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All I want for Christmas is more Sully Erna (oh wait, I got that already)

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Sully Erna’s solo material is totally different from Godsmack’s sound. His shows this weekend will include tracks off his upcoming solo album.

It’s rare for a solo artist to take the time to revisit the same location on a tour, but Las Vegas will be the recipient of not one, but three shows this year from Godsmack front man Sully Erna.

He first came to town this summer for a gig at The Joint and this weekend will perform at Aliante Station’s Access Showroom and Green Valley Ranch’s Ovation.

When I caught up with Sully Erna, he was in Los Angeles, busy mixing his new solo album. Erna says he has “about three more songs to go. Then we have to master it and we should have it out by the end of March or early April.”

This album, he says, has been a long time coming and that he’s excited about debuting his solo material, which is totally different from Godsmack’s sound.

“It’s not even a rock record. It’s very eclectic. There’s a couple of epics on there that are more progressive in a movie soundtrack kind of way. Everything was done with hand drumming for one. There are only two songs on the whole album that have a real drum kit.”

Known for his drumming skills in both hand drumming and on a full drum kit, Erna’s favorite part of Godsmack shows is the Batalla de los Tambores, a sort of dueling drums performance he does with Godsmack drummer, Shannon Larkin.

During his local shows this weekend, Erna plans to perform “Until Then,” one of the new solo tracks from his album, which he describes as “this really beautiful piano composition with a cello.” In addition to this stripped down piece, Erna says there are, “some really extreme textures on this record and I think people are going to be very taken aback, because it’s not something they are expecting me to do.”

Erna doesn’t see a Godsmack tour coming together until early 2010 but “at the beginning of the year we are probably going to get together and start writing again.” After “ten years straight on the road, grinding it out,” Erna explains the band was, “just tired and we kind of wanted to just disconnect for a minute and get away from it.”

Apparently for Erna, getting away has meant coming to Vegas. While in town, he said, he planned to catch a few Cirque shows, like Ka and Love and will likely play some poker.

The singer was mum on one front, however, his practice of the Wicca religion.

“[It] doesn’t really play into my music at all,” he said. “I mean, they don’t ask Cher if she’s a practicing Catholic.”

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