They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but musicians often get to associate with, and sometimes even perform with the artists who influenced them. Godsmack‘s Sully Erna idolized Rush legend Neil Peart, and they actually developed a friendship after he asked the drummer to play on a Godsmack song.
During a conversation with Revolver, Erna looked back on the success of their 2003 album Faceless, which features the song “Serenity.” The vocalist said that the track was actually inspired by Peart’s 2002 book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road.
“It turned out that Rush was playing in Miami when we were down there living and recording that record. Neil’s assistant reached out to my assistant at the time. He’s like, ‘Hey, we’re in town. We know you guys are fans of the band and Sully always talks about Neil and he’d love to have you guys at the show,'” Erna recalled, adding that he’d just demoed and written all of the lyrics to “Serenity” around that time.
“And I get to meet Neil. I gave him the lyrics to ‘Serenity’ and even asked if he’d be interested in playing the drum track on that song, although he politely declined,” he continued. “He said, ‘You’ll see one day when you’re well into your 50s that when you’re on break, you’re on break. And once this is done, I’m going to be taking some time off.'”
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Erna confirmed that he understands what Peart meant, now that he’s in his 50s himself, and noted that he got to know the drummer really well over the years following their first meeting. So in this instance, Erna had a good experience meeting his hero.