The Hard Word talks to Drowning Pool.
Platinum selling metal act DROWNING POOL released their new LP titled "Hellelujah" on February 5,2016 via eOne Music. The latest LP will be the first since signing with the label earlier this summer. We talked to CJ about the tour next week.
Marc Stapelberg: The last time you guys were out here was Big Day Out. Is there anything you are going to show Jason this time around?
C.J. Pierce : That tour was awesome - hanging out with all the bands. I pretty much spent the whole time hanging out with as many people as I could. And being on the Big Day Out tour we got to see a lot of the other bands play. My fondest memories are just hanging out with everyone. Jason will be the same way.
MS: You are a fan of the beaches in Australia. Are you going to surf?
CJ: You know I do love the beaches and going out there, I have yet to surf. The body boarding stuff I have done. I've been in a couple of times into the ocean. Two particular times I got caught in rip tides. And freaked out, kinda remembered what to do and I got out of it. Now I have a slight fear of somebody from Drowning Pool drowning - it would be a horrible headline. I'm going to stay close to the shore man.
MS: You did additional production on the album. What things did you do gear wise that people might not realise?
CJ: For me guitar wise I kinda went back to the way I approached the very first record, the 'Sinner' record. I just used one head - a marshall JCM, I used one guitar and one mic on the cabinet. With each record I try different combinations of things. I'm happy with all of the production on all the records but there is just something about that 'Sinner' sound and we wanted to go back to that and that kind of approach. And that's exactly what we did. We did all of the background vocals here at my house. We kinda of ran out of time at the studio because we played shows every weekend while we were recording the record so that kinda of cut into the recording time. A lot of guitar solos, all the background stuff - I did all that here in my studio but all the thick of it, all the durms, all the rhythm tracks, all the main vocals were done with producer Jason Suecof (AUGUST BURNS RED, DEICIDE, DEATH ANGEL) who was an awesome guy to work with. He's like a new best friend, like a mad scientist genious.
MS: How did you make this album heavier?
CJ: We went into the studio with everything pretty much written and done. The thing with Jason Suecof pretty much put the icing on the cake. Little things like transitions and stuff where maybe in the past it would ring out - he would say 'a little more down picking right here'. Things that we could do to make it come across heavier. I think we've always come away from that direction after the 'Sinner' record. I think we would probably have gone heavier with Dave, but just being on that search for the right singer we kinda of got into the hard rock sound and we trying to bring it back to that metal sound. And the next record we gonna go heavier.
MS: When you talk about doing 'exactly what you want' on the album, what does that mean?
CJ: I think for any band… for your first record you work that whole record out before you even sign with the label. We went in and made that record and that record is definitely how we want it. Once you get into the business, the record companies, the AR guys, radio people - they are like 'I like this song but it is kinda heavy' or 'that's really cool but maybe you can't use the f word'. Stuff like that. So you always have these other opinions like all bands and I think it has just got worse over the years. And it is just us with past management labels which is why we changed management labels. I don't think it was positive criticism. This is what we do, don't try to make us a band we are not and I think a lot of bands get stuck in that position behind closed doors if you will. We just wanted to have our voice on it and that is exactly what we did. eOne were great for it and like we said we did whatever we wanted. A lot of record labels want to hear demos, and they want to hear the songs and then they want to put their two cents in there. And sometimes that's great but for us it wasn't. We didn't have that on this record, we wrote it all, we did what we wanted to do, and said what we wanted to say and Jason Suecof laid it down for us and made it sound great.
MS: You recently played Chicago Open Air. How was that?
CJ: Man it was awesome. That is a great event. Danny Wimmer has put on great festivals but with Chicago Air he took it to another level. I hope he does more of them. It's always amazing that 'Bodies' has been around 15 years and the song still gets a lot of love and a lot of play and I look forward to playing it every single night. But we had a one off at open air festival because we got John Hetlinger who was on 'Who's Got Talent' and played our song and made it through, and he's an 82 year old man and he is freaking awesome. Man, I love hanging with that guy. He's got stories for days, he is a true rock star right there, he was just partying up like you would not believe. He came up there and he killed it and he had a great time. We met him the night before and he used to be in the navy and he kept joking around how he could drink and he had a talent for beers and shots. It was hard to hang with him, I was hurting the next day. He's just a great guy. I feel like we made a new friend and new fan. We got to spend the weekend with him, we actually did two shows with him. We had so much fun at the open air festival that the very next day we invited him out to a show called 'Ink in the clink' which it is right outside where they filmed Shawshank Redemption. We did a big tattoo festival there on Saturday and he came up on stage again and we did it all over again.
MS: What setlist should fans expect?
CJ: We change the setlist daily like The Grateful Dead. It used to be with some past singers who only knew so many songs from the back catalogue, so we were locked into a one set situation. With Jason Moreno he took the time out of respect for the Drowning Pool fans and he learnt every song off every record. So from night to night it is very different. We always make changes to our show. It changes day to day. We might come up with a setlist earlier in the day and then two seconds before we go on we go 'why don't we play this one?'. Im definitely a fan of the 'Sinner' record. I know a lot of people have that, so I am hoping we do a 'Sinner' heavy setlist. The new songs are a lot of fun to play man and they have been getting a great response live and they have a lot of energy to them. It's going to be a good mix of old and new songs. There will be something off every record for sure.
MS: What is a Drowning Pool headline show like compared to a festival?
CJ: If you're a Drowning Pool from before and you haven't seen us, then you haven't seen us obviously with Jason. It's been way too long since we come that way. Definitely come check it out. I'm guilty like any other fan with some of my favourite bands changing singers I'm always hesitant. I think it is just the nature of the beast, but Jason really gives a 110%. He really brings it live and he's got more energy than anybody we've ever worked with and he does Dave Williams justice and we're having a great time with him and that comes across on stage. So come out and have a drink with us, I'll be at the bar.
Thu., 28 Jul. 6:00 pm West End QLD Max Watt's House of Music
Tue., 26 Jul. 6:00 pm Hindmarsh SA The Gov
Fri., 29 Jul. 6:00 pm Camperdown NSW Manning Bar
Sat., 30 Jul. 6:00 pm Melbourne VIC Max Watts
Sun., 31 Jul. 6:00 pm Perth WA