Shannon LarkinInstagram/@shannonlarkin_13

Godsmack’s Shannon Larkin Recalls Tracking The Drums For Glassjaw’s “Worship & Tribute”, Writing A Drunken Song With Dimebag Darrell


Godsmack, etc. drummer Shannon Larkin‘s involvement in Glassjaw‘s legacy has largely flown under the radar over the years, but to this day it remains some of his proudest playing.  Though not entirely publicized at the time, Larkin was recruited by Ross Robinson and Glassjaw to handle the studio drumming on their 2002 sophomore album, “Worship And Tribute“.

Having already established a repertoire with Robinson while playing in Amen and on the Robinson produced Vanilla Ice record “Hard To Swallow“, Larkin was brought in for his proficiency in the studio in regards to Robinson‘s production style, despite Glassjaw still having an active drummer (Larry Gorman) at the time.

When asked what he recalls about those sessions during a recent appearance on the ‘BREWtally Speaking Podcast‘, Larkin replied:

“Well, I remember it like yesterday you know I was in Amen. And we had, we had had finished our tour—or no, we had we had just finished recording a new record and done a big promo tour across Europe. And so I was really… We practiced hard in Amen and I was on top of my game then. And I had made a record also with Ross Robinson; a session he hired me for for Vanilla Ice, he was making a comeback record. It’s a damn good record called “Hard To Swallow“. I’m proud of that record to this day, that’s another good [record], really one of my better drum records. As far as Ross, you know he’s he’s an animal in the studio and he brings it out of me, you know and like he stands right in front of the drums.

So anyway I was on fire with Ross, and he recorded two of Amen‘s records, which are really physical hard drumming, to play—punk rock shit. And so, I obviously impressed him, you know with with the feel of my playing. And so he called me for the Vanilla Ice thing.

Flash forward the next year. And by that point. God I did, I played… I got a Black Sabbath call from Robert Trujillo, so I got to play with Sabbath. And then, at the time, Amen had got done the whole touring cycle so I was kind of off, and my wife is pregnant and I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to stay in music at that point.

I’d been doing it at that time by for almost 25 years and, you know, I had success, and like I said play with Sabbath, which was the highlight of my life and career at that point. Besides having a baby. But, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep playing drums.

And then I get a call from Ross and he was like ‘Hey man, I got another record for you. But it’s a touchy thing. Because I’ve just been in the studio for a week with the band and tracked with the drummer, and everybody just didn’t feel like he did it the right way. But they’re not getting rid of their drummer, you know, they love him and, but I want your energy on this thing.’

And then so I said well ‘send me the tracks and let me see if I can do it better.’ And I got the tracks and it was great, honestly, you know, because, in truth, it was the guitar player Beck. You know it was Beck that wrote the drum parts, even like these badass beats, some of those badass, like the off-time one, whatever. He’s a genius drummer. He was showing me, because there were parts that I would start to play when I got the jamming with them…

You know, I, well, first let me just, let me go back to when, when I got the songs and heard the songs. Those were the same songs that ended up being a record, but it blew me away. I was like, ‘Oh my, yes, I want to play on this.’ I kind of forgot about the awkward feeling I had. By the way, just to reiterate, you know, when Ross said they’re not getting rid of the drummer he’s their guy, and he’s gonna be there, with you, when you’re tracking.

So I show up in the studio and he’s there and I meet all the guys and everybody so’s cool and sweet. They were just great. You know they’re great. They’re great and great humans as well as a band,  and so I got along good with everybody, including the drummer. And then it got to the awkward part of ‘okay let’s go in the room and play these songs.’ And he was sitting right behind me, you know, and so that was awkward.

But the love of the songs and the dude’s badass drum parts, and then, you know, of course, fill-wise I could you know do my thing and whatever it was just… Right away, the first day was just like a rehearsal day and then the second day we came in, no messing around, started tracking and we got in this little room; Ross loves to get those punchy drum sounds.

Instead of having the big ass drum room Ross likes a tight, punch, padded drum room, Right? But the band all wanted to play live with me to get that feel. And I guess that was what happened. The original drummer, the guy that played the drums on that, I can’t remember his name right now.

But the only reason that they [hired me]—’cause he’s a hell of a drummer and he played great—but Ross had to cut tape, and again this was two inch tape. So, before Pro Tools and all that and so, you know, at the end of the day, it didn’t, it didn’t flow. And you could feel that the flow was just different, you know? And so it made it kind of stiffer, it made it stiff sounding and not as ‘live’ and they wanted a live fucking thing.

So, I’ll never forget just ’cause the room was so small, this little punchy room, and then the four guys—the three dudes in the band, and Ross—so four dudes all packed this close from the drum set you know what I mean? In this room.

And man, that singer [Daryl Palumbo]. Oh my god. We started… My mix. When we just jammed, I think the first song ended up being the first song on the record… We track that first and that dude, the singer, was standing a foot away from me, and I swear I can hear him over my headphones.

It was so amazing, and the vibe that we had, the five of us in that room, four of us with Ross. It was something that I knew right away… I thought it was going to sell 10 million copies. I thought this is going to be the next big band, man.

But what did happen is this a legendary record that everybody understands is special and something next level. Their songwriting on that record, their singer, his voice, I don’t know. that record… should have been huge.”

Larkin would go on to list his involvement in “Worship And Tribute” as being one of the the top albums in his own catalog in terms of having an ‘underground’ legacy, putting it only behind his work on Amen‘s self-titled album.

Elsewhere in the chat Larkin also recalled recording a drunken unreleased track with an 18-year-old “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Pantera fame in mid 1980s. Larkin was playing with his band Wrathchild America at the time. He said of that:

“I mean I’ve known Dimebag—or I knew Dimebag—he was 18, and they still had Terrence singing for them when I met Dime. And I met Philip [Anselmo], the first week he had come to Texas to join Pantera, and I’ll never forget that day, but uh you know I loved Phil and we ended up being good friends.

But Dime, my funniest story is, is we had played, Wraithchild had played the local bar where Pantera were king, and we had like, first time we played there we had like 10 people in the bar, and I have video of this by the way. And you see Dime moshing around by himself. Like in front of the band moshing round. Every once while you’ll see other people come up and headbang or whatever. This was probably 1985, you know, so anyway, Dime‘s like ‘Hey dude, you know, you want to come to my house I got this studio’—which ended up being a Tascam 4 track, right, in the basement, and he’s still living with his mom.

So like I said, we partied too, so we went back, just me and Dime, went down in his basement, wrote a song, by the way, which I had no clue what it was like. We were all wasted. I woke up in his front yard, Nine o’clock in the morning, Dimebag’s mom, shaking me ‘Shannon, come in on the couch it’s daylight.”

Larkin can be heard on the new self-titled album from the The Apocalypse Blues Revival which saw a release last month.

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