James Shannon Larkin is not a new name in the world of heavy metal drumming. The American drummer was born on April 24, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois. His major-label band was Wrathchild America. The band was initially called “Wrathchild,” but there was already a British band with the same title. This forced them to change it, adding “America” to the title. And that is how “Wrathchild America” came to be.
The label dropped the band after recording two albums. They cited lackluster sales. At this point, Shannon Larkin and his three bandmates, Divens, Carter, and Abenne, were forced to disband the band, which later resurfaced as Souls at Zero. Souls at Zero was a strong band from the beginning, thanks to Shannon’s stickwork. He always seemed to know where to get the sweetest tones and would do anything to achieve it.
His personality pulled people together, and it could be one of the reasons the band remained strong for a long time. The new band was signed to the now-defunct label Energy Record. Critics and fans alike received the self-titled debut album pretty well. But it does not count as a CD sale, which is quite unfortunate for any band.
While these events were underway, Shannon managed to record two albums with Ugly Kid Joe, and the band was disbanded. He continued along with his passion, even as a struggling musician who found himself band-less. But because of his immense talent, Shannon was tapped into another group. And now it Casey Chao’s Amen that needs him after being referred by producer Ross Robinson from Slipknot fame.
He also recorded two albums with the band before exiting. Besides that, Shannon was with Vanilla Ice when they recorded the Hard to Swallow album and with Glassjaw in Worship and Tribute. After a while, Shannon’s old friend, Sully Erna, called him with an offer to play for his band Godsmack. He was to replace Tommy Stewart. Shannon recorded his first album with the band calling it “Faceless.”
From here, Shannon was only getting better at what he did. At the beginning of July 1997, he played drums for one gig for Black Sabbath, one of the biggest bands in history. His act was on the final one of the Ozzfest 97 tour. This was on July 1, which was a makeup for a postponed earlier date during the tour. Mike Bordin, the then regular drummer for the band, missed due to conflicting schedules. Shannon only stepped in ones, and that was all.
Shannon continued developing his skills by taking part in numerous side projects like hardcore punk and thrash metal band Kiddie Porn. He worked alongside fellow Wrathchild members, guitarist Jay Abenne and Bassist John “Tumor” Fahnestock, and MF Pitbulls. He also worked with a member of The Apocalyptic Blues Revival and with Tom Rombola.
Over the years, Shannon has appeared as a session drummer on many albums such as Baptism of Fire by Glenn Tipton and Strait Up by Snot. He continues to inspire many through his music.