Godsmack – Interview [2001]

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Godsmack

Godsmack is still rockin’ new drummer and all. Shannon Larkin is the new drummer and we had a chance to chat with him about his new gig and joining the biggest rock band in the world.

They threw you right into the fire.

Yeah, but I like it.

On the Godsmack message boards it seems everyone is talking about you more than anything else.

That is so cool. I love the site; I try to go on there a couple times a week. It’s all new to me. I never got into the computer world until about six months ago when I got a computer. It’s crazy; you get talk to fans one to one. It’s great.

I couldn’t find any info on you and the message boards have all your background, where you are from, and so on. It’s amazing.

They’re lighting up huh?

Whats it like to have such fierce fans?

It’s crazy. It’s like I joined their family and they really take it seriously.

Everyone is asking how did it all come about?

I’ve known Sully as a friend since 1988. I joined a band called Amen from L.A. and he called me two weeks after I joined the band and told me he that he put out this demo and got major play and Universal was interested in them. So he wanted me to join the band, but I had only been in Amen for two weeks and I couldn’t quit. He understood and that was it. Then their record came out and sold four million and Amen came out and didn’t sell. So I was like ‘wow, I could have been in that band’. Ironically I stuck with Amen for four and a half years couldn’t pay my rent and was doing more session work so I could pay rent. So I quit the band and two weeks later Sully called and wanted to know what I was doing and I told him I quit Amen and he wanted to know if I wanted to join Godsmack. So I told him to give me the songs and I’m there. I went and Tony and Robbie are amazing guys and we clicked. Everything is almost too good to be true. It was just a matter of us writing new songs and we wrote a few in five days. I came home, packed my bags and moved in with Sully in Boston.

That is crazy.

That’s how it all went down. I really believe in karma and destiny and I really believe I was meant to be in Sully’s band.

When you couldn’t pay the rent were you worried that you might have to give up music altogether?

Well I have a long and colorful history in the industry and all I know is music, I’ve never done anything else. I started out in Wrathchild America, that’s when I met Sully the first time. I was the drummer, and I’m not trying to say this to be conceited, but Sully told me that I was his biggest influence ‘it’s you, John Bonham and Neil Peart’ he said. I’m like ‘rad dude’. So after Wrathchild got dropped I joined with Ugly Kid Joe and did two records with them and then I joined Amen and did two records with them, I was ready to quit. I don’t care about being rich, I’m not a liar because I wouldn’t mind being rich, but that wasn’t my intention. My main thing was to keep playing and make a living. It got to a point where being in a band was a drag. For years I was touring my ass off and was away from my family all the time; I have a wife and a four-and-a-half year old daughter. I come home from a year on tour and have four hundred and fifty bucks in the bank. So I had to do session work just to pay the bills. So I just thought to myself that I would just do session work only and not join a band again. I even thought about just touring with a band that might need a drummer. Luckily if you are a drummer you can get in a good band, but a guitarist has a lot harder job. I just gave up on the dream. I sat down with my wife and talked and told her that maybe it wasn’t my destiny to be some drummer in a great band. I knew my destiny was playing the drummer, so I was ready to just be a session guy. I even thought about going to college to have something to fall back on. Thankfully the call came. So maybe it is in my destiny.

Those two weeks must have been tough.

They were really tough. There was a big reality check. I’ve been in three bands and each was signed to a label but they all failed. I can’t complain though because I had a lot of fun and I got to see the world.

The crazy thing is that you’ve been in three bands that have been signed.

It is isn’t it? I didn’t see myself as a failure, but I thought maybe it wasn’t in the cards.

Was the first meeting with Godsmack about chemistry?

Yeah, it was all about chemistry. We didn’t even pick up our instruments; we went straight to the bar. (Laughs) We had dinner, drinks and hung out. I wanted to make sure Robbie and Tony and I were on the same page. They were really down to earth. They sold millions of records and are a huge band, I was afraid they’d be rockstar dicks or something. If they didn’t like me I don’t know what I would have done. Luckly they were really cool. The first day we rehearsed we wrote two songs. Thankfully Sully and my styles are similar. After I moved there we had trouble focusing with all of Sully’s friends around so we moved down to Miami. The four of us were living together. We had a cool studio right by and for two months we did everything together and wrote the new record. The Awake record was written on tour and separately. They never had a time to just sit down and write the entire record at one time. This was more of a thing where he’d come in with the riffs and we’d put it together.

What’s it like to be working on a record where there is a lot of anticipation?

It’s surreal. I don’t feel pressure because I’m so confident of the new records. Everyone has a credo and our is ‘you can’t fail’. The band has a core following and its one of the only bands who can still go out and play 8-10,000 arenas. I know that if you liked Godsmack before, then you’ll love them even more now. Sully has come into his own vocally. All the great vocalists have character. Sully has always been compared to Metallica and Alice In Chains, but this time around he came into his own. He doesn’t sound like anyone else. The new record will separate us from all the other bands. Sully is just shining. I couldn’t believe when I heard the new shit. “I Stand Alone” is a good representation of what the new stuff sounds like.

The last Our Lady Peace album is really good.

You know, I need to get that one.

Being on the road, do you see characteristics of the guys in Godsmack that you wish you had?

Yeah. I think that is something I learned early on. It’s almost like a crash course on getting to know someone. Like Tony, our guitar player, I admire him because he is so level all the time and nothing gets to him. It’s all small shit to him. That is something I wish I had that because I can be up and down about shit. Sully’s drive and ambition is really inspiring. I think that is why we are all together as a foursome, because we inspire each other. I think one person may be way over here and another way over there and we all meet in the middle.

Is it helpful because you have other guys that can relate to how life has changed so much?

No question. We’ve been together for six years and it’s great that we’ve been together and grown as individuals as well as a band. I think we’ve grown the most in the last three years because we were thrust into a different life. We’re a family.

+ charlie craine