SHANNON LARKIN Explains Why 'Lighting Up The Sky' Will Likely Be GODSMACK's Final Album
February 18, 2023
In a new interview with Canada's iHeartRadio, GODSMACK drummer Shannon Larkin spoke about the band's recent announcement that GODSMACK's upcoming eight album, "Lighting Up The Sky", will likely be its final collection of new material. Asked how he and his bandmates made the decision to no longer release new music, Shannon said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "25 years of putting records out… And we've never had a flop. And I'm 55, dude.
"We were playing in the U.K. [last October], and the band THE RAVEN AGE [opened] — it's Steve Harris from IRON MAIDEN; his son plays guitar for this band. And maybe third, fourth show, whatever, I'm, like, 'Hey, dude. How old are you, by the way?' He was, like, 'I'm 23.' And I was, like, 'My daughter is 23.' And I was, like, 'Wow.'
"I'm not saying we're old — I'm not gonna be that guy — but I'm saying it's kind of like sports, man," he explained. "When Michael Jordan was, like, he was gonna retire, everybody's, like, 'Yeah, he's old.' That dude was, like, 45. And I'm, like, 'That's old?'
"And I'm not saying it's all because we're old. We also feel like we've had great success — we haven't had a flop — and we don't wanna keep on going until we get a flop and then have to go out like that. So our thinking was go out on top. We had an additional two years to write a record, with this pandemic, so we threw out more songs than what made the record. And we feel — like everybody band says — but we feel like it's our best record yet.
"We're not saying we're gonna break up; we're not breaking up," Larkin clarified. "There's a thing called cycle touring. So you put a record out. That's a product. And we sell it, and we make money. But it's still a product that we have to sell, and if your product doesn't sell, then you let down a lot of people. And so there's pressure to be in a band like [ours].
"We're not gonna do some kind of cash grab: 'Last time, last tour. Come pay five hundred dollars [per ticket]' and then two years later we'll be back to charge you six hundred. No. We're not gonna break up. We're gonna just have the last cycle tour, which means this is the last product that we have to sell.
"It makes sense to us, because we only play an hour and a half to two hours, in there. And after every show, when we talk to our fans, they're, like, 'Why didn't you play this song?' 'Why didn't you play this song?' And we're, like, 'We only have so much time.' So over 25 years, we have too many, like, hits that our fans wanna hear us play already. And hopefully we're gonna get another two off this record ['Lighting Up The Sky']; one of [the singles] is doing well right now.
"So, my point is, why keep making records when you're in your mid-50s and risk not only getting too old or not selling and letting people down?" Shannon added. "And so we felt that we wanna a) go out on top, and b) remain a band and continue to play and tour Canada, tour the Americas, but on our terms. Now, after this record, in our mid-to-late 50s, where we live right now, we can play when we feel strong and we know we can represent our music and our band and still look good. But we're not gonna break up or something. We've been successful and we don't need to make more music when we can barely play our fans what they wanna hear now."
In a recent interview with Pablo of the Minneapolis, Minnesota radio station 93X, GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna spoke about the fact that "Lighting Up The Sky", which will arrive on February 24 via BMG, will likely be the band's final collection of original material. He explained: "It's the most important record, I think, we've ever written and recorded.
"I've never been that artist who says, 'Oh, this record is our newest record. It's our best work ever.' You can read any interview you want over my whole career, and you've never heard me say it," he continued. "I've always loved our records [and] I always knew there would be some good singles on it and hoped it did well, but I was never the guy that said, 'This is our best fucking work ever.' And I'm telling you right now this is our best fucking work ever. And it's because it's emotional, man. This is the last record we're ever gonna do. This is the last run around the mill for us. We put every single ounce of energy and emotion into this album. Especially for me, when I wrote a lot of these songs, it was about my life journey. That's really what the sequence of this album becomes about. Not that it was planned that way, but this really kind of mystical thing happened where I felt like the universe wrote this record.
"We went in there with no plan, no ideas — very minimal ideas, just jamming. And, 'what's gonna be the topic? What am I gonna talk about now? How many times can I talk about a broken relationship?' Blah blah blah. And then it just started happening where song after song that was written, as I'm sequencing it and putting it in the order that I would like people to hear it in… We're still old school and we like an album to have a flow from front to back. I love vinyl — I want people to listen to side A and side B. And this one really told a story. And when I started to realize that, I'm, like, Okay. Let me shuffle these around a little bit more.'"
Erna went on to clarify that GODSMACK does not intend to stop playing live shows anytime soon. "I wanna make sure people are clear about what we're saying here," he said. "I'm not saying that the band may be breaking up. What I'm saying is I think this may be the last body of work you get musically from the band. And it's because we're in this place in our lives right now where we've done a lot of work over the last three decades. Without sounding egotistical, which we're not trying to do, we're at 27 Top 10 singles, 11 Number Ones. We could literally do back-to-back nights in an arena and play 15 songs a night and never play the same single twice, let alone the 'B' cuts. And we started thinking, when we were in that thought process, why are we in here grinding all the time and doing this new music when we wanna just also know that we've never stopped in the 25 years we've been touring. We'd like to be able to enjoy our lives, our family, our houses, the things that we've earned over the years that we've sacrificed. So I think the balance for that, the happy medium, is to be able to just go out there now and continue to do live shows and put the greatest-hits show together.
"I don't know what we're gonna do after this record," he explained. "And it doesn't make sense to continue to do music. It really feels complete in a good way, in a positive way. We feel like we've honored our career, our relationships with our fans, and we're always gonna be there for them; we're gonna do shows. But as far as to continue this, after this [album], unless we just decide one day, 'Yeah, one more for the road,' I think this could be it for us with new music."
According to Erna, GODSMACK plans to hit the road after the release of "Lighting Up The Sky" and never stop. "That's forever now. It's forever now," he said. "From the point we start touring, we will always tour. We may take some breaks here and there, but we're now gonna start setting up the greatest-hits show, because we feel like we're able to do that. We can now play the best of the best that the fans have identified as what they've enjoyed the most over the years and why these songs became hit singles."
Sully said that the decision to stop releasing new albums was influenced by the fact that too many people these days don't care about new music from bands who have been around as long as GODSMACK.
"As a music lover and a fan of live shows and bands in general, that when you go see your favorite bands, there's a certain point in their career where you just go, 'I don't really give a shit about a new record anymore. I'm sorry, but I wanna hear 'Dream On' and 'Train Kept A Rollin'' and 'Same Old Song And Dance'. I don't wanna hear any of this new shit. I don't know it and I don't care. But these other songs have lived with me for two, three, four decades,'", he said. "And I just feel like we're getting to that place where… If we get out there and we don't play 'I Stand Alone' or 'Keep Away' or 'Voodoo' or whatever these songs have been for these people over the years, they ream us for it. So we know we're stuck with that. We're always gonna play the hits. But we have so many singles now that it's time, I think, to try to pull as many as we can off this record, add it to that list and then go out there and play the best of the best. And then maybe throw a few surprises every show, whether it's the drum battle or some fun cover."
Erna concluded by saying that "Lighting Up The Sky" does not represent "an ending" but is rather "a new beginning. This is a new beginning of an era — it's the beginning of our sunset years," he explained. "And in our sunset years we wanna create something really special for the fans live where we can take every cool moment that we've ever done in every album cycle — the 'Awake' album had certain things we featured in the live show; the 'Faceless' record had certain things we featured from the live show; and so on — now we can create a montage of all those special things in each tour and just do a 'holy crap' show. That's what I wanna create. We're gonna try to make it big and special and important, filled with all special moments that people have enjoyed over the years. And I think that's gonna be really satisfying to us as well, 'cause it takes a lot of pressure off of us to know now we can just go out and enjoy what we do. Playing music is what we love the most — live. And it gives us more time to connect with the fans, connect with the live show and just enjoy the best part of why we do this for a living."
Last September, GODSMACK released the first single from "Lighting Up The Sky", a song called "Surrender". The track marked the first release from the band 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.
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