Sully Erna says an internal power struggle nearly brought Godsmack's career to a premature end.
Weeks after revealing that a mammoth tour for 2010 album The Oracle almost spelled the end for the band, the frontman recalls another occasion when he was sure it was all over.
It came in the wake of Godsmack’s fourth album IV, when guitarist Tony Rombola formed side project Another Animal and roped in members of Godsmack – excluding Erna.
The singer tells Revolver: “After the IV record there were times when Tony was really bent with me because he got to a place where he started to write more, and he wanted more of his stuff on the records. And I was just like, ‘Okay but it’s still a band here. And me being the main songwriter, don’t think I’m ever not going to write music.’
“So we would pick half of his stuff and half of mine and try to make a hybrid of it. But for some reason he would take it personally when I didn’t pick this song or that song of his. And so then the guys went and built a fucking record off of stuff that we didn’t use but could have probably revisited later. And that created a lot of shit.
“I felt like those guys were doing shit where I was like, ‘This is kinda not cool. You’re competing with us. What’re you guys thinking?’ And that created a lot of static. It wasn’t good for a while. But again, we went through it, had it out and talked things through. And we realised that we have a really special brand here and it would be foolish to not get past this stuff. Because really, it’s all just egos and bullshit getting in the way.”
Erna has a side project of his own, in the form of his solo career. But he says that work is so different from Godsmack that it couldn’t be seen as competing with the day job, unlike Another Animal.
He insists all is well in the Godsmack camp these days and that they plan to be on the road for years to come. That could present a problem, as it was touring that almost led them to split after the release of their self-titled debut album and again after the touring schedule for The Oracle.
Erna adds: “The band’s gonna hit it hard now. We’ve taken enough time off, and we’ve regained our strength and we’re ready to work. We’re going to probably do two records back-to-back and I’m sure stay out on the road for the next four or five years. Which could be great or could be a fucking disaster.
“This band has almost broken up several times. At first it was just the learning curve of having the band hit big and being on the road relentlessly. That first tour lasted, like, three and a half years, I think. We were robots. We were machines. All we did was tour, tour, tour. That’ll destroy anybody.”