Sully Erna of Godsmack, Mike Mushok of Staind and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm Interview

 Enjoy a transcript interview with Sully Erna of Godsmack, Mike Mushok of Staind, and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm to talk about the upcoming Mass Chaos Tour. The interview was conducted by various journalists throughout the United States including our very own Kris Engelhart. Enjoy!

Walter Tunis: Good afternoon, guys. We’re looking forward to having you here in Lexington. You’re playing here in Kentucky on the eve of the Kentucky Derby, so we’re excited about having you here. I wanted to ask Sully, just about, from the perspective of playing with STAIND on this tour, I’m not really sure how often your paths have crossed, but I kind of wanted to get your opinion on what you think of STAIND and the opportunity of getting a chance to work with him on this tour.

Sully Erna: Yeah, our paths cross way too often. I can’t stand any of these guys. It hasn’t been long enough. No, it’s good. Listen, we’re New England brothers, man, and we’ve been playing together since even before we were signed. So, it’s been great, and then as both bands’ careers have started to take off, we went, what was it in, 2000, Mike?

Mike Mushok: Yeah, 2000.

Sully Erna: I know we were on album number two; I don’t know where you guys are at. But, yeah, and we had a great time. It was very cool. I mean, the guys get along great and me and Mike this time did a Town Press together and we had a blast together. So, I’m just anticipating it’s going to a really fun tour. I don’t see any problems.

Walter Tunis: Great answer. Thank you.

Sully Erna: This is crazy. What a weird set-up.

Mike Mushok: I know.

Rio Hiett: Hi. How are you guys?

Mike Mushok: Good.

Rio Hiett: Good.

Sully Erna: Hello.

Rio Hiett: Good. Sully, this one is to you as well. Now, your lyrics span a broad spectrum from a very deep and thought-provoking to a more direct “in your face, no bones about what I’m saying” kind of thing. What type of prep do you do to take yourself from one emotional level to another emotional level?

Sully Erna: I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that. I guess it depends if I’m going from Godsmack to the solo stuff and it’s a completely different world, but within Godsmack genre, it’s all kind of the same. I don’t know. I mean, the band’s fairly aggressive and loud and raw and so, I mean, it’s pretty easy to stay there, but, I mean, switching from Godsmack to the solo stuff, if that’s what you mean, yeah, I need to kind of separate the two for sure, because one’s very different from the other, but I need balance to both. So, I mean, I nee to be one to be the other and so I think the stuff I do as Sully Erna is the more serene kind of humble stuff and then Godsmack is obviously for Godsmack. And so, I mean, I don’t know. There’s really no set preparation I do. It is what it is. I just can’t blend the two together. I couldn’t do a bunch of Godsmack songs and then switch right into solo stuff; it wouldn’t work. But I don’t, like, sit Indian style and float in the air, if that’s what you mean.

Mike Mushok: That was, like, you can, though.

Sully Erna: Yeah, I know. I’ve sat on the floor and fooled everybody for years. I’m really not an angry guy; I’m just really –

Rio Hiett: (overlapping) That’s too bad.

Sully Erna: Yeah. What? You want me to be angry again? Thanks. Say something to piss me off and you’ll have a song about you.

Rio Hiett: Just spell it right, R-I-O.

Sully Erna: All right. R-I-O, really?

Mark Quirk: Hey, Sully. Another one for you. It seems like you’re a popular guy today. How long has the Verizon Wireless Arena been on your radar? And what’s it going to be like to perform in front of your hometown crowd when you guys get here?

Sully Erna: I mean, I’m anticipating it’ll be a great show. I’m hoping it’ll be a sellout. I mean, I can’t see how it won’t be with two local bands. And it has been on my radar since as long as it’s been there.

Mark Quirk: All right. Great. Thanks.

Sully Erna: You’re welcome.

Michael Camp: Hey, this is, of course, actually – I know you probably get this a lot, but what is a girl to do with a male dominated band and now another tour dominated by males.

Lzzy Hale: What’s a girl to do? Well, I kind of have a different view of all of that than I think many of my female counterparts. I freaking love being a girl on – all guy bill. That’s [Inaudible 00:05:50]. I mean, it’s great. You feel like a little sister in rock almost. You’ve got these big brothers around you. You learn a helluva lot and you stick out your thumb and, I don’t know. I love it.

Michael Camp: Awesome. Thank you.

Lzzy Hale: Yeah, no problem.

Greg Maki: My question is for, I guess, both Mike and Sully. Is there a lot of bands going out on these headlining tours these days. Is that just a reality of the music business today that you kind of have to do these things to survive on a bigger scale, like things you guys have done?

Mike Mushok: I mean, my opinion of it is it’s something we’ve always tried to do. I know whenever we try to put through – we basically put through the best package we can. And I think in this economy it’s tough for people to have extra money to be able to go to a show. It’s kind of like a little bit of a luxury. So, I mean, the more bang for the buck you can give them, I think the more likely chance you have of getting people there and, hopefully, give them the most value for the dollars. So, that was really the idea for us and we had this record and we were looking to who we could play with and Godsmack was like, “That would be fantastic if those guys wanted to do it.” So, we went and put it together.

Sully Erna: Yeah. You know what? It’s really not that different than how it used to be back in the day anyways. I mean, there was always at least two strong bands that went out and obviously a third or a fourth, even back in the ’80’s when it was Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe or whatever. I mean, so I don’t think this is really that uncommon. I think that question is maybe more geared towards festivals where it takes seven, eight bands to fill up an amphitheater or whatever, maybe.

Mike Bialczak: Hi. This is for Mike. You guys have a Syracuse area, guys. Your drummer and you will be coming here in May, so I have a two-part question about Sal. How did he win you guys over to be elevated from drum tech to drummer? And how have you seen him change musically and personality-wise since he got that promotion?

Mike Mushok: Sure. Well, look, Sal has been with the band since ’99 and previous to that he was in bands that we used to play with as states. I mean, he was in some bands that we played gigs with. So, we always knew he was a great drummer and even during his career as being a drum tech, there’s been a few times along the way that he had other bands that he tried to pursue a career in music, which he always wanted to do, and used being able to be a drum tech as a way of getting out there and kind of getting some of his stuff out there. And even along the way, I mean, there was a couple shows where John was sick; I mean, it wasn’t the first time Sal played with us. He’s sat in before on one tour, I think, specifically that he played a couple of shows. So, look, we’ve always known that he was a great drummer and, when it came time, it just seemed like the perfect fit to go from behind the drums to playing them, because he knew all the material and we knew he could more than handle it. Personality-wise, I mean, he’s the same guy. We had this thing that we joked about on our website, these webisodes, where we made him seem like this big egotistical guy and wanted to name the band after him, so it was all a joke. I mean, Sal’s the most quiet, down-to-earth guy you’ll ever meet, and he hasn’t changed one bit. And that’s another reason why. Sometimes when you introduce someone else, it’s a whole other personality. We knew his personality. He’s been on the road with us for 12, 13 years. So, it wasn’t like – he was already part of the family. So –

Mike Bialczak: Thanks very much.

Mike Mushok: Uh-huh.

Karen Callahan: Hi. My question is for Sully. When you decided where you were going on the tour and you looked at all the cities in Texas, how did Beaumont end up instead of Houston or Austin or something?

Sully Erna: We have nothing to do with the routing. That’s something the booking agency puts together.

Mike Mushok: I could interject, Southern Lamar, is why we’re playing Beaumont.

Karen Callahan: Have you played Beaumont before?

Sully Erna: Sorry?

Karen Callahan: Have you played Beaumont before?

Sully Erna: I believe we have. I think we have. I mean, I remember being there because Mike’s right. I remember hanging out with Kevin a few times, but then again he travels a little bit, too. So, it could have been in the suburbs of Beaumont or maybe he came to Austin or things like that, but I’m pretty sure we’ve been to that city before.

Sully Erna: Why? You’re scaring me. Is it bad there?

Mike Mushok: No, no, it’s not.

Ryan Smith: Yeah. A quick question for Mike. How does the STAIND of 2012 compare with the STAIND of 1995 or 1999?

Mike Mushok: Well, we have a drummer now; that’s one big difference. Look, I think what we tried to do on this record is kind of come back to what STAIND of ’99 was. I mean, that was really the idea behind it, to kind of get a little more aggressive and really the reason why we started the banc was kind of play more aggressive music. We kind of went on this journey and I think the last record you lose the progress; really kind of took us as far away from that and we could have gotten almost. And, look, I enjoy the journey. I love some of the songs on the last record, but I think after kind of completing that, we said, “Let’s kind of come back to why we started the band,” and that’s really what the idea was behind the album. And, look, obviously now Aaron has a solo thing going on, so that kind of ties up his time, so it makes it a little more difficult to get all the time we need for STAIND. So, those are really the big differences.

Ryan Smith: Sure. Okay. Thank you.

Mike Mushok: Uh-huh.

Pamela Lant: Hey, this question’s for Sully. Hey, Sully.

Sully Erna: Hi.

Pamela Lant: Hey! My question is: The band’s first live album, Live and Inspired, will be out this spring that will include 13 of your favorite live songs and a bonus disc of four cover tracks. Tell me: What can your fans expect from the live shows on this tour?

Sully Erna: Well, we’re not supporting, like, a new studio record, but, like you said, we’re doing this live CD. We’ve also known to be a live band and to be able as. I think that’s what we’ve been known for is the live show. And so it’s nice to capture that finally and put together this CD and I think we just have the mentality of going out for like kind of the greatest hits tour out of that supporting new music. So, we’re just going to put together a really fun set. Obviously we’ll have the drum battle that me and Shannon do and we’re just going to try to put together the best songs we can, the most energetic songs that we can, and stuff that we feel is going to be the most interactive for the audience. So, this is actually kind of a vacation for us a lot in the sense there’s no real hard work behind prepping for a new record and all that stuff. This is kind of let loose and have fun with it.

Pamela Lant: All right. Awesome. Thank you.

Sully Erna: You’re welcome.

Debra Gonzalez: This question is for Mike from STAIND. My question is: Did anything change besides the new drummer on the band on the last album? And are the same problems that were there before this hiatus still there?

Mike Mushok: Did anything change? No, we made the record basically the same way we always make a record. I’ll come in with a bunch of ideas. We kind of get together, figure out what Aaron likes and wants to sing over, and then pretty much finish them and start tracking. Making the record was pretty tough. I mean, losing John along the way wasn’t easy. We had a deadline to meet for the label. Aaron put up the solo record. As far as problems go, I mean, I don’t know. I mean, losing, Sully, correct me if I’m wrong. You play with somebody and you’re around somebody so much, I mean, there’s always issues. Did they go away? I mean, look, we just deal with them. We’re all adults. We’ve been able to maintain this for a long time and I think that you have to pick your battles and know when to do it and know what’s important to you and I think between Johnny, Aaron, and myself, I mean, you can say pretty much what we want to each other and realize that the band is what’s important. And that’s why people ask me when we’re doing a record, they thought we were going to break up. No, we knew we had to finish the record and that’s what we wanted to do, but you kind of work through all of those things. So, and with that, it takes people making compromises and being able to admit sometimes when you’re wrong and being able to give in.

Debra Gonzalez: Thank you.

Michael Cimaomo: Hey, everyone. Hey, this question is kind of for Mike and Sully. It kind of comes on the heels of a question that you were asked earlier. Since this is a co-headlining tour, do you guys have a plan in regards to which band will be closing the show each night? And is there any possibility of onstage collaboration between any of the three bands?

Mike Mushok: I mean, there was talk about swapping back and forth, but I have no problem with Godsmack closing the show at the end of the night. I think, like you said, Sully, you guys do your drum thing and we kind of just go out there and play our songs. So, we’ll play the same amount of time, the same productions, so as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter to me. So, and I’d love to do a collaboration thing. We’ve kind of spoken – have we come to any kind of conclusion on that?

Sully Erna: Oh, sorry. I was picking out teriyaki sauce. Yeah. I’m the same, man. I feel like either band could close. I mean, both bands are strong; all three bands are strong. The whole line-up is great. Any single one of these bands could go on first, second, or third; it wouldn’t matter. I mean, the whole package is really strong and I’m really excited about it. As far as collaborating, me and Mike have spoken about it. We’re going to try to figure out a handful of songs that a bunch of us could jump up and just have some fun with a band of the night, which we’re all about. And so we don’t know what those are yet, but we’re definitely going to consider it and we’re going to try to put something together that just tops the night off and becomes fun for everybody. And I lost my shopping cart; I’m really upset right now that happened.

Michael Cimaomo: Thank you.

Sully Erna: I think someone took my whole cart, bro. I’m not even kidding.

Mike Mushok: Come on. Everything isn’t even collected.

Sully Erna: I’m not kidding. I went and walked down a couple aisles to get some teriyaki sauce and I came back and there was no shopping cart, man.

Mike Mushok: Oh, my God.

Sully Erna: I cannot go through this again. I’m sorry. Go ahead. Next question. Sully Erna: Oh, I found it.

Kris Engelhart: Hi, everyone.

Mike Mushok: Hi.

Kris Engelhart: My question is for Lzzy. After the success of your first CD, what aspects of the new release are you most excited about right now?

Lzzy Hale: Everything. I’m so proud of this record. We really wanted to bridge the gap between, I mean, when we made our first record, it’s our first record so we weren’t really sure what we were doing and we weren’t sure who would grab on to it and who we were actually going to be singing to. So, with this record, we had just a better concept of our fans and a lot of what we did was inspired by them and the feeling that we put on more live shows. Also, this music is bridging the gap between what we do live and what we can do in the studio. This was lost on our last record, so for the period of technical folderol, we kind of draw into some tape and we did most of the stuff, just by ourselves, the four of us sitting in a room as a band. So, it’s secondly a gradual, a nice step up from the last record and we have a lot more energy and it also, you’re going to be hearing and tasting a lot of different things, a lot of different kinds of [Inaudible 00:19:20] on this record, so I think the biggest things on this is really about being one of the better syncs.

Kris Engelhart: Thank you, Lzzy.

Charles Reynolds: Hey. This question is for Sully. Shannon Larkin actually lives down here. He lives in Cape Coral, Florida. Talked to the guy, met him; pretty cool dude. I really liked meeting him and talking to him. Can you kind of give me an idea of what it’s like working with Shannon and kind of what he brings to the band?

Sully Erna: Well, yeah, of course. I’m probably his biggest cheerleader. I’ve known Shannon since 1986, ’87, somewhere around there. We met when we were both drumming in different bands and we did a bunch of shows together and probably he was the first and only guy since I’ve seen that made my jaw hit the floor when I watched him play. And if you’ve seen Shannon, you know what I mean. He’s the most animated – he’s just amazing. Like, to me, he’s probably the showman drummer I’ve ever seen and watched. And but you’re right; he’s got a great energy about him. He’s a really super great guy. He’s got a great heart. He’s real considerate. But on stage he’s a monster; he’s so not what he is offstage than what he is onstage, but he’s been one of my idols and I’m really proud and grateful to have him in this band. He was my first choice and he wasn’t available when I first reached out to him when I started the band, and then years later when we decided to let go of our drummer, I reached out to him just one more time, and he had just happened to leave his band and he was going to give it up. I mean, he was pretty much hanging it up. And so it was one of those things that was very, I don’t know, Shannon’s a great guy, man. He’s a great drummer and, I don’t know, I can’t say enough about him.

Charles Reynolds: Were you a fan at all of Wrathchild America, the band he was in?

Sully Erna: Oh, yeah, huge band. Yep.

Charles Reynolds: Yeah, I don’t think they have quite got their due.

Sully Erna: Yeah. No, I don’t know. They kind of were up against the wall, I guess.

Charles Reynolds: Yeah. When I talked to Shannon, I was like, I told him I liked Wratchchild. And he was, like, “Oh,” like I’m one of the few that know about it.

Sully Erna: They were one of the best showmen I’ve ever seen, and that was very inspiring to me. It’s kind of, it was one of the bands along the path that I had met that inspired me to want to be a better showman and they just had a very natural gift when it came to that kind of thing. So –

Adam Lawton: Hey, guys. Hey, Sully, I know you’re doing both solo shows and shows with Godsmack this spring. Has it been hard kind of preparing stuff for both types of settings, because they are quite different from each other?

Sully Erna: Well, yeah. I mean, it depends. There’s three different things I’m doing, so the Avalon thing was a lot more complicated because it’s an eight-piece ensemble and I had musicians from all over the year; cello players from Bulgaria and one of my percussionists is from Ireland, and that’s a lot more complicated, a lot more work involved, but I haven’t been doing that. If anything, I’m just doing some solo shows by myself, just to keep my voice warm and it’s one of those things that I enjoy doing as well. But there’s no competition with Godsmack or anything like that, and I enjoy doing both. So, it’s really not that complicated to just out and play a few side shows here and there, just to stay in tune, you know? But I’m really preparing for this tour. I mean, I’m looking forward to getting together with the guys and just firing up this show, because we haven’t really done anything in a little bit.

Adam Lawton: Very cool; very cool. Thanks, man.

Sully Erna: Yeah.

Monique Batson: Hi there. Had a question for Lzzy. You guys are kind of known for having a really awesome support schedule and I see that you’ve played with some of the biggest names in rock music. So, I was just of wondering: Do you guys ever get really kind of star struck with some of the people that you’re touring with?

Lzzy Hale: You know, there definitely has been the occasion. I am a girl after all and being surrounded by such handsome men on nearly a daily basis, it’s [Inaudible 00:23:49]. Anyway, no, it’s great, man. I mean, to think, I think that, again, you learn so much from all these people and the fact that both of these guys, STAIND and Godsmack, has had so much huge careers and have such experience on the road, I think that to me I’m really looking forward to just watching the items, just being completely put me in my place, because it seems like every time I think, “Well, you know what? I’ve got this. I’m the boss.” And then you play a tour like this and you’re like, “Man, I’ve got to practice.” So, I mean, I’m star struck. I mean, I definitely – there is the occasion. I mean, I’ve had the amazing opportunities but and some of my ideas, such as megadust and stuff like that, some of the classic guide, and they definitely, I mean, you get to meet them and I’m going to be touring with Pat Benatar soon, in June. It’s like, “Man, what do I say to these people?” So, I definitely have on occasion, and I don’t know. Let’s see what happens on this tour. I mean, I can talk to Sully on the phone now, but even now, hopefully, he likes me in person.

Sully Erna: Aw, I love everybody.

Carl Hoover: Yeah. I have a question for Lzzy. You got started when you were about 13. I was wondering, comparing the Lzzy today with back then, what’s been the biggest change as a musician? And then what stayed the same?

Lzzy Hale: Definitely more confident than at 13. I mean, one thing that has – I mean, my brother and I started the band and everything, named the band, Halestorm, and started playing anywhere and everywhere to get a story. And after the band started up a couple years, you could see – I don’t know – it just became my identity and it’s just something that I couldn’t live without. So, definitely confident is a factor from before I was a band member to now, but, I mean, it’s definitely different. I mean, in the beginning, you’re in a rock band and you’re having fun and you’re just getting a little bit of a taste of it. You don’t care what’s going to happen. You’re just in love with what’s going to happen next. So, when we play one club and then we see another club that leads to a tour, and now I still have that feeling, but it’s also balanced with a lot of politics and a lot of the business sense. So, in a way it’s just growing up. I mean, becoming more responsible with your craft and more things I’ve got to think about now that maybe I should lead a little bit, because I’m got some big gigs coming up. So, things that you don’t really have to deal with as a teenager, so I don’t know. I look at that fondly and I still think there’s a lot of it that’s still the same; there’s still that fire – still love it as much as I ever did. And I still get to go up on stage and look at my guys and play with my little brother and all those feelings come back. So, yeah, I’m just going to kind of keep doing what I’m doing and I don’t think that anything’s going to change.

Mary Ouelette: Hi there. Sully, this question is for you. I just wanted to ask if you could tell us a little bit more about the live album. Where are these live songs from? Is it all from one show? Or is it all different cuts? And on the cover songs, can you maybe give us, tell us what one of the songs is?

Sully Erna: It’s a live record from Detroit, Rock City, that we thought it was just kind of a very exceptional show for us. We had a really good show. We were recording a lot on that tour. We actually recorded the whole tour. We were going to do a compilation, so like this song was from Vegas, a song from Chicago, some from Dallas, but I don’t know, the more we looked in this Detroit show and the more, we just kind of figured out that it was just, it was a really good show for us and it’s always a great audience, as any rock band will tell you, playing there. It’s just a special kind of fan base that they have there. They live up to their reputation. They’re a great rock audience. And so that’s where the record has been recorded from. I think it was at, I think it was Joe Louis Arena, and the covers, yeah. No, I’m not saying anything. You’re going to have to wait.

Mike Mushok: Well, I did one, though.

Amy Newman: Hi, Lzzy. This question goes out to you. And I was wondering: Who are your influences that created your sound and presence that you have?

Lzzy Hale: Oh, well, a lot of my influences, I’ve always been about 10 to 20 years behind when it comes to my interest in music, much to my friend’s chagrins. So, when I was growing up, I listened to a lot of my parent’s music. So, it was a lot of hard, a lot of – my dad was very much in Deep Purple and Pink Floyd, anything of a color basically. And, I mean, I had a very crazy family. I mean, it was very Partridge Family meets Final Path. We always say – when my brother and I started the band, our parents were like, “Sure, absolutely.” So, obviously still on their minds. But in a lot of ways, that really was what I was looking to at an early age and the reason that I kind of dropped piano, sort of guitar, because you had to kind of say to yourself, “Well, you know, do you want to be Elton John? Or do you want to be Black Savage?” You know, I wanted to be Black Savage. The great thing about a lot of those records, though, is that even now you can still go back to them and still learn something new and still be inspired and so definitely a lot of craft in that for me. As far as now, I mean, I listen to anything and everything. If it’s good, it’s good; doesn’t matter what genre. But early on, that’s what I was listening to.

Amy Newman: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Lzzy Hale: Oh, any time, though.

Tommy Mann: This question’s for Lzzy. We’re looking forward to seeing you back in the Beaumont area.

Lzzy Hale: Oh, yeah.

Tommy Mann: I’ve heard “Love Bites” was the first song you had written for the new record. How did that set the tone for the new record? And what was the thought process behind putting out the digital EP before, in advance of the album?

Lzzy Hale: Well, as far as “Love Bites,” the single, yeah, that was the first song that we wrote and the first song that we recorded for the new record, and, I mean, a lot of the music was inspired by the cover piece that we put out a couple months ago where we recorded and really it was discovered that, wow, we can actually do a song at this tempo. We should write one like this. So, we ended up recording both, and you have to realize that we literally got off tour, had 24 hours to pack, and then got on a plane to L.A., were in the studio the next day recording this song. And we ended up recording songs, such as Sunset Bound in L.A. and Van Halen. It sounds amazing, but I don’t know, it definitely set the tone for the record because the amp was still ringing in our ears. We had just gotten off tour. So, there’s a lot of energy that we still had and we were still kind of in that tour mode. So, really that one and then the first eight songs that we recorded to be considered for the record were very aggressive and probably the most aggressive that we’ve ever done and they’re very risk heavy and I’m screaming my head off, and it’s funny because then what ended up happening halfway through was I ended up writing some of the most intimate and personal songs that I’ve ever written, and I was like, “Wow! What a turn. So, we didn’t know this about you. You’re demure.” So, the product ended up being this record that has a very strange reality to it and so literally all sides of myself. But, yeah, definitely “Loves Bites” set a tone for a very keeping of truth that we play.

Tommy Mann: Cool.

Richard Guererro: Hi. My question is for Mike. Mike, the first single from the most recent album, “Not Again,” was released last summer. Do you have any plans to release additional singles and any videos from the new album?

Mike Mushok: No, that’s it. We’re calling it quits. Yeah, there’s a single, “Eyes Wide Open,” is out now, and we’re trying to figure out what’s going to be next actually right now. And there’s a live video that we did with “Eyes Wide Open” also. So, I don’t know. In case any videos are either on your website or YouTube or whatever these days, I think for the most part, as far as rock bands go. So, yeah, we’re on single number two now and I think it’s top ten or something. So –

Richard Guererro: Isn’t that a Creed cover, Mike? [singing] Eyes wide open…

Mike Mushok: Did I say “Eyes Wide Open?” Is that what it’s called? I don’t even remember. Yeah, that’s what it’s called, I think.

Richard Guererro: No, it’s “Arms Wide Open.”

Mike Mushok: Oh, it’s “Arms Wide Open.” There you go. See, there – Arms are open or eyes are open. Godsmack’s next will be butthole. That’s a joke. I’m sorry. I’m kidding.

Walter Tunis: Question here for Mike. Earlier I’d asked Sully to kind of comment on working with you guys and touring with you guys and just knowing you and just wanted to kind of reverse that a little bit, Mike, and ask what it’s been like with you all crossing paths with Godsmack and your opinions of their music.

Mike Mushok: Well, absolutely. I mean, look, I remember, I think it goes back to, Sully, when did they start playing you guys? Like ’98?

Sully Erna: Yeah. Oh, yeah, we signed in ’98.

Mike Mushok: Yeah. So, I mean, I remember hearing those guys locally on the radio. We were trying to get our stuff played, like right around the same time, and, I mean, our first, I think we played a Warped tour, like on the local stage together. I think we did some show in Springfield together, and then kind of didn’t really see each other until, like Sully said. I mean, we were just about to put out our second record; theirs had just come out, and we did a tour together in 2000, and really kind of became good friends. In fact, Sully, we stayed in touch for a bunch of years after that and we kind of lost track of each other and I came to this opportunity again to play together. And as I said earlier, I mean, I just thought it was a great way to kind of reunite with these guys and, I mean, I think that between all the bands on there, you’re definitely going to have heard some of the songs that are played during the evening before. So, it should be fun.

Walter Tunis: Very good. Thank you.

Mike Mushok: Uh-huh.

Rio Hiett: This question goes out to Lzzy. I know you guys from way back in the Rendevous Perryville days, the Route 40 bar.

Lzzy Hale: Oh, my God.

Rio Hiett: Sad to say it closed down because it burned, but –

Lzzy Hale: Yeah, I heard about that.

Rio Hiett: As a band that’s wanting to follow your recipe for success, when did you guys realize that you were different or differentiating yourself from the local area bands? And then was there ever a time that you wanted to walk away?

Lzzy Hale: Like walk away from music?

Rio Hiett: Yeah. You know, the industry’s really tough and when you first try to break into it and sometimes you hit those walls. Was there ever a time when you were just kind of disgusted at it and wanted to walk out?

Lzzy Hale: As far as, I’ll answer that question first. As far as being discouraged or anything, I mean, this is a crazy business and there’s no real set way to do it and I think a lot of is learning as you go and you learn a lot about yourself. I think there were a lot of moments that I thought, “Am I really this crazy to do this?” But I think in a lot of ways there’s a fine line between obsession and determination and I think that, and over the course of many years, it’s a little bit more towards the obsession, so I think in a lot of those moments now I’m like, “Oh, my God, I can’t do this; I’m actually doing it.” It’s just kind of made a distinction between trying one and then the other and, I mean, my guys and I do, we have a song on the record called, “Here’s to us,” but actually written about that. I mean, my guys and I literally celebrate the low times and we celebrate, like when you think, “Well, guys, you could go home right now. This could all be over tomorrow,” and we’d have, like, a couple champagne bottles, but then you literally go on buy a cheap bottle of champagne and write the date on it and say, “I’m just glad we didn’t ditch each other.” We can always go back and play, I mean, we do that anyway. So, it’s never really going to stop. I just think that it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other and we’ve just always had that goal. But as far as setting ourselves apart from the local band scene, I mean, you can’t stick out. I started when I was 13; my little brother was 10 and then throughout, I mean, throughout our tours, like, I mean, but that’s the boy and the girl in the band and it’s like tiny kid that has always, my goal has always to look younger than I actually am. You can’t always stick out more than that. So, we definitely hear that we were different, but we were very lucky, though. We had a lot of the local bands and a lot of the bands from around the Central Pennsylvania area and just on the East Coast give us a chance to a couple kids. We would open up for them and for local bands and stuff. We did a mini tour with a couple of them and so, I mean, I owe our first real leg up as a band to all of those bands.

Rio Hiett: We thank you and we’re glad you got that chance.

Lzzy Hale: Oh. Hey, I’m telling you and it takes a bridge. It take a bridge to break a band and to raise a band and I’m literally in awe because we were little tikes that want to thank the entire scene there for that.

Rio Hiett: Thank you.

Jay Manda: Hi, everybody. Apologize for losing our connection. I was trying to ask a question earlier, but for Sully, the May 2nd show here at the Alamo Dome will be Godsmack’s first appearance here since 2006. I’m wondering: What took so long for you guys to return to San Antonio, but also do you have any special memories of prior visits here?

Sully Erna: Any special memories of what?

Jay Manda: Prior visits to San Antonio.

Sully Erna: Oh, prior visits; I thought you said “fire visits.” I’m like, “I don’t remember anything catching on fire.” Yeah, I don’t know why it takes us so long to get back. We suck. We’re lazy and we don’t care. No, we really do, but we’re like any other band. We’re four guys trying to touch the world. It takes a long time to get around this planet sometimes. And so I love San Antonio; I’ll tell you that. Every time we’re there, every time we play there we have an absolute blast. I love most of Texas; great cities in Texas, great people, great fans. But, yeah, it’s just one of those things that between touring and trying to hit Europe and Japan and everywhere else in the world and then making your laps around the states, sometimes you don’t always get to the same cities and it just takes years to come around. So, and then, of course, taking breaks and things like that adds to the time. So, yeah, no, I don’t have any specific memories, except for Ozzy peeing on the Alamo. That happened there. I wasn’t there, by the way, but I just remember that as a memory. So, when I think of San Antonio, I think of Ozzy peeing on the Alamo.

Jay Manda: Fair enough. Thank you very much.

Sully Erna: You got it.

Michael Camp: Hey. This is kind of for anyone that wants to answer it. This tour is very, very fan-friendly from just getting into the tour to making the poster. Do you expect anything like that on the shows themselves?

Mike Mushok: I think we’re going to let the fans actually play the shows. I’m just going to be a lazy boy on the side actually and watch them play. No, I don’t know. I think it’s kind of cool that the way things are nowadays. You know, you can put this stuff out there and let some of the fans who are creative be a part of it, and some of the poster submissions, especially some of them were great, I thought. As far as the tour goes, I think we’re just going to go out there and do our thing.

Michael Camp: Are you guys going to be at the gate? I think you guys have already done that.

Sully Erna: I know. But I love that idea. I think we should find fans that look like every band and just have one night where we kick back in lawn chairs and watch them go.

Mike Mushok: It would be very cool to just sit down and drink.

Sully Erna: That would be awesome, man.

Greg Maki: All right. My question is for both Mike and Sully. STAIND and Godsmack have both been together for 15 years or more now. What would you say are the biggest reasons for your bands lasting as long as they have?

Mike Mushok: Go ahead, Sully.

Sully Erna: No, no, no, you can take this one.

Mike Mushok: You know, look, honestly I think that we, and obviously I think Godsmack is going to make this a great tour, Sully and Halestorm, too. I know you guys have some great fans. But, I mean, look, obviously I think all three of us know that if it wasn’t for the fans, we wouldn’t be here. They allow us to do this. Those are the ones that buy a ticket, come to the show, support the bands, and, I mean, that’s why we’re still around obviously. We do our best to write the best music we can. I know Lzzy and Sully do also and you try to put out the best product that you can and you hope that people like it and want to listen to it and be a part of it. So, we’ve been fortunate so far and, hopefully, we can continue.

Valerie Bastien: Hi. This is a question for Sully and Lzzy. I think you both have very unique and amazing voices. And so with the expansive tour you had, how would you prepare yourself physically and vocally for this tour.

Lzzy Hale: Well, lots of tequila.

Sully Erna: I’m all about the tequila.

Lzzy Hale: Oh, okay. We’ll have to get into that then.

Sully Erna: Be careful what you wish for, Lzzy.

Lzzy Hale: Yes. Sully, that’s a discussion for later. That’s off topic. No, I mean, I’m sure Sully will agree. You do have to prepare yourself for any tour. I mean, you’re going to be singing every night, you’re going to be talking to everybody. To me, it’s about common sense and we’re practicing as a band, then I’m making sure I’m not doing anything too stupid before we start the tour and then just when we get into it, do the warm-ups and cool-downs and you drink your water, you do a live show. So, and I don’t know, it’s really quite simple on my end. Sully?

Sully Erna: Oh, not me. I do nothing. I swear to God. I’m not even saying that to be funny. I do nothing; I do nothing. I may sing along to the radio a little bit maybe, but then again I don’t really qualify myself as some amazing singer, so whatever. I go up there and hack it up with everyone else. I do drink a lot of tequila before I go on stage, though. That’s not a lie.

Lzzy Hale: Hey, maybe that’s the trick; you never know.

Sully Erna: It bring out all the phlegm. The vocal warm-ups don’t good for me, so it’s either tequila or something and then it brings out all the crap that’s in the throat and then we’ll be good. Either that or you’re so drunk you think you’re great, but you stink and it doesn’t matter because you’re having so much fun. That’s okay, too.

Pamela Lant: Hi. This question’s for Lzzy. Your second full length album, “The Strange Case,” that’s to drop this coming April, which I’m really excited about that. It was named one of Revolver’s most anticipated albums of the year, so how would you describe the sound for this new album?

Lzzy Hale: Wow! Well, this new record was a lot of fun to make and it kind of came together – it’s us really not boxing ourselves in. On our last record, we paid so much attention – we were trying really hard to make sure everything is consistent, there is, like, a theme, everything was on [Inaudible 00:48:25]. And this one, we just kind of let it be what it was going to be and it’s extremely flattering that Revolver said it is the most anticipated or they consider it one of the most anticipated, because I’m anticipating it and it’s killing me, because I want it to be out there. But, I mean, definitely the sound on this record is a lot more human than the last record. There’s definitely, I’m a little brave on this record and decided to go to all extremes. Again, it’s not just vocally, I’m using multi uses of my voice, and but also just creatively and kind of –

Kris Engelhart: Hi. I had a question for Sully. Are you working on any new Godsmack material? And if so, when can fans expect a new studio album?

Sully Erna: We’re hoping for 2013. We just started listening to some ideas. It’s very, very, very early in that stage, so we’re not sure yet, but we are going to shoot for 2013 sometime.

Kris Engelhart: Okay. Cool. Thank you.

Sully Erna: You’re welcome.

Mary Ouellete: Hi there. This is for my Massachusetts boys, Mike and Sully. I know you’re not responsible for the routing, but in looking at the dates, I couldn’t help but notice that they take us right up to the end of May with a couple of dates in New Hampshire and Maine, but no actual show in Massachusetts. So, I’m wondering: Are you guys working on maybe a Fenway show or something secretive? Or are we just not getting a Massachusetts show?

Mike Mushok: That’s a good idea. I never thought of that one. Look at you, you should be booking us.

Mary Ouellette: Want me to work on that?

Mike Mushok: That’ll be fantastic. Do we have to pay commission also?

Mary Ouellette: Naw, just get me up front.

Mike Mushok: All right. I don’t know. As Sully said earlier, I mean, we really kind of just do – all right, the tour is booked the way that it was, and it would be cool to do a Massachusetts show together, absolutely. You know, maybe later on down the road. I mean, I know there’s talk about trying to do something more a little bit later in the year, so maybe we’ll see if we can put that together.

Sully Erna: You know, Roger Waters is doing Fenway. Mike, did you hear this?

Mike Mushok: I didn’t hear that.

Sully Erna: Yeah. They’re bringing a lot of Fenway.

Mike Mushok: That would be killer.

Sully Erna: Sick! Have you seen it?

Mike Mushok: No, I haven’t.

Sully Erna: Oh, my God. I’ve seen it at Staples Center. It’s a must-see before you die.

Mike Mushok: A friend of mine saw it and he said it’s unbelievable.

Sully Erna: You’ve got to catch it before next week.

Tommy Mann: Hey, Mike, this one’s for you, buddy.

Mike Mushok: Sure.

Tommy Mann: You’d mentioned a little bit earlier about you’all try to put out the best product that you can, which you always seem to do. Was there any real thought process or purpose behind making this album self-titled?

Mike Mushok: Yeah. Also what I was kind of alluding to early, we really wanted to kind of go back to where we started as far as a band, and I think with that was kind of why we ultimately decided on having it self-titled. I mean, there was talk about it being called, “Seven,” because this is the seventh record and that’s what seven demons on the cover kind of represents is that. And so that’s kind of how we incorporated it. But, no, it was really just about the fact that we kind of got back to playing with the music.

Lzzy Hale: (overlapping) Hey, sorry, guys. (Lzzy lost her connection)

Mike Mushok: Oh, she’s back.

Lzzy Hale: Hey! Sorry, guys.

Mike Mushok: Oh, good. We gotcha.

Tommy Mann: Okay, Mike. That’s cool. I appreciate it, sir.

Mike Mushok: Yeah, no worries. Thank you, dude. Appreciate it.

Amy Newman: And this question I’m going to direct to Sully. Sully, is there any musician that you would love to meet who you have yet to?

Sully Erna: Yeah, the guys from AC/DC I haven’t met yet. I think they would be fun. I met most of the people that I’ve been inspired by over the years and we’ve toured with most of them as well, but AC/DC is one of the bands I haven’t met; Brian Johnson or Angus Young yet. I think that would be great to meet them.

Amy Newman: Well, thank you.

Sully Erna: Probably, like, one of the last bands that I would want to actually tour with, but I’m afraid of them. They’re too bad. I hear the guitar tech gets a bigger applause when he bring Angus’ guitar out and puts it on the stand than the opening acts do. It’s true.

Amy Newman: Brian Johnson lives here in Florida and is out at bars a lot.

Sully Erna: What part?

Amy Newman: I think he lives in Sarasota, in the Tampa Bay area.

Sully Erna: Oh, I’m actually in Ft. Lauderdale right now. Better go find him.

Amy Newman: Come on over.

Sully Erna: No, not so much.

Karen Callahan: Hi, Lzzy. This one’s for you. As you said, last year you released a CD of covers. First of all, are you going to perform any of them on this tour? And second of all, you’ve got everything from Lady Gaga to the Beatles.

Sully Erna: What’s that?

Lzzy Hale: I have no idea.

Sully Erna: It wasn’t me.

Lzzy Hale: No, I said the cover issues are, thank you, by the way. We loved during a cover of U2, Beatles through to Kid Rock, and we basically, what we wanted to do on that, too, was kind of coming together, listening to, and some of them – the Beatles cover was the first song that the guys in my band and I ever tried to pull, just to kind of feel each other out, and then the hardest one was my go-to karaoke from “A Little While.” We crash some karaoke bars ever now and then and now I don’t voluntarily, but my guys will sometimes volunteer me and I’m like, “Really, guys?” . But coming on this tour, we’re probably not. We might throw in one or two that’s on the show, we will see.

Karen Callahan: Okay. Awesome. Thank you, Lzzy.

Lzzy Hale: Thank you as well.

Jay Manda: Yes, Lzzy, I wanted to touch a little more about the new album and, in particular, “Love Bites,” the single. If I’m not mistaken, that’s actually a song that you guys opened with here at the Alamo Dome last April on the Avalanche tour. So, I’m kind of wondering as far as the album as a whole, is there, like, an equal mix of songs that maybe were leftover from the last studio album sessions? Or maybe songs that have been around even longer? And also a mix obviously of songs that are a lot fresher for you guys as a band?

Lzzy Hale: It’s kind of all of the above, because it’s not necessarily the same songs from anything you was used on the last record. Basically that entire time is kind of cut off and we started anew. However, there were a lot of risks and small parts that we didn’t even know to consider for the last record, but that were written around that time that we were incorporating into some of these. And so definitely if, I mean, you’re right. You did hear “Love Bites” on that tour and that was kind of testing it out to see what something like that, a song like that, how it would go over live ” So, thank you for that. But I don’t know. I think that that’s a perfect song for the Web. I kind of turned to him like, “Do you want to do something strange, and do this song?” I mean, that song, we’re trying to do something different a little bit and that would stick out and on the radio and by us playing it at that show and on that tour gave us the confidence. So, you know what? We could certainly go and do that again right now.

Jay Manda: Awesome. Well, thank you very much and we look forward to seeing all three bands here on tour coming up.

Mike Mushok: Thank you.

Lzzy Hale: Awesome and thank you.

Sully Erna: Thank you.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached the end of our allotted time. We would like to thank our speakers and our participants for joining today. You may now disconnect your lines.

Mike Mushok: Thanks. See you, guys.

Sully Erna: See you, guys. Looking forward to meeting you, Lzzy.

Lzzy Hale: Thanks, guys.

We would like to thank Kymm Britton of 60 Cycle Media for allowing to take part in the interview. For info on the dates on the upcoming tour, please go to: MASS CHAOS TOUR.