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Interviews   

Drowning Pool finally more untroubled


When Ryan McCombs left the band, Drowning Pool thought to be infected by the « lead singers disorder ». Therefore, they could have lost hope or locked themselves in a tower of disillusion. It would be difficult to prove them wrong: Dave Williams, their first singer, died tragically and the two following ones left the band after a while.

But what guitarist CJ Pierce describes us, on the contrary, is a band that bites the bullet and tries to learn from their experiences. Thus, the recruitment of new frontman Jasen Moreno was meticulous. They had to find someone who could sing perfectly and whom the band could entirely trust. They decided to choose Moreno, a long time friend of the band.

The result? A metal and aggressive record, of course, marked by the frustration caused by all these misfortunes, but also a record written in a state of serenity, a state of mind that the band barely had known.

CJ tells us about it.

« The thing with Dave [Williams] was just his personality, more than anything else. I mean, he was a true lover of rock music. He loved being a singer in a rock band: he loved this more than anything. He just had this crazy energy about him, he was non-stop!

Radio Metal: The first single, “In Memory Of…”, was released in 2012, ten years after Dave Williams’ death: how did you feel about this sad anniversary?

CJ Pierce (guitar): Everybody has had the loss of a best friend, a family member, or a loved one and you learn to deal with it only when the years are passing. The idea for to do a dedication song came up after we lost Dave. We were friends of Dimebag Darrell as well and after he passed away, the song kind of changed again. We’ve worked on this song for the last ten years. With Jasen Moreno coming, it seemed the right time to do the song: we changed the lyrics a bit and made « In Memory Of… » a bit more general and not too specific to Dave and Dimebag. For anybody who has had the loss of a friend, a family member or a loved one, the song is about the memory of them. I stuck to the idea of the tenth anniversary, because it was done and was really part of the song. It’s probably the only slow song on the record, the rest is more metal and aggressive. I didn’t want to force something, I wanted it to be natural. The song was at the right place at the right time for everything.

How did Jasen Moreno, your new singer, feel about singing this song ?

He knew Dave Williams very well. We played shows together. Jasen came up on the Dallas scene at the same time that we did: at the time, he was playing in a band called Plastic Tongue and we did a lot of shows together. In fact, when we got signed, we took them out on the road with us and they opened up for us on a handful of tours. We were all friends coming up from this scene.

Does Dave Williams’ memory still influences you when you write songs?

The thing with Dave was just his personality, more than anything else. I mean, he was a true lover of rock music. He loved being a singer in a rock band: he loved this more than anything. He just had this crazy energy about him, he was non-stop! He had the Dimebag, Pantera attitude, you know: I love rock’n’roll, drinking, having fun and we’re having a good time. We definitively keep that going in this band.

After Ryan McCombs left, you declared that you suffered from the “lead singer disease”: how do you explain the fact that you’ve changed singers so many times ?

It’s just the cards that we’ve been delt, man. In some respect, it’s going to frustrate him, but I’m very proud of the record we made with him. We had some really great shows and good time, but things kind of went sour on the last record and last tour: we just lost that connection with him. We weren’t making any more progress in the band. I know how frustrating it is for the band. But when I look back now, and if it wasn’t for us going through this thing, we wouldn’t be where we’re at now with our new record. Jasen has been my favourite musician I’ve ever got to work with: I’ve written more songs with him than I have ever written in my whole career. He’s so passionate, you know. I feel like we’ve found the right guy. I’m not upset or mad about anything. I’m having a great time right now. I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had.

« A lot of the aggression and the metal side come from many of the frustrations on the singers switch. It’s not something we want to have to do again and go through. »

Do you think that singers have a specific personnality, that they’re different?

I think that any musicians, singers, bass players, drummers, we’re just whacky people. Musicians are just whacky all around. But as a singer you have to get into a certain mindframe: you’re in front of all these people and you’re the voice of the band. And for some singers it gets to the head, others get introverted or whatever. It’s rock music, you’re there for one reason: to have a good time, do rock shows and if you find somebody like that, which we found with Jasen, it’s great: it’s just been so easy with him. We’ve had our fare share of « LSD », lead singers disorder, if you want to call it like that. It’s a life lesson: you learn from it, you get influenced by it, write a song about it and move on.

You declared about this album that it was a continuation of Drowning Pool’s legacy: was it important for you to do so?

Stevie, Mike and I have been writing music together for a good fifteen years. We were friends in high school so I think we’ll always going to have that core Drowning Pool sound. Obviously, we’ve gone through this lead singers’ switch and maybe that brought some things new to the table and it has always been a challenge. I couldn’t be happier with any other record we’ve ever done. Once Jasen walked into the room, things became so easy. It’s just been the easiest writing and recording process that this band has ever gone through. We’ve gone through a few singer switches, so it wasn’t that big of a deal for us. But at the same time, we don’t want to go through this process again: we took our time and had a lot of auditions. We wanted to find the right guy for our band and our fans, somebody who’s gonna stick with the band and continue on. We really feel we have that with Jasen.

« It’s just been the easiest writing and recording process that this band has ever gone through. »

How do you manage to keep this continuity alive?

Again, Mike, Stevie and I just write together. For each record, we always try new things and try new styles of music, but the core is the same: if you pick one song on every one of our CDs, you hear it, and you know that it’s Drowning Pool song. It’s just the style we’ve developed together as a band for the last fifteen years. I think the more you do it, the more you realize who you are and how you want to sound like, song writing included. It’s something we tried to express in a song. It seems like we get to it faster now than ever before. Communication has never been better in this band.

Resilience is a very « metal » record: where does that come from ?

Definitely, a lot of the aggression and the metal side come from many of the frustrations on the singers switch. It’s not something we want to have to do again and go through. We’ve had a lot of good time and like I’ve said, we’re very proud of the record we did with Ryan McCombs, but he put us in a position that we didn’t have much of a choice. So, there is definitively a couple of songs that kind of express that aggravation and frustration, like “We have to keep doing this”. Also, it’s the music business and life in general, man: it’s been hard run for us and a rollercoaster ride for the last ten years. A lot of that frustration comes out in the music and that aggression. That’s the core, it’s like “Bodies” on the Sinner record: that’s what the fans have heard from us and what they want to hear anyway. It’s just been a natural progression for us. Things just come out easy. I think that a lot of songs from the record sound like they came out of Sinner, our first record. So I kind of feel like we’re back on track, where we needed to be.

Did you pick Jasen Moreno because you’ve known him for so long?

It definitively was a factor. Again, the last two singer we picked had great voices but personality wise, we didn’t have that connection. It’s important to be friends and family first before you start writing any music together. Jasen had one up on everybody, for sure, because we’ve known him for so long. The real winner that Jasen did was that he took the time, out of respect for the Drowning Pool fans and the other members, to learn every one of our songs on each album: the last two guys didn’t really take the time to do that. They just learned the singles and then we played new songs. I respect that: he wanted this and he worked really hard at it. And for him to come in and learn every song that we’ve ever written and also bring his own new sound to the table: that’s a lot of work. We’re playing songs from the Sinner record we’ve haven’t played for long and we would never have done that with Ryan McCombs or Jason Jones. Now when we play live every night, we can play whatever we want. Fans come up and ask us to play this song and we say: “Yeah, let’s play it!”

« The real winner that Jasen did was that he took the time, out of respect for the Drowning Pool fans and the other members, to learn every one of our songs on each album: the last two guys didn’t really take the time to do that. They just learned the singles. […] I respect that: he wanted this and he worked really hard at it. »

How was Jasen Moreno’s first gig with you?

It felt like we had been playing together forever. Maybe that’s probably because we have already toured together in the past. By the time we started touring, we spent so much time in the rehearsal room, playing the old songs, writing new songs and then we went to record the new album. The first six months of relationship, we were together 12 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week, so to get up on stage and play live was easy. The other thing about Jasen is that he likes to rehearse. He’s a professionnal, like the rest of us, so we probably had more rehearsal time with him than with any singer. He wanted to come out singing and he did it. He wanted to be perfect. The first show was like we had been playing together for years.

Interview conducted by phone on April 8th 2013
Transcription: Jean Martinez – Traduction(s) Net

Drowning Pool’s official website: www.drowningpool.com

Album Resilience, out since April 2nd 2013 via Eleven Seven Music



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