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Artist

Godsmack

About Godsmack

Champions charge forward to meet any challenge head-on. No matter what, they never  relent, tire, or slow down. Instead, they forge ahead. Enduring for over twenty-five  years, Godsmack consistently break records, crush expectations, and leave everything  on tape and on the stage. Like any proud Bostonians, they shout down adversity, flip a  big middle finger to the naysayers, and never compromise. It’s why they continue to sell  out arenas. It’s why they continue to dominate radio and streaming. It’s why they  continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most successful rock bands in  history. The quartet—Sully Erna [vocals, guitar], Tony Rombola [guitar], Robbie Merrill  [bass], and Shannon Larkin [drums]—maintain a breakneck pace. Among numerous  accolades, the boys notched ten number one singles on both the Billboard Mainstream  and Active Rock charts and achieved a total of 24 Top 10 hits at Active Rock (the most of  any act since February 1999). Beyond selling over 20 million records worldwide,  receiving four GRAMMY® Award nominations, and winning “Rock Artist of the Year” at  the Billboard Music Awards, they bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 three  consecutive times, placing them in elite company with Van Halen, U2, Metallica, Dave  Matthews Band, and Linkin Park.   So, how did a group of guys from blue-collar towns and backgrounds around New  England and beyond pull this off?  “It was just a matter of pushing through and not quitting,” answers Sully. “That’s the  moral of this whole story. You can’t give up—ever. If you don’t quit, you’ll get an  opportunity. Maybe it’s a New England mentality. In the area we’re from, we’re taught  to work hard. We work through snow storms. We’re on ladders nailing down roofs in  the middle of the winter and pouring concrete until our hands are cracked and bleeding.  You’re groomed to be tough. That toughness comes out in anything you do. For us, it  was music. With the life I had growing up the way I did in the streets of Lawrence, it’s no  wonder there’s an edge. It’s all reflected in the songs.”  Thankfully, Sully never quit.  After grinding it out as a drummer in “failure after failure and broken band after broken  band,” he decided to change course. He figured out how to sing, write lyrics, and play guitar, piano, and harmonica. In between a day job, he added one skill after another to  the toolbox and made a decision.  “I decided, ‘I’m going to do this again, but I’m going to do it my way’,” he exclaims. “I  transitioned from drums to singing. It was a different puzzle to figure out, but I was  ready for it.”  In February 1995, he reached out to Robbie Merrill. Shortly after, he found Tony  Rombola “ripping Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice In Chains covers at a bar in  New Hampshire,” he grins. The four-piece threw down at countless early gigs in the  kinds of clubs, bars, and dives where a biker doesn’t wait for the bartender to turn off  the A/C…  “After a biker requested to turn the A/C down and was denied by the bartender, he  pulled out a gun and shot the air conditioner,” chuckles Sully. “I’ll never forget that for  as long as I live. We were setting up on stage, we heard the gun go off, and looked up to  see the bartender ducking and a hole in the A/C unit. That’s the vibe.”  By 1997, they scrounged up enough cash to record the storied All Wound Up demo.  Iconic radio station WAAF spun “Keep Away” and fueled sales at local record store chain  Newbury Comics. By the time, the group added “Whatever” to the demo as a single on a  second disc, the song took over airwaves. CDs flew off the shelves as they went from  selling 5 copies a month to eventually 1,000 copies a week. Multiple labelstook notice,  but the guys settled on Republic Records. The label reintroduced All Wound Up as the  self-titled Godsmack in 1998. The record eventually went 5X platinum on the strength of  singles such as “Whatever,” “Keep Away,” “Bad Religion,” and “Voodoo.” They played  Woodstock 99, toured alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, and Black Sabbath on OZZfest and graduated from clubs to theaters on their own. Recording out of a warehouse in  Haverhill, MA, they delivered Awake in 2000. Not only did it crash the Billboard Top 200  at #5, but it garnered the band their first GRAMMY® nod for “Vampires.” Meanwhile,  the title track “Awake” soundtracked a ubiquitous campaign for the U.S. Navy. As the  album reached double-platinum status, they mounted their first headline arena tour  with sellouts coast-to-coast and larger-than-life production that would become a  signature.  “If you really watch the production, it reflects exactly where I was in my life,” Sully goes.  “The vision you see on stage mirrors the emotions I was going through. We had big  castle walls, gargoyles, and flames. It was gothic. It was dark. It was heavy.”  During 2002, they contributed “I Stand Alone” to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack  for The Scorpion King starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who openly praised the tune.  It went on to land two GRAMMY® Award nominations. 2003 represented a serious  turning point. Godsmack welcomed Shannon Larkin behind the kit, adding another dynamic and dimension to the sound. The ensuing album Faceless marked the group’s  first #1 entry on the Billboard Top 200 as they supported Metallica on tour in 2004 and  went platinum again.  “We got Shannon and created Faceless, and there was a new birth of Godsmack,” Sully  recalls. “That’s when the real party started. The journey from recording through touring  was insane.”  The gold-selling IV with the late co-producer Andy Johns—renowned for his work with  Led Zeppelin—also debuted at #1 in 2006. Running at full speed into another decade,  2010’s The Oracle rounded out a trifecta of number one albums and achieved a gold  certification. Four years later, 1000hp revved up to #3 on the Billboard Top 200 as the  city of Boston christened August 6 “Godsmack Day.” During 2018, Godsmack  jumpstarted another era. Signing to BMG, they unleashed their seventh album, When  Legends Rise. It rose to #8 on the Billboard Top 200 and captured #1 on the Top Rock  Albums Chart, Top Hard Music Albums Chart, Top Independent Albums Chart, and Top  Alternative Albums Chart. “Under Your Scars,” “When Legends Rise,” “Unforgettable,”  and “Bulletproof” reached #1 at rock radio. The latter took home a gold plaque  (unprecedented for any rock band in this day and age), stood out as “the most-played  song at rock radio in 2018,” and received a nomination for “Rock Song of the Year” at  the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards. A year later, they would be nominated for “Rock  Artist of the Year” at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.  “It was time for us to try something new,” observes Sully. “We went in a fresh direction  on this last album. We’re really like brothers again. We overcame so many obstacles and  are so tight now. We have each other’s backs. Everyone trusts one another. We’re  playing music, because we just love to play music. It’s like the days when we played in  our garages. When Legends Rise encompassed a metaphor for where we are. Life knocks  you down over and over again. Everything continuously burns to the ground, but a  phoenix rises from the ashes. It’s about being able to reach down inside of yourself, find  your inner strength, and rise above. When you do that, you create epic things. We’re  proud to have gotten to the other side through the industry changing and all of these  storms. We never quit.”  They never will either.   What does the future hold for Godsmack?  Well, certainly more music and touring in addition to a forthcoming documentary on  Sully’s life up until the breakthrough of the group. However, he and the boys keep their  heads up as they look towards the future. “With the exception of having my daughter, Godsmack is probably what I take the most  pride in,” he leaves off. “It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever been able to sustain. I’m  so proud, because we’ve worked through the ugliest of moments and had the best of  moments. We’ve literally lived together, laughed together, and cried together. We  fought with each other and for each other. It’s been a hell of a ride. We’re still not sure  where it’s going. We don’t know what this thing looks like, how it ends, and if it ends.  We’re just enjoying the sunset right now. We know we’re at a place where if everything  ended tomorrow, I think we could easily look at each other, give one another a big hug,  and walk away with nothing to be ashamed of. That wasn’t always the case. We’re  finally at a place where there would be sadness if it ended, but in a happy way, because  there have been so many good memories and we’ve accomplished so much. I really  think we could give each other a big hug and say, ‘Man, nice fucking run’.” — Rick  Florino, June 2020

356x237

Godsmack

Champions charge forward to meet any challenge head-on. No matter what, they never  relent, tire, or slow down. Instead, they forge ahead. Enduring for over twenty-five  years, Godsmack consistently break records, crush expectations, and leave everything  on tape and on the stage. Like any proud Bostonians, they shout down adversity, flip a  big middle finger to the naysayers, and never compromise. It’s why they continue to sell  out arenas. It’s why they continue to dominate radio and streaming. It’s why they  continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most successful rock bands in  history. The quartet—Sully Erna [vocals, guitar], Tony Rombola [guitar], Robbie Merrill  [bass], and Shannon Larkin [drums]—maintain a breakneck pace. Among numerous  accolades, the boys notched ten number one singles on both the Billboard Mainstream  and Active Rock charts and achieved a total of 24 Top 10 hits at Active Rock (the most of  any act since February 1999). Beyond selling over 20 million records worldwide,  receiving four GRAMMY® Award nominations, and winning “Rock Artist of the Year” at  the Billboard Music Awards, they bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 three  consecutive times, placing them in elite company with Van Halen, U2, Metallica, Dave  Matthews Band, and Linkin Park.   So, how did a group of guys from blue-collar towns and backgrounds around New  England and beyond pull this off?  “It was just a matter of pushing through and not quitting,” answers Sully. “That’s the  moral of this whole story. You can’t give up—ever. If you don’t quit, you’ll get an  opportunity. Maybe it’s a New England mentality. In the area we’re from, we’re taught  to work hard. We work through snow storms. We’re on ladders nailing down roofs in  the middle of the winter and pouring concrete until our hands are cracked and bleeding.  You’re groomed to be tough. That toughness comes out in anything you do. For us, it  was music. With the life I had growing up the way I did in the streets of Lawrence, it’s no  wonder there’s an edge. It’s all reflected in the songs.”  Thankfully, Sully never quit.  After grinding it out as a drummer in “failure after failure and broken band after broken  band,” he decided to change course. He figured out how to sing, write lyrics, and play guitar, piano, and harmonica. In between a day job, he added one skill after another to  the toolbox and made a decision.  “I decided, ‘I’m going to do this again, but I’m going to do it my way’,” he exclaims. “I  transitioned from drums to singing. It was a different puzzle to figure out, but I was  ready for it.”  In February 1995, he reached out to Robbie Merrill. Shortly after, he found Tony  Rombola “ripping Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice In Chains covers at a bar in  New Hampshire,” he grins. The four-piece threw down at countless early gigs in the  kinds of clubs, bars, and dives where a biker doesn’t wait for the bartender to turn off  the A/C…  “After a biker requested to turn the A/C down and was denied by the bartender, he  pulled out a gun and shot the air conditioner,” chuckles Sully. “I’ll never forget that for  as long as I live. We were setting up on stage, we heard the gun go off, and looked up to  see the bartender ducking and a hole in the A/C unit. That’s the vibe.”  By 1997, they scrounged up enough cash to record the storied All Wound Up demo.  Iconic radio station WAAF spun “Keep Away” and fueled sales at local record store chain  Newbury Comics. By the time, the group added “Whatever” to the demo as a single on a  second disc, the song took over airwaves. CDs flew off the shelves as they went from  selling 5 copies a month to eventually 1,000 copies a week. Multiple labelstook notice,  but the guys settled on Republic Records. The label reintroduced All Wound Up as the  self-titled Godsmack in 1998. The record eventually went 5X platinum on the strength of  singles such as “Whatever,” “Keep Away,” “Bad Religion,” and “Voodoo.” They played  Woodstock 99, toured alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, and Black Sabbath on OZZfest and graduated from clubs to theaters on their own. Recording out of a warehouse in  Haverhill, MA, they delivered Awake in 2000. Not only did it crash the Billboard Top 200  at #5, but it garnered the band their first GRAMMY® nod for “Vampires.” Meanwhile,  the title track “Awake” soundtracked a ubiquitous campaign for the U.S. Navy. As the  album reached double-platinum status, they mounted their first headline arena tour  with sellouts coast-to-coast and larger-than-life production that would become a  signature.  “If you really watch the production, it reflects exactly where I was in my life,” Sully goes.  “The vision you see on stage mirrors the emotions I was going through. We had big  castle walls, gargoyles, and flames. It was gothic. It was dark. It was heavy.”  During 2002, they contributed “I Stand Alone” to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack  for The Scorpion King starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who openly praised the tune.  It went on to land two GRAMMY® Award nominations. 2003 represented a serious  turning point. Godsmack welcomed Shannon Larkin behind the kit, adding another dynamic and dimension to the sound. The ensuing album Faceless marked the group’s  first #1 entry on the Billboard Top 200 as they supported Metallica on tour in 2004 and  went platinum again.  “We got Shannon and created Faceless, and there was a new birth of Godsmack,” Sully  recalls. “That’s when the real party started. The journey from recording through touring  was insane.”  The gold-selling IV with the late co-producer Andy Johns—renowned for his work with  Led Zeppelin—also debuted at #1 in 2006. Running at full speed into another decade,  2010’s The Oracle rounded out a trifecta of number one albums and achieved a gold  certification. Four years later, 1000hp revved up to #3 on the Billboard Top 200 as the  city of Boston christened August 6 “Godsmack Day.” During 2018, Godsmack  jumpstarted another era. Signing to BMG, they unleashed their seventh album, When  Legends Rise. It rose to #8 on the Billboard Top 200 and captured #1 on the Top Rock  Albums Chart, Top Hard Music Albums Chart, Top Independent Albums Chart, and Top  Alternative Albums Chart. “Under Your Scars,” “When Legends Rise,” “Unforgettable,”  and “Bulletproof” reached #1 at rock radio. The latter took home a gold plaque  (unprecedented for any rock band in this day and age), stood out as “the most-played  song at rock radio in 2018,” and received a nomination for “Rock Song of the Year” at  the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards. A year later, they would be nominated for “Rock  Artist of the Year” at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.  “It was time for us to try something new,” observes Sully. “We went in a fresh direction  on this last album. We’re really like brothers again. We overcame so many obstacles and  are so tight now. We have each other’s backs. Everyone trusts one another. We’re  playing music, because we just love to play music. It’s like the days when we played in  our garages. When Legends Rise encompassed a metaphor for where we are. Life knocks  you down over and over again. Everything continuously burns to the ground, but a  phoenix rises from the ashes. It’s about being able to reach down inside of yourself, find  your inner strength, and rise above. When you do that, you create epic things. We’re  proud to have gotten to the other side through the industry changing and all of these  storms. We never quit.”  They never will either.   What does the future hold for Godsmack?  Well, certainly more music and touring in addition to a forthcoming documentary on  Sully’s life up until the breakthrough of the group. However, he and the boys keep their  heads up as they look towards the future. “With the exception of having my daughter, Godsmack is probably what I take the most  pride in,” he leaves off. “It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever been able to sustain. I’m  so proud, because we’ve worked through the ugliest of moments and had the best of  moments. We’ve literally lived together, laughed together, and cried together. We  fought with each other and for each other. It’s been a hell of a ride. We’re still not sure  where it’s going. We don’t know what this thing looks like, how it ends, and if it ends.  We’re just enjoying the sunset right now. We know we’re at a place where if everything  ended tomorrow, I think we could easily look at each other, give one another a big hug,  and walk away with nothing to be ashamed of. That wasn’t always the case. We’re  finally at a place where there would be sadness if it ended, but in a happy way, because  there have been so many good memories and we’ve accomplished so much. I really  think we could give each other a big hug and say, ‘Man, nice fucking run’.” — Rick  Florino, June 2020

About Godsmack

Champions charge forward to meet any challenge head-on. No matter what, they never  relent, tire, or slow down. Instead, they forge ahead. Enduring for over twenty-five  years, Godsmack consistently break records, crush expectations, and leave everything  on tape and on the stage. Like any proud Bostonians, they shout down adversity, flip a  big middle finger to the naysayers, and never compromise. It’s why they continue to sell  out arenas. It’s why they continue to dominate radio and streaming. It’s why they  continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most successful rock bands in  history. The quartet—Sully Erna [vocals, guitar], Tony Rombola [guitar], Robbie Merrill  [bass], and Shannon Larkin [drums]—maintain a breakneck pace. Among numerous  accolades, the boys notched ten number one singles on both the Billboard Mainstream  and Active Rock charts and achieved a total of 24 Top 10 hits at Active Rock (the most of  any act since February 1999). Beyond selling over 20 million records worldwide,  receiving four GRAMMY® Award nominations, and winning “Rock Artist of the Year” at  the Billboard Music Awards, they bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 three  consecutive times, placing them in elite company with Van Halen, U2, Metallica, Dave  Matthews Band, and Linkin Park.   So, how did a group of guys from blue-collar towns and backgrounds around New  England and beyond pull this off?  “It was just a matter of pushing through and not quitting,” answers Sully. “That’s the  moral of this whole story. You can’t give up—ever. If you don’t quit, you’ll get an  opportunity. Maybe it’s a New England mentality. In the area we’re from, we’re taught  to work hard. We work through snow storms. We’re on ladders nailing down roofs in  the middle of the winter and pouring concrete until our hands are cracked and bleeding.  You’re groomed to be tough. That toughness comes out in anything you do. For us, it  was music. With the life I had growing up the way I did in the streets of Lawrence, it’s no  wonder there’s an edge. It’s all reflected in the songs.”  Thankfully, Sully never quit.  After grinding it out as a drummer in “failure after failure and broken band after broken  band,” he decided to change course. He figured out how to sing, write lyrics, and play guitar, piano, and harmonica. In between a day job, he added one skill after another to  the toolbox and made a decision.  “I decided, ‘I’m going to do this again, but I’m going to do it my way’,” he exclaims. “I  transitioned from drums to singing. It was a different puzzle to figure out, but I was  ready for it.”  In February 1995, he reached out to Robbie Merrill. Shortly after, he found Tony  Rombola “ripping Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice In Chains covers at a bar in  New Hampshire,” he grins. The four-piece threw down at countless early gigs in the  kinds of clubs, bars, and dives where a biker doesn’t wait for the bartender to turn off  the A/C…  “After a biker requested to turn the A/C down and was denied by the bartender, he  pulled out a gun and shot the air conditioner,” chuckles Sully. “I’ll never forget that for  as long as I live. We were setting up on stage, we heard the gun go off, and looked up to  see the bartender ducking and a hole in the A/C unit. That’s the vibe.”  By 1997, they scrounged up enough cash to record the storied All Wound Up demo.  Iconic radio station WAAF spun “Keep Away” and fueled sales at local record store chain  Newbury Comics. By the time, the group added “Whatever” to the demo as a single on a  second disc, the song took over airwaves. CDs flew off the shelves as they went from  selling 5 copies a month to eventually 1,000 copies a week. Multiple labelstook notice,  but the guys settled on Republic Records. The label reintroduced All Wound Up as the  self-titled Godsmack in 1998. The record eventually went 5X platinum on the strength of  singles such as “Whatever,” “Keep Away,” “Bad Religion,” and “Voodoo.” They played  Woodstock 99, toured alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, and Black Sabbath on OZZfest and graduated from clubs to theaters on their own. Recording out of a warehouse in  Haverhill, MA, they delivered Awake in 2000. Not only did it crash the Billboard Top 200  at #5, but it garnered the band their first GRAMMY® nod for “Vampires.” Meanwhile,  the title track “Awake” soundtracked a ubiquitous campaign for the U.S. Navy. As the  album reached double-platinum status, they mounted their first headline arena tour  with sellouts coast-to-coast and larger-than-life production that would become a  signature.  “If you really watch the production, it reflects exactly where I was in my life,” Sully goes.  “The vision you see on stage mirrors the emotions I was going through. We had big  castle walls, gargoyles, and flames. It was gothic. It was dark. It was heavy.”  During 2002, they contributed “I Stand Alone” to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack  for The Scorpion King starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who openly praised the tune.  It went on to land two GRAMMY® Award nominations. 2003 represented a serious  turning point. Godsmack welcomed Shannon Larkin behind the kit, adding another dynamic and dimension to the sound. The ensuing album Faceless marked the group’s  first #1 entry on the Billboard Top 200 as they supported Metallica on tour in 2004 and  went platinum again.  “We got Shannon and created Faceless, and there was a new birth of Godsmack,” Sully  recalls. “That’s when the real party started. The journey from recording through touring  was insane.”  The gold-selling IV with the late co-producer Andy Johns—renowned for his work with  Led Zeppelin—also debuted at #1 in 2006. Running at full speed into another decade,  2010’s The Oracle rounded out a trifecta of number one albums and achieved a gold  certification. Four years later, 1000hp revved up to #3 on the Billboard Top 200 as the  city of Boston christened August 6 “Godsmack Day.” During 2018, Godsmack  jumpstarted another era. Signing to BMG, they unleashed their seventh album, When  Legends Rise. It rose to #8 on the Billboard Top 200 and captured #1 on the Top Rock  Albums Chart, Top Hard Music Albums Chart, Top Independent Albums Chart, and Top  Alternative Albums Chart. “Under Your Scars,” “When Legends Rise,” “Unforgettable,”  and “Bulletproof” reached #1 at rock radio. The latter took home a gold plaque  (unprecedented for any rock band in this day and age), stood out as “the most-played  song at rock radio in 2018,” and received a nomination for “Rock Song of the Year” at  the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards. A year later, they would be nominated for “Rock  Artist of the Year” at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.  “It was time for us to try something new,” observes Sully. “We went in a fresh direction  on this last album. We’re really like brothers again. We overcame so many obstacles and  are so tight now. We have each other’s backs. Everyone trusts one another. We’re  playing music, because we just love to play music. It’s like the days when we played in  our garages. When Legends Rise encompassed a metaphor for where we are. Life knocks  you down over and over again. Everything continuously burns to the ground, but a  phoenix rises from the ashes. It’s about being able to reach down inside of yourself, find  your inner strength, and rise above. When you do that, you create epic things. We’re  proud to have gotten to the other side through the industry changing and all of these  storms. We never quit.”  They never will either.   What does the future hold for Godsmack?  Well, certainly more music and touring in addition to a forthcoming documentary on  Sully’s life up until the breakthrough of the group. However, he and the boys keep their  heads up as they look towards the future. “With the exception of having my daughter, Godsmack is probably what I take the most  pride in,” he leaves off. “It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever been able to sustain. I’m  so proud, because we’ve worked through the ugliest of moments and had the best of  moments. We’ve literally lived together, laughed together, and cried together. We  fought with each other and for each other. It’s been a hell of a ride. We’re still not sure  where it’s going. We don’t know what this thing looks like, how it ends, and if it ends.  We’re just enjoying the sunset right now. We know we’re at a place where if everything  ended tomorrow, I think we could easily look at each other, give one another a big hug,  and walk away with nothing to be ashamed of. That wasn’t always the case. We’re  finally at a place where there would be sadness if it ended, but in a happy way, because  there have been so many good memories and we’ve accomplished so much. I really  think we could give each other a big hug and say, ‘Man, nice fucking run’.” — Rick  Florino, June 2020

About Godsmack

Champions charge forward to meet any challenge head-on. No matter what, they never  relent, tire, or slow down. Instead, they forge ahead. Enduring for over twenty-five  years, Godsmack consistently break records, crush expectations, and leave everything  on tape and on the stage. Like any proud Bostonians, they shout down adversity, flip a  big middle finger to the naysayers, and never compromise. It’s why they continue to sell  out arenas. It’s why they continue to dominate radio and streaming. It’s why they  continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most successful rock bands in  history. The quartet—Sully Erna [vocals, guitar], Tony Rombola [guitar], Robbie Merrill  [bass], and Shannon Larkin [drums]—maintain a breakneck pace. Among numerous  accolades, the boys notched ten number one singles on both the Billboard Mainstream  and Active Rock charts and achieved a total of 24 Top 10 hits at Active Rock (the most of  any act since February 1999). Beyond selling over 20 million records worldwide,  receiving four GRAMMY® Award nominations, and winning “Rock Artist of the Year” at  the Billboard Music Awards, they bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 three  consecutive times, placing them in elite company with Van Halen, U2, Metallica, Dave  Matthews Band, and Linkin Park.   So, how did a group of guys from blue-collar towns and backgrounds around New  England and beyond pull this off?  “It was just a matter of pushing through and not quitting,” answers Sully. “That’s the  moral of this whole story. You can’t give up—ever. If you don’t quit, you’ll get an  opportunity. Maybe it’s a New England mentality. In the area we’re from, we’re taught  to work hard. We work through snow storms. We’re on ladders nailing down roofs in  the middle of the winter and pouring concrete until our hands are cracked and bleeding.  You’re groomed to be tough. That toughness comes out in anything you do. For us, it  was music. With the life I had growing up the way I did in the streets of Lawrence, it’s no  wonder there’s an edge. It’s all reflected in the songs.”  Thankfully, Sully never quit.  After grinding it out as a drummer in “failure after failure and broken band after broken  band,” he decided to change course. He figured out how to sing, write lyrics, and play guitar, piano, and harmonica. In between a day job, he added one skill after another to  the toolbox and made a decision.  “I decided, ‘I’m going to do this again, but I’m going to do it my way’,” he exclaims. “I  transitioned from drums to singing. It was a different puzzle to figure out, but I was  ready for it.”  In February 1995, he reached out to Robbie Merrill. Shortly after, he found Tony  Rombola “ripping Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice In Chains covers at a bar in  New Hampshire,” he grins. The four-piece threw down at countless early gigs in the  kinds of clubs, bars, and dives where a biker doesn’t wait for the bartender to turn off  the A/C…  “After a biker requested to turn the A/C down and was denied by the bartender, he  pulled out a gun and shot the air conditioner,” chuckles Sully. “I’ll never forget that for  as long as I live. We were setting up on stage, we heard the gun go off, and looked up to  see the bartender ducking and a hole in the A/C unit. That’s the vibe.”  By 1997, they scrounged up enough cash to record the storied All Wound Up demo.  Iconic radio station WAAF spun “Keep Away” and fueled sales at local record store chain  Newbury Comics. By the time, the group added “Whatever” to the demo as a single on a  second disc, the song took over airwaves. CDs flew off the shelves as they went from  selling 5 copies a month to eventually 1,000 copies a week. Multiple labelstook notice,  but the guys settled on Republic Records. The label reintroduced All Wound Up as the  self-titled Godsmack in 1998. The record eventually went 5X platinum on the strength of  singles such as “Whatever,” “Keep Away,” “Bad Religion,” and “Voodoo.” They played  Woodstock 99, toured alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, and Black Sabbath on OZZfest and graduated from clubs to theaters on their own. Recording out of a warehouse in  Haverhill, MA, they delivered Awake in 2000. Not only did it crash the Billboard Top 200  at #5, but it garnered the band their first GRAMMY® nod for “Vampires.” Meanwhile,  the title track “Awake” soundtracked a ubiquitous campaign for the U.S. Navy. As the  album reached double-platinum status, they mounted their first headline arena tour  with sellouts coast-to-coast and larger-than-life production that would become a  signature.  “If you really watch the production, it reflects exactly where I was in my life,” Sully goes.  “The vision you see on stage mirrors the emotions I was going through. We had big  castle walls, gargoyles, and flames. It was gothic. It was dark. It was heavy.”  During 2002, they contributed “I Stand Alone” to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack  for The Scorpion King starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who openly praised the tune.  It went on to land two GRAMMY® Award nominations. 2003 represented a serious  turning point. Godsmack welcomed Shannon Larkin behind the kit, adding another dynamic and dimension to the sound. The ensuing album Faceless marked the group’s  first #1 entry on the Billboard Top 200 as they supported Metallica on tour in 2004 and  went platinum again.  “We got Shannon and created Faceless, and there was a new birth of Godsmack,” Sully  recalls. “That’s when the real party started. The journey from recording through touring  was insane.”  The gold-selling IV with the late co-producer Andy Johns—renowned for his work with  Led Zeppelin—also debuted at #1 in 2006. Running at full speed into another decade,  2010’s The Oracle rounded out a trifecta of number one albums and achieved a gold  certification. Four years later, 1000hp revved up to #3 on the Billboard Top 200 as the  city of Boston christened August 6 “Godsmack Day.” During 2018, Godsmack  jumpstarted another era. Signing to BMG, they unleashed their seventh album, When  Legends Rise. It rose to #8 on the Billboard Top 200 and captured #1 on the Top Rock  Albums Chart, Top Hard Music Albums Chart, Top Independent Albums Chart, and Top  Alternative Albums Chart. “Under Your Scars,” “When Legends Rise,” “Unforgettable,”  and “Bulletproof” reached #1 at rock radio. The latter took home a gold plaque  (unprecedented for any rock band in this day and age), stood out as “the most-played  song at rock radio in 2018,” and received a nomination for “Rock Song of the Year” at  the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards. A year later, they would be nominated for “Rock  Artist of the Year” at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.  “It was time for us to try something new,” observes Sully. “We went in a fresh direction  on this last album. We’re really like brothers again. We overcame so many obstacles and  are so tight now. We have each other’s backs. Everyone trusts one another. We’re  playing music, because we just love to play music. It’s like the days when we played in  our garages. When Legends Rise encompassed a metaphor for where we are. Life knocks  you down over and over again. Everything continuously burns to the ground, but a  phoenix rises from the ashes. It’s about being able to reach down inside of yourself, find  your inner strength, and rise above. When you do that, you create epic things. We’re  proud to have gotten to the other side through the industry changing and all of these  storms. We never quit.”  They never will either.   What does the future hold for Godsmack?  Well, certainly more music and touring in addition to a forthcoming documentary on  Sully’s life up until the breakthrough of the group. However, he and the boys keep their  heads up as they look towards the future. “With the exception of having my daughter, Godsmack is probably what I take the most  pride in,” he leaves off. “It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever been able to sustain. I’m  so proud, because we’ve worked through the ugliest of moments and had the best of  moments. We’ve literally lived together, laughed together, and cried together. We  fought with each other and for each other. It’s been a hell of a ride. We’re still not sure  where it’s going. We don’t know what this thing looks like, how it ends, and if it ends.  We’re just enjoying the sunset right now. We know we’re at a place where if everything  ended tomorrow, I think we could easily look at each other, give one another a big hug,  and walk away with nothing to be ashamed of. That wasn’t always the case. We’re  finally at a place where there would be sadness if it ended, but in a happy way, because  there have been so many good memories and we’ve accomplished so much. I really  think we could give each other a big hug and say, ‘Man, nice fucking run’.” — Rick  Florino, June 2020

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