odsmack was founded by front-man Sally Erna (vocals) when he wanted to start a new band as the lead singer after playing the drums for more than 23 years. Along with him would be Tony Rombolo (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass) and Tommy Stuart (drums; who stepped in to replace original member Joe D'Arco who would later return). The act would start out under the name The Scam, but quickly changed its name to Godsmack after recording one demo. The newly formed band played small bars around Boston. Rumor has it they got the name from an Alice In Chains song, but more truthfully, and according to Erna, the band's name came from a small, personal incident, "I was making fun of somebody who had a cold sore on his lip and the next day I had one myself and somebody said, 'It's a godsmack.' The name stuck."
Musically, Godsmack originally came across as a grungy version of Metallica, Alice In Chains and any number of grunge acts put together in one room. Often accused of mimicking Alice In Chains, Godsmack would dabble with everything from basic heavy metal, nu-metal, as well as other genres throughout their career. Discovered by ex-Extreme stick-man Paul Geary who got them a deal with 'Universal', they rode the wave of the US grunge movement to the trend influenced Americans who were into "that sort of thing".
In mid-1998, 'Universal/Republic Records' signed them. Joe D'Arco was dismissed from the band, and was replaced by returning drummer Tommy Stewart.
Originally to me named All Wound Up, their self-titled debut made 22 in the US in 1999. The album sold well despite being initially pulled from the shelves in some stores due to concerns over its lyrical content. The album was later released with a Parental Advisory sticker added to the cover, with some stores ordering amended copies of the album without the lyrics in question.
Debuting at five on the Billboard 200, the follow-up Awake (2000) would eventually be certified 2x platinum, while the track Vampires, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 2002. Two of the songs on the album were used in United States Navy commercials (Sick of Life and Awake) as background music.
After Shannon Larkin (ex-Ugly Kid Joe, Souls at Zero, Wrathchild America, MF Pitbulls) replaced Tommy Stewart, who left due to personal differences for the second time, Godsmack went back into the studio to record. Faceless (2003) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200; The track Straight Out of Line receiving a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Hard Rock Performance".
Their next release, The Other Side (2004), an acoustic EP, debuted at number five on the Billboard 200; a relatively high position for an acoustic EP. It included several previously released songs re-recorded as acoustic versions, as well as three new acoustic tracks. One new song, Touché, featured Godsmack's original guitar player, Lee Richards, as well as John Kosco, who were at that time in the now defunct band Dropbox.
IV (2006) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 211,000 copies in its first week, and would eventually be certified gold. 40 tracks were originally written for the album, but only 11 made the cut; after-all, albums have a finite amount of time available. Larkin commented, "it's Sully's band and his vision.[...]When it comes time to pick the songs it's all Sully". The album's name came from a running piece of backstage humor, as well as it being their 4th album as well.
To celebrate ten years as a band, the greatest hits album, Good Times, Bad Times... Ten Years of Godsmack (2007) would be released including a cover of the Led Zeppelin song Good Times Bad Times, as well as a DVD of Godsmack's acoustic performance in Las Vegas at House of Blues. The album was originally intended to be a boxed set, but the band scrapped the plans so they could release a 'best of' album. The number one charting The Oracle (2010), as well as the live Live & Inspired (2012), would follow; the live set set included a bonus EP of cover tracks.
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From left to right: Robbie Merrill, Sully Erna, Criss Angel (not a band member), Shannon Larkin, Tony Rombola.
Photo by: Tony
CC BY-SA 2.0
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