New Hampshire People
Sully Erna / Godsmack
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, who also has a home in New Hampshire.
Sully released a memoir titled The Paths We Choose in February 2007.