are Wild" residency.
Sully took to his Facebook page to share a few photos of the show and included the following message: "Some info you may or may not know about me... Seeing @aerosmith tonight with my Manager Paul in Vegas was such a walk down memory lane for both of us. Not only have we built the GODSMACK brand together over the years, but we're both #Boston boys and have been friends now for 30 years and grew up listening and studying this band since we were teenagers. We've been going to AEROSMITH concerts since we were 14 hrs old and AEROSMITH Rocks was literally the first album I ever bought. I even remember smoking my first joint to the song 'Last Child'.
"I've seen AEROSMITH at least 10 times throughout the years and the photo of @joeperryofficial inside the Live Bootleg Album holding up his B.C. Rich with his hair in front of his face and that blonde streak was single handedly the photo that made me want to grow my hair long and go from just being a musician to being a 'rockstar.' This band and their music has meant everything to me over the years and has played an enormous role in sculpting me to become the musician I am today. Their presence, attitude and musicianship is by far some of the coolest and iconic ever known.
"I don't know how much longer they'll go for, but I just feel grateful that their music has been embedded into my veins and have been a huge part of my life! Thank You @aerosmith for all the music and inspirations you've given all of us Rock Musicians over the last 50 years! Talk about 'Legends Rise'? These guys have risen, fallen, and rose again to become bigger and better than they were before. They've been on the top of that mountain for decades. And they continue to inspire all of us over and over again. Yes, we're still super fans! But it's also nice to know that I didn't waste the last 37 years of my life idolizing the wrong band. #proud to be #boston ! What a fun and emotional night!"
In 2018, Erna told Classic Rock magazine that AEROSMITH's 1976 album "Rocks" was a huge influence on him growing up. "I'd been a musician since I was three and a half years old, and I was raised on blues and more jazzy music," he said. "A friend played me 'Last Child' from 'Rocks'. I think it was the first time I smoked a joint, and it was a really life-changing point for me, because it really lured me into the world of rock. It was super-cool for a young kid."
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