Godsmack's Sully Erna Says Neil Peart Was His 'Single Most Influential Musician'

'I can't even articulate how much this guy meant to me'

January 14, 2020

The recent loss of Rush's Neil Peart has been felt by many, especially those within the music industry.

In an interview with RADIO.COM's Mistress Carrie of WAAF, Sully Erna of Godsmack opened up the profound impact the legendary drummer and on him and his career.

"Growing up, I will say that he was probably the single most influential musician in my life -- (Peart) and (Led Zeppelin drummer) John Bonham and (Godsmack drummer) Shannon Larkin - that's my big three" he said. "Honestly (Peart's) technique, his hands, his amazing rhythms is really what kind of tuned me up to become the drummer I became. Between Bonham and Neil Peart those were the guys!"

Since the news broke of Peart's death last week, countless musicians took to social media to offer condolences, share stories, and honor his legacy.

"When I got the call man it was like a big part of my life ended there too because you know he was a tremendous influence," Erna continued. "I can't even articulate how much this guy meant to me and how big of an inspiration he was and an influence on me being a musician. He was one of the everything people in my life."

Erna did get the "surreal" opportunity of meeting Peart multiple times and he took a moment to share a funny story about one of their final encounters. It was during Rush's Our 40 Tour and he and Larkin sat with him after taking him a bottle of Macallan.

"Shannon goes: ‘So are you done, are you really done?’ And he goes: ‘Yeah I’m done kid.’ And he goes: ‘But are you just going to play for fun or whatever?’ And he just goes: ‘No, I’m done.’ And he (Shannon) goes: ‘Well, you’re going to have to like have a drum set in your basement or something you’re Neil Peart. Are you never going to touch drum sticks again?’ He (Peart) put his arms around Shannon and he looked at him – and I’ll never forget – he goes: ‘You know what kid? I think I’ve done about everything I can do on the drum set,' and Shannon goes" ‘Yes you have sir!’ and walked away. It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen!"

Peart was also interviewed for a documentary Erna has been working on that chronicles his rise through the music business. It will take a singular focus on Erna since Godsmack’s story has yet to be completed.

"I think we may have one of the last on-camera interviews with Neil recently when he agreed to do an interview for the director of this feature documentary we're doing on my life story," Erna revealed.