What ensues when two fiercely rocking and popular metal bands that practically grew up together in different corners of Massachusetts hit the road together for a cross-country tour?
What results when said tour makes its way to Rupp Arena for what certainly will be the largest and indisputably the loudest Derby Eve party in Lexington?
Chaos, that's what — Mass Chaos. That's the name of the ear-crunching concert trek co-headlined by Godsmack and Staind that hits Rupp Arena on Friday.
Both bands boomed out of Massachusetts during the mid-'90s, sending nearly two dozen songs into the Top 10. Their combined global record sales exceed 35 million. Understandably, both bands consider each other family. But Godsmack frontman Sully Erna, during a recent telephone news conference, wasn't about to wax sentimental about the tour.
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"Yeah, our paths cross way too often," Erna said jokingly of Godsmack's ties with Staind. "I can't stand any of these guys.
"No, it's good. Listen, we're New England brothers, man. We've been playing together since even before we were signed. I mean, the guys get along. So I'm just anticipating it's going to be a really fun tour. I don't see any problems."
For Staind guitarist Mike Mushok, the Mass Chaos Tour is a payoff of sorts for two New England bands that came up through the ranks before finding airplay, and a nationwide fan base, as the 1990s drew to a close.
"I remember hearing those guys locally on the radio," Mushok said of Godsmack. "We were trying to get our stuff played right around the same time. I think we played a Warped Tour on the local stage together, and we did some show in Springfield (Mass.) together. Then we didn't really see each other until we were about to put out our second record (1999's Dysfunction). Theirs (Godsmack's 2000 double-platinum sophomore album, Awake) had just come out; we did a tour together and really kind of became good friends. We stayed in touch for a bunch of years after that but kind of lost track of each other. So I just thought (this tour) would be a great way to reunite with these guys."
For Godsmack, the Mass Chaos Tour also is a means to promote the band's first official concert album. Titled Live & Inspired, the double-disc set, due out May 15, comes loaded with hits (among them Straight Outta Here, Awake and I Stand Alone) from a 2011 performance in Detroit and a bonus studio disc of four cover tunes (Joe Walsh's Rocky Mountain Way, Pink Floyd's Time, The Beatles' Come Together and Metallica's Nothing Else Matters).
"It's a live record from Detroit Rock City that we thought was a very exceptional show for us," Erna said. "We actually recorded the whole tour and were going to do a compilation, but I don't know. The more we looked at this Detroit show, the more we just kind of figured out that it was a really good show for us. And it's always a great audience, as any rock band will tell you. It's just a special kind of fan base that they have there. They live up to their reputation."
Similarly, Godsmack will favor the familiar over new music on the Mass Chaos Tour. "What we've been known for is the live show," Erna said. "So it's nice to capture that finally, and put together this CD. I think we just have the mentality now of going out for kind of a greatest-hits tour instead of supporting new music. So we're putting together a really fun set with the best songs we can, the most energetic songs that we can, and stuff that we feel is going to be the most interactive for the audience. This is actually kind of a vacation for us in the sense there's no real hard work behind prepping for a new record and all that stuff. This is kind of, 'Let get loose and have fun with it.'"
As for Staind, the Mass Chaos Tour caps a year that saw a solo record from lead singer Aaron Lewis, a new drummer (Sal Giancarelli replacing Jon Wysocki) and a new, self-titled album.
"Making the record was pretty tough," Mushok said. "I mean, losing Jon along the way wasn't easy. We had a deadline to meet for the label. Aaron put up the solo record. But we're all adults. We've been able to maintain this for a long time. You have to know what's important to you. Between Johnny (April, Staind's longtime bassist), Aaron and myself, we can say pretty much say what we want to each other and realize that the band is what's important.
"As far as the tour goes, we're just going to go out there and do our thing."