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Godsmack's Sully Erna talks being a Patriots fan, performing 'When Legends Rise' 

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The Patriots banner ceremony was certainly one to remember for Patriots fans -- and that includes someone performing Sunday night.

Sully Erna, Godsmack's frontman, was born in Lawrence, Mass., and is a self-described mega fan. Though he has performed at Gillette Stadium before, singing the national anthem before a game in 2006, but Sunday's performance is different.

With a new song, "When Legends Rise," Godsmack set the tone for the ceremony with a message of "rebirth" and transformation to rise up and exceed expectations. It also happens to fit perfectly for a Super Bowl championship celebration.

Before Sully and his bandmates took the field on Sunday night, he talked with Patriots.com about his fandom, "When Legends Rise" and performing for the home opener.

We hear you're a pretty big Patriots fan. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
SE: I’m a huge Patriots fan. Have been my whole life. Grew up with the New England Patriots. I was in the bleachers when they were winning no games and dealing with our blizzards and sometimes some of the worst versions of the Patriots back in the day. We were just kind of weathering the storm the whole time, and it’s really easy for the world to hate the Patriots right now because we keep winning all these Super Bowls, but there was also a pretty long run where we weren’t winning Super Bowls. I was a part of that, as well.

In your line of work, you're on the road a lot. How do you keep up with the team?
SE: Well, thank God for the Internet, that’s for sure. And thank God we’ve had some kind of a decent career because on the tour buses we actually have satellite, and I always make sure that during football season they put one in the bay of the bus so we can do some real tailgating on our own shows. In the afternoons, we usually set up tents and cookout on the grill and have the TVs out and watch the games.

Is the rest of the band from Massachusetts?
SE: Three out of four of us are from New England, and the drummer is from West Virginia but all three of those guys now live in Florida.

You are about to play the home opener and a banner ceremony. On a personal level, what does that mean to you?
SE: I got to tell you, when I got the call from Jonathan Kraft, I was really overwhelmed and so honored because I really am a huge football fan to begin with. Then to have the Patriots be your team it just puts it over the top. To get a call to be able to do opening ceremony as they introduce the six trophies was an incredible honor for this band.

What are you most looking forward to about Sunday?
SE: The game! Smashing Pittsburgh!

You have a song that is very fitting for this, "When Legends Rise." Can you explain a little bit about the inspiration and how you hope it ties in to Sunday?
SE: It’s ironic how well it fits for this team and the legacy that it’s become because this record was a real rebirth for the band. When Godsmack decided to write this record, we were really thinking about direction we were going to go in. We had all gone through so many changes in our personal lives, collectively and as a band as well, that it just made sense to kind of rebirth it. The whole metaphor for “When Legends Rise” for us was really about being knocked down so many times over and over again and learning how to stand back up on your own two feet and reach down inside yourself and find your inner strength and rebirth yourself and become better than you always have been. It’s a very, very coincidental parallel that the Patriots run as well, where they’ve built this thing over the years and have really come back to become the greatest NFL team of all time.

What do you hope fans sitting in the stands take away from the performance?
SE: I just hope they have a really great experience because I think what they’re doing here at Gillette Stadium is this very iconic Super-Bowl-style ceremony and I think between the live performance of the band and what they have in store for the fans illuminating with video screens and bringing out these six trophies and the whole presentation is very epic. I just want everything to go off perfectly for the fans because I think if and when it does it’s going to be epic for everyone.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.

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