Godsmack is hard at work in Miami writing the follow up to its 2000 Universal breakthrough "Awake." Having recently replaced longtime drummer Tommy Stewart with Shannon Larkin (Ugly Kid Joe, Amen), th

Godsmack is hard at work in Miami writing the follow up to its 2000 Universal breakthrough "Awake." Having recently replaced longtime drummer Tommy Stewart with Shannon Larkin (Ugly Kid Joe, Amen), the group hopes to start recording by Oct. 1 with eyes on a February or March 2003 release.

"We took a lot of time to ourselves before we even started writing again because we were so burnt out from touring right through 9/11," writes frontman Sully Erna in a recent post to the band's official Web site. "The good news is that once we head out, we don't plan on stopping for a long time again. We may even do two CDs back-to-back. Not at the same time, but as one cycle ends we are going to try to release a second CD right away. So that may keep us around for the next few years on tour steadily."

As far as replacing Stewart, Erna tells fans it was a difficult decision: "I know that some of you know that me and Tommy butted heads a lot and didn't get along and that will never change (at least I hope not)"

"Try not to be hard on us or Shannon or feel to bad for Tommy," Erna pleads with fans. "Tommy is a very strong person with good morals and a great heart and will go on to do great things." The Godsmack frontman goes on to call Larkin "an amazing drummer and an amazing showman."

"Awake" reached No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and has been certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of three million copies. The album spawned several hit singles for the group deemed Billboard's 2001 Rock Artist of the Year, including the title track, which topped Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. In addition, "Greed" peaked at No. 3 on the chart, while "Bad Magick" reached at No. 12.

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