Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Shannon Larkin is best known for being the drummer of the Godsmack. Prior to Godsmack, his previous bands were Amen, Candlebox, Ugly Kid Joe, and Souls at Zero. We were fortunate to catch up with Shannon at the Download Festival 2015.
Shannon: “Hey man how are you, who are you with?”
Mgm: “I’m good, I’m from Myglobalmind – a webzine. How has your Download experience been so far?
Shannon: “It’s been fucking good. Muddy and cold…”
Mgm: “Just a typical festival then?
Shannon: “I like it man,I like it.You know its a famous festival world-wide. Even all the way back to when it was called Castle Donington and Iron Maiden played-as an American kid I have always dreamed of coming over.”
Mgm: “Is this your first time at the festival?”
Shannon: “Yeah, well no…first time playing Download. I have been in England many times. I was in a band called Amen. We played England more than we played America.”
Mgm: “Yes I’m very aware of that band, Sonny Mayo from Ugly Kid Joe (Shannon’s “other” band) was also in Amen. Think I actually saw them playing in Belfast.”
Shannon: “We played Glasgow, in Scotland and we played Northern Ireland in Amen. Then of course we did Dublin.”
Mgm: “In a festival do you and the rest of the Godsmack guys have an opportunity to check out other bands sets? Or is it a case of fly in do your set,and then leave again?”
Shannon: “Yeah you know with this festival,we were on tour. So we have been on a twenty eight hour bus ride from Austria to here…”
Mgm: “So you wouldn’t have the time I guess?”
Sonny: “Its been rough, we haven’t been able to see any other bands.”
Mgm: “Obviously Godsmack have been around for many years. Does the band structure a festival set list very differently from a regular Godsmack show?
Shannon: “Yeah well it depends on every festival, like today we had a half hour. When you only get six songs you have to juggle things…”
Mgm: “It surprised me that a band such as Godsmack had such a short set.”
Shannon: “Yeah, it depends on every festival and also the country. In certain countries some songs are well known and its an ever-changing set list for us.”
Mgm: “When you are not playing music with one of your bands, how do you like to spend your leisure time?
Shannon: “Yeah we ride Harley Davidsons you know,motorcycles in America. We play PlayStation, and we are pretty normal like that. Its fun in America when we actually get to bring our bikes on tour. I would love some day to actually be able to bring a motorcycle on tour to Europe.”
Mgm: “You must be a very busy guy as you also play in Ugly Kid Joe as well.”
Shannon: “I do.”
Mgm: “It must be difficult to juggle both bands and a family life?”
Shannon: “My wife hates me for it, but I never rest when I get some time off. We will tour for like six months and we will have 3/4 months off usually. In those 3/4 months that is when I will go and do Ugly Kid you know….”
Mgm: “What would you say would be the highs and lows of being a professional musician. Obviously you have been in the music business for quite some time now.”
Shannon: “The highs are like when we are successful with the fan base. We look out and see people singing the words to a song. Then you are like “WOW man” especially if you are in a different country. The lows are being away from your family your dog and your pillow…”
Mgm: “Well only being in one band for example would make that a little easier…”
Shannon: “There are just so many different highs and different lows that… I hate to fucking hear whining rock stars. It doesn’t matter how big your band is ,if you are making music for a living how can you fucking whine and complain about it. There is really no lows, and if you fucking think that there are lows then find another profession, and quit bitching.”
Mgm: “Just a couple of questions to finish on. If you could be the interviewer, who would you choose to interview?”
Shannon: “Oh my gosh – Neal Peart (Rush). I mean Michael Jordan was the best at what he did. Well do you know who my Michael Jordan is right now? Dave Grohl. If I could really say who is a hero of mine, who I did four shots of whiskey with last week. Dave Grohl. This is the biggest rock star in the world, and he is the most down to earth fucking dude that you will ever meet. He is from Virginia where I am from and its like there is a level of humility if you know what I mean think “rock-stars”…blah blah blah… but we are just happy playing music. It doesn’t matter if you are the biggest guy in the world or you are playing at 3.05pm like we did today. You have got to be happy at where you are, man…”
Mgm: “Ok Shannon whats happening for you next musically? GodsmacK? Ugly Kid Joe? Or maybe even something else instead?”
Shannon: “You know what?Last week before I came on this European tour we did six weeks in America and then I had ten days off. I took six days out of those ten and went home to my wife, and kid and dog. Then I went to New Orleans in Louisiana and made the new Ugly Kid Joe record by the way which sounds fucking killer.”
Mgm: “They have had a real rejuvenation of popularity in recent years, I have seen them a couple of times. Great live band.”
Shannon: “And you know what? Speaking of Sonny Mayo, he replaced Dave Fortman right? Who produced our last two records by the way. He became a famous producer of Slipknot/Mudvayne/Evanescence/Godsmack. Sonny Mayo replaced him in Ugly Kid Joe, and this guy Zach replaced me on drums.”
Mgm: “Zach Morris?”
Shannon: “Yeah, a great drummer, anyway when we did the new Ugly Kid Joe a week and a half ago in New Orleans Zach, me, Sonny, Dave, Klaus and Whit we were all there. A Seven piece band – I played some songs, Zach played some songs, we are all on there. The picture is going to have us all on there Ugly Kid Joe. It’s like Whit likes to say “We are all just one big, dumb fucking band”…”
Mgm: “Cheers Shannon for chatting.”
Shannon: “Its been a pleasure man. Thanks.”