GODSMACK drummer Shannon Larkin recently spoke to the Reno Gazette-Journal about the group's current tour with METALLICA and the mainstream media's refusal to give the band their fair due. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Reno Gazette-Journal: I read that GODSMACK has had the best response of any METALLICA opening band.
Shannon Larkin: "That's what they tell us. It's quite an honor. The METALLICA influence in [GODSMACK frontman] Sully's [Erna] writing is obvious. The band influenced all of us greatly. If it wasn't for METALLICA, I doubt that I would be doing this for a living."
Reno Gazette-Journal: You just mentioned the word "passionate." Where does GODSMACK's anger come from?
Shannon Larkin: "The first two records, Sully told me, he was going through a bunch of (stuff) with lady friends. And that's where the whole first record came from. It's all 'keep away from me.' The second record was him getting over that. 'Faceless', at that point he was happy in his life, but any anger and aggression came from day-to-day things. For instance, he bought a house and the contractor ended up screwing him on it. Like a wood nail costs 39 cents, and after the house was all done he got the breakdown and they charged him triple or whatever. And that inspires him to write 'I Fucking Hate You' on the 'Faceless' record."
Reno Gazette-Journal: Bands like KORN and LIMP BIZKIT aren't doing as well these days. Is the whole angst rock thing coming to an end?
Shannon Larkin: "You know how all trends seem to happen with one, two or maybe three bands that spearhead a movement. They stay around and there's always 20 or 30 bands that come out and try to sound like the pioneers. And usually it's a seven-year cycle — the hair bands like MÖTLEY CRÜE, then POISON, WARRANT and TRIXTER and a thousand bad bands that followed. That was killed off by grunge that was spearheaded by MUDHONEY and TAD. The bands that made it were PEARL JAM and NIRVANA, and then there were a thousand bands and there are still bands that sound just like NIRVANA. And that movement got chilled by the whole rap-rock explosion that was started by KORN. And now, I guess to get around to answering your question, I think that whole era died two years ago, but KORN and LIMP BIZKIT will be around because they pioneered that sound. We just try to make music that we think is good. And Sully said it a hundred times that he knows this is no groundbreaking band. We play old-school hard rock. When it comes to concerts, we don't make money on tour. We'll spend $40,000 a week on pyro. It was a show you'd look forward to that you'd talk about for weeks before the show and after. That kind of got lost when grunge killed the hair bands and it became four guys in jeans and T-shirts, $75 a ticket and no show."
Reno Gazette-Journal: I've read a lot of bad GODSMACK reviews from critics. Why don't they like you?
Shannon Larkin: "I think that's why we called the last record 'Faceless'. The band at that point had sold 11 million records. Rolling Stone will put THE HIVES on the cover and we can't get a cover. We're not the press darlings. All I read is negativity about the band. We're not saying we're out to change the world, we want to take this show on the road and blow their heads off with a big show and good, solid songs. But I guess the critics like bands like THE STROKES. I don't care so much what writers, critics and publicists think. It's music. Even if you don't like it, we're out there doing it. One of every 2,000 bands will get signed. You should throw respect to anybody who's out there doing it."
Reno Gazette-Journal: Do you get a lot of comparisons to ALICE IN CHAINS?
Shannon Larkin: "I don't hear it. I was never a big ALICE IN CHAINS fan. Layne's (Staley of ALICE IN CHAINS) voice is amazing, but I never heard it. If somebody said GODSMACK sounds like METALLICA, I could totally hear that. Sully sounds like (METALLICA's James) Hetfield to me. I guess there's a darkness to the harmonies that sounds like Layne and Jerry (Cantrell), but to me it's still apples and oranges."
Read the rest of the interview at this location.