ARTISTdirect.com editor-in-chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: Do you feel like the "Avalon" box set is the best gateway into and overview of your world?
Sully: Yeah, I'm really happy with it. We all just stumbled onto this idea. The more I was doing solo activity, the more I was documenting. At first, we didn't even realize we were capturing what we had. We had a couple of friends, myself, and some of the band filming in the studio while we were recording the record. Later on, when we were trying to make something out of nothing, I handed this editor a big box of tapes and said, "Make some kind of cool, making-of thing." I didn't it was going to be for all of this. That's what triggered this whole thing. It went from finding this really cool making-of the album to tying into the whole theme of music for me. When I was going out on my solo shows, it had "an evening with," "Storytellers" vibe. I fell upon this idea of, "Wow, what a gift music really is." That started triggering all of this stuff. What I started to realize, just from sharing a bottle of wine with somebody, we'd be talking about music and theory and how music is just vibrations. It's just strings vibrating, and yet when they create different frequencies, it creates emotions in people — even without lyrics. You can hear a violin player play something and get teary-eyed. I thought, "This is heavy, man. That really is the power of music. It's a miracle." It's a universal language, and it's almost unexplained. From there, we'd film a live show. All of these different things became components for the box set. We kept building off of that. Once we had the idea of putting this together as a package, we started thinking, "What else can we include?" That's when we came up with the "Golden Ticket" concept. We wanted to personalize it so it's "Sully Erna everything." It's a little bit of a history of me and my life, from how I grew up to what my favorite t-shirts and incenses are. Plus, it's the making-of everything.
ARTISTdirect.com: Does the open the door to the next project?
Sully: Of course! I'm building towards branding my name and freeing up myself to do what I want to do without having a ceiling over my head. As much as I love GODSMACK and my boys in GODSMACK, it really is what it is. Over the years, we've tried to branch out and create songs like "Serenity" and "Shine Down". Even though our audience accepted it and they became successful singles on the radio, they weren't really crossover singles for us. They were kind of saying, "They're cool songs, but when are you guys going to play 'The Enemy' or 'Bad Religion'? Let's get back to the muscle!" [laughs] Over the years, we've identified GODSMACK to be a powerhouse rock band, which it should be, but there's also this other side of me. I can't keep it trapped inside. I have to explore it and release this other kind of music that I love playing. I also love sitting down at the piano with my daughter and creating music and playing acoustically. "Avalon" helped me branch out and allow more vulnerability and things like that. That creates an opportunity to not have a ceiling over my head whether it gets into acting, TV, film, and different things I'd like to pursue. I think it's going to open up that avenue for me. I heard an interview with [AEROSMITH's] Tom Hamilton, and he struck the nail right on the head for me. He said, "I realized music is always something I wanted to do with my life, but it's not everything I wanted to do with my life." I was like, "Boom, there it is right there. That's exactly how I feel. Music is one of those things I wanted to do my whole life, but I also realized that it's not everything I want to do." Even though I think I'll always be a musician and entertain in some way, I may want to tap into some other avenues and continue to brand myself rather than being pigeonholed into a certain genre of music.
ARTISTdirect.com: What's next with GODSMACK?
Sully: We're going to take some time away now because we just ran for the last two years. It's time for us to take a break and get away from the markets for a little bit so we don't overplay them. We're taking 2013 off. Maybe towards the end of the year or early 2014, we may start getting into the studio and writing. Now, we're going to lay low. We may pop up once in a while to do a radio festival or something. I'm going to take all of 2013 to focus on my solo stuff and see any doors I can open along the way.
Read the entire interview on ARTISTdirect.com.