Last updated: 08/01/2013 08:04:22 AM
Godsmack is a Boston-based band who were simply too undeniable to be ignored. Their self-titled major label debut isn't a calculated, big-budget offering. In fact, it started out as a self-released CD the band recorded in 1996 for about $2,500 with money they borrowed from a friend. Expecting maybe to make back the costs of recording, they peddled the disc to a local radio station WAAF embraced the song "Keep Away" and began playing the song on hi weekly evening program. Meanwhile, the band was performing regularly on the Boston club scene and soon drew the attention of Paul Geary, a long-time friend of Sully's and former drummer and manager of the group Extreme, who inevitably signed the band to his management company PGE.
Before long, airplay increased dramatically. With the blistering track "Whatever" (a combustive cut that grooves as it grinds) being spun regularly on WAAF, sales grew at a staggering rate. The disc became the #2 best-selling album at Newbury Comics.
"I was really shocked," recalls Sully, "Our album began selling 900 to 1000 copies a week!" After meeting with several interested labels, Godsmack chose to sign with Republic Records in July 1998.
Before Sully formed Godsmack, he played drums in a band called Strip Mind, which broke up in 1994. For a year, he went into hibernation, then he started getting that itch to write music again, so he called up his friend/bassist Robbie Merrill and asked him if he was interested in jamming on some new stuff. The two hooked up with drummer Tommy Stewart (ex-Lillian Axe) and local guitarist Lee Richards. A few months later, both Richards and Stewart quit the band. Guitarist Tony Rombola skillfully slipped into the guitar slot and a guy named Joe Darko filled the drumseat for a few years, although he didn't actually play on the band's record. That honor was held by Sully, who has been playing drums since age four. In 1997, after the band's star sign had begun to rise, Darko left and Godsmack invited original drummer Stewart back into the fold.
Throughout the album, Sully sings about the emotional extremes that often shadow people with intense lifestyles. "Timebomb" addresses the day-to-day pressures and frustrations that life often dished out, "Immune" is about urban vampires who suck the identities from their victims by emulating their fashion sense and behavoir patterns and "Voodoo" is based on the bizarre film epic The Serpent and the Rainbow.
"There are a lot of emotional highs and lows in my songs, but they're genuine emotions" says Sully, "I seem to do my best writing when I'm down. For me, writing is a release of energy." In addition to channeling his energies through Godsmack's aggressive music, he channels that energy via more spiritual paths as well. He is practicing Witch of the Celtic Religion (WICCA) under Salem Witch Laurie Cabot, and he continues to weave the Wiccan arts and rituals into the fabric of his daily life. "It's been my salvation," he says candidly. "A lot of people are confused about witchcraft, it's simply about worshipping the power of the earth, and that's it! It's a positive religion that has helped me through a lot of bad times."