CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool Interview

It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks for Drowning Pool. The Texan gang are currently on a co-headline run with metal (and wrestling) heavyweights Fozzy. But it’s been the first time they’ve had the chance to show off new vocalist, Jasen Moreno, to the UK crowds. It’s also been the first chance we’ve had to hear songs from new album, Resilience, live. Phew! We caught up with guitarist CJ Pierce before Drowning Pool’s sold out show at London’s Garage to take a breather...

So this is your first UK tour with new frontman, Jasen Moreno. Has it been a warm welcome, do you think?
Yeah, everybody has been really great. It’s funny how the internet works... Before we got out and started touring, we had the singer switch, and of course everybody assumed the worst and talked all kinds of crap. And if my favourite band kept changing singers, then I’d be like “What’s up with this?!” too, but the second you come out to the show and you see Jasen, he’s been awesome. He took the time – out of respect to the fans and our previous singers – to learn all the songs that we’d ever written. He’s got a lot of different hats to wear, and shoes to fill. And he has his own crazy, cool style of singing that he brings to the band. But the fans have been great, and he’s so good with them. It’s been fun to see him grow. I’ve known him for 15 years, so to see him get up on stage and be super pro is great. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been too much fun, it hurts!
What do the fans think of Jasen? Have you spoken to them after shows to get feedback?
Every single night. We go straight to the merch, or straight to the bar – whichever one is closer! Most of the fans don’t know what to expect. Sometimes they come and they don’t even know we had the singer switch, it’s so funny! But everybody has been really accepting after the show. I see it right away, like straight after the first song; they’re just like “Oh man, this guy has got it!” Of course we’re not going to get somebody who’s not going to work. I mean, c’mon, we make these changes to improve our band.
Have you felt any competition between your co-headliners, Fozzy, on this tour?
No, those guys are awesome and so great! We’ve made a lot of new friends. I’ve known them and had mutual friends, and we kind of did one off shows here and there in the States. Those dudes are, like, super talented! So it’s not really a competition. I mean, they have their style and we have our style. And they have their show, and we have ours. They’re two different things. They’re fun to watch, and they’re inspiring, too. They’re very patient and they put up with me – I was up late on the bus last night, yelling and screaming listening to Stone Sour at 4o’clock in the morning! We’re on tour, it’s part of the fun (laughs).
How have all the new songs been going down?
The new songs have been going down awesome! People were singing along to them before the record even came out. But now that it is out, you really see them jamming and singing along to every word. With some of my favourite bands, you have your favourite records and you have the ones you don’t like, but it seems like with this record, we didn’t skip a beat on it. If anything, I think it reflects our first record; Sinner. It was a natural progression of writing, and – with the addition of Jasen, and the mind-frame that we were in during the writing process – it kind of reflects where we started. We feel like we can do anything we want with Jasen, and that’s how we felt with Dave Williams [the band’s original vocalist – who tragically died in 2002].
What’s the meaning behind the album title, Resilience? I took it as you’ve always sort of ‘sprung back’ from the various losses and changes of the years.
Yeah. It’s been like a 10-year penance of craziness that we’ve gone through. It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride between management, label, and the music business changing. And obviously, we haven’t had great luck with singers. I mean, I’m really proud of the records that we’ve done, and the singers we’ve had in the past all had great voices. But that’s only 1/10th of the equation, y’know? You’ve got to be best friends and buddies before you can play music together. And we have that with Jasen. We never had that connection with the other guys, unfortunately. But we have that now, and you see it on stage and you hear it in the music.
How do you think Jasen felt about joining such an established band?
He said that in beginning that it was a lot of pressure, and stress, because he wants to be great. But he did his homework. We rehearsed a lot with him in the beginning; we did 12 or 15 hour days of just straight playing music, and I love that about the guy. He’s so dedicated. I’ve heard comments and people saying that it seems like he’s been in the band for years.
What was the writing and recording process like this time around? Was it different to how you’d done it before?
It was the easiest and most enjoyable experience I’ve had, thus far. Jasen is a singer/songwriter as well, and he’s so fun to bounce ideas off of. He’s such an easy guy to work with, like; he’ll try something 20 different ways. We really pushed the hell out of the guy. I’m surprised that he went that far with it! We were changing lines and melodies like every 3 minutes! But he’s honestly one of my favourite musicians I’ve ever worked with. And because it just clicked like that, it made the whole thing enjoyable. I think the songs are stronger than they’ve ever been.
So, with the sense of stability now, can you see yourselves doing this for a further 10 years or so?
I want to do this forever, I love it! I absolutely love it. I’d like to be like The Rolling Stones and play the Super Bowl when I’m like 65 years old, playing ‘Bodies’ to Super Bowl 1000 or whatever (laughs)!
What’s the plan after this tour?
We’re going to go back to the States, and there’s a bunch of radio shows and festivals in the States, so we’re going to book a tour around that. From May, all the way to the end of August, is completely full of touring. So hopefully there’s a break in there somewhere – a week where I can rest my liver for a few days! But yeah, we’re going to do the States and then hopefully come back to the UK in the fall. Hopefully we can come back on a regular basis and maybe come back next summer and do the festivals.

If you'd like to read the review of Fozzy and Drowning Pool's London show where this interview took place, you can do so on this link right here!

Scribbled by:

Music obsessive.

Huge lover of all things rock and metal, and a not-so-secret fan of Take That.

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