GODSMACK Drummer Discusses Songwriting Process For Next Album

Laurie Lonsdale of FazerMagazine.com recently conducted an interview with GODSMACK drummer Shannon Larkin. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

FazerMagazine.com: How is production on the new album going, because you're releasing in early 2010, correct?

Shannon: Yeah, were trying for the first quarter — March/April we're hoping for. Obviously we can't rush it, but we get off this tour and have two weeks home and then go to L.A. on September 20. We have apartments already rented, so we're ready. We have 18 songs on the board right now that are up there. We hope to write five or six more songs.

FazerMagazine.com: I read that Sully [Erna, vocals] said the new sound is harder than ever.

Shannon: Well, you know, "Whiskey Hangover" [the recently released GODSMACK track] is a good clue, and that's what we're going for. It's more simplistic than the last record — less bluesy, more heavy, but you know we wanted to get back to the original sound of the band and what made this band happen in the first place….simple heavy rock, so that's where were kind of shooting for on this one. But you never know, next thing you know we could write up a funk song.

FazerMagazine.com: You released "Whiskey Hangover" as something to hype your involvement with Crüe Fest 2, but is it just a taste of what's to come, or is it included on the new album?

Shannon: Oh yeah. I mean, it's the No. 1 hit in the country right now — the song is No. 1 — so we'd be foolish not to put it on the new record.

FazerMagazine.com: Is writing a collaborative effort or do you leave that mainly to Sully?

Shannon: No, it's collaborative. We're all in the room and we write the songs. Sully steps in with the vocals. So we write all the music first typically, and then he takes the tape of music and starts doing the lyric thing, writing lyrics and melodies, and then he'll come over excited and sing it to us, and we'll be "yeah" or "nay." But he's pretty great for that because he doesn't get excited much, so when he gets something that he thinks is good, it's usually really good.

FazerMagazine.com: I read in a past interview you did, you said the band was all Sully's vision, from the songs you choose to record to the artwork on the album covers. Does it work well for the rest of you to have things operate that way, or is it indeed more of a group effort and that particular statement was just something you said at the time?

Shannon: No, it's his vision, this band is his band, and we're just proud to be in it. It doesn't affect us so much. I guess maybe sometimes it can get on your nerves as far as if you are not feeling something that he's really feeling, 'cause then, you know, it doesn't really matter 'cause he's gonna do it anyway, 'cause it's his thing. But that doesn't happen much.

FazerMagazine.com: No?

Shannon: No, it used to be more, and then we had a throwdown and had a big session where we all screamed at each other and got it all out of our system, and this last year has been the best we've ever gotten along.

FazerMagazine.com: Really? That's so good to hear.

Shannon: Yeah, he's [Sully] mellowing out a lot, and letting go of the reins a little in the last year. He's making a conscious effort to include us and listen to our ideas, because, you know, with any band like us that's been around for 10 years, we don't want to start making the same record over and over, because then you just fade away. It's better to burn out than fade away, right? So he knows that, but that said, he's taken a lot more of our ideas to heart and really listened to them, where before we felt like he was just like 'Whatever.' but everything has gotten so much better. Like I said, when I said collaborative, on the new record we did this all four of us in a room. Like all four, we'll play a riff, I'll come in with the drums, and next thing you know were jamming, and then it sounds like a verse, or a chorus or breakdown part. And then we'll stop. "Alright, man, we got a great verse, let's try to get a chorus for it." So, you know, that's how the process goes. So it is a full band collaboration, much more than ever.

Read the entire interview from FazerMagazine.com.

"Whiskey Hangover" audio stream:

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