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 Sully Erna disses the polished, lemony-fresh scent of 'Pledge bands' Creed and Nickelback ...



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 Godsmack indulge in rock clichés, replacing their drummer and diving naked from the roof of a house ...





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Did we say Faceless is entirely radio ready? It's not. On the cut "I F---ing Hate You," Erna harnesses a mother lode of venom into a roiling song of betrayal. The abundance of animosity wasn't directed at the usual suspects, such as an unfaithful girlfriend or a duplicitous manager. No, Erna f---ing hates the man he hired to construct his New Hampshire house.

"That's probably the most aggressive song we've ever written," he says, his heavy Boston accent sounding a bit like something from a "Saturday Night Live" sketch. "I was finally in a position where I was able to build what I figured would be my dream house, and it was supposed to be such a joyful experience but it was a f---ing nightmare.

  "They really took advantage of me..."
"From the day they laid a brick into the ground, they really took advantage of me. And the bad part about it was that I knew the guy for like 12 years and have been really good friends with his son. So here I thought I was reaching out to help someone who could cut me a little bit of a deal, and instead he puts me through the f---ing shredder. But the cool thing is that I bet that will be the number one answering machine song in the nation for anyone who breaks up with their boyfriend or girlfriend."

The day Faceless hit stores, Erna exhibited nary a hint of resentment or distrust. The album's first single "Straight Out of Line" was doing well at rock radio and the months of writing, rehearsing and recording were about to pay off. Waiting for it was like Christmas Eve, he says.

"I was tossing and turning all night. First thing [in the] morning, we took showers and jumped in the van and ran to the store to buy the record. I bought five copies. We've been talking about this day for six months because we put a lot of hard work into this album, and now it's finally here."

The basic direction of Faceless was guided by the vibe of "I Stand Alone," the song Erna wrote for "The Scorpion King" soundtrack (and which appears on the new disc as well). Though Faceless isn't a big departure for the group, it's not without changes — the biggest being the loss of original bandmember Tommy Stewart on drums.

In June, the band and Stewart parted ways and Erna recruited longtime friend Shannon Larkin, who formerly played with Wrathchild America and Amen. The singer says he's thrilled at the development because, as a former drummer in various Boston bands including Strip Mind and Meliah Rage, he was influenced by Larkin's playing growing up.

"Shannon brings that last piece of the puzzle we were missing. Over the years, I evolved a certain style from what I learned off him. So when he came in, it was easy for him to learn our older songs because this is what he would played as a writer anyway. We were definitely separated at birth."

"This is what I've always dreamed of doing," Larkin says. "I've known Sully since '88, so I knew we'd get along, but when I first tried out, I didn't know how the other guys would be. And it's just been awesome. I feel like I've got a new family."

Apparently the family that plays together swims naked together. Godsmack rented a house in Miami for five months while working on Faceless, and while most of their hours were spent agonizing over the new tunes, there was also time to get into trouble.

"One night me and Shannon went out and got really drunk," Erna recalls. "So at about 8 in the morning we decided to test out the roof, which overlapped the pool. So we stripped and jumped from the roof into the pool."

  "So we stripped and jumped from the roof into the pool..."
"Sully and I were standing up for one more jump," Larkin interjects. "We're both there buck-naked, and I look over to the left and there's some woman who had just opened the blinds standing there with her mouth wide open."

"She was just waking up," Erna continues. "We go, 'Sorry,' and them boom, right into the pool. The next thing we know the cops are banging on the door."

No doubt the neighbor didn't recognize the members of Godsmack, and that's sort of the point of calling the record Faceless. Despite all they've accomplished, Erna still feels a little unappreciated.

"Even though we've had success and we're doing well, we're kind of slowly climbing up that ladder. And we remain a little bit under the radar, so the band is still a bit faceless compared to the 'NSYNCs and super-pop bands out there," he explains.

"We built our career and reputation more from the street, and we work really hard to keep the band going. Hopefully we'll follow the steps of great bands like Aerosmith and Metallica that built their army over the years and had stability and didn't shoot up the charts and go away after an album. We're in it for the long haul."


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 "Straight Out Of Line"
Faceless
(Universal)



 "I Stand Alone"
The Scorpion King/Faceless
(Universal)



 "Greed"
Awake
(Universal)



 "Awake"
Awake
(Universal)



 "Voodoo"
Godsmack
(Universal)





 "Dead and Broken"
Faceless
(Universal)



 "I F---ing Hate You"
Faceless
(Universal)



 "Serenity"
Faceless
(Universal)



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