Interview: Sully Erna of Godsmack — "Weather, attitude, neighborhoods are all a factor in producing a tougher soul."
Tue, 04 May 2010 09:53:39
Godsmack haven't stopped swinging on The Oracle.
In fact, the album packs the most powerful punch that the band has ever thrown. It's a tough-as-nails, tight and taut metal record with undeniably unforgettable hooks and airtight riffs and leads. This is everything that hard rock should be—angry, energetic and alive. This is Godsmack's most transcendently tough offering since 2000's Awake. It's got the requisite fist-pumping gut punchers such as "Cryin' Like a Bitch," but it also features the epic, psychedelic pummeling of "What If" and "The Oracle." There's also nothing like the deadly delivery of "Good Day to Die." This Oracle shows the future is brighter than ever for Boston's most badass band…
Godsmack frontman Sully Erna sits down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to break down The Oracle and so much more in this exclusive interview.
Where do you feel like The Oracle has taken Godsmack? Where does it fit in your catalog?
This is definitely a record built for the fans. We've grown and surfaced material over the years through our influences and we've carved out different musical paths for ourselves through those experiences—and we've enjoyed it all. But this one is for the fans. It's raw, tough and all Godsmack!
You've always painted such powerful pictures with your songs. If you were to compare The Oracle to a movie what would you compare it to?
Hmmm...great question. Most interesting question I've heard from an American journalist in a very long time [Laughs]. Good for you! If I had to compare, I would probably say, Gladiator. It's very strong and all heart!
Do you tend to read a lot while you're writing lyrics?
Not really. I stay away from mostly everything when I'm in writing mode so I'm not influenced to easily.
Do you have any favorite book or authors?
My favorite book is Many Lives, Many Masters. It had a very big positive impact on me. Favorite author is Stephen King, because he's the KING [Laughs]!
Would you say there are a lot of classical themes at the heart of The Oracle? "Saints and Sinners," "War and Peace" and "Love Hate Sex Pain" all have a truly epic feel.
Not really. Again, we just wrote what we felt was the core of Godsmack—tough, honest and melodic.
Do you feel like this album really captured your live energy?
I really do. Funny you say that because our front of house engineer Frank Sgamballone who knows us better than we know ourselves had just texted me after hearing the record and said exactly that. "This is the closest I have ever heard you guys capture your energy on a recording."
How important is Boston to the Godsmack sound and story? Do you feel like being an East Coaster still permeates the music to this day?
Not sure about that, but I do believe it has set the foundation for who we are as people and part of that is our influences and childhood. So it builds character. Yes, I guess...
Well, could Godsmack have come from anywhere but Boston? What is it about the area that produce so much great heavy music?
I don't know. The east coast is a tougher place to grow up than many. Weather, attitude, neighborhoods are all a factor in producing a tougher soul. Survival is more like it—at least from where I'm from.
Did the title track help inspire some of the overall tone? Did you always envision it as a closer?
"The Oracle" was written very late in the writing process, and we weren't even sure if it would make the record. But as it goes, it really came together in the studio and surprised us all.
Who would direct the Godsmack story if it were a movie? Do you have any favorite flicks?
Another good question... I don't know who would. But it would have to be someone that really gets the story and the details that built it. I thought 8 Mile was a great representation of the truth. Maybe that guy!
What's on your playlist right now?
Ray Charles... Always!!! Oh and Alanis Morrisette, I love her music.
Are there any dreams you've still yet to achieve?
Yes. Peace and quiet in a small house somewhere in Italy—family, friends, food and Happiness. That's the dream now.
Will you be picking up The Oracle?