Drowning Pool Biography
C.J. Pierce: Guitars/vocals
Stevie Benton: Bass/vocals
Mike Luce: Drums/vocals
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Drowning Pool's tale of perseverance is just as inspiring as their music.
The all-American anthemic rock band has persevered through the death of their first singer and losing their second, emerging a stronger unit than ever before. From presenting the Lane Evans Health Act to Barack Obama, while senator, and coming back with their first consecutive album with a singer, vocalist Ryan McCombs, Drowning Pool continue to survive. After their biggest single ever, "37 Stitches" and four years of nonstop touring, which culminated with 2009's Crüe Fest 2, the Dallas quartet are set to release their fourth full-length album, Drowning Pool (Due out April 2010 on Eleven Seven Music).
The album is a statement on various levels. It's a statement that Drowning Pool can write anything—from fist-pumping arena rock songs such as "Feel Like I Do" and "Let the Sin Begin" to the introspective acoustic haze of "Alcohol Blind" and the pensive pain of "Turns So Cold." It's a statement that this band is airtight musically, with the combination of Ryan McCombs's roar, C.J. Pierce's fret fireworks, Stevie Benton's thundering bass lines and Mike Luce's propulsive percussive palette. It's a statement that Drowning Pool won't stop, coming back with the fourth album of their decade-long career after withstanding the tragic death of original vocalist Dave Williams and parting with his replacement. Most importantly, it's a statement that Drowning Pool's music will be here forever.
Drowning Pool proved their boundlessness on 2007's Full Circle—the first offering with McCombs. The album's single, the infectious "37 Stitches," was Drowning Pool's highest charting single to date even surpassing breakout single "Bodies," and the band tore it up on their most successful U.S. jaunt 2009's Crüe Fest II. When it came time to make Drowning Pool right after Crüe Fest, one thing was clear for these four musicians. "We just want to be a rock band," says McCombs. "The material on Drowning Pool shows that. It's what comes naturally to us."
That's evident from one listen. These songs were meant to be played loud—real loud.
Pierce elaborates, "An album has to be entertaining and it has to flow. This is our staple record. We've grown so much since Sinner. We wanted to make this the strongest rock album possible and I believe we've done just that. We went in the studio with the highest expectations of ourselves and took this music to a whole new level. "
They most definitely did. First single, "Feel Like I Do," blasts out a chorus that challenges you to shout aloud with fist in the air. Given its bombastic nature, the song is primed to be blaring out of stereos everywhere now that it has hit airwaves. For McCombs, "Feel Like I Do" possesses a deep meaning. "So many fans come up to me and say, 'Your song helped me get through what I was going through.' We all go through the trials and tribulations of living. This song says, 'We've all felt this way, let's just embrace it and go with it.' Acknowledge the fact that life's rough, but it's nothing we all haven't gotten through before and we'll get through it again. It's going to be fine. Keep that smile on!"
Regardless of all that was going on in their lives throughout the recording, Drowning Pool banded together during the time they were making record number four at rock radio hit factory, "House of Loud" (Breaking Benjamin, Paramore) with Kato Khandwala producing and David Bendeth mixing. Kato and David brought the band's sound to another level. Mike excitedly explains, "Sonically, Drowning Pool squashes anything we've ever done. This record is really diverse too. There's some material that could've been taken right off Sinner, and there's some new stuff that goes beyond all expectations of this band. I can't wait for people to sink their teeth into it."
There's a lot for fans to sink their teeth into too since the band has gone emotionally deeper than ever before, with powerful cuts such as "More than Worthless" and "Regret." Drowning Pool chose to make the album self-titled, because they feel finally solidified into the band that they always set out to be—a powerful anthemic rock outfit with heart and a whole lot to say. Stevie continues, "There are a lot of episodes and storylines in the songs. The songs reflect our lives, but they could apply to anyone's life. Anybody that listens to the album can have a song that he or she connects to. People will be fans for life if they feel like you're speaking to them and for them, and we are."
Drowning Pool also continue to give back as well. They've shown support for our troops overseas during tours for the soldiers in Kuwait and Iraq in 2005 and 2006 respectively. They were also instrumental in the passing of the Lane Evans Health Act providing better mental health care for our veterans. During a trip to Capitol Hill, they introduced then Senator Obama to the Lane Evans Bill, which he sponsored in the Senate and went on to become law supporting the medical rights for our returning warriors. Drowning Pool engaged in a tour of South Korea for MWR (The US Army’s Family & morale, welfare and recreation organization) and, on Memorial Day 2009, they even played Guatanamo Bay. About these special shows, Mike's enthusiasm is palpable. "Playing for the troops on the front lines really was one of the most gratifying things we've ever done. To play in a rock n roll band with your buddies is like winning the lottery. It's even grander to light someone up for a little while, bring a little bit of rock n' roll from home and give them an escape for a few hours."
That escape comes tenfold in the new songs. McCombs lyrically bares his soul across the course of the album. Midway through recording, his father passed away, but he was able to pen some of his most powerful material in the aftermath. "Making the record at House of Loud was such a journey in and of itself," reveals McCombs. "With the loss of my dad and battling my own personal demons, this album enabled me as a lyricist to portray that trip. It's the trip through all the bad, and the realization, at the end, that it's just chapters. There's always another chapter, and things aren't so bad. There's a lot wrapped up in this record—more than anything I've been part of putting together in my professional history."
One of the album's standouts, "Over My Head," draws inspiration directly from McCombs's bond with his father. "I originally wrote those lyrics about my significant other," says the singer. "When my dad passed away, I realized the song was a lot deeper than just a romantic relationship. That song means so much to me in terms of my relationship with my father. When I dropped out of college to pursue music, he didn't question it. If we played a show within a four-hour drive of Indiana, he would get in the car and drive there and spend the whole day with me wherever that was. He was so proud of what I was doing and what I had accomplished. That song turned into such an emotionally focused song, as I went through losing him. He was the greatest father that anybody could ever ask for." In some ways, the story of "Over My Head" mirrors that of "Bodies." "Bodies" began as a moshpit anthem and it became a song for the troops. Similarly, "Over My Head" went from covering a romantic relationship to celebrating the father and son bond between McCombs and his late-father.
In the end, the future looks brighter than ever for the band. They'll be tearing it up across the world in support of Drowning Pool, and more great things stand on the horizon. McCombs goes on, "It is a bizarrely twisted success story that we're still doing this in today's climate with the music business. The fact that we're still able to do what we do and people are standing behind us is amazing."
These all-American anthemic rockers are only getting stronger by the song though, persevering with each riff. Raise your hands if you feel like I do – Like we do – Like we all do!—Rick Florino