Interview: Drowning Pool
Sun, 09 Aug 2009 13:41:27
Nothing can stop Drowning Pool.
The band has gone through the industry gauntlet, and they've weathered and withstood the tides of trends. In singer Ryan McCombs they found an energy that hadn't been present since the tragic passing of original vocalist Dave Williams in 2002. In a sense, the title of their most recent album, Full Circle, couldn't be more appropriate.
With Full Circle, the Dallas Texas quartet created their masterpiece to date. It's a sprawling hard rock record armed to the gills with anthemic chants and teeth-kicking riffs. However, right now they're penning their next offering, and it's bound to blow the doors off of the genre once again.
While on his way to Crüe Fest 2 in Houston, guitarist C.J. Pierce talked to ARTISTdirect.com about the summer fest, working with the boys in uniform and his band's 2010 offering.
Since this album dropped you've been doing a lot with the Army. It's fantastic!
A lot of people forget about it. They hear about it on TV, and I think they want to ignore it. Nobody wants to be at war, but it is happening. That's our friends and family. We don't consider ourselves a political band, although we have done a lot lately. It just started out friends and family. When the troops come home, they never get the right health care or stuff to eat. If they take care of us, we need to take care of them. That's how we look at it. We're making up one show at an army base that didn't happen. It's August 24 in Jackson. We were supposed to have show for the troops coming home, but they didn't come home yet, so we didn't have a show. They're finally coming home, so we can do the show [Laughs]. We've done a lot of stuff for the army, and it's been an awesome opportunity for us.
With Full Circle you drew attention to it in a positive way.
I think we did it in a positive way. A lot of people are slamming it, and they don't look at the big picture—our brothers and sisters are over there.
They're keeping the country safe.
They're keeping it safe, and at the end of the day they're fighting for peace. You've got to go over there firsthand. I'm really very fortunate that I've had the experience to go over there and see it. On the news, you get half stories and political views. They bend the stories to whatever they want to make out of it. When you're there on the army base, you see what's going on and you meet these people and you see it firsthand, I think our presence was needed over there. It definitely was needed over there. There's shit that goes on in Third World countries that we don't see. We went over there twice to Kuwait and Iraq. We played for the troops on the army bases. We flew on the C130 plane. They did the combat takeoff and landing—the corkscrew thing where people throw up [Laughs]. They gave us all a bag and said it was alright if we threw up [Laughs]. I was like, "Great, this is going to be a hell of a flight!" None of us got sick surprisingly. They put all of our gear on the plane. They loaded up all of our stuff where they typically put the tanks and shit like that, so it was really cool to have all your gear on the plane, fly in and bring a little rock music to our troops over there in the desert. It's all sand and no beach, you know what I mean? It was definitely a cool opportunity. We really want to go back. Afghanistan is where we're trying to go next. There's a lot of crazy shit going on over there.
Is Full Circle your most epic record?
Stevie, Mike and myself have been together for 13 years and we've developed a core Drowning Pool sound that we don't want to get rid of. We wanted to expand our writing style. We took chances on songs like "37 Stitches." We didn't want to write "Bodies Pt. 2" and "Bodies Pt. 3." Working with Ryan was such an easy process, and I'm glad that the band accepted it. It developed a new rhythm for us, and we'll expand even more on the next record.
Are you continuing in that direction now?
I love music, and I listen to a wide variety of music. It's fun to expand and push yourself. On every record, we push each other. We're not afraid to do anything. It's not so much about trying to write a "Drowning Pool" song as it is trying to just write songs that are awesome. We don't worry too much if it's Drowning Pool or not Drowning Pool. We just try to do what we love to do and do it the best we can. I guess that does it make it a Drowning Pool song. I just made a big circle [Laughs].
You've come Full Circle.
Yes, I went Full Circle on myself [Laughs]. That's the first time! We've been through so much at this point. The more honest you are in your songs the more that people can relate to them. We wrote more from the heart. You can hear it more in the music. It's not just beat 'em up and knock 'em down. On this next record coming up, I'm definitely happy with what we've done so far with it. We're getting there—getting better every time hopefully. We have enough songs written for it but we want to continue to write because we have some time left before we actually go into the studio. We're aiming to release in March or April of 2010. We're working on four or five songs right now on the road. This is something new for us. Everything has been working fine! Usually at this point in our career, the bottom falls out [Laughs]. It has so far with each record. This is our second record with the same singer. The songs come together easier now. We feel really strong about the music, and we're looking forward to it.
So it's a good continuation of the last album's direction.
Definitely, songs like "Paralyzed" opened up the doors to doing some lighter songs. However, there are a handful of songs that are heavier. I've done more solos on this new CD too than ever before. It's something I wanted to step up on this next record.