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Godsmack's Doing Big Things -- In Small Places

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Godsmack has been headbanging comfortably in arenas since Metallica tapped the Boston quartet as an opening act even before it had a recording contract.

But the group has been enjoying its recent return to theaters, too.

“It’s a whole different ballgame than the arenas,” says drummer Shannon Larkin. “For one, it sounds twice as good, and it is much more intimate — and I don’t mean that in a cheesy way, ‘We’re doing it for the fans, man!’ I’m talking about the band.

“We can look out and see every face in the crowd. You can really feel that energy coming back, and it is a real thing, crowd energy. It’s just a great situation.”

Larkin, 40, acknowledges that slightly waning sales for Godsmack’s 2006 album, “IV,” are part of the reason for this year’s theater run.

“We’re good for probably 6,000 to 10,000 people in any given city,” he says. “The problem is most arenas are 10,000-12,000 seats. When we look up and see empty seats, it’s not cool. So we’d rather play a smaller venue we know we can sell out and have some buzz and electricity to it.”

Nevertheless, Larkin promises that tonight’s capacity crowd at the Fox Theatre will still get an arena-sized show amid the ornate surroundings.

“This band’s been built on having a big show,” he says, “so we didn’t scale down, man. We’ve got the video screen, the big double drum set, all the stuff.

“The only thing we had to get rid of was pyro, because most theaters are very old and don’t want us to burn the place down.”

Godsmack expects to stop touring in August, at which time the group will start assembling a 10thanniversary box set for release in 2008. Meanwhile, Larkin, guitarist

Tony Rombola and bassist Robbie Merrill will launch Another Animal, their side band with former

Ugly Kid Joe singer Whitfield Crane. But Larkin says that won’t interfere with Godsmack’s future.

“It’s simply a side project,” the drummer contends. “People are like, ‘What’s going on? Are you guys having some animosity? Is a breakup imminent?’ And we’re like, ‘No ...’ It’s just something else we’re doing, y’know?”

Godsmack and Overload performs 7:30 p.m. Friday (June 1st) at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 471-6611 or go online to www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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