Godsmack frontman Sully Erna wanted to keep things simple when it came to the video for "Speak," the first single from IV, due April 25.
No bank-breaking special-effects wizardry — not even a single explosion. He didn't want the clip to correlate in any way with the song's lyrics. He just wanted it to "emphasize power, because we feel it's a powerful song," he said.
The end result, according to Erna, is "basically the white, rock and roll version of the 'bling' video," but instead of using Escalades and pimped-out Mercedes Benzes, "we brought in some awesome muscle cars and a bunch of my buddies from New England that do these amazing stunts on motorcycles, and it just became about fast cars, hot rods, burnouts, wheelies and rock and roll."
The video, which was shot March 7 off the Las Vegas Strip, features babes, tricked-out vehicles and close-up shots of scorching roads.
"We hung out for the day," Erna said. "Nothing was choreographed. It was really cool. We just got to light up the tires all day long. And as a band, the first half of the day, we got to hang around and watch these people go off on these killer machines and do the most insane stunts we've ever seen live."
At this point, Godsmack are still up in the air about what track they'd like to release as the second single. But as for their next video, they've got a few ideas involving actor Chazz Palminteri, who happens to be one of Erna's poker buddies.
"I have become pretty close with Chazz, and he loves the band and he really wants to direct a video. It's the one thing he hasn't gotten under his belt," the singer said. "We're going to wait for something really special [with the second video] and do something special together. Hopefully, he'll ... make it look like a 'Goodfellas' video or something. The guy directs major feature films. I trust him."
In the meantime, the Godsmack dudes have two albums they're preparing to release: IV and the debut disc from Another Animal, a side project featuring drummer Shannon Larkin, bassist Robbie Merrill and guitarist Tony Rambola, which should surface before summer's end. The disc will borrow from the 20-some surplus tracks Godsmack members wrote for IV that didn't make the final cut.
"We hooked up with [Dropbox guitarist] Lee Richards and [Ugly Kid Joe's] Whit Crane, and while not all of the material is leftover Godsmack material, a lot of it was," Larkin said. "A lot of it was real metal. We're more a hard-rock band, Godsmack. So a lot of those riffs we threw to the side. Working as a side project on these songs is nice, because you don't have the pressure of being in this multiplatinum thing, where everybody's really looking at you and there is anticipation. With Another Animal, we can just go in and be musicians."
American Godsmack fans will have to wait until the fall to catch the band live. Larkin said the group's lined up several gigs in South America, Australia, Japan, Canada and Mexico this summer but will be back in the U.S. in September to "burn your frickin' face off, man."
The band did entertain an offer from the Ozzfest camp but decided to pass. There's no word yet on who'll be opening for the 'Smack, but Erna said they're considering a number of different bands. "If this album is half as special as we think it's gonna be, we're gonna come in September with a really big, bad-ass rock show," he said. Look for tickets to go on sale in July.
The new album was written during a rough period in Erna's life. Within the last year, he's given up drinking and smoking, endured relationship woes, and waged a legal battle against "contractors that screwed me over" on work that he had done to his house.
"There were a lot of things that were desensitizing me, making me numb," he said. "I was going through a lot of really hard problems." Meanwhile, the rest of the band "was off writing, and I was kind of off doing my own thing. I'd come in every once in a while with this little black cloud around me, and these guys did a pretty good job trying to keep my spirits up. But I was just not in the headspace. I couldn't write."
In time, Erna pulled himself out of the funk, and that's when the "floodgates opened."
Several of the tracks, Larkin said, are epic, atmospheric and bluesy. Other tracks are signature Godsmack. The song "Hollow" is an all-acoustic number with mandolins and a duet between Erna and singer Lisa Guyer. "It's like a modern version of [Led Zeppelin's] 'Battle of Evermore,' " Sully said.
Track list for Godsmack's IV, according to the band's Web site:
- "Livin' in Sin"
- "The Enemy"
- "Shine Down"
- "No Rest for the Wicked"
- "Bleeding Me"
- "Voodoo Too"
- "One Rainy Day"