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INTERVIEW: C.J. PIERCE of Drowning Pool – March 2015

| 31 March 2015 | Reply

Drowning Pool – most people hear the name and think of one thing… “Let the bodies hit the floors; let the bodies hit the floor.”  Others bow their heads and remember original lead singer Dave Williams.  I think back and remember their struggle to release disc after disc with a new lead singer with just about every studio effort [they have released five studio albums with four different lead singers, including 2013’s Resilience with newest front man Jasen Moreno].  As they wrap up the current leg of the Sinner Unlucky 13th Anniversary Tour, we were able to pin down guitarist C.J. Pierce while they traveled between gigs…


C.J.: Oh hey Todd.

Toddstar: What’s going on brother?

C.J.: Cruising through West Virginia right now.

Toddstar: Okay, okay. You guys are out on the Unlucky 13th Anniversary tour. How’s the tour going?

C.J.: Shows have been awesome man. The fans are great. Freakin’ tons of fun. It’s awesome. All the bands we’re playing with are killer. It’s been good shows.

Toddstar: Very cool. You mentioned you’re heading through West Virginia; you’re on your way to Lancaster, Ohio for a show at Mickey’s tonight.

C.J.: Yeah, that’s us. Rocking at Mickey’s.

Toddstar: Well the real positive for us in Michigan – you’re playing at a place that’s near and dear to my heart and I believe the band’s – tomorrow night you guys will be at the world famous Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan.

C.J.: Yeah, we love The Machine Shop, man. Been a little while too, so.

Toddstar: What’s it about a place like The Machine Shop, or even The Machine Shop specifically that when you guys see it on the agenda you guys are lit up and waiting to play that place.

C.J.: Man, it’s the owner. He’s freaking awesome. Everybody that works there. It’s just got that family vibe. We’ve made a lot of friends over the years – in the whole state of Michigan, man. Everybody just kind of converges on The Machine Shop. It’s always a great time, dude. Always.

Toddstar: We mentioned that you guys are out on the Unlucky 13 Anniversary tour for Sinner. I mean, could you guys imagine back in late 1991, early 1992 when this thing was just hitting the public full on, that you guys would be out touring this 13 years later, and the songs would still be as hard and heavy as they were then?

C.J.: You always hope that you’d have a long career with them and it’s, yeah, it’s awesome. We’re still doing it and its fun that we’re playing that whole record in its entirety every night. Everybody is singing every word to every song. Man, it’s just killer. Awesome. Never thought that would happen but again, we’re having fun with it and all the fans have been great. Also cool because just the age range; I mean 15 year-olds and 50 year-olds are singing along every word to every song. Never thought that would happen. We’re always making new fans too which is really cool.

Toddstar: You guys have been ever evolving.  I got to see guys on Ozzfest in 2002 when you guys went through Detroit and then back in 2010 I got to see you guys in Lansing when you played a festival. You’re constantly evolving, but to stay true to that, that vein of what Drowning Pool was and is, how do you guys constantly ride that tide in the music industry?

C.J.: At the end of the day man, you play what you feel, and you write what you feel. We kind of stuck to our guns on that. Mike, Steve and myself have been jamming together for longer than 13 years. Man, since high school and stuff. Now with addition to Jasen Moreno, man we finally got that icing on the cake again that we needed and that fire. Drowning Pool has evolved musically, we have a lot of new songs after we do this tour that will show that. We’re going to start recording and get this out to the fans sooner than later.


Toddstar: You mentioned Jasen and the guy’s got a killer voice. He brings energy to the show and the music. If somebody was smart enough to pick up the deluxe version of Resilience, you get the bonus disc.  You get to hear the old songs, redone with Jasen and you get the DVD portion.  He’s a kid, but with a rock n’ roll soul and it seems like he brings something to the music. How do you guys find that you’re blending with him in the writing process?

C.J.: Yeah, Jasen came on the scene in Dallas with us. We’ve all been friends for a long time. I think that’s probably the most important thing. Knowing each other for this long. Jasen’s been out on the road off and on with us throughout the years, with other bands that he’s sang in before he even joined our band.  I think that definitely says a lot too. He’s super, super talented and passionate like the rest of us with our music. He’s definitely passionate about it. Now that comes through man. It comes through in the live shows. It comes through the songs, so we’re having fun again.  We had to go through a couple of singers until we found the right one. Sometimes that you what you got to do in life man. Til you get the right one and we have that now.

Toddstar: At least you guys plugged along. Well let’s talk about you for a second C.J. When you were younger who made you want to pick up a guitar and want to do this for a living?

C.J.: Like anybody, you go through a lot of different stuff. In my household my dad was big Black Sabbath fan and Led Zeppelin fan so that’s really what I started listening to first. Those were the first songs I learned how to play. Then of course in the 80’s, man Metallica and all those kinds of metal bands came out. Got into that as well. I always like hearing new stuff. That’s something else we do on this tour, man. We always leave a couple of spots open to have local bands on instead of rolling in with like a full tour package. We’ve met a lot of cool guys like that and seen a lot of great bands, upcoming bands. Yeah, man I’m constantly being inspired by new music, constantly evolving.

Toddstar: Very cool. Speaking of different kinds of music and things like that, let’s say you’re at Mickey’s tonight or The Machine Shop tomorrow and you leave your phone our your iPad or whatever you listen to music on, laying around, what would be the one or two pieces of music that a fan might find that you bought that would just surprise them?

C.J.: That would surprise them? I mean I’m definitely a metal fan. I mean I love Slipknot, Mudvayne stuff, of course I love Pantera. All the Pantera catalog on my phone I listen to daily still. Some would be surprised… I do have a wide variety of music man. We all listen to a wide variety. I mean we’re definitely 80’s fans. You’ll hear a lot of old school metal in there as well. I guess that’s really no surprise man. That’s really what I listen to. I mean you might have a song here and there that just happened to be on there, just for fun.

Toddstar: No Rihanna?

C.J.: No Rihanna? Might be one or two Rihanna songs in there. I got to be honest with you man. There might be. There might be a Sia song. There might be a little of Sade in there too, but you know. But it’s mostly metal, in all honesty.

Toddstar: Okay. You guys are out on the road and you still got some… about a week or so left on the swing, but when you’re packing to go out on the road what are the couple things you look around your place and you think I can’t forget to take that, I got to have that on the road with me.

C.J.: Every single tour that we’ve done, I take less and less stuff. It’s like: my stage shirt and stage pants, some wrist bands in case you got a hot sweaty club. A couple pieces of jewelry and a couple of fresh socks and underwear. That’s about it man. Although this time I’ve taken my laptop… not my laptop, my whole computer rig. Been doing some recording on the side. Of course the local bands that I need to get in there and finish editing. A day off on this tour has been like a long drive day. Or fix the ride day. Change the tires. Things like that so I haven’t really got around to doing anything else with it, but I pack pretty light man. Definitely make sure the phone and the phone charger is there.


Toddstar: Cool. You mentioned you guys have got some new music ready to go and you guys take your time normally in between discs and in between your self-titled and Resilience it was three years. There was only about a year between that and the reissue for the anniversary. How long are we going to have to wait for new material?

C.J.: Well, we kind of roll with the times man. We want to go with the new way and have different things; it’s a new way of thinking. We want to get new stuff out there sooner than later. That’s kind of partly why records take two or three years is definitely a label thing, a management thing. Obviously with us there’s been a couple of singer switches which kind of sets you back. One step back, two steps forward, type of situation. But man, we’re full steam ahead. The issue we have now is we just have so much material. It’s like we’re picking what songs we want to put out first, which is a good problem to have that day. We have a, we keep making lists and redoing lists of what we want to have out there. We definitely have what we want to do as a full CD but also, we’re starting to think about maybe doing a couple songs at a time and getting them out there and then maybe at the end of the year put them all together as a full CD just so we can get new material out to the fans on a regular basis. I think that’s just the way things are going nowadays and instead of making people wait three years, it’s kind of ridiculous now.

Toddstar: It’s funny because you guys have always been able to pepper the musical landscape with your stuff even when you weren’t putting out CDs. I mean you guys were putting singles out, stuff that was specific to movies, soundtracks, and whatnot.

C.J.: Right.

Toddstar: Speaking of that, you guys did collaborate with Rob Zombie on “Man Without Fear.”

C.J.: We did. That was fun man. Rob was cool man. Super cool guy.

Toddstar: If there was anybody else there who you could collaborate with, besides the guys in Drowning Pool, who would it be?

C.J.: Oh, because we’ve also collaborated with Nikki Sixx as well, and did a couple songs with him in the past. Who else would be, who else would we collab with? I don’t know man. We all have a good time jamming together. I can’t really think who else would be nice to jam with. I mean it’d be fun to jam out with Metallica and write some songs with them, right? That’d be awesome.

Toddstar: Right. That’s on everybody’s wish list isn’t it?

C.J.: Yeah, right. Hang out, rock out for a day, and see what happens. Yeah, we’re really fortunate man. We’ve toured with a lot of bands. You know, we did the Motley Crue, we did the Cruefest. We got to rock out with Ozzy. That’d be somebody else that’d be fun to write with as well, man. He just has that distinct voice. Yeah, man. It’s all about writing what you feel, being original. That’s really… kind of sticking to our guns on that.

Toddstar: You guys are kind of known for the song “Bodies” your first huge, huge, huge single. Other than that, which couple songs do you think will always find their way into a Drowning Pool Live set?

C.J.: Definitely “Tear Away” man. It’s got its own cool vibe. That song just… it seems like more so than ever, it kind of evolved into its own thing. Everything else that’s in the record has been great, but I like a lot of new stuff as well. There are a lot of songs out there. Some of them are freaking killer. I think some we haven’t had a chance to do in the live show. It’s fun with Jasen. We can kind of pop in and do whatever we want every night. Sometimes people come up and ask for random back catalog songs and we play them. It’s fun to do that. With other past singers we really couldn’t do that. Jasen, out of respect obviously Dave Williams and all the Drowning Pool fans, he learned and knows every song that we’ve ever written prior to him and he’s bringing awesome stuff to the table so. So we’ll see man. “Bodies” will always be in there of course. It’s funny when people ask… they ask me every night, “Are you going to play ‘Bodies’ tonight?” Of course man. I’ll play it five times a night if you let us. I love that song. It’s fun man.


Toddstar: It wouldn’t be a Drowning Pool show without “Bodies” in there somewhere. You mentioned Jasen but he’s got some great songs in his own right. What’s it like for you guys when you come across and you actually get to play “One Finger And A Fist” or “Anytime, Anyplace” live? Is the same energy there that you have for the older stuff?

C.J.: Definitely man. We still play “One Finger And A Fist.”  It has been in the set list since we wrote it. You get that same vibe. Fans go nuts. It’s awesome to see that, that they still love it. It is, I mean like you said, 13 years later. It isn’t a new song and it’s still got that same energy to it. Jasen puts his own spin on it so kind of looking forward to getting this other stuff out, the newer stuff out as well. We’ll always have that cool sound. Like I said Drowning Pool evolved. Jasen brings a unique sound and style favorites that totally fits our music. He can a song as well and he brings his own stuff to the table and everything works man. There’s really… like I said it’s really fun.

Toddstar: Cool. I know you’re busy, I know you’re trying to get to Ohio tonight so I got one more for you. Looking back over your career and over everything’s that’s happened to C.J. Pierce from Drowning Pool and everything else, is there a couple moments professionally you can look back and say I am so proud of that and that’s what I want to be remembered for? What would those moments be?

C.J.: What would I say I’m proud of? I mean it was awesome to go to Capitol Hill and help get the Lane Evans Mental Health Care Reform bill passed. I mean I feel is a pretty awesome thing to, you know, get support from our fans. Here recently we’ve helped out American Heart Association. We have an indie gogo campaign we’re trying to raise $13,000 and deal with that. We have commemorative Dave shirts that you get when donate $30 or more. Things like that. I think all the stuff that we’ve done… USO… we do a lot of stuff with charity. We did the Wounded Warrior project; we do stuff with them as well. It’s awesome when these opportunities come up man we jump on it. Talking with somebody about the other day and I look back now it’s getting so much bigger of all the stuff that we’ve done. I love doing it. I love giving back. We’re very fortunate to be successful. We’re fortunate to sell a million records. We’re fortunate that fans do want to come out and listen to us. The least we can do man is give back and we do every chance we get. Definitely like to be remembered for that.

Toddstar: You guys see and talk to so many people but I discuss that with you and Mike actually in 2010.  As a veteran who loves you guys, it’s so nice to know how heavily you guys were in different projects for veterans.

C.J.: Yeah, you’ve got to support friends and family dude, everybody. Especially veteran’s man. They put their life out there on the line. They definitely need some support and when they get back home man.

Toddstar: Again, we all appreciate you as much as you appreciate us. As fans we love you guys and we can’t wait to see you guys take the stage once again and tear it up at the world famous Machine Shop tomorrow night in Flint, Michigan.

C.J.: Yeah, man. We’ll be ready to go. I might sound a little bit tired right now but that’s just because we’re driving… come, doors open at 7:00. You get in go mode. I’m just saving it all for the show man.

Toddstar: Cool. All right. C.J. Safe travels and we’ll see you tomorrow night.

C.J.: All right man. Thanks so much for having me. We’ll rock it out tomorrow. Have a good night man.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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