One day after Godsmack’s first single and title track from their forthcoming album, “1000hp,” made its way to radio, frontman Sully Erna held court at Times Square’s Quad Studios, where he played six tracks from the forthcoming album for press, radio and label brass. The six tracks the band showcased featured, for the most part, a more aggressive side of the band that Erna said he owed the band’s core audience. After an introduction from Republic President Avery Lipman, who said Erna hung up on him when he first called about signing Godsmack 19 years ago, the vocalist first addressed the near breakup of the band.
“We really needed some time apart,” Erna said. “After being on the road together for a whole decade straight, that takes its toll on you. There were really some question marks as to whether this band was going to return. Ultimately, in hindsight, we needed some time off. When we came back together and started talking about writing a new record and brought some ideas to the table, it was then that we realized that this really is a special band. I never claimed to be the new innovators of rock, or have something so innovative that we’re going to change music, but we certainly have a strong brand we’ve developed over the years, and we’re really proud of it. Hearing the band working together and writing this music again helped remind us how special this is, and how important it is that we continue to share our music with everyone.”
Lead single “1000hp” was the first song played. Erna said that the song initially started as a joke. “One of our crew guys was going out to get us some dinner, and I said to him that we hadn’t written as a band yet,” he said. “I brought in a stack of songs, they brought in a stack of songs, but we hadn’t created as a band yet. Tony, my guitar player, said “well, you better write it fast and play it quick because he’ll be back in 15 minutes.” So I started playing guitar really quickly, and the next thing you know, some melody started coming. This whole song we wrote in maybe 90 minutes front to back. It’s a massive headbutt… It’s very powerful, it has this big anthemic chorus, and I knew it would kick the doors open. I really feel like there’s a lack of great authentic rock music like this. I don’t think there’s anything on the radio with this kind of power.”
The second song, played “FML,” was written for Lipman. “One of the last couple of times I talked to him, he was like “I don’t know if it’s because you have a daughter, or because you’re getting older, but you used to call and go ‘motherfucker.’ Everything was ‘motherfucker. Where’s that Godsmack?” So we really worked on making sure there was some really good profanity on this record.” The next song showcase was called “What’s Next,” which Erna said was a possible single.
And while “Cryin’ Like a Bitch” the band’s first single from their last album, 2010’s Oracle, was a shot at Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, it appears that Godsmack’s war of words with the bassist isn’t over. After playing “Locked and Loaded,” another one of the more aggressive songs featured, Erna said “I won’t say who that last song’s about, but I will say that it’s track number six,” to laughter from the crowd.
The next song highlighted, “Generation Day,” was one that Erna sounded particularly proud of. “I’m such a big fan of bands like Zeppelin, and there’s a great middle section here, that’s trippy and weird and just kind of puts you in another place for a minute,” he said. “I actually got to use real analog tape on this one, and that’s something you don’t hear that often. I’m very proud to say that we’re probably one of the last few bands that plays our instruments. We don’t run fuckin’ Pro Tools onstage, wow! It’s always a bummer, because I’m such an analog guy. I still play vinyl records at my house, I really love that sound, but nowadays everything’s digital and Pro Tools and in a box.
“This song is about coming into this new generation, and as we come into this generation, I see children like my daughter, who’s 12 now,” Erna continued. “Everything is texting, and before long, we’ll be beaming them to the malls. There’s this real digital world taking over the analog world. So at the beginning of the song, there’s all these computers and technology, and you can hear the reel starting up, where the analog tries to take over the digital. Then the song does it’s thing, and by the end of the song, the rell dies, and then you hear the computers chasing the analog tape away. It’s the epic song of the record. It’s probably about 6:30. This is about coming to a realization that our generation is going to be shot one day. It is what it is, and its inevitable that the internet is taking over, but whatever we can do to preserve it, I’m all about it.”
The final song, “Something Different,” Erna said would probably be the album’s next single. “There’s some really new textures and colors that the band worked with that came out of nowhere,” he said. “This was the last song written. I hope it’s the biggest single on the album. If this does what I hope it’s going to do, could take the band to places and levels we haven’t seen yet. The lyrics will relate to every person out there that deals with general relationships and the ins and outs and not being heard. It has a great commercial hook and we were able to cross into that mainstream sound without jeopardizing the integrity and power of Godsmack.”
1000hp is due out on August 5th.