Under The Inlfuence with Shannon Larkin

godsmack 2012 09 11 8933

Y'all, I can't leave well enough alone when it comes to freaking Shannon Larkin (who the hell would be, right?). My interview back in June timed out at 59:12 and we had a totally kick ass convo that touched on so many other points that I swiped some of our yammerings for the Under the Influence Facebook Page. Under the Influence is a page that started a few years ago that tells stories in the artists own words with pictures from artists from every genre of music. Under the Influence came about by a conversation that I was having with a musician from the band Low Gear (a cornerstone in the Dallas metal scene) and I after a LONG story about how he became a musician, I said, "man, that is a really cool story! And then...(no more and then's!!) I thought “why can’t local artists tell their stories to the masses too?” Well, turns out they can & that's exactly what we did! These bits and pieces define rock and the influences they've had in fueling the greatness of rock music, big and small. So as fate would have it, interest and assistance came from an artist development and long time music aficionado from Nashville. And the focus of Under the Influence has branched out and added the stories of not only local and regional talent, but those that have made it to the proverbial pot of stardom. This is the Great Effect that has rippled out and touched fans over & over.

It's my belief that the Universe does not forget things that are thrown out there; positive and negative thoughts or ideas. When it's time and the idea-makers are ready, those things come back.I've said this time and time again...but reactions happen equally and oppositely - and I didn't make this up so I can't claim it (damnit). And from these reactions, I am right here, right now. There's no other place...wait are those lyrics to a song? See, this is why I wanted to start telling stories about music & musicians: because music infiltrates us and carries us. And if you're like me, it all started with one note, one riff, or a beat - or in my case, a Lauren Hill show and a picture of my shoe...but that’s another story to tell for another day lovelies. So here’s Shannon Larkin talking about music, influences, his experiences being in Godsmack and like I said one of the greats in Rock - enjoy!

Cherri: Shannon, we've talked about The Apocalypse Blues Revue but now let's talk about you. You're experiences with being a musician, Godsmack or other bands you've played with - your experiences. So straight up, I know my local bands and of course the Godsmack fans would wanna know, like when you're out how are the fans - or do you even go out?

Shannon: I am so appreciative of the compliments I receive. The other night, I went to a club just to see a local band and Tony and I went and jammed and just got up on stage and played a couple of Godsmack songs with a local band and then afterwards, and I'm in the club standing there watching the band and you know it was like a meet and greet, everyone in the club wanted a picture or autograph or whatever and someone came up and was like "how do you take this? you're so cool - you're like taking pictures with everybody and smiling in every picture how can you do that?"

Cherri: What do you say to people that ask that? I mean, how would you tell someone that wants to be a successful artist or relay to them how it is when you're out and about in public?

Shannon: So ya, I said to him - I was like "dude, that's the reward for all my hard work". People come up and tell me that I affect them in a positive way or that I'm great or whatever. Well that's like - Godsmack could end tomorrow and you know, that's gone in a blink of an eye. I tell aspiring musicians that or dudes that are coming out because success - so never be the guy that doesn't appreciate and even enjoy - and I'm not going to be a liar to tell you it doesn't get old especially when people are overly complimentary but with that said, it's a gift being given to you by God and somebody comes up and tells me I'm great, I'm not going to let that irritate me. I'll be appreciative and say thank you so much and mean it. And be thankful that somebody's coming up and telling little ol' me that I'm great? What did I do to deserve that?

Cherri: What makes a great musician and where did you learn or get this attitude to be one of those great musicians?

Shannon: It's a humbleness and humility that the great ones had. And the rockstar dickheds that you meet, they're not really great and in their hearts they're rip off artists that took everything from someone else and they're in it for the wrong reasons like money or pussy or whatever it is, excuse my French! But the truth is the true great musician is one that realizes that a) it would have never happened for them if people didn't love them in the first place for their music and b) if you lose your humility, you're going to lose everything that you've worked so hard for.

godsmack 2012 09 11 8953

Cherri: I'm so over when bands that have been around for a while and they get tired of playing that hit or they're like "oh fuck, I've gotta play that song again. It's 15 years old." And I'm like, "Cry me a river dude, that is what afforded you the experience of (being able) travelling around the world”.

Shannon: Ya, you're talking about the fucking band that has the hit they hate to play. Ya, like "man we have to play Dream On again tonight". Well, if you didn't have Dream On then you wouldn't be where you are Aerosmith - you know? Because these bands don't wanna play their hits. Ironically I was in a band "Ugly Kid Joe" and my singer Whitfield (Crane) went through a phase where he would not play the song "Everything About You". He's like "fuck that song" and I'm not saying I hate that song, but it was their biggest hit, what put them on the map and they sold 5 million records from that. And I said, dude you have to play that song and not only do you have to play it, but you have to emote it as if it you wrote it that day. Because without that song that you hate, you wouldn't be standing here getting paid to sing. And he did realize that later in life and now he will play that song with a smile on his face and sings the hell out of it.

Cherri: Is there a reward for this, you starting off and then building up to being a huge success - I mean it is a sacrifice and can be a very hard way of life at times.

Shannon: I am like so receptive to the sounds around me when I create music or play music. Because that's the reward, for all my fucking six or seven hours a day practicing in the garage from the age of 8 to the age of 15 and by then I was a pro and playing every night.

Cherri: What is music do you think, like for you and it being able to reach out to so many fans? How does that translate to the position you're in - ever had moments where your head's not in it?

Shannon: Ya, by the intent I think music has to be music. And when it becomes something else, you know like sex, drugs whatever you're doing it for, it never ends happy. But again, the true musician is the one that does it to make them happy. Let me tell you a story. I've been on stage before and after Godsmack has been on the road for 6 or 7 months - and we're a machine man. When we write a set list, typically it's well rehearsed and we play it the same every night. Like when we made a live record there's no overdubs, we try and play perfectly every night for our fans. And that's our deal. As I'm looking down at the set list I'm thinking 'ok on the 4th song' and I'm playing in front of like 20 thousand people in an arena, all there to see me and my guys. And in my mind, I'm thinking 'fuck I can't wait for this to be over so I can drink or party or whatever, you know? And then that's when the realization hit me as I noticed I'm counting the songs down to the end of the set. That's when I realized I'm not approaching it in the right way. I'm loosing myself to this being this thing that's a rockstar and I'm taking it for granted in other words. So I had to reevaluate my whole approach, not only to drumming but to life  as a successful musician.

Cherri: Ya, like enjoy the experience and who you influence, you know? There's a trend right now in Dallas with bands from "the day" coming back doing that...what the hell is that word...

Shannon: Reunion…??!! (Shannon chuckles a bit from my complete brain gasious explosion that can't recall the word "reunion" here...)

Cherri: (omg really, Cherri?) Ya, that word - shit!!...so they're coming back - getting the band together again. Bands that when I was in my 20's I loved to see bands like Tablet, Jibe and even bands that are still playing like the self-made, awesomeness that is Rivethead and the mighty Drowning Pool. It's truly like time travelling. But I bet if you asked the members today (of the bands that aren’t around any longer), if they thought their last show was their last back then, I bet they'd say, "probably not".

Shannon: Ya and the moral of the story is enjoy every second you're blessed with on the stage. And play every note or hit every drum like it could be the last time you will do it because you know what? It could be.

Cherri: Have you ever not made a living with a band? Or has something not worked out with a band?

Shannon: We had a side project called Another Animal which was Tony, Robbie and me from Godsmack, Whit Crane from Ugly Kid Joe and a guy named Lee Richards. We put the record out. We even had a song hit #6 on Active Rock Radio all across the country. So we took it on tour and (when) The band didn't make it, we went $60,000 in debt on one tour. It was a long tour - 10 weeks but still we owed $60 grand at the end and of course since Tony, Robbie and I are in Godsmack we had to write the checks. After that we said look you know, we'll play every night 7 nights a week - but we're not going to lose money and have to pay to play because we're just as happy honestly creating music in our studio for ourselves.

godsmack 2012 09 11 9155

Cherri: Man, you’ve been on the phone with me for a long ass time talking about music & your new gig with The Apocalypse Blues Review. So I want to thank you for spending time with me - what a fucking awesome conversation! Thank you! And when you're out on the road y'all better make a stop in Dallas with The Apocalypse Blues Revue)! Do you have dates already?

Shannon: Thank you for taking your time and talking about music, especially The Apocalypse Blues Revue. So I really appreciate you taking the time. This helps - every person that turns one person onto bands (like his new project the The Apocalypse Blues Revue), makes it possible for us to come and play your town! That's what's it's all about!

Cherri: Awesome! I know that everyone in Dallas and everywhere else that's listening to this is excited to hear you talk about music. I'm excited that you have such fire about your new project  (The Apocalypse Blues Revue) and I know that my Dallas people will be anxious to hear the track (from The Apocalypse Blues Revue) because we are southern and we rock, but we do have some of that blues swagger to us...

Shannon: There's no doubt that Texas produced some of the greatest players of all time in this genre, including Gary Clark Jr lives in Texas and right now he's the fucking master! I know Eric Gales is from Texas and another just monstrous blues player and so to wrap this up I'll just say a big warm welcome and shout out to all my Dallas friends because I've got many of 'em! I've been playing in Dallas since I was 17 years young! I won’t tell you how many years that makes, but it's been a lot! I've made many friends in the Dallas area and I look so forward to coming through and playing there and saying hi to everybody!

*********************

13700159 1786796081568231 2018115981984950111 nCherri Bird is an independent and featured writer at SomeKindOfMedia.com focusing on all that entertains the brain; music, poetry, fiction & non. Follow her on the following Social Media Outlets:

Facebook - TheCherriBird

Twitter - @thecherribird

Tumblr - @wheremywordsgo

Email for scheduling: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.