Godsmack ready to rock Uproar Festival
Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin is willing to bet that fans will be completely satisfied with this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. After all, the main stage acts -- Godsmack, Shinedown, Staind, Papa Roach and Adelitas Way -- have produced a slew of radio hits.
"I look at it like Shinedown, Godsmack, Staind and Papa Roach, all four of those bands are kind of like hit bands," Larkin said via telephone from his Florida home. "It's all about songs. It's always bad when you go to a concert and they play songs you don't really know or recognize. I think at this one man, every fan of rock 'n' roll out in that crowd will know pretty much every song thrown at them. That's kind of a unique thing for a tour."
The Uproar Festival kicks off Friday, Aug. 17, in Bonner Springs, KS, with not only the main stage acts, but others as well. The Ernie Ball and Jägermeister stages in the festival area will feature performances from multiplatinum headliner P.O.D., as well as Deuce, Fozzy, Redlight King, Mindset Evolution (winner of the 2011 Uproar Battle of the Bands), In This Moment, Thousand Foot Krutch, Candlelight Red and a local Battle of the Bands winner.
The main stage bands have deep-rooted relationships, as most of them have toured together in the past, Larkin said.
"When Shinedown first came out on the first record, we took them on tour with us," Larkin said.
"Sully [Erna, Godsmack lead singer] had heard the band, their first single on the radio, and said, 'Who the hell is this?' He called management, 'Who's this band Shinedown? Do they want to tour with us.' We reached out to them and they're like, 'Hell yeah.' They're just really, really amazing dudes. They're down-to-earth dudes."
That was eight years ago and that friendship has been strengthened by other tours and shows the two bands have played together. But the camaraderie doesn't stop there. Godsmack and Staind, both of which were founded in Massachusetts, are like "brothers," Larkin said.
"We just went out with Staind a couple months ago on the last tour we did, the Mass Chaos Tour," Larkin said. "It was us and Staind. Those dudes are so phenomenally cool that I think they might be the coolest rock stars I've ever met, just down-to-earth guys. Every single day we would just hang out. We did our meet and greets together.
"Papa Roach, I can't say enough about. We've never really toured with them but they play the festival circuit like we do. We probably played 50 shows with them. They're also really cool down-to-earth guys. The point is, what makes a great tour for us band dudes -- besides the fans and the crowd -- is the backstage environment and how everyone interacts and relates. Obviously we're a hard rock blue-collar band. The one thing that really gets our goat is when those bands have these rock star attitudes like they're better than anybody else and they turn it into some competition. I won't mention any bands. But we have toured with bands that are like that."
Larkin explained there is "absolutely no way" that that will happen on Uproar because "everybody's so cool."
Godsmack -- which also includes guitarist Tony Rombola and bassist Robbie Merrill -- is using Uproar to tour behind this year's "Live and Inspired" album, a two-disc collection that includes live material from a 2010 show at Detroit's Fox Theatre and cover songs.
"The thing we're most proud about on that live record is there are no overdubs," Larkin said. "We went back and with some of my most favorite live records, we found out that the bands had gone back in and re-sang stuff and replayed guitar leads and all that crap. We did none of that.
"Why I say that is we had 90-some shows actually taped over the last decade since I've been in the band. We hired Dave Fortman, who co-produced our last record, to go through --with his magic ears -- and pick out, we didn't care if song one was from LA song two was from New York. It turned out that 80 percent of that was the Detroit show. That was just a magical night."
As for the cover tracks -- Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way," The Beatles' "Come Together," Pink Floyd's "Time" and Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" -- those songs were chosen during a brainstorming session.
"The four of us got in a room and we started throwing out ideas," Larkin said. "Obviously, the only covers we'd done were Zeppelin and Sabbath. The bar was set really high.
"[We thought] 'Who's the greatest rock band ever? The Beatles.' I don't think anybody could argue that. Even [Slayer singer/bass player] Tom Araya would probably say that. 'OK, The Beatles, and Aerosmith was a huge influence.' That's when 'Come Together' came up. Both of those bands did that song and Aerosmith did a kick ass version of it in like 1978. We went with The Beatles there, killed two birds with one stone. Next was Pink Floyd. I don't know one musician in my life that hasn't been in some way influenced by the Floyd. That's setting the bar pretty high there. Greatest selling album of all time, 'Dark Side of the Moon.' We went with 'Time.'"
They chose "Time" because it pays homage to Larkin's former band Wrathchild America and the time during which he met Erna.
"We covered 'Time' in 1988," he said. "Twenty-five years later, I got to do it again with Godsmack. With Metallica, they're the greatest metal band of all time, invented a genre. So we had to pay homage to them.
"All these bands like Joe Walsh, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, we can make them heavier kind of because they weren't metal bands. But with Metallica, you can't make that heavier. They're the heaviest band ever. So what we did was completely just turned it around, stripped it down, took all the big drums and guitars and bass everything and put a piano and some cello and Sully's voice. We're really happy. I think it turned out pretty moody and fantastical. "
Larkin said the individual band members are writing new material but they have yet to come together to formulate songs.
"We're all constantly writing coming up with bad ass riffs," he said. "That's ammo for when we get in the room. Once we get in the room the four of us, all we need is one riff. If it's bad ass then we can make a song out of it."
Right now Godsmack's focus is "the special and unique" Uproar Festival.
"We realize that we're playing with three fantastic bands that have huge radio hit heritage," Larkin said.
"What we think is special and unique about this big tour is that there's not going to be any fans that are sitting in the crowd going, 'Hey, let's go get a beer. I don't know this song.' Every song that P. Roach, Staind, Godsmack or Shinedown plays, there's going to be a little familiarity with the crowd. They'll definitely get their money's worth as far as there shouldn't be any boring moments. We're going to do the big drum solo of course. That's what we feel is the highlight of the set."
17 - Bonner Springs, KS - Cricket Wireless Amphitheater*
18 - Little Rock, AR - Arkansas State Fairgrounds (KDJE radio show)*
19 - Maryland Heights, MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre **
21 - Grand Rapids, MI - Rock the Rapids (downtown; main stage bands only)
22 - Tinley Park, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre*
24 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center*
25 - Syracuse, NY - Mohegan Sun Grandstand
26 - Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center*
28 - Scranton, PA - Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain*
29 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center**
31 - Burgettstown, PA - First Niagara Pavilion*
1 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center*
2 - Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live*
5 - Simpsonville, SC - Charter Amphitheatre at Heritage Park*
7 - Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre***
8 - Noblesville, IN- Klipsch Music Center****
9 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center***
11 - Raleigh, NC - Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek***
12 - Atlanta, GA - Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood***
13 - Tampa, FL - 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre***
15 - The Woodlands, TX - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion****
16 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion***
18 - Englewood, CO - Comfort Dental Amphitheater*****
19 - Salt Lake City, UT - USANA Amphitheatre***
21 - Post Falls, ID - Greyhound Park and Events Center***
22 - Auburn, WA - White River Amphitheatre***
23 - Ridgefield, WA - Sleep Country Amphitheater***
25 - Nampa, ID - Idaho Center Amphitheater***
28 - Las Vegas, NV - Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (Rock Vegas)
29 - Phoenix, AZ - Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion****
30 - Albuquerque, NM - Hard Rock Casino Presents: The Pavilion****
*Thousand Foot Krutch will not be performing at this show
**Fozzy and Thousand Foot Krutch will not be performing at this show
***In This Moment will not be performing at this show
****In This Moment and Thousand Foot Krutch will not be performing at this show
*****Fozzy, Redlight King and In This Moment will not be performing at this show