Whitney Pastorek chats with Godsmack frontman Sully Erna about the band's No. 1 album, their upcoming tour, and even ''Idol'' star Chris Daughtry

The No. 1 album in the country this week is IV, the fourth album from rock outfit Godsmack, and with that album’s first single, ”Speak,” the band also set a record for the most top 10 active-rock singles ever: 13, besting Metallica, Creed, Foo Fighters, Nickelback… the list goes on. We spoke (ha!) with frontman Sully Erna to get the lowdown on the Boston-based band’s past, present, and future.

There was a period from around 1998 to 2002 where all these nü-metal bands — you guys, Staind, Disturbed — kind of bled together for a while, but Godsmack just kept going when it seems like some of those bands disappeared.
SULLY ERNA When our first record came out in 1998, bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit were on fire, controlling the country, and we just got lumped into that nü-metal category with Disturbed and everybody else that was coming out. We were never even a metal band. There were times when we got heavy and rode that metal edge, but… to me, metal is Slayer and Slipknot and Metallica. We’re more like a hard-rock band.

Who do you consider your contemporaries?
I think that the Metallica tour we did was really well put together. The music complemented each other. But jeez, I don’t know, man. We’re not as heavy as metal bands, but we’re not as light as rock & roll bands like the Strokes.

I wonder if it has to do with your voice? There’s something very sinister about the way that you sing.
You know, I still don’t consider myself a singer. I just scream really loud and try to keep it in key. I take a lot of advice from friends like Lisa Guyer, who sang on ”Hollow” [a ballad off IV]. She’s the best female blues vocalist I’ve ever heard in my life. She’s 5 feet tall, and she has the strength of an Aretha Franklin in the range of a Whitney Houston. I listen to people like that and I try to incorporate it a little bit into Godsmack. So we have room to expand. We don’t ever want to feel like we have a ceiling over our heads.

So you’re going back on the road in support of this album. Who’s coming with you?
We’re still working on some stuff, and it wouldn’t be right to just say it if it hasn’t happened yet. But what I can tell you is it’s gonna be really killer. Come September, we’re gonna start slamming the States. And we did that on purpose as well, because you know how it is when you see one of your favorite bands and they’re playing the new record and you’re like, ”Pfft, whatever! F—ing play ‘Master of Puppets’!” [Laughs] I got tired of putting out a record and you’re literally on the road weeks later. It’s like, they don’t know the s— yet, and they’re not gonna enjoy it. I don’t care how good the song is.

Random question. Do you watch American Idol?
I only watched the tryouts.

Do you know this Chris Daughtry, who’s the hard rocker?
The bald dude? Yeah.

What are your thoughts on him?
I didn’t watch it enough to know. I have a little bit of a problem with bald guys that wear boots and tight jeans or leather pants, ’cause it brings me back to the Disturbed visual a little, and, uh, you know.