Larkin performing at a Sabian live show.
|Birth name||James Shannon Larkin|
April 24, 1967 |
|Genres||Heavy metal, alternative metal, hard rock, post-grunge, hardcore punk, post-hardcore, thrash metal, nu metal, groove metal, alternative rock, funk metal|
|Instruments||Drums, percussion, guitar, bass, vocals|
The Apocalypse Blues Revue
Ugly Kid Joe
Souls at Zero
|Website||Official Godsmack website|
James Shannon Larkin (born April 24, 1967), is a musician best known for being the drummer of the Hard Rock band Godsmack. He replaced the previous drummer Tommy Stewart in June 2002. Prior to Godsmack, his previous bands were Amen, Candlebox, Ugly Kid Joe, and Souls at Zero (formerly Wrathchild America).
Shannon Larkin started playing drums at the age of 10. Although his parents were not musicians, they were still music lovers and turned Shannon on to bands like The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who. However, it was his older sister who unknowingly ignited Shannon's passion to play by forcing him to repeatedly listen to her favorite album, Rush's Hemispheres. Then he turned on to Led Zeppelin, and then decided to ask his parents for a drum kit.
Shannon Larkin's first major label band was Wrathchild America. Founded In Martinsburg West Virginia (Shannon Larkin's place of residence at the time), the band was originally named simply "Wrathchild", but unfortunately, there was already a British band with the same name, so they were forced to change it. To avoid further legal troubles, they added "America" to the name, and thus, "Wrathchild America" was born.
Meanwhile, during his time with Wrathchild America, Larkin and fellow Wrathchild guitarist Jay Abbene, along with bassist John "Tumor" Fahnestock, had a side project called Kiddie Porn, a hardcore punk/thrash band. Kiddie Porn released two albums, "A Gift of Hate" and "Conflict of Mind".
After recording 2 albums for Atlantic Records, Wrathchild America was dropped by the label, citing lackluster sales. Shannon, along with his bandmates (Brad Divens, Terry Carter, and Jay Abbene) disbanded Wrathchild America only to resurface as Souls at Zero.
Souls at Zero was signed to the now defunct label Energy Records. Their self-titled debut album was well received by critics and fans alike. Unfortunately, it didn't translate into CD sales.
In the meantime, Shannon formed a side project band called MF Pitbulls in which the other members later formed the band Snot. MF Pitbulls' member Jamie Miller later became Souls at Zero's drummer right after Shannon was tapped by Ugly Kid Joe. According to Wrathchild America/Souls at Zero's former manager Chip Seligman, Shannon was the one who recommended Jamie Miller as his replacement. He later replaced Jamie Miller on the Snot album Strait Up, per Jamies' recommendation.
Shannon recorded 2 albums with Ugly Kid Joe, and the band was no more. Still a struggling musician, Shannon found himself without a band. As luck would have it, Shannon once again was tapped into another band. This time it was Casey Chaos's Amen. Shannon was referred to Amen by producer Ross Robinson of Slipknot fame. Shannon recorded two albums for Amen, (Amen and We Have Come For Your Parents), before he left the band as a touring musician, but still performs on the albums (including Death Before Musick and the 2009 as-yet-untitled release). Shannon also recorded the album Hard to Swallow by Vanilla Ice, and Worship and Tribute by Glassjaw.
Shortly after, Shannon got a call from his old friend Sully Erna who wanted him to play drums for his band, Godsmack. Shannon replaced Tommy Stewart and subsequently recorded his first album with Godsmack; Faceless.
On July 1, 1997, Shannon played drums for one live show with Black Sabbath; the final one on the Ozzfest '97 tour. This date was actually a makeup gig for a postponed date earlier in the tour. The regular drummer for that tour (Mike Bordin) could not make the gig due to scheduling conflicts, so Shannon stepped in for this lone gig; he was never intended on being a permanent member of Black Sabbath.
For Stone Sour, he played the drums on the tracks "30/30-150" and The Day I Let Go on the album Come What(ever) May. The reason is that at the time Roy Mayorga, who recorded the album, didn't have time to finish up the recording due to going out on tour with Sepultura. Roy Mayorga and Nick Raskulinecz suggested Shannon to record. He also did a project in 1997 with Judas Priest's Glenn Tipton and other artists including John Entwistle, Cozy Powell, Billy Sheehan, and Robert Trujillo called Baptizm of Fire.
As of 2010, according to their Myspace, Shannon is involved in the reunion of Ugly Kid Joe, who is planning to tour in 2010-2011 and possibly write new material.
Shannon has been tattooed by artists all over the world. In addition to a full sleeve on his left arm and tattoos on his right arm, Shannon has Amen tattooed across his knuckles and a hand ripping into the skin on his stomach.
- Shannon's drumming is distinguished by a liquid groove, absolutely fluid in the manner of great session drummers such as the late Jeff Porcaro, and his studio work displays the rare capacity to balance simplicity and ornamentation. Although heavy metal is known for heavy hitting and heavy double-pedal footwork, Shannon exhibits a nimble touch with sticks and a rabbit's right foot on single pedal. He relies on Toca percussion, a penchant he shares with Sully Erna, for groove and color. Both drummer and bandleader share a passion for rhythm. In fact, Erna told Modern Drummer.com, "If God made anyone to play drums it was Shannon Larkin!"
Behind The Player DVD
Larkin was featured in the IMV "Behind The Player" DVD series. In his IMV Behind the Player DVD, Larkin gives an intimate behind-the scenes look at his life as a professional musician - including rare photos and video footage. Larkin then gives in-depth drum lessons for how to play Straight Out of Line and Speak by Godsmack and jams the tracks with Godsmack bassist Robbie Merrill.
- Oak Custom Drums
- 24"x18" Bass Drum
- 10x8" Tom
- 12"x9" Tom
- 13"x10" Tom
- 16"x16" Floor Tom
- 18"x16" Floor Tom
- 14"x6" Snare
- Toca Percussion
- 14"6" Timbale
- Yamaha Electronic Drums
- Yamaha Drum Pad
- DDrum Percussion
- 20" and 22" Deccabons
- Yamaha Hardware
- 800 Series
- Flying Dragon pedals
- Sabian Cymbals
- 13" Paragon Hi-Hat
- 14" Paragon Hi-Hat
- 8" Paragon Splash
- 10" Paragon Splash (x2)
- 16" AA Medium Crash
- 19" AA Rock Crash
- 20" Vault Crash
- 20" Paragon Chinese (x2)
- 22" Hand Hammered Power Bell Ride
- Vic Firth drumsticks
- "American Rock Classic" Sticks
Souls at Zero
Ugly Kid Joe
- Menace to Sobriety (1995)
- Motel California (1996)
- The Very Best of Ugly Kid Joe: As Ugly as It Gets (1998)
- Stairway to Hell (2012)
- Uglier Than They Used ta Be (2015)
- Happy Pills (1998)
- Strait Up (1999)
- Faceless (2003)
- The Other Side (2004)
- IV (2006)
- Good Times, Bad Times.... 10 Years of Godsmack (2007)
- The Oracle (2010)
- 1000hp (2014)
- Another Animal (2007)
As Session Musician
- 30/30-150 by Stone Sour
- Hard to Swallow by Vanilla Ice
- Worship and Tribute by Glassjaw
- Massive Grooves... by Poundhound (aka Doug Pinnick of King's X) 1998
- "GODSMACK Drummer And Guitarist Form Side Blues Project BLUE CROSS BAND". Blabbermouth.net. 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-07-05.
- "Shannon Larkin Tattoos" Tripod.com. Retrieved on July 10, 2009.
- "Shannon Larkin on Synergydrums" Synergydrums.com. Retrieved on July 10, 2009.
- "Sheet Music Plus - Behind the Player: Shannon Larkin" Sheetmusicplus.com. Retrieved on July 10, 2009.
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