Sully Erna is a patriotic rocker. Throughout the years as the front man of Godsmack, Erna has been vocal in his support of the troops. He sat down with me to discuss why he became an outspoken advocate for the military and even offered relationship advice for soldiers.
You have supported the troops for years. What drew you to advocating for them?
Well it started back around 2000 when a fan of the band from the Navy wanted to use the song "Awake" as the bed music for the recruit commercials.
From there we did a lot of shows for the military or got invited to visit Army bases, naval ship carriers, Marine Corps, and things like that. And after meeting so many troops and soldiers, and vets, young kids with no arms and legs, and seeing what they do for this country and how they risk their lives every day for us so we can live a free life and allow us to do the things we love to do, supporting the troops is the least we can do to say thank you!!
What is one of your best memories with a soldier?
Not sure I have just one; too many to remember. But the one that sticks out the most was when I played a show once in Albany, and on my video screen I show a montage of a day and a life of the U.S. military and what their day looks like at war. A man came up to me after the show with tears in his eyes and explained to me one of the scenes that was in the video of a tank that got blew up, and told me it was him in the video that was asked to do that job. After researching it, it turns out it really was him and it got into the Internet somehow, which is where I got the footage. And he relived that moment through a very sentimental and emotional piece that I created for the people to see what these men and women do for our country. It was very surreal.
If you could offer advice to the troops what would it be?
Keep your eyes up and come home safe... Always!!!!
Why do you think the troops love your music?
Erna: It’s full of energy and adrenaline and because it talks about "real life" experiences. I know they need energy to get focused and pumped up for what they're being asked to do, but the emotional stuff helps them keep it together and focus on what's most important, which is getting home safe to their families and loved ones.
You always have a million projects going on, what are you most passionate about now?
I've been spending a lot of time transitioning from musician to actor. I've been spending most of my time trying to get some momentum in TV and film.
I just recently finished a movie which I landed my first lead role in. It's called Army of The Damned, starring Michael Berryman and Tony Todd. It's an indie action/horror film. It should be out by December. I also just auditioned for the new Denzel Washington movie which I'm hoping to land. I really enjoy playing characters and hope to make a career out of it.
Congrats on your recent engagement. You like many soldiers have to be away from your significant other due to touring, do you have any relationship advice on how to sustain while apart?
Thank you for the congrats! As for the question, it may be the toughest question of all to answer. Every situation and relationship is different. All I can say is stay in contact as much as you possibly can. Distance does make the heart grow fonder, but too much distance can also make people grow apart. I've personally suffered that scenario more than once. So it's a fine line to walk. But thankfully in today's day and age, we are blessed with iPhones, Internet, Skype, FaceTime, etc... So at least we have more tools today to accomplish that then we did when the soldiers had to send a letter through c0uriers. :)
Go Army or Go Navy?
Go United States Military! We need them ALL!!!
What books/music are you reading/listening to now?
Not reading any books at the moment. But one of my favorites is Many Lives, Many Masters. It changed my life on my perspective of life and death. It's a must read for the soul.