When most people think of Dallas-based band Drowning Pool, one catchphrase quickly comes to mind: “Let the bodies hit the floor!” And while many bands might tire of being associated with one thing, Drowning Pool has no complaints whatsoever about being the band everyone listens to before a big sporting event — the “go-to” band for live festivals and raw energy. Ask the man himself, guitarist and founding member CJ Pierce. When talking about Drowning Pool‘s upcoming self-titled release (out April 27), Pierce shows an unmatchable enthusiasm. It’s clear from their new single “Feel Like I Do” that Drowning Pool is now taken over by the determination and energy that has been shown in hints throughout the years. Finally finding their true “sound,” Drowning Pool is unafraid to embark on new musical challenges, but make no mistake, it will continue to be loud as hell. Read on…
Metalholic: Hello CJ, how are you?
CJ Pierce: I’m rushing around like a maniac. Today is a busy day for us. This is going to be an awesome day — we’re playing in Kansas City.
MH: Very cool. Thanks for taking the time out to talk with Metalholic today. So you guys are out with Sevendust now, right?
CP: Oh, no problem, thank you for having me. Yeah, we’re out with Sevendust.
MH: About the upcoming self-titled album — I listened to the new single “Feel Like I Do” earlier today. How have the fans been receiving that?
CP: The fans have been awesome, I gotta be honest. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever had momentum… coming off of 37 Stitches, which did really well. And getting a new song out. Everybody seems to take a liking to it, you know. I’m happy with that song, I’m happy with the whole record.
MH: How do you think this record differs from the previous three?
CP: We have the same singer, instead of going through the whole switching singers thing here. It’s an advantage with Ryan. He’s been with us for five years now. Usually when we make a new record, we have to find a new singer, find new management/labels. Ryan really goes above and beyond, he really pushes us to try and be better. He really opened up on this record. We’re really comfortable with each other.
MH: Did you find that not having the issues of finding a new singer/management gave you the ability to focus more this time on the cohesive songwriting and sound of the band?
CP: Yeah, that’s something that’s definitely affected. For the first time ever, we’re all on solid ground and we’re all happy and focused.
MH: You released your first live album last year. You guys are known for a great live show. What are some of your favorite songs to do live?
CP: Oh, that’s tough. It’s still always awesome to play “Bodies.” With a lot of bands, it’s weird — with their single, “Oh, I’m sick of playing that song” — you know, we’re not like that. I love that song. I love playing it. I love watching everybody go ape-shit.
MH: Drowning Pool‘s music is really good for being the anthem of sports teams or events, for instance, WWE, or in a video game. A lot of people use Drowning Pool to get “pumped up” so to speak. What are some of your favorite bands to listen to before you go onstage?
CP: That’s a really good question — I like that one. I love music. I have always been a fan of music. I like to just crank up rock music. You know, I listen to StoneSour a lot, I listen to Mudvayne… Pantera, still — I just love that kind of music. Maybe these bands are heavier than us, but that’s definitely what we listen to.
MH: On the topic of Pantera, I have to ask now — what is your favorite Pantera album?
CP: I like them all for different reasons. I think I’m like anybody with music: when something’s happening, and you kinda have that song that correlates, and you just go back. “Mouth For War” is probably still my favorite song of theirs, so that album probably — [Vulgar Display of Power]
MH: Oh, it’s classic. Great stuff. You guys took part in the Cruefest 2 over the summer, what kind of an experience was that?
CP: That was awesome. I grew up listening to rock music, and Motley Crue was definitely one of my favorite bands. I had their posters on my wall. So, to be able to know them now, and going on tour with them — it’s just — words can’t even describe it. It’s so great to be in a big rock festival like that, to get to hang out. Everyone’s there for the same reason: they want to rock out and have a good time. That part of it is just awesome.
MH: It must be a huge contrast playing huge outdoor festivals and then sometimes doing smaller club gigs, radio-shows. Do you have a preference of the two?
CP: It’s hard to pick sides because, again, I love all of it. With a big show like Cruefest, there are big lights, it’s a big show — and I love bringing all of that. But at the same time, in a club, it’s nice. You get closer to the fans. Outside, there’s a huge barricade, so you get a bit disconnected on that part. I love all of it, to be honest with you.
MH: Do you ever do songwriting on tour?
CP: For this record, honestly, it’s the first time that we’ve done that. With the other records, it was kind of like, whenever we’d get time off, go to the house, we all get together… the first half of last year, we had some time off, so we hit it pretty hard. That was a lot of fun, working in that environment. We all had a lot of ideas to bring to the table. During Cruefest, whenever we would have a day off, we would go into the studio and demo some songs. We would get up 7, 8 o’clock in the morning and get ready for an in-store signing or meet-and greet, a radio show. Rock bands get up early and have a full day just like everybody else. But we made it a point to take time to write and work on songs, all of us. This record’s half-and-half. We were writing more music than we ever have. Going into writing this record, figuring out which songs would be on there, we could pick and choose. Some songs outshine others.
MH: So the misconceptions people have about rock bands waking up in the afternoon, that’s not true in this case!
CP: That’s not true so much anymore, but I love it. No complaints here.
MH: What would you consider to be Drowning Pool‘s biggest accomplishment to date?
CP: The biggest accomplishment, I would say right now, is this record coming out. It’s a very big accomplishment, having solid ground and all. You know, finally finding our sound, our singer. Before that, going overseas to Iraq — it was a great honor going over there to our troops. That was a huge accomplishment. I can’t believe we got to do that.
MH: What are some of your favorite places to play live?
CP: I’m going to say — right now, we’re in Kansas City — the station here’s been great to us. We have a lot of friends here and have had a lot of great shows here. So Kansas City is definitely one of my favorites. I love playing a hometown show in Dallas. Now that I think about it, I can’t really think about a bad place.
MH: Which albums that have come out recently are among your favorites?
CP: I can say one that’s not too recent — the last Tool record I’m a really big fan of. I’m just a big fan of that band anyway.
MH: Yes, they are amazing.
CP: What else… I know there’s a lot of stuff coming out this year. A Korn record. The new Sevendust record I got to hear the other night on their bus. That thing just rocks. It is awesome. I’m happy for them. I’m looking forward to… the band Nonpoint has a new record coming out. Well, I don’t know if it’s out yet or if it’s coming out. I’m looking forward to that.
MH: What are some of your plans after this tour wraps up? How are you planning on promoting the new self-titled record… any big tours coming up for the rest of the year?
CP: Yeah, we have a lot of stuff in the works, but I haven’t heard — I’m always the last to know. I’m hoping to go out with Godsmack. We’ve toured with them before and they’re great guys, so I hope that happens. Big tours like that, we’re always happy to go out on. We have a handful of radio shows in May.
MH: Are there any bands you would like to tour with/meet? What are some other goals you have in mind, for example, growing up a big fan of Motley Crue, and you achieved that… what next?
CP: I would love to tour with AC/DC. I would love to tour with Metallica. I would love to tour with Rob Zombie again. That was fun. We’ve been fortunate, we’ve got to tour with a lot of great bands. Cruefest, Ozzfest… I’m such a fan of music. It’s cool to be on tour with bands you listen to all the time.
MH: Have you ever had any unusual fan encounters?
CP: Usually there’s one in every town that catches you off-guard. [laughter] That’s always interesting. I had a guy the other night try to talk me into hiring him, taking him out on the road. He was relentless about it. He was really trying to get in there, to the point that he was almost in tears, which kind of stinks. But the guys we bring on the road with us, we’ve known them for years and years… we’re definitely a close-knit family. I just told him, you know, “Go get buddies in your local bands.”
MH: Any closing words for the fans?
CP: Please come and hang out with us. We’re not the kind of band that sits on the bus. We love hanging out, you can always find us hanging out somewhere… usually at the bar, most of us, that’s a good place to start. We’ve really worked so hard on this record and I’ve never been more proud of anything. If you love hard rock music, you’ll enjoy this record.
MH: Thank you, CJ, for taking the time, and good luck with the new album.
CP: Awesome, I appreciate it. Thank you for your time.