Formed in Dallas in 1996, Drowning Pool scored big right out of the gate when "Bodies" became a big hit in 2001. But the band was sent reeling when singer Dave Williams was found dead in 2002 shortly after the release of their 2001 debut Sinner. Since that time, Drowning Pool has gone through numerous lead singers but last year settled on Jasen Moreno, who handles lead vocals on the forthcoming studio release Resilience. Guitarist C.J. Pierce recently phoned in to talk about the turbulence the band's experienced in the past decade.
Your new album is appropriately called Resilience. How has the band been so resilient?
We have been hit with a lot of stuff, all that cliché stuff that you hear about bands getting hit with and tend to break up over. But we're sticking with it. We all love playing rock music and we love writing songs together. We've been keeping on keeping on. That sums up our career. Being with our new singer Jasen Moreno made this album the easiest album to record so far.
What made it so easy?
Just having someone who shows up for work and is as passionate about playing music as you are. At the end of the day, he loves writing songs and he brought that into this band. That's one of the reasons we had to do a switch.
How'd you meet him?
He came up on the scene with us in Dallas and we've played shows off and on together since the late '90s. His previous band opened up for us. We've known each other for a long time. The stars lined up and it was the right place and right time. We were looking for a singer. He nailed his audition.
Did he have the Mohawk that he sports in the band photo?
The hairstyles change almost daily with the other guys in the band. I can't do anything else with mine. I have a tail in the back but they can grow out hair so they have fun with it.
He's got a great, raspy voice. Who does he remind you of?
He's got his own style. Back in the day when we started playing together, he had a bit of a Chino vibe from the Deftones. He thinks he sounds like Freddie Mercury. He can sing pretty high but a lot of our stuff is low and growly. He has a wide range. We can do anything. We don't have any limits on that side of things.
It looks like it was fun to shoot the video for your new single "Saturday Night."
It was great. We did it in this old nasty dirty warehouse in downtown Dallas. It was fun hanging out with the fans all day. With each take, everyone came in closer and closer. We were in the middle of our fans rocking out. That song is a little different for us. It's just about what it's like to be in a rock band. Honestly, we were playing last night. It was a Wednesday, but I really thought it was Saturday. The doors opened at 7 and everybody was drinking and having a good time. That song expresses our lifestyle.
What is your drink of choice?
It's just by default, but vodka is easy because you can mix it with anything. You can mix it with milk if you want.
Who's your favorite guitarist of all time?
I have so many. Alex Skolnick from Testament is one of my biggest influences on lead. I've gotten to hang out with him the last three years. It's weird and cool that I can hang out with my heroes and be friends with them. Of course, everyone is going to say it but Led Zeppelin is one of the biggest influences and I love Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath.
Talk about how you first met Dave Williams and what he brought to the band?
He was great. He was always on 11. He had so much energy. He was lots of fun. He had that Pantera outlook. He wanted to party and blow stuff up. It was all about having a good time, 24-7. It was an exciting time. We got signed together and you got to experience all that with him. Great times.
Do you pay tribute to him during the set?
We always say hats off to him and we play a lot of songs off the Sinner album. Jasen learned every song off every CD. We keep busting out songs we haven't played in the last 8 or 10 years. We play the whole Sinner CD in our set, which is awesome for our old school fans.
Talk about what's it been like performing for soldiers in the Middle East.
We've done two USO tours and we have another one coming up in May. I love playing for the troops. We've done stuff in South Korea and Iraq and Kuwait. That's the most intense job in the world. For us to go there and give them a mental break, there's nothing else like it in the whole world.
Does the US military still use your music to torture prisoners?
We torture people with our songs every night. It's not just them. I think that's just exaggerated rumors. We actually played Guantanamo Bay, but I think things just get blown out of proportion. People always try to associate our music with negative stuff. It's not about that at all. Anyone can switch anything around. We're not that kind of band. We've done so many positive things. Whenever something negative comes around, I just brush it off. We're not even that brutal. There are bands out there like Slayer and Marilyn Manson. Our songs are about having a good time.