Sully Erna: ‘We’re Bringing It Back Old School’

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Sully Erna (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sully Erna (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Godsmack released its sixth studio album, 1000hp, on Aug. 5, but Scott Ferrall was able to hear many of the new tracks live Aug. 4.

He was blown away by what he heard.

“Thank you for coming,” Godsmack lead singer Sully Erna said on Ferrall on the Bench. “It was fun. It was the first time the guys got to play the songs live. It was interesting to get on stage and actually rip these things live, but it was cool. It was a good crowd. It was fun, and I hope you guys enjoyed it.”

They did. Some of Ferrall’s favorite songs were “1000hp,” “Something Different,” “Generation Day” and “Locked & Loaded,” which is unlike any other song the band has produced.

“It’s probably the heaviest song I think this band has ever written yet,” Erna said. “It’s nasty live.”

Godsmack will begin its next tour Aug. 15 in Detroit as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. They’ll be performing with Buckcherry and Seether, among other bands, and will hit up more than two dozen cities in five weeks. After that, it’s off to Canada for more touring.

“We put together a really big show,” Erna said. “We’re bringing it back old school. We’re not going to do the artsy, theatrical video screens and all that. We’re going to bring it back to lights, sound and a lot of pyro. So it should be loud and exciting.”

Of course, that describes the bulk of Erna’s career. The 46-year-old started Godsmack in 1995 and slowly developed into the internationally known frontman he is today.

“It was a process,” he said. “I played drums since I was three years old. When I started this and decided to move into the frontman position, I was terrible. I remember doing our first demo and as I started cutting my vocal tracks, I watched Robbie (Merrill) walk right out of the studio. I’m behind the glass going, ‘Dude, give me a minute here. I’ll get this.’”

“Over time, I started paying attention to great frontmen,” Erna continued. “James Hetfield, Steven Tyler – people like that. I took a little bit from this one, a little bit from that one and eventually came up with what I thought was our own style. But it wasn’t pretty at first.”

And yet, the band will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.

“It’s been quite a run so far for us,” Erna said. “We’re excited about the new record. We’re excited to get back on tour. It’s been four years since we had an album out, so we’re ready to roll.”

Fans will be especially interested in hearing “Something Different,” which Erna admits is a unique Godsmack track.

“There’s really something special about that song,” he said. “It’s the first time this band has crossed over into a little bit more of a commercial melody without sacrificing the integrity and the power and the strength of Godsmack. It was just one of those tracks (where) it happened to be the perfect storm. The lyrics, the melody choices and the musical content was just the perfect marriage. I’m betting on that one to be the big single on the album for sure.”

Erna added that he and his fellow band members are in a great place. They’ve learned each other’s quirks, they know when to back off a bit and they know when to push the envelope. They’ve grown immensely as a band and as friends.

“It’s just like anything in life: When you’re in a marriage, when you’re in a relationship, you have to work through it,” Erna explained. “Because the only other alternative is to split up, and it’s a real big injustice for the music, for the band, for the fans. The band is stronger than ever right now. We’re in great shape mentally and physically. We’re ready to go.”

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