Mass Chaos
Godsmack, Staind, Halestorm
The Mass Chaos tour promises to be a huge success this year with co-headliners Godsmack and Staind.  Halestorm will have the priviledge to open the show before highly regarded powers of rock 'n' roll Godsmack and Staind seize the stage.  The tour will start on April 13th, 2012 in Augusta, GA and resume on May 19th, 2012 in Hartford CT.  Sully Erna from Godsmack, Mike Mushok from Staind and Lzzy Hale from Halestorm answered a few questions in anticipation of this epic event.  For more information on this tour, visit: MassChaosTour.com

 
Article by: Valerie Bastien



    The Mass Chaos tour is days away from beginning and both Sully Erna from Godsmack and Mike Mushok from Staind agree humorously that it's been a long time coming.  As Sully jokes: “Our paths have crossed way too often. I can't stand any of these guys. It hasn't been long enough. No, it's good! Listen, we're New England brothers, man, and we've been playing together since even before we were signed. [...] So, I'm just anticipating it's going to a really fun tour. I don't see any problems.”  So it's in this brotherly set of mind that both bands will share the stage.  Mike Mushok  explains: “In my opinion, it's something we've always tried to do. I know whenever we try to put through - we basically put through the best package we can. And I think in this economy it's tough for people to have extra money to be able to go to a show. It's kind of like a little bit of a luxury. So, I mean, the more bang for the buck you can give them, I think the more likely chance you have of getting people there and, hopefully, give them the most value for the dollars. So, that was really the idea for us and we had this record and we were looking to who we could play with and Godsmack was like, "That would be fantastic if those guys wanted to do it." So, we went and put it together”.  Sully continued: “  It's really not that different than how it used to be back in the day anyways. I mean, there was always at least two strong bands that went out and obviously a third or a fourth, even back in the '80's when it was Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe or whatever. So I don't think this is really that uncommon. I think that question is maybe more geared towards festivals where it takes seven, eight bands to fill up an amphitheater or whatever, maybe”. 

Mike describes how a slight change to their line-up with Sal on drums will impact the Mass Chaos tour: “Sal has been with the band since '99 and previous to that he was in bands that we used to play gigs with. So, we always knew he was a great drummer and even during his career as being a drum tech, there's been a few times along the way that he had other bands that he tried to pursue a career in music, which he always wanted to do, and used being able to be a drum tech as a way of getting out there and kind of getting some of his stuff out there. And even along the way, I mean, there was a couple shows where John was sick; I mean, it wasn't the first time Sal played with us. He's sat in before on one tour, I think, specifically that he played a couple of shows. So, look, we've always known that he was a great drummer and, when it came time, it just seemed like the perfect fit to go from behind the drums to playing them, because he knew all the material and we knew he could more than handle it. Personality-wise, I mean, he's the same guy. We had this thing that we joked about on our website, these webisodes, where we made him seem like this big egotistical guy and wanted to name the band after him, so it was all a joke. I mean, Sal's the most quiet, down-to-earth guy you'll ever meet, and he hasn't changed one bit. And that's another reason why. Sometimes when you introduce someone else, it's a whole other personality. We knew his personality. He's been on the road with us for 12, 13 years. So, he was already part of the family”. 

Fans can expect to hear many Godsmack and Staind big hits and although there will most likely not be any material from Sully's solo album Avalon, he compares how he prepare for these kind of performance: “They are completely different world, but within Godsmack genre, it's all kind of the same. I mean, the band's fairly aggressive and loud and raw and so, it's pretty easy to stay there, but switching from Godsmack to the solo stuff, I need to kind of separate the two for sure, because one's very different from the other, but I need balance to both. I think the stuff I do as Sully Erna is the more serene  humble stuff. There's really no set preparation I do. It is what it is. I just can't blend the two together. I couldn't do a bunch of Godsmack songs and then switch right into solo stuff; it wouldn't work. But I don't sit Indian style and float in the air” either.  Sully also adds that Shannon and him will have a “drum battle and that [they are] just going to try to put together the best [energetic songs they can and stuff they] feel is going to be the most interactive for the audience. So, this is actually kind of a vacation for [them] a lot in the sense there's no real hard work behind prepping for a new record and all that stuff. This is kind of let loose and have fun with it”.

The special guest for the night, Halestorm, brings feminine balance to the male dominated tour.  Lzzy happily explains: “What's a girl to do? Well, I kind of have a different view of all of that than I think many of my female counterparts. I freaking love being a girl on - all guy bill. It's great. You feel like a little sister in rock almost. You've got these big brothers around you. You learn a helluva lot and you stick out your thumb and, I don't know. I love it. I think I've always taken the positive route when it comes to being [a girl in rock 'n' roll]”. 

When asked how they will prepare vocally for the extensive touring ahead, Lzzy was first to respond with: “Well, lots of tequila!” and Sully quickly warned; “Be careful what you wish for, Lzzy!”  Then with further reflection, she added that “you do have to prepare yourself for any tour. You're going to be singing every night, you're going to be talking to everybody. To me, it's about common sense. When we are practicing as a band, then I make sure that I'm not doing anything too stupid before we start the tour and then just when we get into it, I do the warm-ups and cool-downs and I drink water”.  Sully has a completely different approach; he does nothing!  He goes: “I swear to God. I'm not even saying that to be funny. I do nothing; I do nothing. I may sing along to the radio a little bit maybe, but then again I don't really qualify myself as some amazing singer, so whatever. I go up there and hack it up with everyone else. I do drink a lot of tequila before I go on stage, though. That's not a lie!.  It brings out all the phlegm. The vocal warm-ups don't do good for me, so it's either tequila or something and then it brings out all the crap that's in the throat and then we'll be good. Either that or you're so drunk you think you're great, but you stink and it doesn't matter because you're having so much fun. That's okay, too!”


    As Godsmack and Halestorm all have new albums coming out, respectively Live And Inspired and The Strange Case Of..., Sully and Lzzy take the time to offer some insights on their new releases.  About Live and Inspired, Sully describes that it was recorded in Detroit, Rock City: “We thought it was just kind of a very exceptional show for us. We had a really good show. We were recording a lot on that tour. We actually recorded the whole tour. We were going to do a compilation, so this song from Vegas, a song from Chicago, some from Dallas, but the more we looked in this Detroit show, the more we just kind of figured out that it was a really good show for us and it's always a great audience, as any rock band will tell you, playing there. It's just a special kind of fan base that they have there. They live up to their reputation. They're a great rock audience. And so that's where the record has been recorded from”.  A release date has yet to be determined for Live And Inspired and Sully advised that Godsmakc is hoping to work on new material soon and are shooting for another album to come out sometimes in 2013. 

Lzzy also has some info about Halestorm's first single “Love Bites” of their new album A Strange Case Of... coming out on April 10th, 2012.  She informs that it “was the first song that we wrote and the first song that we recorded for the new record.  A lot of the music was inspired by the cover piece that we put out a couple months ago.  It was discovered that, wow, we can actually do a song at this tempo. We should write one like this. So, we ended up recording both, and you have to realize that we literally got off tour, had 24 hours to pack, and then got on a plane to L.A., were in the studio the next day recording this song. And we ended up recording songs, such as Sunset Bound in L.A. and [one from] Van Halen [as well]. It sounds amazing, but I don't know, it definitely set the tone for the record because the amp was still ringing in our ears. We had just gotten off tour. So, there's a lot of energy that we still had and we were still kind of in that tour mode. So, really that one and then the first eight songs that we recorded to be considered for the record were very aggressive and probably the most aggressive that we've ever done and they're very risk heavy and I'm screaming my head off, and it's funny because then what ended up happening halfway through was I ended up writing some of the most intimate and personal songs that I've ever written, and I was like, "Wow! What a turn. So, we didn't know this about you. You're demure.  So, the product ended up being this record that has a very strange reality to it and so literally all sides of myself. But, yeah, definitely "Loves Bites" set a tone for a very keeping of truth that we play.
On their part, Staind is focused on promoting their recent September 2011 eponymous release which they called that way because they “really wanted to kind of go back to where [they] started as far as a band.  This is what Mike has to say about the next single "Eyes Wide Open":   “It's out now, and we're trying to figure out what's going to be next actually right now. And there's a live video that we did with "Eyes Wide Open" also.  So, yeah, we're on single number two now and I think it's top ten or something!” 

   
    In order to make the fans feel included in the production of the Mass Chaos tour and encourage their creativity, they have been invited by organizers to submit their own poster, which I think is a really cool idea.  Mike felt that it could be an opportunity for them to take a break from it all as he said with a laugh: “I think we're going to let the fans actually play the shows. I'm just going to be a lazy boy on the side actually and watch them play!  I think it's kind of cool that the way things are nowadays, you can put this stuff out there and let some of the fans who are creative be a part of it.  Some of the poster submissions, especially some of them were great, I thought. As far as the tour goes, I think we're just going to go out there and do our thing”. 

There is a real sense of excitement coming from Sully, Mike and Lzzy for the Mass Chaos tour.  Mike remembers that getting on a tour together is something they had been contemplating for many years and he's happy these thoughts have finally come to fruition.  Mike expands by saying: “Hearing [Godsmack] locally on the radio, we were trying to get our stuff played right around the same time, and I think we played a Warped tour, on the local stage together. I think we did some show in Springfield together.  We were just about to put out our second record when theirs had just come out, and we did a tour together in 2000, and really kind of became good friends. In fact, Sully, we stayed in touch for a bunch of years after that and we kind of lost track of each other and I came to this opportunity again to play together. And as I said earlier, I just thought it was a great way to kind of reunite with these guys. I think that between all the bands on there, you're definitely going to have heard some of the songs that are played during the evening before. So, it should be fun”.  Finally, our closing thoughts on the Mass Chaos Tour will be the words of Sully about how he feels the whole line-up is awesome.  Sully candidly explains: “Any single one of these bands could go on first, second, or third; it wouldn't matter. The whole package is really strong and I'm really excited about it. As far as collaborating, me and Mike have spoken about it. We're going to try to figure out a handful of songs that a bunch of us could jump up and just have some fun with a band of the night, which we're all about. And so we don't know what those are yet, but we're definitely going to consider it and we're going to try to put something together that just tops the night off and becomes fun for everybody”.  Get your ticket now if you haven't already done so; this is one tour not to miss!













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Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
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