‘Pain in Grass 2007’ features some former rock royalty

  • By Victor Balta, Special to The Herald
  • Thursday, August 9, 2007 12:52pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

KISW is bringing the pain on Saturday with “Pain in the Grass 2007,” a festival show in the parking lot of Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium that brings together a couple of bands looking to reclaim rock royalty status and another that’s trying to prove it never went away.

The all-day show starts at 1 p.m., with doors opening at noon.

Los Angeles quintet Buckcherry and Seattle natives Candlebox are in the midst of comebacks after putting out their first albums following several years on hiatus, while headliner Godsmack is still touring behind its fourth studio album, appropriately entitled “IV,” which was released last year.

The Boston-based quartet fronted by singer and former drummer Sully Erna has lingered as a holdover from the late-1990s when its 1998 self-titled debut album tore up the Billboard charts and took over rock radio with hits such as “Keep Away” and “Whatever” on its way toward going platinum five times. The band’s sound was reminiscent of Seattle’s Alice in Chains, and Erna has often credited the late Layne Staley for inspiring him to sing.

“I’ve never really heard a cooler singer,” Erna told MTV.com after Staley’s death in 2002.

Godsmack’s follow-up album in 2000, “Awake,” featured a similar style to the first and performed well, going double platinum and spawning hits such as the title track and “Greed.”

Since then, the band has developed a loyal following, evidenced by the fact that its next two full-length albums, “Faceless” in 2002 and “IV” last year, each debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart despite eventually selling fewer copies than the first two albums.

Of greater local interest should be the reunification of Candlebox, which experienced tremendous success in 1993 with its self-titled debut that featured hits such as “You” and “Far Behind.” The freshman effort sold more than 4 million copies and the band was unable to recapture that level of commercial appeal with its next two CDs, “Lucy” in 1995 and “Happy Pills” in 1998.

They split the following year, keeping relatively quiet until a “best of” CD gave them a push toward getting the band back together.

“We’d been on the run for the better part of nine years, writing, recording, touring and just being pulled in so many different directions, by management, label, etcetera,” singer Kevin Martin says of the breakup on the band’s official Web site bio. “It got to the point where we just didn’t know where the band was headed anymore. We didn’t know if we liked the songs anymore. We didn’t even know if we liked each other anymore.”

Then came a phone call about the “best of” CD, which was released last year. “I called up (guitarist) Pete (Klett) and said, ‘What are we doing? Ya know, it’s been seven years, let’s do our thing,’” Martin recently told Florida’s Coastalbeat.com. “And that was it. I don’t think we expected it to be as much fun as it was, but when you go away from one another for seven years, I think you tend to forget the things you don’t like about one another and you remember things you love about one another and the music you were making. So, it definitely was well worth the time off.”

Reporter Victor Balta: victor.a.balta@gmail.com.

Clay Patrick McBride/Universal Music photo

Godsmack is bassist Robbie Merrill, singer Sully Erna, guitarist Tony Rombola and drummer Shannon Larkin.

Godsmack and Candlebox

As part of KISW’s “Pain in the Grass” festival, 1 p.m. Saturday, Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. $40 to $50, 253-752-7700, www.ticketreturn.com.

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