For the next Godsmack single, "Serenity," vocalist Sully Erna reached to one of his idols for inspiration. Not only was Rush drummer Neil Peart a childhood role model for the singer before he traded in drums for a mic and PA, the acrobatic drummer's obsession with motorcycles is one shared by Godsmack's frontman.
So, when Erna read Peart's book, "Ghost Rider" — which is about his experiences hopping on a hog and road-tripping around the country to cope with the tragic loss of his daughter and wife — the Godsmack singer was so blown away he wrote "Serenity" in tribute.
"The book is so amazing," Erna said (see "Rush Drummer Breaks Silence About Family Tragedy In New Book"). "He jumped on his motorcycle and within 14 months, drove 55,000 miles across the world. His experience about healing himself on the road inspired me to write this dark, tribal song."
Originally, Erna had hoped Peart would play on the track so he sent the drummer a demo version of the song along with his request. Peart sent a note back saying he was unable to appear on the record because of touring commitments, but he gave Godsmack his blessings and complimented the group on its song.
"It would have been so great and such an honor to have him play a drum track. Everyone does these albums with guest appearances by different vocalists, and I think that's kind of been overdone a bit. So I just thought this would be a different approach to some kind of guest appearance."
"Serenity" goes for official adds at radio on June 17, but many stations are already playing the tune. A video will be shot in the coming weeks with a yet-to-be-named director.
And while Erna's schedule is too busy to take lengthy road trips, he vents steam by riding his Harley as often as possible.
"My bike comes everywhere with me," he said. "It's one of my pleasures. It's a very surreal experience. Some people like to sit next to a lake and read a book or get a massage and burn incense and meditate. I like to ride my motorcycle because it's just me and the road and the wind and it gives me a chance to collect my thoughts and get my head together and process the thoughts that I've been having. That's why I ride."
For more on Godsmack, check out "Godsmack: Unpolished, Uncompromised."