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Coming Full Circle With Drowning Pool

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Friday, August 10, 2007 @ 12:53 AM

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Drowning Pool is hoping to put the past behind them, with their upcoming release, Full Circle on Eleven Seven Music on August 7th. Over the years, the band has remained in the public's eye with the untimely tragedy of vocalist Dave Williams, and the controversy surrounded their video and song, "Bodies", which after 9/11 was banned from radio stations all over the country. The band commented about the ban saying, “This kind of forever put this connection between a song the band wrote about kids in a mosh pit and the worst tragedy in the nation's history. It didn't sit well with us for a lot of years. But people in the military are really to thank for giving us all new lives and new meaning, because they used it so much in training videos, and going out on missions and keeping themselves on their toes. There we were on the Fifth Anniversary of 9/11 in Iraq playing that very song for the troops. It completely tuned our entire feeling about the song around."

The current Drowning Pool line-up features vocalist Ryan McCombs, guitarist C.J. Pierce, bassist Stevie Benton and drummer Mike Luce. Drowning Pool hail from Dallas, Texas, a city where the music scene is very strong, and the musicians write from the heart. Never afraid to take on controversial subjects, Drowning Pool are embarking on the journey of their career. After returning home, from playing for troops overseas, Drowning Pool was so inspired to help the men and women who serve our country that the band and the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America have launched a campaign called "This Is For the Soldiers", asking Americans to support legislation currently before Congress which addresses the urgent need to get better mental health care for veterans. The campaign includes a web site (www.thisisforthesoldiers.org) which hosts a petition urging Congress to support the Lane Evans Mental Health The band will be going to Washington in September to bring the signed petition with them in hope that with this campaign and the band can help The Veterans received the proper Health care that they deserve.

KNAC.COM is proud to present an in depth look at the rebirth of Drowning Pool, featuring all of the members of the band and the unveiling of Full Circle, featuring new vocalist Ryan McCombs.

KNAC.COM: Thank you for taking time to discuss your new release, Full Circle. My first questions is, what inspired your campaign, "This Is For The Soldiers"?

LUCE: After our first trip to the Persian Gulf, we met so many people over there. The whole experience met so much to us. When we got back, we really wanted to look around and see how we could get involved to help these people that were coming back from War over there. We asked,” What can we do, how can we get involved, what did they really, really need? That led us to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and they made us aware of a lot of the issues that returning soldiers are facing. Like the fact that the million and half that have served so far, at least a third of them have come back with some type of mental health issue, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. When we started just getting this info and seeing these numbers, they were just so mind boggling to us that we felt like we had to do something. So that led us to team up with the IAVA and www.thisisforthesoldiers.org to get that Lane Evans bill.

KNAC.COM: You'll be going to Washington D.C. in September. What do you hope to accomplish with your trip to the Nation's Capitol?

PIERCE: We are going to hand them the petition. I think right now we are up to 14,000 people.

KNAC.COM: With a lot of young Veterens gettnig turned away, what do you think people can do support the cause for Veteran's healthcare.

BENTON: The biggest way they can support right now; the youngest generation of troops coming home, and Veterans as a whole, is to go to www.thisisforthesoldiers.org You go on that website and sign that petition, so Drowning Pool can storm Capital Hill and hand Congress the petition. Then we can really push along, the legislation that is huge and help the troops that come home.

KNAC.COM: Your new album Full Circle is out now. How does this album differ than previous Drowning Pool releases?

LUCE: Well for starters, we have Ryan McCombs on vocals.

PIERCE: We any record, you try and better yourself with each record. I think how this one differs; there is definitely a wider variety of music on it. It touches on a lot of variety of issues, obviously one being a song for the,” Soldiers". But there are many other issues that we like to touch on the record. There is definitely a wider variety of music.

BENTON: There are a lot of things that make this record different. One thing is that we were able to tour and play a lot of these songs live, night after night. We learned a lot from getting that instant crowd response every night. We were really able to figure out what worked and what didn't. Also, another great thing was during the writing and recording of this record, for the most part, we were an unsigned band. Because, we had already made up our minds that we didn't want to be involved with Wind-Up anymore. It was prior to us signing with Eleven Seven. The whole writing and recording of this record was done without some A and R dude breathing down our neck trying to throw his two cents in.

KNAC.COM: So would you say that Full Circle is kind of like the rebirth of the band?

ALL: Definitely.

KNAC.COM: How did the collaboration of Drowning Pool, Nikki Sixx and DJ Ashba of Sixx A.M. come together?

LUCE: We have known Nikki Sixx for quite a few years now. The opportunity came up a few years ago, before David passed away and we talked to Nikki about doing a song with him. The story at the new label came up on how we knew Nikki Sixx again, and the fact that we were going to do a song with him never happened and we were done recording the record. So here we are working with new management and they are like, why don't you make a last song and get in there with Nikki and Dj for a couple of days, and see what happens. That is how the song came into fruition.

KNAC.COM: How long did it take to record, Full Circle?

LUCE: It was about 2 years. Ryan's has been in the band since June or July of 2005. We started writing immediately together. Like Stevie said earlier, the one cool thing that we got to do was over the two years since we have all been in the band together was really get a chance to go out and play live and road test these songs, if you will. That is where some of them kind of stood up. Some of them, we went back to the drawing board. Some of them, we still have left on the drawing board for the next record.

BENTON: For the actual recording of the record. We were in the studio four or five weeks. Then, we were kind of sitting in a little wait time, once we turned it in. The minute we had a little bit of time, we jumped out to LA. We spent three or four days with Nikki Sixx and Dj. Ended up with a song out of that, collaborating with those guys. We wrote a song, right before we left for LA. Between finishing the record, and going out to write with those guys we ended up doing another song, called,"37 Stitches" on the record. We all just really dug that song so much that we knew we wanted it for this record. So as soon, as we got back from LA, we ended up jumping back in the studio for another day popping that song out. All together, you are talking maybe, a month that it actually took recording wise.

KNAC.COM: How did all of your influences come into play with Full Circle?

BENTON: I think what definitely affects the writing process for us is all of us have iPod's, and we put it on shuffle. You put all of your favorite bands on there, and when you listen to it like that you get such a wide variety of music.

LUCE: Yeah, you got Pantera playing one second.

MCCOMBS: You got Peter, Paul and Mary. (Laughter)...You can strike the Peter, Paul and Mary. I was kidding. (Laughter)

LUCE: Whatever dude.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned Pantera, as an influence. I know you guys hail from Texas. Were you greatly influenced by fellow Texan Dimebag Darrell Abbott?

LUCE: He was like a buddy. He was a close friend of ours for many years and also a fan. The guy was genius on guitar.

KNAC.COM: How is the Dallas music scene these days?

PIERCE: The scene has been up and down since we have been on it. Quite honestly, we have been out of the loop a little bit. We have been busy doing our thing. We have been on the road for two years. I can tell you, we still have a lot of friends, and there are a lot of bands that are still plugging away at it.

LUCE: There are a lot of bands that are still there. There are bands that are still plugging away at it. Actually, what is going on, there are a lot of new developers coming in and the whole scent that use to be there that was thriving when we made it isn't quite the same scene quite honestly that it use to be. Bands are still there. Bands are still wanting to play. But they are kind of being forced out of the clubs a little bit, as developers are kind of coming in that area and just totally remodeling that area. It is not the arts district that it is. But C.J. just said, the other places are opening up, but they are opening up away from what use to be the music scene in Dallas. Or least where we got our start. It is going to be interesting to see what happens in the next three or five years, what is going on in music.

MCCOMBS:: I would say the cool thing about the Dallas scene, from being the outsider, being the Indiana boy going into is the bands there remind me a lot of when the Chicago's scene as the strongest. When you had Disturbed and Soil and From Zero. You just had such a strong scene. The way I compare it, is the Dallas bands remind me of those days where the bands just all get along. You walk into a bar, and you are going to have a member from seven different bands around the local area, all sitting around the same bar having a drink together. They seem to be really helping each other out. Which is what makes a scene at the end of the day.

KNAC.COM: How long is your current tour slated to run?

LUCE: Forever, hopefully...the next two years.

KNAC.COM: Do you plan on going to Iraq again...perhaps on this tour?

BENTON: We are waiting to get a date actually. We are kind of keeping our fingers crossed for a couple of dates and are hoping to do something really special for the Holidays for the Troops over there. We know we are going, it is just a matter of when we can get it all scheduled out. We are definitely going to hit Iraq again, and we are really pushing to get Afghanistan as well this time.

KNAC.COM: There is going to be a Tribute coming up on August 14 for Dave Williams in Dallas. Will Drowning Pool perform there?

PIERCE: Actually, we are not going to be in town. We already had stuff previously scheduled, before that whole thing came about. We are going to be in Dallas, on September 7th.

KNAC.COM: What are your expectations of the new album? What do you hope to tell your fans about the horrors of war or any other special message you hope to get across to the general public?

LUCE: Just for all our fans in general "Soldiers" is one song of thirteen on the record. I mean there is definitely an issue that we are addressing with "Soldiers" being the first single off of the record. We are happy to get some new music out. It has been three years, for our fans, first and foremost. As far as the record coming out, like you just said, we definitely want to push this issue and help the Troops out.

PIERCE: You see it on TV, every time you turn on Iraq, you get tired of it, and you want to turn it off. You don't want to deal with it. Nobody wants to be at war. We want to keep this in everybody's mind. This is going on right now. This is a serious issue that needs to be taken care of.

KNAC.COM: Is there anything else that you would like to say about, Full Circle?

BENTON: Go out and buy it. (Laughter) Yeah all know that the climate that we are in right now, as far as the Internet goes, and how easy it is for everybody to download it and steal it. We are sitting there doing shows, right now. You got fans out there singing the new songs.

LUCE: I hope they promise and go out and buy it. One thing too, you are kind of cheating yourself too, when you download it. You don't get the full CD quality. I don't care what people say. It doesn't sound anywhere cool or as good when you download it, as it does when you put the CD in.

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