Godsmack, Shinedown

Godsmack

In February of 1995, after being behind the drums for more than 23 years, Sully Erna decided to start a new band. It was only a matter of time before he realized he needed to take charge and step out from behind the kit to front the band himself. One year and a couple of member changes later Godsmack was born. Sully Erna, Robbie Merrill and Tony Rombola hit the studio and recorded their first CD titled All Wound Up. They did this over one weekend for a measly twenty six-hundred dollars. Over the next two years, the band played throughout the Boston scene with drummer Joe Darco and began earning a strong reputation of being a great live band. The noise they were making in the New England area created a snowball effect like no other.
Godsmack began drawing in bigger and bigger audiences to their live shows. Their CD began circulating through the streets of Boston and eventually landed in the hands of a DJ for WAAF, a Boston radio station. WAAF put "Keep Away" into heavy rotation and it quickly soared to the #1 spot at the station. Newbury Comics, a New England record store chain, agreed to sell the CD on consignment and the grind continued. Shortly after the success of "Keep Away" Godsmack went back into the studio and recorded a single titled "Whatever", which became the new local favorite on WAAF. It took off in the blink of an eye and the race was on.
As a result of the single doing so well, Godsmack's CD began selling hundreds of copies per week, and soon escalated to more than one thousand copies per week, becoming the second best selling CD in that chain of stores. Godsmack's live shows began selling out throughout New England, which in return created more requests for their music on the local radio stations and more CD sales. On and on it went until the summer of 1998 when Republic/Universal stepped up and signed the band to their label.
Joe Darco was soon replaced by Tommy Stewart, All Wound Up was re-mastered and the artwork was changed. The finished self-titled debut CD Godsmack hit the shelves six weeks later. Godsmack hit the road on their first headlining tour, The Voodoo Tour. The bands strong live performances, coupled with high record sales and growing number of fans, landed them time slots on Ozzfest 1999 and 2000, a European tour with Black Sabbath and an appearance at Woodstock 1999.
In 2000, Godsmack released their second CD, Awake. This album's title track dominated rock radio and broke chart records throughout 2000 and 2001. The CD's instrumental track "Vampires" earned the band its first Grammy nomination.
Godsmack toured Awake selling out arenas and outdoor venues nationwide. They gave their fans their moneys worth with a gothic stage, video and pyro; lots of pyro!
In 2002, Sully was asked to A&R the soundtrack for the motion picture The Scorpion King, the third installment in the Mummy saga. The song Godsmack wrote and performed lived up to its title: "I Stand Alone" became the #1 single at Rock Radio and the most played Active Rock song in 2002 for 14 weeks straight.
After spending over four years on the road the band decided to take a break before heading back into the studio. It was during this break that Shannon Larkin, a friend of Sully's for 15 years, formerly of Wrathchild America, AMEN and Ugly Kid Joe, was asked to replace Tommy Stewart.
The new line up headed to Miami to write and record the bands third CD. Faceless was released in April of 2003 and became the #1 selling record in America of that week. Faceless also brought another tour that ran 23 months strong including two more Grammy nominations for "I Stand Alone" and an 11 month
international arena tour with the kings of metal, Metallica!!
In March of 2004, Godsmack released their first acoustic EP, The Other Side which included new versions of previous hits like "Keep Away", "Re-Align" and a haunting new version of the Navy's recruit song, "Awake"! This also spawned a side tour of its own. Godsmack filled in breaks from the big stage with Metallica with intimate storytelling acoustic shows giving their fans the explanation behind the title, The Other Side.
With rich velvet curtains, stone gargoyles and strings of Christmas lights illuminating theaters around the country, fans had a whole new experience of the true talents of this unique foursome. Stripped down to nothing, Godsmack continued to deliver one of the best acoustic performances of our time.
Godsmack ended 2004, and two CD cycles, with a nostalgic New Year's Eve performance at the Hard Rock Café, in Orlando, Fl. During this amazing three hour performance, Godsmack rolled through just about every song in their catalog as well as a few well known cover songs.
The band released Godsmack IV on April 25, 2006 and The Oracle, hit the streets on May 4, 2010.

Shinedown have built their name on rock songs both brutal in power and epic in scope. Now, with their latest album, Shinedown (Brent Smith, Barry Kerch, Eric Bass, and Zach Myers) veer away from that densely layered sonic palette and take a more direct approach. Featuring lead single "Cut the Cord" — a blistering track that shot to #1 on Active Rock radio — Threat to Survival finds the multi-platinum-selling band achieving their most powerful sound ever and offering up their most important album to date.


As Smith explains, Shinedown's approach on Threat to Survival had much to do with the emotionally raw material at the heart of the album. "When we started the writing process we realized the changes that had taken place over the past 2 years, our experiences, the relationships that had come and gone, the album really took on a life of its own," says Smith. "It's like the songs were saying to us, 'The songs were so honest, it felt necessary to present them in the most straightforward way possible."

In forming the emotional core of the album, Shinedown delved into many of the most thorny issues facing the band members in recent years, such as Smith's navigating his role as a father. "There's not any song that's directly about my son, but as we were writing I was asking myself a lot of questions about what it means to be a good father," he says. "It forced me to look at who I am as a person and what's really important to me at this point in my life." In both the writing process and in the final product, that unflinching self-examination proved sometimes devastating but ultimately life-affirming. "I always say that I write songs because it's therapy, and that very much held true on the writing of this album," Smith notes.

Throughout Threat to Survival, Shinedown explore matters of life and death and beauty and pain with a fierce energy and indomitable spirit. On "Cut the Cord" — a song that continues a record-setting streak in which each of the 19 singles released over Shinedown's career has climbed to the upper regions of the radio charts — the band looks at the insidious nature of self-destruction and puts out a call for self-empowerment. "Some people might listen to 'Cut the Cord' and think it's about drug addiction," says Smith, pointing to one of the song's most piercing lyrics ("'Cause agony breeds no reward for one more hit and one last score"). "But really it's about anything that might wrap itself around you and keep you from becoming the person you truly want to be." Produced by Shinedown's own Eric Bass, "Cut the Cord" fuses Smith's growling vocal work with thunderous drumming and lead-heavy guitar riffs, weaving in spooky, choirlike background vocals to thrilling effect.

Elsewhere on Threat to Survival, Shinedown instill their self-reflection with a brighter mood that's often exhilarating in its intensity. On the piano-laced "How Did You Love," for instance, Smith's soaring vocals demand an exacting reassessment of how to go about building a more meaningful life. ("It's not what you believe/Those prayers will make you bleed/But while you're on your knees/How did you love?"). "That song's about asking yourself about how you've dealt with difficult situations in your life, and whether you tried to give some love to the world or just allowed hate and negativity to consume you," says Smith. "So the lyric is 'How did you love?', but really the question is 'How did you live?'"

A bold statement of determination against all odds, "State of My Head" opens with an ethereal, dreamlike intro before powering forward as a groove-driven anthem ("The only way I'm leaving is dead/That's the state of my head"). With its stomping rhythm and surging guitar work, "Outcast" is as a full-throttle celebration of unbridled confidence and daring manifesto of Shinedown's dedication to constantly outdoing themselves as artists. And on "Black Cadillac," Smith delivers a darkly charged but soulful epic that twists its funereal metaphor into a strikingly hopeful message. "For me 'Black Cadillac' is a warning to take inventory of who you are and realize that nobody owes you anything in this world," says Smith. "It's about looking around and noticing the things you've maybe taken for granted, and deciding to become something better than that before your time's up."

"If you're going to make something that's going to exist forever, sometimes you have to fight yourself to get out what you need to express," says Smith. "You need to break down all the walls and get rid of whatever distractions that might be holding you back."

Shinedown continually bring both staggering musicality and a powerful emotional complexity to their music. "There's always been a certain level of positivity with Shinedown — that's even where our name came from," says Smith. "There's a sense that everything that's bad has a little bit of good to it, just like everything that's good has a little bit of bad. The songs on this album address the reality that we're all going to die at some point and that sometimes the willingness to survive is all you have. It's about holding onto that sheer will to live, and getting through whatever might come your way because the legacy that you leave behind is what will carry you on to your next journey."

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