You just announced six solo shows in the Northeast, kicking off at House of Blues in Atlantic City on March 22nd. The live shows will feature songs over the span of your career, including those with Godsmack and the solo debut,†Avalon. Tell me what the shows will be like. What will the song ratio be like? Will there be more songs from Avalon?
Sully: Itís going to be a complete hybrid of everything.† Thereís going to be a handful of Godsmack stuff, thereís going to be some Avalon songs, there will be some brand new material, there will be some covers, and maybe some story telling too.† I just want to give fans a feeling of completion when they walk out of there. The idea is to give a little bit of everything.
Which Godsmack songs will you be performing? How did you go about choosing those songs?
Sully: Not all Godsmack songs are acoustic friendly, so I have to be careful about which songs I try and do in these acoustic shows.† I tried to pick the ones that would translate best as acoustic performances, and Iím not even sure if the entire show is going to be acoustic for the whole solo show, but it looks like it might be going in that direction.† Iím picking as many popular songs as possible that will translate acoustically.
How long will the set be?
Sully: That depends.† Usually never less than 90 minutes.† I mean it could range anywhere from 80-100 minutes, but the average is usually about an hour and a half at least.
Mostly casinos I see. Is that for a specific reason?†
Sully: I like casinos because the rooms/theatres that they have there are the perfect vibe for this setting.† If it was a big, full on Godsmack performance with lights and pyro, it doesnít always translate very well in these types of rooms.† These stages are built for intimacy; theyíre up close and personal, so I like casinos for that reason. I also do love sitting at a poker table.† Itís a nice way for me to kill time instead of me just sitting in a hotel room somewhere.
Will you be adding more dates?
Sully: Yes, weíre going to do solo shows all throughout the year.† Theyíre going to be spread out on the weekends through 2013. Itís not like Iím going to go out for 6 or 8 weeks at a time, itís going to be a bit more sporadic, but I do plan on making my way across the country this year and to as many places as possible.
Tell me about the different instrumentation that will be performing on stage. Who will also make appearances?
Sully: Iím hoping to get as many solo members from Avalon with me as possible.† I donít know if Iím going to be able to get the whole 8-piece ensemble out with me for the whole run, but for sure Iím going to bring selective people.† You can almost always count on Lisa being out there as well as a couple other members from the Avalon project.† Until we really start rehearsing and figuring out what weíre doing on the tour, itís a little premature to say who will for sure be at the shows.
In December you released a limited edition box set of your 2010 deeply personal solo debut,†Avalon. Tell me about the things the box set includes.
Sully: We came up with all the items in this box set through trial and error.† We started wanting to just put out the CD and the making of the record and the live DVD, but as we started to come up with the package, we decided to put a hat and the shirt in there Ė then one thing led to another and I just started to think of all things Sully Erna that would work for this box set.† So from there it became: my favorite incense, my autobiography, a signed poster, a necklace, and on and on from there.† Now thereís about 7 CDís and DVDís in there from bloopers to the making of and more.† Itís quite the bang for the buck.
An updated version of your personal memoir,†The Paths We Choose is included in the package. What has been updated about the memoir? Do you plan on writing another book soon?
Sully: I donít know if Iíll be writing another book soon because I only have one life, and from 0-30 years old was this book, and from 30 until death, I donít know because Iím still living it and I donít know where thatís heading just yet.† Iím sure at some point there will be a Godsmack book where it spins off from where I left off from The Paths We Choose, but Iím not really sure that right now Iíll be writing a new book.
When we republished the book, I wrote a new chapter after the epilogue called ďLess than 1%Ē†and itís just kind of a recap of where Iím at in my life today and a little snapshot of whatís going on.
Five ďgolden ticketsĒ†will be hidden in the boxes that offer grand prize luxury trips with you personally to Napa, Boston, New York, Las Vegas, and Avalon/Catalina Island. What exactly does that include? Have the five won yet?
Sully: The 5 people have not won yet, but I do know that one of the winners have surfaced that won the trip to Catalina Island.† What we did was we put 5 pairs of golden tickets in 5 different box sets out of the 5000 boxes, so we were just coming up for some creative ways for fans to win a trip to hang out with me for the day.† I know at least 1 the of 5 have been won so far, and weíll just see who else pops up as the winners as more of these boxes get out there. You just have to be able to purchase one of these boxes to have a chance at winning the golden tickets for these trips.
Do you find that a lot of Godsmack fans come to the shows expecting to see something similar to a Godsmack show?
Sully: At first I donít think they knew what to expect when I was doing my solo shows, because they werenít†sure what I was doing yet. I actually wasnít even sure what I was doing yet.† I think at this point though the vision is pretty clear as to what to expect, especially with all the Palladia airings of my live show, and people seeing the tour, and seeing me do acoustic solo shows.† They kinda know now that if theyíre seeing Sully Erna solo show, itís not going to be a heavy, rock, Godsmack style show.† Itís just going to be an intimate setting where you can have a glass of wine and listen to some music and maybe have a laugh, and just have a good time and feel fulfilled at the end of the night.
Do you plan on making another solo album similar to Avalon?
Sully: I do Ė†Iím starting to work on new material now.† Iím not sure on when itís going to come out or when Iíll finish it, but Iím definitely starting to write new material and Iím hoping to get something recorded and to radio sometime soon.
Godsmack released their first live album Live & Inspired on May 15, 2012. Since it is titled Live & Inspired, what inspired the band to put out the live album?
Sully: The fans do.† For us growing up and still being fans of music and hard-rock, we knew it was kinda cool to have those live albums come out from our favorite bands in the past, and weíre still fans ourselves.† Not only did we want to do a live album because the fans over the years have really helped us to become such a great live band.† If it wasnít for them, we wouldnít have the chance to go out and tour the world the way we have and be able to hone and polish this craft of being a live band.† Now I think weíve become well-known for being great live performers and along with that we just wanted to include that bonus CD which was just a bit of a gift back to the fans saying ĎHey these are some of the songs we were inspired by along the way and we just did our own take on them.
You chose four songs to cover as well on a separate disc. Were those songs personal favorites of yours?
Sully: Yes, they were personal favorites of ours and they were songs that we thought we could really represent the best and songs that meant something to us at some point in our life growing up.† They were absolutely hand-picked for a reason.
What is currently going on with Godsmack?
Sully: Godsmack is just taking some downtime right now.† Weíre going to chill for the year.† Weíre going to work on some separate stuff. Iím doing my solo stuff, the guys are working on their other side-project stuff, and weíre all just taking some time to spend with our friends and family because weíre coming off a 2-year cycle or touring. And at some point in 2014 weíll start getting back together and maybe writing and talking about when we can put out another record.
Are you still playing poker?
Sully: I just started to again. I took some time off from that too, but I decided I wanted to play the World Series this year and really go at it and be serious about it.† Iím excited about getting back into it though.
SULLY ERNA LIVE:
- March 22††Atlantic City, NJ @ House of Blues
- March 23††Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
- March 24††Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
- April 5††††††Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
- April 6 † † †Verona, NY @ Turning Stone Resort Casino April 13
- Niagara Falls, NY @ Niagara Casino and Hotel††
For tickets go to: †www.sullyerna.com