American Heavy Metal band Drowning Pool returned to the UK recently with a new lead singer and a brand new album!
The band from Dallas, Texas shot to fame in 2001 with their smash hit single ‘Bodies’, taken from their fabulous debut album ‘Sinner’.
In 2003 however, tragedy struck as lead singer Dave “Stage” Williams was found dead at the back of the band’s tour bus in Virginia, USA. The cause of death was officially confirmed as heart disease and left the band with an incredibly huge void to fill.
The band decided to continue playing. Three albums and two lead singers later, Drowning Pool are back to their head-banging best with the release of their new album, aptly named, ‘Resilience’.
Guitarist CJ Pierce sat down with GRTR’s Vikram Sangar to bring us up to speed on all the goings on with the Texas rockers.
GRTR: CJ, great to have you guys back in the UK! First up, tell me about your new singer Jason Moreno, how did he become the new singer of Drowning Pool?
CJ Pierce: Jason’s an awesome guy. We’ve known him for years and he came up on the scene with us in Dallas, Texas. We played shows together even when Dave [Williams] was in the band. After our last singer Ryan [McCombs – now of Soil] left, I really wanted to take a long time to find the right guy.
Credit to Jason though, he came into the audition and absolutely nailed it. With respect to our previous singers, this guy came in and knew every lyric to every song and we never really had that before. We really feel like a real band again.
GRTR: I have to ask about your first lead singer Dave Williams. What qualities did he have that others have found so hard to replicate since?
CJ Pierce: He had a great singing voice, a real growl heavy voice which we have again now with Jason, but it was his personality more than anything. After a show, he would hang out with fans at the Merch booth and that’s the kind of band we are, we love to hangout with our fans. He had an awesome personality and I definitely miss hanging out with him. If you think I’m wired, seriously that dude was tuned to ‘11’ all the time!
GRTR: On your new record ‘Resilience’ I understand you have a tribute song dedicated to Dave Williams entitled ‘In Memory Of…’ Can you tell me more about it?
CJ Pierce: Yeah man, it started out as a direct song about Dave. Then after Dimebag Darrell [of Pantera and Damage Plan] passed away, I made the song about both of them. I never really felt we had the right singer in the past to get the song done. I sent the song to Jason [Moreno] and within 3 hours, he had just nailed it! So the song is in memory of anyone who has ever lost a family member, loved one or a best friend. It’s probably the only slow song on the album.
GRTR: Your next lead singer after Dave was Jason ‘Gong’ Jones who played on your second album ‘Desensitized’. “Irreconcilable differences” were cited for him leaving the band. What were those differences?
CJ Pierce: It comes down to personality and relationship. Jason ‘Gong’ Jones had a really strong voice and I’m really proud of that record! We still play a lot of stuff from it. The voice however is just 1/10th of the equation and unfortunately, we just ended up fighting a lot. The relationship wasn’t healthy at all so we ended up splitting off. We had some great times and we had some hard times but I have no hard feelings towards him.
GRTR: You caught everyone by surprise by capturing Soil singer Ryan McCombs as your third lead singer in as many albums. How did that come about?
CJ Pierce: We did a lot of touring with Soil. They started around the same time as us. Ryan had actually stopped singing with Soil for about a year and was really hungry to get back into it so joined us after Jason ‘Gong’ Jones left. We released two great albums but unfortunately in that last year of touring, everything went south real fast and it just wasn’t a healthy relationship. He’s now gone back to Soil and that’s where he seems to belong.
GRTR: As one of the founding members of the band, you have had four different singers over five albums. How does it feel having to almost start again with every record?
CJ Pierce: It’s always a challenge! It’s been a crazy ride the last 15 years. I always joke that we start at Point A and never make it to Point B! It’s always good to be on solid ground though and I think we finally have that now with Jason Moreno.
GRTR: With the constant line-up changes, have you guys ever thought about throwing it all in?
CJ Pierce: Never man! We’re all passionate about performing, writing, and hanging out, man. There’s never come a point where we didn’t want to do it. Sometimes it doesn’t come easy so you have to fight for what you want, which is why we’ve called the new album ‘Resilience’.
GRTR: So tell me about ‘Resilience’ – Would you agree your new album has a much ‘younger’ sound compared to your previous offerings?
CJ Pierce: It’s the evolution of the band and the song writing process. With Jason [Moreno], we feel we have no limits. He has the widest range of any singer we’ve ever worked with including Dave [Williams]. The first few songs we wrote were aggressive due to the frustration of the singer switch again! Our new single ‘One Finger and a Fist’ is a great record. We’re having fun with it and that definitely comes through in the music we’ve made.
GRTR: Who are your influences musically?
CJ Pierce: It’s changed over the years man. My father played bass and sang in a band and he was into Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath so that’s what I started listening to growing up. Metallica and Testament were big influences too. I love Rock and I love metal! I’m listening to the new Stone Sour albums right now and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t listen to some Pantera, man!
We’re looking to come back in the fall. Us and Papa Roach would be great because I know they’ll be coming back! Hopefully we can do festivals over here next year too. It’s taken so long to get back here due to the label switch-ups and singer switch ups. I love this country man, I can’t wait to come back!
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.
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