Planets Align For Annihilation: Godsmack On Metallica Tour

Madly in Anger North America trek begins March 2 in Phoenix.

When Godsmack singer Sully Erna was brooding in his bedroom 20 years ago and listening to Metallica's debut album, Kill 'Em All, he never imagined his band would tour arenas with the heavy metal titans in 2004.

"It's a dream come true," enthused Erna from inside Dorsia, the nightclub he owns in New York's Flatiron District. "It's a tour we've wanted to do for a long time, and the planets have finally aligned. They had a choice of several bands and chose us, which we're really happy about because it's an honor. We look forward to completely annihilating America."

Metallica and Godsmack's Madly in Anger North America tour starts March 2 in Phoenix. Dates are scheduled through March 31 in Denver and more will probably be announced. The bands recently returned from a four-week tour of Europe, and while Erna originally had jitters about opening for his heroes, they were overcome quickly.

"At first we weren't sure if they were gonna be cool or not. But they were the nicest people we ever met," Erna said. "I even told James [Hetfield], 'Thank you for not having us look up to the wrong band for the last 20 years.' "

"It was surreal," added drummer Shannon Larkin. "Hetfield was hanging out with us and riding on our tour bus and taking us out to dinner on nights off. I kept looking at the guy and thinking, 'Oh my God, that's Hetfield!' "

Godsmack will probably headline their own shows during some days off and may recruit Dropbox to support them. Dropbox is the first band signed to Erna's Realign label, and their self-titled debut drops March 2 as well. "We'd like to mirror their tour to ours," Erna said. "So maybe when we play an arena, your ticket stub that night will get you into the club down the street they're playing at."

Erna was the executive producer for Dropbox and played drums on the album. Original Godsmack guitarist Lee Richards, who has maintained a friendship with the singer over the years, founded the group.

"He had to leave about a year after we formed the band," Erna said. "He had some personal things going on, and then the band blew up and he almost blew his head off. So I hooked him up with this kid, John Kosco, who handed me a demo in New York, and they formed Dropbox, which is a really great straight-ahead rock and roll band."

One Dropbox song, "Touché," was retouched and recorded for Godsmack's acoustic EP, The Other Side (see "Godsmack Travel To The Other Side For New EP"), which was scheduled for a November release but bumped to late spring or early summer.

"We haven't put it out yet because Faceless still has legs and we didn't want to interrupt the momentum," Erna explained. "So we decided to finish up the cycle. Then we can throw out the acoustic record, which will keep Godsmack in the public eye while we take some time off to write the fourth record."