C.J. Pierce, guitarist of the band Drowning Pool, was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time for an interview over the phone.
We covered a wide range of topics, such as the band’s new album Resilience, their new singer Jasen Moreno and their upcoming tour with Fozzy.
Access: Rock’s words are in bold.
You released your 5th studio album Resilience today, how does it feel and how has the fan reactions been so far?
We made it to number five and It’s been a roller coaster ride.
The fans have never been better, I gotta give credit to all of them for just being excepting. It’s tough when your favourite band changes, especially when the singer changes. It’s never an easy one, but sometimes things don’t work out and we made this changes to hopefully improve our band, write better songs and do better shows. That’s exactly what we are going on right now and I couldn’t be more proud of the new record Resilience. We just made a five week run in the States, it was awesome and out of control.
You were out on tour with Flyleaf?
Yeah, with Flyleaf and a band called Stars In Stereos, cool band. We were kinda sandwiched between two girl singers.
It could be worse (laughter)
Oh yeah, always.
I’ve heard rumours that Resilience is the best album you’ve done in 10 years.
I’ve been hearing that from everybody and I’m so grateful. You never know how people are gonna react to a new record. This is the most true and honest heartfelt record we’ve ever done. We’ve been through a lot to get to this point and you know Mike, Stevie and myself, we are dedicated. I love music, I’m passionate about it, I love writing, recording and performing. We finally have the right mix and Jasen Moreno couldn’t be more perfect for this band. It’s been a real pleasure working with him this past year and I feel that we are back on track.
Something I noticed with Jasen Moreno is that his voice is a little bit harder than your previous singers, what do you think about that?
He kinda reminds me of our first singer Dave Williams. He had a real heavy voice and a great singing voice, a wide range. With Jasen, he has that same vocal range. You know, I’m very proud of the past records we’ve made with the past singers but at the same time they had distinct voices and everybody has their limitations. But now, it feels like we can do anything and that’s where we’re at. I think the record came out great. Bringing back the metal.
Yeah, exactly, and stop listening to Justin Bieber and all that kind of shit.
(Laugther) They are to soft, we need some aggression here.
How did Jasen Moreno end up in the band? Where did you find him and did you look for certain qualities?
We’ve known Jasen since -96 when me and Mike founded Drowning Pool. We did a bunch of shows with Jasen when he was in The Suicide Hook back then and we took him out on the road with us. For six years he’s been opening up for us off and on. So we’ve known Jasen forever and we had a good relationship for years.
When we parted way with Ryan McCombs we had to find the right singer, the right guy. It’s more than just a voice you know, it’s personality, life style and there are many things involved. So we started doing auditions, we had a lot of great auditions coming through.
Jasen never told us that he was auditioning, his audition tape came through just like everybody else and caught both our label and our attention. He worked really hard on it, he had the most respect for Drowning Pool fans and to our previous singers. He learned every song on every record and nailed it.
Jasen works really hard, rehearses all the time, he is just that kind of guy, dedicated to music and as passionate as the rest of us so you know that’s how he got it. He just came in and nailed it and we clicked instantly, you know when things work, it just works.
We wrote so many songs fast and doing the record was almost too easy and it just keeps getting better.
Another thing I like about Jasen is that he has his own unique sound, that’s something we were looking for, we’re never gonna replace Dave Williams but we wanna move forward and stay true to our sound, but also bring something new and relevant to the table. Jasen definitely has a original voice that I’ve never heard before, a crazy wide range.
Did you write the lyrics together with Jasen?
Every record starts out with Mike, Stevie and myself jamming, then we bring in the singer after. At the end of the day all have their saying, we attack a song and make out what it’s about, which is the best way to express a song and it’s idea. We help each other finishing each other’s sentences so it’s a collective, we all work hard on these songs. But there is a few on this record that were written before Jasen came in, songs that are reflecting the frustration and aggravation with the singer switches. You know all the personal stuff that goes along with it, trying to keep the band going.
What can you tell us about the album artwork? A tree root in the sea with one hand reaching for the sky, what’s the deep meaning?
We have deep roots in this band. Mike, Stevie and myself have been together since -96 and that tree is coming up from the drowning pool and maybe that’s why the record is called Resilience, we’re not going down without a fight, we’ve been through a lot. All kind of personal stuff that people don’t know about, but when you love something and are passionate about it you just power through it and you rise above it. That’s what the artwork resembles for.
David Jackson did the artwork for us, he was a great guy to work with. This was the first time artwork-wise that we as a band put down a lot of time and effort into ideas and what we wanted it to look like. I can’t draw a stick straight to be honest with you, but I definitely had a mental idea what I wanted it to look like. We sent a lot of ideas to David Jackson and he put them together.
Drowning Pool continues to grow year after year and you just keep getting better. What’s the secret to your success?
We started out as really great friends, Mike, Stevie and myself. We’ve had some knockdown drag out fights, we fight like brothers but at the end of the day we’re all family and have mutual respect for eachother. We’ve been through a lot and stuck it out cause we love writing music together, recording and performing.
What has been some of the highlights so far in your career?
We’ve had so many cool things happen, there is a bunch that stand out. It was awesome doing Ozzfest, it was awesome to play Wrestlemania 18. I’ve got to meet so many people and travel all around the world playing music. We are ready to do the UK tour and hang out with European rockers, metal fans and I’m looking forward to it so everyday is a highlight man, everyday we have a show and hang out with like-minded rockers and fans – a good day. I have to say, today and yesterday, with the record coming out, is an highlight.
You played at Wrestlemania..
.. Yeah, we did it back in Wrestlemania 18. Let’s start a rumour; ”Drowning Pool should play next Wrestlemania”, that would be great.
(Laughter) I’ll do my best. You’re going on tour with Fozzy (singer Chris Jericho is in Wrestlemania), how is that?
Yeah, Chris, he lost his match this Monday, he had to lose so he can go out on tour with us. If he had won he would have to keep wrestling (laughter). I bet money on him, I though Chris was gonna win but I lost 20 bucks.
You have to take it up with him, maybe on stage while they are performing, rush at him with your tigths.
(Laughter) I would have to stand on something cause he’s quite taller then me..
.. you know what the say, the taller they are the harder they fall.
(Laughter) That’s true, right? I’m looking forward to touring with them and I’ve been back and forth with Chris the last month via e-mails and he does a radio show as well. He’s down to earth, a supercool dude. He loves being in a rock band so we are gonna have a good time together, I’m sure of it.
Why aren’t you coming to Sweden on this tour?
I don’t know why we’re not going there. It’s mostly a UK run but we wanna come back to Europe on a regular basis so it kinda gives me an excuse to go back. We have to catch you the next time for sure.
How do you mix the touring with your family life?
It’s a balance, a lot of communcation. Nowadays you have Facetime, texts, you just gotta stay in touch with your family. I’m always calling home, checking in, two minutes phone calls per day just to let them know I’m thinking about them. I’ve been doing this for so long and you just have to find that balance, just make it work.
Wich song in your career has the most meaning? Can it be In Memory Of… which was released on the 10th anniversary of Dave William’s death?
Right now I have to say that I love all songs on Resiliance for different reasons. There’s are a lot of true and honest songs on it and Memory Of… is one of those. It’s something I’ve been kinda working on over the years. I’ve always wanted to have a song dedicated to Dave and also Dimebag Darrel (Pantera) who was a really good friend of mine. The song is specifically towards them. We’ve been playing it now a couple of days and I hope people will get into it as well.
And there we were out of time, I thanked CJ for taking his time and wished Drowning Pool luck on their upcoming European tour with Fozzy.
Writer: Jonas ”Madman” Persson