GODSMACK vocalist Sully Erna recently spoke with Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3. The complete conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the group's forthcoming seventh album, "When Legends Rise":
Sully: "Dude, it's really strong, man. I think people are going to love this record, I really do. It's such a departure from what we've done in the past, but at the same time maintaining the integrity and the power of what the band has always been about. It's kind of split into two halves, like vinyl used to be. It's like a side A and a side B, and the first side is really a little bit more unique and melodic, and just a little bit more of a departure in the sense of, like, the 'Bulletproof's and stuff like that. Side B is going to definitely cater to more of the core audience, where it's a little bit edgier and tougher... I'm still a bit old-school about sequencing. I still sequence a record like they did in the old days where you can listen from track one to track eleven, straight through, and it's a real journey. If you want me to single out a couple of my favorites, I think people are going to really be impressed with the power of the opening track, 'When Legends Rise'. 'Unforgettable' is probably my favorite song on the record, and 'Eye Of The Storm' is a monster, so look out for those. It's also the first time we're debuting our first ballad for GODSMACK, which is a bit more epic, like a 'Dream On'/'November Rain'-style ballad. There's a lot of textures on this record, a lot of flavors for everybody, and I hope everyone enjoys it."
On why the band felt the need to experiment:
Sully: "This is really a reflection of where I am at this time and place in my life, and it's about evolving. It's about not doing the same thing over and over again and growing with your audience and growing with the times and growing as individuals and as songwriters. This record is really just a reflection of that. I've got to tell you, I'm more excited about this record than I have been about an album in a long time. I just really have high hopes for it, and I hope I'm not wrong, because in the end, it's about the audience and how they feel about the record – but if not one person likes this record in the end, I'm still really proud of it."
On reactions to the album's first single, "Bulletproof":
Sully: "It's mostly positive. You can't please everybody, that's for sure — and this happens every record with us, by the way, and probably every band. There's just no pleasing everybody, and we don't try to, and I don't want to. We're just trying to write music that we feel is really strong for us and that we feel is the best representation of what we do, and if, along the way, we lose a listener and we gain ten, I'm okay with that."
On balancing fans' expectations and creativity:
Sully: "Here's the part that the fans won't like. I don't write for the fans. I don't write for radio. I don't write for hit songs. I don't write for anything but myself. I have been able to separate my emotions from my music a long time ago. I'm not one of those guys that [say], 'Oh, this is my stuff. It's my baby, and every song is great.' I can already tell you one song on this record that I don't even like anymore. [Laughs] It happens. My point is that I've been able to separate those emotions a long time ago from listening to this now from a fan point of view or a producing point of view. I have two categories now — I don't categorize music; there's no genres that exist for me anymore — [and] my playlist is everything from Lady Gaga to SLAYER. For me, it's either a good song or it's not a good song, and if it's a good song, it makes the record, and if it's not a good song, it goes in the trash and you never hear it anyways. That's how I feel. This is just what I felt was the best of the songs out of the 20 or 30 that we wrote for this record. I think that's what most people are kind of listening to in music nowadays. My music has expanded so tremendously over the years. I was never really a big fan of country music. Now there's a lot of country stuff I like. I don't know if it's because it's getting a little bit more bluesy, like Chris Stapleton — I think his record is amazing, by the way — or a little bit more modern, and it's not so old and twangy like it used to be. Then again, I appreciate all music. I'm an artist, and I know what it takes to write a record, to put out a record, to tour on a record, so whether it's my preference or not is irrelevant. I have a high respect for music and the people that do this for a living, and all I can do is put out what I feel is the best music that I write at this time and place, and as long as I can enjoy it and support it and feel strong about it, I would just have to assume there will be other people out there who'll agree."
On the music video for "Bulletproof":
Sully: "I think people are really going to enjoy this. This video is really just strictly built for entertainment and to help you laugh a little bit and not take life so seriously. Anybody who doesn't enjoy it or doesn't laugh over this, I think is just taking life way too seriously."
On how GODSMACK keeps things fresh after 20 years together:
Sully: "It's about staying grounded. It's about humbling yourself and being really appreciative and grateful for the years that we've had out here, and being grateful to know that there's still an audience that cares about us and the band. It's been challenging over the years — it always hasn't been simple — but we certainly get over the hardest of times that would have normally broken the band up, and we're on the other side of it now, and we're really having fun. We're in good spirits and in good health and extremely motivated to work. We cannot wait to get out on the road with our brothers in SHINEDOWN. They're very close friends of ours, and we have a lot of respect for them. It's just going to be a really fun, powerful rock tour — maybe the best rock tour of 2018, honestly. I'll say that braggingly, because I just think it's going to be strong — like, really strong."
"When Legends Rise" will be released on April 27. The follow-up to 2014's "1000hp" is the band's first release through BMG after splitting with its longtime home, Republic/Universal.
"When Legends Rise" was recorded at GODSMACK's headquarters (GSHQ) in Derry, New Hampshire and produced by Erik Ron and Erna.