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Talkin' 'smack 

Ten years later, Godsmack's members still can't agree on how to handle success

click to enlarge Hot Mainstream Rock? It must be Godsmack, at the City - Aud!
  • Hot Mainstream Rock? It must be Godsmack, at the City Aud!

When it comes to having a vision for the band Godsmack, drummer Shannon Larkin admits that he's on a slightly different page than band leader Sully Erna.

For instance, Larkin says he'd be happy to tour theaters. And even on an arena level, he's not crazy about having special effects and other stage production bells and whistles as part of the show.

But for Erna, who has the final say on all things Godsmack, the general thinking is that bigger is better something that'll be apparent to fans who see the tour this summer.

"My favorite venues to play, as a drummer, are the smaller venues," Larkin says, "because I can actually feel the crowd's energy more. I can see peoples' faces and watch people sing along ... That's what I get off on."

And even on the central issue of how much success is enough, Larkin's ambitions are much more modest than Erna's.

"He has his aspirations set so high that, I think, if we come out and sell a million records, he wishes it sold 5 million," Larkin says, adding that he'd be pleased enough to just see his band continue its string of albums that have sold more than a million copies.

That streak began with the band's 1998 self-titled debut and carried through with 2000's Awake and 2003's Faceless.

"Of course, I would love to be in the biggest band in the world and all that jazz," Larkin says. "But I think we need to be glad where we're at, try and just put on the killer shows and get back in the studio and make another record."

With the group's current studio CD, IV, Erna, Larkin, bassist Robbie Merrill and guitarist Tony Rombola have extended the success Godsmack has enjoyed over the course of the band's first three CDs, as well as its 2004 acoustic EP, The Other Side.

IV has produced a single, "Speak," that topped Billboard magazine's Hot Mainstream Rock chart. It's also spawned two other Top 5 hits on the same chart, "Shine Down" and "The Enemy." That disc, released in April of last year, has sold more than 500,000 copies.

Later this year, the band plans to celebrate its 10th anniversary by releasing a box set that will collect its four CDs, a DVD and bonus material.

For now, though, the band is still promoting IV on tour. The CD takes Godsmack in a slightly bluesier direction (as on the songs "Shine Down" and "Bleeding Me"), while retaining the hard edge that fans expect (on songs like "The Enemy" and "Livin' in Sin").

"It's a more bluesy record, for sure," Larkin says. "But I think it's got the toughness of Godsmack. It's got to retain that, because we understand the whole fan base thing. At the same time, as musicians, we're basically almost a decade into this band, and we don't want to be going through the motions and be bored. So we're trying to be able to play some music that we all grew up loving and listening to, which definitely had a more blues flavor like [Led] Zeppelin." scene@csindy.com

Godsmack

City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa St.

Tuesday, July 24, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $40; visit ticketmaster.com.

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