Tag Archives: Godsmack

Godsmack – Soundwave Special

Godsmack are a band who have always quietly gone about their business.

They have no stage gimmick to speak of, nor thrust themselves into the limelight with tales of excess and debauchery.

They simply play music and live to rock, a pass time that will never see their name in the spotlight like some of their fellow Soundwave headliners, but will ensure that no self respecting metal fan will die having not heard their music.

Since their inception in 1995, Godsmack have released 6 studio albums, 1 E.P, 4 DVD’s, 1 compilation album and 1 live album.
They have had three consecutive number one albums (Faceless, IV and The Oracle) in the Billboard 200, had 20 Top Ten rock radio hits including 15 in the Top 5 and a record number of Top 10 singles by a rock artist.

They have sold over 20 million records in just over a decade, yet many of the Soundwave punters will be watching them on the say so of someone they know.

That should change with the recent release of their 6th album, 1000hp, an album which many are lauding as their best yet and one of the best releases of last year.

“We are extremely happy with it,” bass player Robbie Merrill enthused down the line from Boston.

“We’re proud of all of our records but this one I feel is our strongest in some time.”

That could be down to a number of factors including a change of recording process or the new writing style they employed for this one, but Robbie says that finding a place they could call home as well as write and record the album was probably the biggest factor.

“Every time in the past when we went out on tour we had to scratch and get our gear from all over the place so we basically wanted to get one big area where we could store everything initially,” he said.

“We found this place that was big enough – 2000 square feet – to store all of our equipment in so then we built a little practice space in there and then we got to thinking we may as well do the whole lot and build a recoding studio in there. What i like about it is it takes away alot of the stress. When you go out and record an album you have to go and rent a place and they charge you an arm and a leg – about 500 bucks a day – for rehearsal and then studio time is 1100, 1200 bucks a day – so we thought we’d build our own studio and have all of our own recording stuff in there so we could do it all from there and take our time. It’s a win/win situation for us, definitely. Next we’re going to build a mixing space in there too so in future the recording and mixing for our albums can be done entirely there.”

The band also has their own way of writing material, starting the process alone and then coming together to put things in perspective.

“We wrote for the album individually but all got together after that to hash everything out,” Robbie explained.

“It’s a good little thing that we do. It’s more about trying to compare and trying to get a bunch of stuff prepared so we’re not wasting alot of time in the studio trying to find stuff. I mean, there’s always one or two songs that get written right there in the studio too but it’s all about doing your homework, preparing, and getting in the room together and hashing out everything. It goes pretty smooth that way. You don’t get so much writers block because you haven’t prepared. If you are stuck on one thing you can move on and go and work on another song pretty quickly.”

As with all good bands, Godsmack have evolved continually with their music and their processes of making the music, and with 1000hp Robbie believes they have finally found a recording process that enables them to bring the best out of their sound and each other.

“We do alot of pre – production,” he explained, “but we also have sort of a system we have found. What we would do back in the day was we always did drum stuff first and then the bass and then the guitar and then Sully (Erna, vocalist) would be stuck in the studio by himself doing all his parts and singing so now we do a song a day. So we will do drums for one song, then lay down the guitar and we’ll lay down the scratch track and I’ll play my bass stuff. That way everyone is in the room together and going through stuff and hashing it out and analysing it right there giving ideas. There’s a little bit of pressure doing it that way but because you’re recording that pressure is there anyway. Because you have four guys that have their own opinions it can get pretty crazy but at the end of the day it’s not that bad and because of pre – production you are already familiar with the songs. I only need an hour in the studio so if you give me that time you will have a pretty cool bass track. It works because after a week you have 5 songs laid down that you can listen to which is pretty cool.”

With so many studio albums under their belt you would think that Robbie would find it difficult when asked to relay which was the easiest to write but he was steadfast with his reply.

“The first one,” he said instantly.

“I always say it’s the easiest and best because you had a lifetime to write it. There’s no pressure and you were writing it for years and years and it is what it is. After that you have to learn all over again. You get signed up and you’re so busy touring so you have to now find your way. It took us a few years to do that but over the last couple of records we’ve done that I think. All of our records we are proud of but it’s hard to match that first one (the self titled Godsmack). We have learnt and we have grown from all the experiences – writing, touring, recording and that type of thing – and out of all of that you try to find the best thing that works for you.”

Kris Peters

Godsmack play as part of the Soundwave Festival held over the next two weekends. For tickets or more information go to www.soundwavefestival.com

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