Sully Erna / Godsmack

April 05. 2013 12:23AM

Sully Erna, lead singer for the band Godsmack, hangs his hat in southern New Hampshire. The multi-talented musician can also play guitar and drums. The drums lured him into music in the first place; Sully started playing at the age of three. In 1995, when he decided to form a new band, Sully cast himself as front man and the band Godsmack emerged.

Boston radio station WAAF is credited with "discovering" the band, putting their single Keep Away from the debut CD All Wound Up into heavy rotation while the band played the Boston music scene with abandon. They returned to the studio to record the single Whatever, which became a hit with Boston audiences and soon, the rest of the world. In 1998, the band was signed to Republic/Universal Records. The following year they were invited to perform on the Ozzfest Tour.

A second album, Awake was released in 2000 and sold over two million copies in the first three months after its release. This album earned them a Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Instrumental Performance" for the song Vampires. In 2002, the single I Stand Alone was recorded for the Scorpion King soundtrack. Their third album, Faceless was released in 2003 followed by an all-acoustic album, The Other Side in 2004. A fourth studio album, titled "IV" was released in April 2006.

Sully was born Salvatore Paul Erna on February 7, 1968 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. His father was a professional trumpet player and would rehearse with his jazz band at home. Rumor has it that Sully would fall asleep in the empty guitar cases while watching them practice. He mastered the drums by age 11, finding it easier to play by ear rather than sheet music. He started listening to bands like Led Zepplin, Aerosmith and Rush, all bands whose influence can be heard in Godsmack's music.

Sully signed his first record deal with Sire/Reprise Records in 1993 when he was playing with a band called Strip Mind. The band fell apart in 1994 after struggling with some wild times.

Erna has helped the local music scene too. In April 2005, Sully participated in New Hampshire's Battle of the Bands Competition. The winner (a band called Zion who hails from Salem) had the opportunity to record a demo at Sully's California studio.

Other members of Godsmack include Tony Rombola (guitar), Shannon Larkin (drums) and bassist Robbie Merrill (bass), who also has a home in New Hampshire.

Sully released a memoir titled The Paths We Choose in February 2007. Also in 2007, he competed in the World Series of Poker main event. He placed 237th and took home $45,422. He also appeared on VH1's Celebrity Rock and Roll Tournament, coming in second to Scott Ian of Anthrax. In 2008, he performed several solo acoustic shows at various smaller venues, including the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, and received rave reviews from critics. The band joined the Crue Fest 2 Tour in 2009.

The band released The Oracle on May 4, 2010. It's their fifth studio album and their first in four years. Several hits were released for download through iTunes. The full album became available on May 4, 2010 and shortly after its release, went straight to number one on iTunes.

Sully released his long-awaited solo album, Avalon, on September 14, 2010, following it up with a spring tour which saw local musician Lisa Guyer as a guest singer. He also sang the National Anthem at the New England Patriots/New York Jets playoff game on January 16, 2011 at Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. Bass player Robbie Merrill, who also has ties to the Granite State, appeared at the 2011 NAMM Show (the largest music trade shows in the world) at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 13, 2011.

Sully kicked off a solo tour at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on April 5, 2013.

In July 2014, Godsmack released the album artwork for their highly anticipated sixth full-length album titled 1000hp, due out September 1st.  The title track was released in June 2014 and debuted at number one on Itunes.


Sully Erna performs "Voodoo" at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on 6/14/08: (Video: Denis Patrick)

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