For over two decades US hard rock outfit Godsmack have been producing the goods.
Over seven previous albums the band has taken the world on a rock journey of the highest degree, in the process taking hard rock music out of the naughty basket and into the ears of a more mainstream market with their radio-friendly – but still tough as nails – music.
With Godsmack’s eighth – and final – album Lighting Up The Sky set to be unveiled this Friday, February 24, frontman Sully Erna has understandably been a man in demand, but the enigmatic performer still managed to set aside time for a chat with HEAVY to deliver the news in person.
“We feel good, you know,” he smiled. “We can truly say that we believe with all our heart that this is the best body of work that we’ve ever done in the studio, and it feels very complete; it feels very rounded for all fans of Godsmack, and we’re just excited for the world to hear it. I like to think of it as every great Hollywood movie is built off of the same format of a script. It’s just a recipe that’s worked over and over again. Every movie you’ve ever seen is boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Sometimes girl could be your job or your hobby or your addiction or whatever it is, but that’s kind of the premise. Then there’s a resolution at the end. So there’s always a situation, the obstacles to get through it, and then a resolve and sometimes the resolution is unresolved. But in this case, as we were sequencing the record not even knowing, or having in mind that it was going to be somewhat conceptual it really just started to tell a story. I was just writing about my life, and the things going on in my life and have gone on in my life; the things I appreciated, love found, love lost. The situations that we live in today and the times we live in today, and it really told the story of one man’s journey through life. Even all the way in the end when we talk about lighting up the sky it’s just a song reflecting on the whole journey. If I could talk to myself as a young version of me what would I give that young guy for advice now? What would I say? Would I have regrets? Would I have done it differently? Would I have gone 1000 miles an hour lighting up the sky? And would I have gotten to where I am today if I didn’t do it that way and had regret and wanted to do it differently? The record just feels very whole and complete. I really feel like this record wrote itself.”
One thing Erna did confirm is that Lighting Up The Sky will be Godsmack’s last studio album, with the realisation that it was time to focus on the band’s existing body of work presenting itself during the recording process.
“We didn’t go into this album thinking that it was going to be our last one,” he affirmed. “But as we started thinking about the whole journey, the whole record was a journey, and we thought about it and decided we have to start realising when we arrive and being content with that. So many people have goals in life and then they get there, and they want the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing and at what point do you say listen, I just wanted one thing in my life and maybe a certain way of living and a certain status of a career. Some people just want a house and a white picket fence and a dog and a car, and then they want a truck, and then they want two dogs, and then they want a bigger house. You need to know when to say when and part of that conversation was also where are we at in our career right now? We have 26 Top 10 singles, right? So we pull three or four off this new record – which is very possible – we could be at 30, and what does that mean? We play 15 songs a night and never play the same single twice? I don’t know about you, but when I go to see my favourite band, because I’m still a fan… I don’t necessarily go see Aerosmith because I want to hear their new record. I’m going to see Dream On and Walk This Way and Train Kept Rolling. And I feel like we should be honouring that for our fans because when we play live they wanna hear those songs. They wanna hear Keep Away and Voodoo and Stand Alone, and we can’t get to them all. Then the last part of it is recognising where we’re at and the other things we wanted to do with our lives and stuff that we wanna enjoy that we’ve missed our whole life because we have been constantly touring.”
In the full interview, Sully talks more about Lighting Up The Sky, leaving it as Godsmack’s final album, the pressures of continuing to release quality material, the notions explored on the album and how they follow Godsmack’s career trajectory, what he hopes to leave as his musical legacy and more.