Latest release: 1000HP (Spinefarm)

Next year’s Soundwave Festival will be the Australian debut tour for US heavy rock hit machine Godsmack. Following a long lay-off after their third consecutive US #1 album, The Oracle, the Massachusetts quartet blasted back earlier this year with 1000HP, their first album to chart in the Australian top 100. With a busy promotional schedule, frontman Erna Sully took a few minutes to chat with us about getting back on the road and heading here next year:

Thanks for you time today. First of all, you must be very happy with the reaction to the latest album.
We’re excited about it. We worked damn hard on it and we felt so good about the results on this record after taking so much time off. It’s a really strong album for us and we’re really happy about it, and it’s translating live really well. You find songs that you really love and try to translate them live and it can be really difficult, but these songs are just really natural. They come out really hard, heavy, confident and powerful, so we’re definitely really excited about coming down to Australia. We’ve never been there yet, so we’re really excited about coming down there and playing in front of this audience and playing this album for them. We hear it’s being accepted really well out there so far.

Our reviewer gave it a very positive review and a lot of fans are looking forward to having you here because, like you said, it’ll be the first time we’ve seen Godsmack in Australia.
Oh yeah, we’re real excited. Not so excited about the long plane trip, but it’s going to be great to be part of Soundwave.

So when was it that you decided it was time to get the wheels in motion once again?
Well there wasn’t a specific moment. You know, we were just touring for so long and there was a lot of things going on around the band that we just weren’t happy with. The band’s always been pretty consistent, I must say. One of the things I’ve always been happy with is that the band’s always been consistent with how we play and the attitude that we put out. We’ve never let anyone down when it’s come to playing live, but the team that was around us – the management team and the business manager and the agencies – we felt like they were getting a little bit lazy. The band was constantly trying to expand and grow and take it to a new level and try new things, and I felt like we were getting stuck in this place where we weren’t getting any results. I was becoming frustrated, and when you’re exhausted from touring, your judgement becomes clouded and you start thinking it’s the band and you start to wonder if it’s the right thing to do to continue. So we took a lot of time off, and during that time there was a lot of question marks about whether or not we were gonna return, because there was a lot of things that we weren’t sure could be fixed. But like they say, time can heal all wounds, and after some time apart we started to really miss the band and we started to think that we had something really special here and it’s the reason why we’ve had a nearly 20-year career so far and things were working, we just had to flush out the problem. So we did. We replaced a lot of the management team and things that were causing the problem and we started with a new support team of people who really stepped up and have done some great things so far and at some point we just started talking again, and we said, let’s just take it slow. We don’t want to freak anyone out. I had done a solo project and we just decided to get together again and see how it feels. That was kind of the spark. It was just enough time apart to reflect on everything and once we started to play together again it was clear that the magic was still there and we still had something very special. Right now the band is in a great place. We’re young, we’re healthy, we have a lot of energy and everyone’s feeling very ambitious to work.

The album title and the cover then seems to reflect the mood that the band is in at the moment. Do you feel you’ve got your mojo back?
Did we ever lose it? (laughs) I don’t know! I listen back to the tapes and to the recordings and the band has always been pretty strong. I’m pretty proud of that. I’m a very realistic person and I’d be the first one to tell you… I criticise this band more than anybody and I’m very hard on the guys. I’m very much a perfectionist, and if something doesn’t feel right or something isn’t sounding right, or we’re not performing the way I know we can, I’m the first one to know. I don’t bullshit. I’ll tell people, the band’s not in a good place right now. But I honestly can’t say that about this band. Everyone’s very passionate and takes it very seriously and we perform in front of five people the same way we perform in front of 5000 people. That’s just how we were raised. We’re hard-working, blue collar rock band. That’s how it’s always gonna be. It gets a little harder when you get older, and we don’t consider ourselves to be old yet, but shit, we’re in our mid- to late 40s and the bones start to ache and the headaches start to kick in. But we look our for each other and keep ourselves in really good condition and we’re strong. The band, right now, is stronger than we were when we first started, that’s for sure. Knock on wood, hopefully it will stay that way for another twenty years!

When you play in a new place that you haven’t been to before, is it difficult to decide what tracks you’re going to do?
It is getting a lot more difficult. We’re onto our sixth album now and there was the acoustic album beyond that, and luckily the band has been blessed in having a lot of Top 10 singles. Those have been the songs that the fans have identified as being their favourite songs so we try to give them as much of that as possible so they have a great time at the show. But we also like to get some of the deep cuts in there as well, and there’s always songs that people have personal preferences for but you can only do so much for so long, unless we’re gonna play a three hour show, which can become kind of counter-productive sometimes.

Well, we have to keep it brief, so thanks for your time today. Do you have anything you’d like to add before you have to go?
We’re just very very excited to come to Australia for the first time. We have great motivation because we’ve heard nothing but great things about your wonderful country. It’s been a long time coming and, again, the band’s in a great place so they should get an amazing show when we get there.

Godsmack will feature at Soundwave next year:
21/2: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
22/2: Bonython Park, Adelaide SA
28/2: RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
1/3: Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney NSW