An Evening with SULLY ERNA

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Godsmack and Avalon fans wait no more. An evening with Sully Erna is ready to kick off starting March 22nd at the Atlantic City House of Blues.  Erna has spent the last couple of months rehearsing for this amazing show he’s putting together for his fans. A blend of Godsmack songs and tunes off the Avalon album will be played throughout the night giving fans the best of both worlds.  “Well I’m not taking out the complete Avalon ensemble because it’s an 8 piece band,” explained Erna.  “I’m not going to be doing just Avalon. I’m going to be doing some Godsmack acoustic, I’m gonna do some Avalon stuff, I’m gonna do a couple of pieces of new material – some covers and some story telling.” Erna wants the fans to be able to “Come and chill, have a glass of wine and enjoy the show,” as he puts it.  I’m going to be doing these shows throughout the whole year but I’m not doing them six to eight to week-spans at a time. I’m going to do an every weekend type of thing and spread it throughout the states.”

SullyErna_007Erna has many musical inspirations as music has always been a huge part of his life.  “I started drumming when I was three and half years old.”  Erna stated that himself and the members of Godsmack have always had a lot in common with their musical tastes. ” Over the years it started through our inspirations growing up as kids with the bands we grew up with,” Erna continues, “all of us grew up on similar bands from Zeppelin, Rush, Metallica, Judas Priest, Sabbath, and Aerosmith. The heavy rock vibe was carried over along with the aggressive vocals.” The background with members of the Avalon crew come from more of a cultural type of music as Sully went on. “It’s more about the musicians that I’ve worked with. They come from such different backgrounds compared to the guys in Godsmack,” Said Erna. “You know I come from a rock background and a little bit of jazz because my dads a musician. Mainly rock for me but then again Lisa my singer comes from a blues background.  My cello player comes from a classical background and my percussionist comes from a Brazilian drumming and Celtic drumming from Europe so all those things were thrown into the mix when we were writing and creating Avalon.”

SullyErna_005Lisa Guyer is the female vocalist that sings alongside Erna during the Avalon songs. She has an amazing vocal range and her harmonies with Erna are beautifully matched with his voice.  She’s no stranger to Erna though as he described their friendship.  “I’ve known Lisa for many many years. Maybe almost 20 years now maybe more. She was introduced to me through a mutual friend of my sisters. I was just kind of catching her at local bars singing. She’s a great blues singer with a strong female voice. We kind of just hit it off and stayed great friends over time. When this opportunity came up and this whole vision of starting this project knew I wanted to use a female voice. She was really one of the first people I thought of. I knew she was local and that she was available. We had no idea what we were going to create but we decided to give it a shot and see what it sounded like. It did not take but a second to realize that our voices blended really well. So at that point it was just about writing music.”  Erna continues, “She’s like my sister. She is like a female version of me. Lisa is tough like a guy. She sings big like a guy. I have a big voice in the rock world so it’s like it would have not worked if it was someone who had a sissy little girl voice. I felt our voices are very compatible because did not only did our personalities work well together but the voices worked well because even though she is a female she sings with a lot of power.”

SullyErna_002If anyone has ever been to a Godsmack or an Avalon show, then you know Erna loves to hop on the drums every opportunity he gets.   As far as what he might be doing with any percussion instruments on this tour; “It won’t be that big but it could be some kind of cool hand drumming with maybe a few drum circles.”  If the knowledge brings excitement about Erna doing any kind of percussion during his shows, you’re in luck.  “I’m usually always able to get my hands on some sort of percussion during the show,” said Erna.

Erna has learned a lot from all of his experiences between Godsmack and Avalon.  “Just from hanging around musicians like that are so classically trained and ten times the musicians then I ever was. I really picked up a lot from them. I learned more about harmonies, melodies and what kind of chords blend with what in ways that I would have never applied it with Godsmack. For me I noticed from the first time after doing Avalon and then going back to Godsmack and creating the Oracle; vocally I was just able to open up a lot more and try some different harmonies and things I don’t think I would have naturally went to before I had known or had that experience with these other musicians.”

Since these shows will be running throughout the year you might be wondering if there will be any Godsmack shows in 2013.   “I have not seen my full schedule yet so I do not know what Godsmack is going to do this year but there could be a couple one-off shows for a radio festival here and there on the weekends. So I’m just focusing on solo stuff for a while and then some point down the road in 2014 we will start talking about where to meet up to do more Godsmack stuff. For right now I am just taking some time away and the guys are taking some time away to relax. I’m going to focus on solo work and they are going to work on some side projects and will figure out as we get together what the right time is for everyone and what feels right.”  Fans keep your eyes and ears open. Be sure to check the bands Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channel and any links that can help you find out when one of these one-off shows could occur.

SullyErna_003It will be an amazing time to watch Erna perform the hit songs that he has made over his career and be sure to check out the Avalon box set that includes 5 DVDs, including Avalon Live, shot in his hometown of Boston at The Wilbur Theater. The box also contains two CDs – Avalon, the studio album, and Avalon Live, the live show from Boston.  Other items include a limited edition coffee table book, an updated version of Sully’s personal memoir, The Paths We Choose, a limited edition autographed poster from the Wilbur show and a limited edition t-shirt.  The list goes on with a Sully Erna hat and necklace, commemorative backstage pass from the 2010 tour, a guitar pick, and custom hand-made incense chosen by Sully.  There will also be five “golden tickets” hidden in the boxes that offer grand prize luxury trips with Erna himself to Napa, Boston, New York, Las Vegas, and Avalon/Catalina Island. Many more amazing prizes such as guitars and handwritten lyrics can also be won with no purchase required.

SullyErna_004Erna over time has been very successful and would like to share with you his advice on how to keep alive if you are struggling band or artist in the music industry today. “You know it’s a really tough question to answer.  My advice to people who are trying to make it today in the music business is the same as it always has been. Just really stay true to who you are, stick to what you do and work really hard. Be prepared for disappointment because it’s going to happen so many times where you are just going to feel like you are getting there and about to get this thing and it’s all going to fall apart. People don’t focus on what do you do when you don’t get it. What happens when people clearly reject you and you and the band break up and you don’t get the record deal? Those people need to learn how to stand back up on their feet and continue to work and be strong and fight for what they believe in. The people who fight and the people that believe anything is possible eventually will get their opportunity and what they do with it at that point is going to be the game changer to what happens in your life after that. So from me the advice is just stay true to who you are and stay really strong and continue to work really hard no matter how bad things are and no matter how many times life throws obstacles at you, you just have to learn to stand back up and start running again. Eventually you know your opportunity will line up and you will get a shot but you need to be ready for it at that moment and to work really hard after that. Getting the deal is only the beginning. If you want to have some longevity in this business you have to continue to work just as hard as you do before you get the deal.”

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