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Interview:
Sully Erna at The Majestic, 3 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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When Godsmack came roaring back into action two years ago with "1200hp," frontman Sully Erna promised that the group members' outside interests would continue.

And so they have.

Erna released his second solo album, "Hometown Life, at the end of September. Like its 2010 predecessor "Avalon" it's a different creature than Godsmack's brand of heavy rock, but "Hometown Life" is even more diverse, embracing a country feel on "Different Kind of Tears," Caribbean motifs on "Your Own Drum," tribal touches for "Father of Time" and string-laden ambience on "Blue Skies," "Forever My Infinity" and "Falling To Black." It also features his 71-year-old father Salvatore Erna playing trumpet on the brassy track "Turn It Up."

The album's release has sent Erna back on the road on his own, though he also promises that Godsmack remains a going concern...

Erna, 48, says his creative goal on "Hometown Life" was indeed to shoot wider and embrace more styles than on "Avalon." "I was hoping to keep it new and fresh for people and take them on another left turn," he explains by phone. "'Avalon' for sure took people into a whole new path; I think they kind of expected me to do a solo rock record, and I think when they heard 'Avalon' they were just like, 'Whoa, what is this...?!' But that's what made it work was it was a real departure from Godsmack, so I jsut started thinking, 'How do I flip this (album) into a little bit different kind of feel again, without it sounding like 'Avalon.'"

Having his father play on "Turn It Up" was a career highlight for Erna. "As the song developed, I realized it was gonna be a real swanky kind of jazzy blues thing, and I was like, 'This needs horns,'" he explains. "And when I was thinking of horn players and was like, 'I'm gonna put this one on it and that one on it,' but then I was like, 'Oh...My dad!' this was a perfect opportunity to pull my dad into this. He started me in music; I was three and a half years old and I used to just sit in the basement and watch his band play -- little jazz bands and Italian marching bands and stuff he did. But I never got to play with my dad and certainly never got to record with him, and this was jsut the perfect opportunity to do so."

Godsmack is back on hiatus for the time being, but Erna says there are definitely plans for another album. "I think the general plan is gonna be to try to get together and start writing and recording by late next year," Erna says. "We could've done something this year and dropped it next year, but we thought it would be cooler to wait until (the 20th anniversary). We don't know how much longer we're gonna go for; We may do another five, 10 records, or this may be the last one. But if we decided not to do it any more I Think a better way of being remembered is going out and doing a real theme-based show around the first album, play the whole first record front to back and then all the hits and the new stuff and the fun stuff. So that's why we're gonna wait; We'll record late next year and do an early 2018 release and then do a world tour with that."

Sully Erna

Saturday, Nov. 19. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $38.50.

Call 313-833-9700 or visit majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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