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Godsmack march 'fourth'

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When it comes to having a vision for the band Godsmack, drummer Shannon Larkin admits he is on a different page from band leader Sully Erna on a few issues. He'd be happy to tour theaters. Even on an arena level, he's not crazy about having special effects and other stage production bells and whistles being part of the show. For Erna, who has the final say on all things Godsmack, his approach is more "the bigger, the better."

"Sully and I have a difference of opinion on that," Larkin says of their live show. "My favorite venues to play as a drummer are the smaller venues because I can actually feel the crowd's energy more. I can see people's faces and watch people sing along with the lyrics. That's what I get off on. But he likes the big places, the big arenas and stuff. So same thing with the show. I have a different kind of mindset. The band has so many killer songs, I think. I don't want to use the show as a crutch, put it that way. But I'll tell you, we're definitely bringing out a big one."

For Larkin, it would be enough if Godsmack can simply continue its string of albums that have sold more than a million copies. That streak began with the band's 1997 self-titled debut and carried through with the 2000 album Awake and the 2003 release, Faceless.

With the group's new studio album, IV, Erna, Larkin, and bandmates Robbie Merrill (bass) and Tony Rombola (guitar) have shown every sign of maintaining the considerable popularity that was built over the course of the first three CDs, as well as the 2005 acoustic EP, The Other Side. The new single "Speak" topped Billboard's "Hot Mainstream Rock" chart, and two follow-up singles, "Shine Down" and "The Enemy," went top five on that same chart.

"It's a more bluesy record, for sure," Larkin says. "But I think it's got the toughness of Godsmack." —Alan Sculley

Godsmack perform at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center (5001 Coliseum Dr., 554-6060) on Wed. May 9. Tickets are $40 (plus fees). Showtime is 8 p.m. Check www.godsmack.com and www.coliseumpac.com for more.

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