20 Juin 2015



Interview Robbie Merrill (face to face)

Hello Robbie, could you please present Godsmack to folks who don’t know you already?

Ok, sure. I feel we are a groove-rock with an attitude band. It's like hard rock but we add a little groove and Sully, he's got that attitude in his vocals. We have been around since 1998. Actually the last time we were here in France and in the rest of Europe, was in 2003 with Metallica. Two years ago we were supposed to come back to play some festivals, but after two shows Sully had an issue with his voice and we had to cancel the rest of the tour. But now we are back. We also have six albums out. We are pretty big back home.

Could you also tell us the meaning of the band’s name?

Instant karma. That's what it is. Say you do something bad, you stole something and you got over it, and later you buy yourself a nice car, and one day someone stole your car. This is godsmack. Kind of a revenge from God but it's inside yourself. It's all about you. It's karma.

What would you list as your major influences?

Mine would be Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. John Paul Jones is my favorite musician. He is badass. He is way above what people really think he is. I cannot take anything away from any other member of Led Zeppelin, but he's got the shit together. The other guys like Rush, Queen, Judas Priest. Rob Halford will be onstage later today, we are all over the place.

You guys are pretty big in the US, but not so big in Europe, why is that?

At the beginning of Godsmack we came here and we could not really get label's attention, we got lost in the shuffle basically. So five years ago we had a clean house. We got rid of our manager and got a new manager and we told him. We want to go to Europe and to Australia, make it happen. And here we go, trying again.

Ok so today you are attending the Hellfest, it’s your first visit I believe. Did you hear about this festival before?

Yes it's our first visit. I had never heard of it. We had no idea. I heard about it since then. When we said we were playing there, lots of folks told us about it.

How did your set go today?

I thought it was awesome. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how many people would be there because it was during the day, but gosh, it was awesome. I felt like the crowd really enjoyed us. I thought Sully kicked some ass. We loved it. It was also fun to play in the daytime.

I really enjoyed you playing the bass.

Thank you. Actually I'm a righty but I play lefty because I was born with a finger defect and I cannot use one of my fingers.

Did you prepare a special setlist for this event?

Every show we do in Europe has a different timing, so we change. For example sometimes we had a little joke where I go and play some drums, but here we had only forty minutes. It's also a metal festival, so we changed the setlist a little bit. We played three or four songs from the latest album.

How was the organization of the festival for you?

Everything has been great. We drove here early, by bus, coming from Luxembourg, we had a show last night there. The day before last we were in Bulgaria. We had our own there in a little stadium. But here everything is good. Catering is good, and as we say, if the catering is good then everything is good. And then we leave tonight as we have to be in Belgium tomorrow evening.

Are you going to attend some concerts while on site? Anyone in particular?

I have just seen Billy Idol. We have played with many of these bands already so we know them. For example we have played with Lamb Of God. When I'm done with my interviews, if I can see some more I will.

Are you touring Europe after Hellfest?

We are doing Belgium tomorrow then we go to Russia, where we do three shows on our own. Then Romania, three shows there then we go home for a month. In August we have a couple of shows in the US and then we will be in Canada from September to November.

You are quite famous for having toured a lot with Metallica. Can you tell us how this happened what you learnt from this experience?

So in 2003 we did a european tour with them, and on the very first day James Hetfield showed up in our dressroom and they started talking guitar stuff with Tony, and it was very friendly. And after that he visited us in our dressroom every day before our show. Then on days off, we did things together, we went shooting guns, karting, we had a good time. And we had so much fun with them that they asked us to join them for dates in the US too. It was a great experience for all of us.

Your latest album, 10000hp was released in 2014, tell us a bit about it.

The writing process for the album was great. We basically built a new headquarter, with sound studio, practice and all sorts of things. We got together and wrote a bunch of stuff, recorded it there, and felt really good about the project. So far so good, in the US it's been well received. It's in the TOP12, still climbing, so we cannot complain.

Is Europe finally picking you guys up?

I don't really know, I hope so. You might know more than me. We hope to be headlining some more shows in Europe next year to kick the numbers.

What’s next for Godsmack?

Touring until the end of this year, and then next February we are going to get together in Florida and start writing. It's summertime there in February. And then back home in New Hampshire, where it's going to be cold, and record it, and hopefully get the new record done by next year, late 2016, and come back out again touring. Again we will do festivals in the summer.

The three guys from French band Sticky Boys opened the festival this morning on MainStage 1, I’m sure they would be happy to sell two thousand copies of their great latest CD. You sold twenty million albums so far! Any advice you would want to provide them and other bands out there?

All I can say is: kill it on stage, I mean have a really killer show, and so people will want to hear about your more. I know it's different in Europe, but in the US we made our living on the radios, so use radios, internet. But have killer shows is the key. Get there on stage and show that you've got something. That the only advise I could give and also never ever, ever, ever give up.

Thanks a lot Robbie, it was a pleasure talking to you.

Thanks a lot, same for me.