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 6 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 No. 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 inlcuding 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 theatres 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 Years Eve performance at the Hard Rock Café, in Orlando Florida. During this amazing three hour performance, Godsmack rolled through just about every song in their catalog and a few well known cover songs.