An Interview With Shannon Larkin from Godsmack Ahead of Their Headlining Show at The Armory 4/22


Hard rock heavyweights Godsmack are coming to The Armory in Minneapolis on 4/22 in support of their new album When Legends Rise. This show is going to be massive, especially considering that Godsmack haven’t been to Minneapolis since 2014. If you already have a ticket for this show, consider yourself lucky because it is SOLD OUT except for a limited number of Enhanced Experience packages which can be found HERE. Touring in support of Godsmack are Danish metal/rockabilly band Volbeat and female fronted rock band Stitched Up Heart. 

Over the past 20 years, Godsmack have been a force in the scene. With a prolific repertoire of songs in their catalogue such as “I Stand Alone”, “Awake”, “Whatever”, “Cryin’ Like a Bitch” and “Straight Out Of Line”, it’s no secret why the band has been able to hold onto success for so long. Their latest album, When Legends Rise, offers fans a fresh, new, reinvented sound full of melodies and rich sonic layering. 

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Godsmack drummer, Shannon Larkin, ahead of their sold out show at The Armory next month. Shannon has been drumming for Godsmack since 2002, and is an essential part of Godsmack’s percussion driven sound and entertaining live show. We talked about the band’s connection to Minneapolis, the new record, and things to look forward to at The Armory show.

Full interview listed below:

AH: Hi Shannon, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me this afternoon. It’s great to have you here for a chat. I’ve been listening to Godsmack since I was in middle school, so this is one interview I am particularly stoked about. How are you doing today?

SL: Thank you very much! I’m good. I am currently in Warsaw, Poland tonight and it’s very, very cold but the show is sold out. I think it’s going to be exciting and fresh here. I don’t think Godsmack has ever actually played in Warsaw before, but I know Sully did a solo show here before and the crowd was very excitable so we’re looking forward to it. There’s always a certain energy in European cities because they don’t get as many shows rolling through as we do in North America.

AH: Awesome to hear, let’s talk a little bit about your upcoming show in Minneapolis. Godsmack is coming to the Armory next month, and it’s been awhile since you guys have been to Minneapolis… somewhere in the ballpark of 4 or 5 years I believe. How does it feel to be coming back after so long, and what’s Godsmack’s relationship with the city of Minneapolis?

SL: Well you know we obviously love playing there, the city is really beautiful and clean. We’ve always enjoyed the history of Minneapolis and of course the Prince connection. You can’t forget that as a musician. Every time I go to Minneapolis I think, wow that dude took over this town. You know what I mean? But I mean we’ve always had good crowds in Minneapolis, and we’ve used Minneapolis for a hub for festivals before. It must be something in the water there because it’s pretty, there’s pretty people, and we like it.

AH: Do you guys get to do any sight-seeing while you are in town? I am always curious if there’s any places or restaurants bands look forward to visiting when they roll through Minneapolis.

SL: You know, not really. It’s not anything against Minneapolis or that part of the country, it’s just that we tour so much. Most of the time we’ll get into a city, play the show, and get on the bus and drive nine hours to the next town. So unless we get lucky and get days off, we don’t really get to go out and sightsee. So far we haven’t been real lucky with days off in Minneapolis. The cities are so spread out in the Midwest it’s hard to have time sightsee because we’re driving long drives to the next city.

AH: This show at The Armory is going to be massive, especially with Volbeat playing on the bill with you guys. I know they’re another prominent band in the scene right now, but why did you guys specifically want to tour with Volbeat?

SL: Well, first of all we think they’re great. They write great songs and they sound unique. Second, their tour manager has been friends with our tour manager for a few years. While over in Europe, our tour manager got to talking with theirs and said, “hey maybe we can make something happen.” They put their new record out and it’s doing great. We put our new record out and it’s doing great. The stars just aligned. We made the calls. They were into it, we were into it. We figure it would be a scratch my back scratch your back kind of thing since we’re bigger than them in America and they’re bigger than us in Europe. So we figured we’ll take them out in America and go out with them in Europe. It all works out and everyone is trying to help everyone else at the end of the day.

AH: I saw Volbeat two years ago when they opened for Metallica, who are the ultimate veterans in the rock and metal scene. Do you think Godsmack has a similar veteran status? How do you view yourselves in the scene at this point?

SL: Well I mean, I feel like it’s obvious right now. We just celebrated 20 years of Godsmack. If you can make it 10 years in this business, you’re a veteran. Let alone 20. So we’re definitely sort of the elders for hard rock and that kind of music. It’s a badge of honor. All of the gold and platinum records mean nothing compared to longevity.

AH: So let’s talk about the new album a bit. When Legends Rise came out last year, and it sounds like a departure from the old, hard rocking sound. What was the creative process behind this album, and how important was it for you as artists to explore new territories and create a new sound?

SL: It was really important, and it’s a conscious decision we all sat down and made. We all recently turned 50 and just passed the 20-year mark as a band. Typically, we take four years in between albums, with one of those years dedicated to staying fresh, relaxing, and exploring something different. During the time when we were starting to put music together, Sully came to us and said, “look man, I’m going to try some of these producers that are also songwriters.” We had never used outside songwriters before, so that was something different.

But ultimately, it came down to the fact that I want to be able to get on stage and feel real. I’m not pissed off at the world anymore. I’m not an angry young man full of piss and vinegar and I feel like our sound should mature with that so I don’t have to stand on stage and feel like I’m faking this shit. So we all agreed and it was all about music in the end. When we recorded the first two songs for the record, we felt it still sounded like Godsmack and thought the biggest departure from the past sound was just the production. Like you hear the synthesizers in the song “Bulletproof”? Guess what, we have never used synthesizers before and it sounds different because of that. So when people say “oh it’s a departure” we say, musically it’s not a departure. It’s just the production.

AH: I am assuming we’ll get to hear a lot of new songs during the tour. What is your favorite song on the album that you hope makes the cut for the setlist? In addition to the new songs, is there anything in particular fans can look forward to at The Armory show?

SL: Oh yeah, my favorite song is “When Legends Rise”. It’s the first song on the record and usually the first song we open with. It just has a lot of energy and a really different groove with the drums and I really like that. The song I am most excited about is our new single “Under Your Scars.” We worked harder on that song than any other song on the record. We understand what a ballad is and what a ballad should mean, and we know how fast ballads can turn into cheeseball area. So we really spent time and worked hard on trying to make the song from the heart and not sound like some cheesy 80’s ballad.

This song is also important because we are starting something new called The Scars Foundation. Like the lyrical content of the sound, The Scars Foundation will be about being proud and owning up to all your scars – interior and exterior. We hope this helps people with depression and PTSD. Depression affects so many people, most recently our friend Chris Cornell. So we wanted to do something to help and give back. We’re not going to make a cent of this and it’s something that’s real. So I am looking forward to that. It’s a real big cause, so support us and support The Scars Foundation when the news of the Foundation breaks this week or next week.

AH: That’s really cool to hear. And once again it was a pleasure talking to you, Shannon. Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see you at the Armory 4/22!

SL: Thank you, Amanda! We look forward to playing the beautiful city of Minneapolis.