Prior to GODSMACK‘s headlining performance on Saturday, April 23 in Orlando, Florida, frontman Sully Erna was asked about plans for new music from Godsmack. (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET)
“The first thing to do is these shows. We have six of ’em to do, last night [being] one of ’em and tonight another one. We have four more to do over the next two weekends. And then it’s pretty loose until October. Then we start ‘touring touring’ in Europe, we do South America, we [play] some international [shows]. We’ll be back first quarter of ’23 with a new record. The record’s finished; we’re done recording it. You should probably be hearing new music by summertime — mid to late summer — and then following it up with a second single and the full record by the top of ’23. That’s the plan. And then we’re just gonna hit it one more time hard and heavy. And I’ve gotta tell you, this might be the last one for us — it might be the last record for us.”
He was also asked about his contracting COVID;
“I got very sick. I was sick for five and a half weeks, but I was in the hospital for four days.”
When asked if he thought he was going to get COVID-19, Erna, who is apparently unvaccinated, said: “I didn’t. I take really good care of myself. I’m a runner. I’ve boxed for over 20 years. And I’m onstage two hours a night. I have pretty big lungs, so even thinking if I was gonna get it, I figured I’d get sick like the normal flu get sick and then you push through it, but I definitely didn’t expect for it to knock me down the way it did. I just got some bad luck and bad timing. Part of it was I got hit during the Christmas holidays, so all my doctors were on vacation; there was only substitutes. They were kind of guiding me over the phone. And what happened was the COVID left my body within seven to 10 days, but then pneumonia developed, and that’s what got me [really sick]. I ended up getting blood clots in my lungs and stuff like that. That’s when everything went down. It was pretty gnarly for a while because my oxygen had dipped to 76. And if anyone knows anything about oxygen levels, you’re not supposed to go below 95. If you go below, you go to the hospital and 70 is, like, [when they put you on a] ventilator. So I was pretty emotional, pretty nervous about wondering if I was coming out of this. But thankfully I was in the shape that I was in, and my doctor thinks, like, that proved to him… He goes, ‘I know exactly how good of a shape you’re in now, because,’ he goes, ‘I’ve gotta tell you, man, when you came in, I was really nervous for you. And most people that come in in that condition, they don’t leave with a happy ending.'”
Erna concurred that the virus hits different people differently; “It’s pretty random,” he said. “I think it has something to do with the blood type and DNA; they’re testing for that kind of stuff now. But regardless, I got to the other side of it. I’m doing better than I ever have. It was a very humbling experience and a crazy journey. It puts things in perspective for you. So, that being said, I’m here to just do what we do, man. There was a reason for all of this, and it’s made me appreciate life more and my career more and music more and things like that. But I’m also not overjamming my schedule like I used to. I’m taking time for my family, my daughter, the people that I love the most. And I’ll play music when I wanna play music now, not because I have to.”
Last November, Erna took a swipe at celebrities, including fellow musicians, who have used their high-profile voices to encourage medical behaviors, saying they should “shut up and let people live their lives.”
Erna, who confirmed that politics played a part in his decision to relocate GODSMACK‘s headquarters to Florida — which leans Republican in presidential elections — on a part-time basis while maintaining a home in New Hampshire, has been more vocal about his political opinions in recent years, saying in a July 2020 episode of his Internet show “Hometown Sessions” that if “Trump stays in [office], COVID’s gonna be a big, messy pain in the ass, and there’s gonna be more people burning down Wendy’s fucking restaurants. If Trump f****** is gone, all of a sudden they’re gonna have this miracle vaccine that those fucking liars have been holding on to.”
In late 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Erna hit the road in the U.S. with STAIND‘s Aaron Lewis as part of the unplugged “The American Drive-In Tour”.
Lewis, who has been friends with Erna for more than 25 years, has been a vocal opponent of COVID-19 vaccines, claiming last November that he beat COVID-19 by taking ivermectin, a drug with no evidence of being a safe or effective treatment for the novel coronavirus. He said he also used Z-Pak, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the body.
Last September, GODSMACK‘s latest album, “When Legends Rise”, was certified gold on by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for sales in excess of half a million copies. In addition, two more of the LP’s singles (the title track and “Under Your Scars”) were also officially certified gold by the RIAA. The album’s first single “Bulletproof” earned a platinum digital single award in September 2020 and was previously certified gold in the U.S.
“When Legends Rise” was the seventh studio album from GODSMACK. Produced by Erik Ron and Erna, it was the band’s first release in four years and was recorded at their now-former headquarters (GSHQ) in Derry, New Hampshire. The album went on to garner a multitude of career milestones for the group: four No. 1 rock tracks (an accomplishment that makes GODSMACK one of only four rock acts to achieve this), and a record 11 No. 1 singles in the band’s career with the album’s fourth single, “Unforgettable”. “When Legends Rise” entered the Billboard Top 200 album chart in the top ten (No. 8), with four No. 1 placements on other charts: Top Rock Albums, Top Hard Music Albums, Top Independent Albums and Top Alternative Albums.