Godsmack’s Sully Erna on Why Their New Album Is Their Last

It’s not always easy to know when to let things go. That’s not said in a bad way, either – not everything that used to be must go on. It seems so Godhead had reached that point, at least as far as their recording career was concerned. Newly released Massachusetts rock act Light up the Heavens is the band’s eighth album in their nearly 30-year career, and from all indications, their last. But for the frontman Sully Ernabassist Robbie Merrill, drummer Shannon Larkin, and guitarist Tony Rombola, it was a decision that came with deep consideration of how their musical aspirations would affect their personal lives.

For Godsmack, it’s time.

Over the years, they have given us one memorable rock hit after another. But even though music has been a big part of the band’s collective life since 1995, it’s not the only part of their lives. Sometimes as a fan, it’s easy to forget that the musicians and artists we idolize are just people at the end of the day. They have families, birthdays, anniversaries — things that as regular people we have the advantage of celebrating without the limits of public pressure. It only makes sense that at some point, these musicians and artists would want to do that too. Erna mentioned this in an interview with Severe Consequencesshowing a different and perhaps more overtly gentle side to a band that has been hard and heavy for decades.

Read the conversation below, and grab tickets to Godsmack’s recently announced spring US tour through Ticketmaster or StubHub.

You mentioned that this was probably the last Godsmack album and I was wondering… why?

Sully Erna: Doesn’t everyone? Funny. Well, we realized it was time because – and I say this as humbly as I can – we’re about to be in the band for 30 years. We have 26 Top 10 singles and 12 number ones. I mean, God, this record we feel is probably the best work we’ve ever done. At what point do we start honoring the career and the music and putting together our greatest hits show? Who wants to watch Aerosmith and not hear “Dream On” and “Same Old Song and Dance,” and all the great songs that have become the soundtrack to our lives? I have to think after three decades of being there and working as hard as we did to create this catalog, that we want to be able to honor that, so when the fans come to the show, they don’t have to sit down. the whole new record and the things they’ve been waiting to hear.

We miss many years with our children and our families and friends. It’s actually a very emotional time right now, so we thought we were going to close this chapter, but we’re going to open a new chapter. We didn’t announce that we were breaking up. We haven’t announced a farewell tour. At this point, we just want to get out there and enjoy our career and have fun with the fans and be able to put in our time at the live shows, but also be able to take some time to ourselves when it’s over. and don’t have to feel the pressure of a timeline.

I really feel like I can say that maybe the chapter closes the emotionality of your voice, but do you think this is the end of your music making in general? Or do you think you’ll still be involved in playing some as a side project or jamming with people? Anything like that?

SE: I doubt I’ll ever write and record music again because it’s in my blood — it’s in my family’s blood. I’ve been a musician since I was born, practically. My dad is a musician, my uncle [Emanuele Carta] a famous composer — there was no way I could get away with it. This is me forever… in this life, anyway. It’s the Godsmack part of it that has consumed three decades of our lives, in a good way. I don’t want people to misunderstand and think it’s something we’re complaining about. It’s time for a new chapter in our lives. The record is emotional. There were a lot of tears shed in the studio over this because it was a big decision for us to make. We don’t want to be one of those bands that announces something like this and then comes back with another record. It’s not about trying to draw attention to the album. It’s about feeling like things feel complete now.

Some people want a house with a white picket fence and a dog and a car. Then they get it and then they want two cars and another kid or they want three dogs and a bigger house. They never came. I would like to think that we set a goal for ourselves, which is to make this a successful career, and we did that. And we do it over and over again, and we’re proud of it. But we have to know that we have come, and now we can’t keep looking for the next bigger thing. You talked a minute ago about the emotion of this record, and you were right on the money. I love when songs connect in some way and take you on a journey. And as I put the record together, I started to realize that there’s a real story here, and it’s the story of a man’s journey through his life, his career, and all the different obstacles he’s gone through. You can hear little hints of the first record coming, and so this record ends when the first one begins. I don’t know how we could top that if we wanted to.

right? I noticed in the last three tracks, how “Best of Times” flows into “Growing Old” and then flows into “Lighting Up the Sky,” it kind of feels almost like a rock opera. . I hear a crescendo that finally comes to its peace, though it ends in a small cacophony of jamming. And then it was… over. It’s almost like a literal light in the sky that explodes, like a star burst or something. I said it was done on purpose.

SE: That’s right. When I wrote the song I didn’t necessarily have that goal in mind, but as the song writes itself, as all songs write themselves, as all these things united. The entire record tells a story of a journey, from the time you fell in love to the time you found relationship challenges through a breakup or a betrayal, by being inspired by also by meeting someone new or realizing that you should. where you are, and pay respect to the people in your life. Light up the Heavens is a reflection of the whole story. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. They are good emotions. It was a proud moment in our lives. It was a long trip. I’m not ashamed to feel that way, but, ah, you’re killing me!

That made me emotional, too. From a fan’s point of view, you were one of the first heavy bands I was into, that was there my whole life. It’s interesting to think about the fact that this is the last album, but I’m also wondering if you think anything about everything in society and the world lately has helped put things into perspective as to why this is the last. which album?

SE: I don’t know if it’s more played by the pandemic because it allows us the luxury of time, without rushing, without a deadline from the label. I don’t care if it takes two weeks or five years – this is the final chapter. I want every song on this record to be a potential single. We had the luxury of time and that was a blessing because it gave us time to really look at each song, throw out the ones we didn’t feel strongly about, and really put quality music on this record.

Which track would you say was the hardest for you personally to write, and why?

SE: “Truth.” That’s an easy answer. During this album, I went through a breakup, a breakup caused by a betrayal. It was a devastating moment in my life. And it happened in the middle of making this record. I know I have to take it while it’s raw and affecting me, because I know that’s when I have the most authentic feelings. I’m so glad I did, but it was hard to write, and it was the hardest I’ve ever been in a vocal booth. I had to stop three different times because I was too emotional to sing certain lines.

Oh my, that breaks my heart. When it comes to doing that, how do you feel about doing that live every night?

SE: Well, you’ll have to ask that question later because I haven’t. I have a hard time even listening to it now, let alone playing it. It was a big turning point in my life. It changed the whole dynamic of everything I worked with and lived with. I don’t know how that translates live. I always try to control myself and do the best I can, but this is a real situation with real feelings. Being human, I cannot guarantee anything.

Trouble. On a more positive note, I guess. I know “Truth” was the hardest to write, but which one are you most excited to play live?

SE: “Soul of Fire.” It’s my favorite song on the record, just straight up hard traditional rock ‘n’ roll. There are no peaks and valleys. You just turn it on, and it goes from front to back. Very high energy, so I can’t wait to play live. I am very excited about this.

Our thanks to Sully Erna for taking the time to talk to us. Stream Light up the Heavens in its entirety via Apple Music or the Spotify player below.

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