DROWNING POOL Is Mixing First New Music With Singer RYAN MCCOMBS In 13 Years: 'We're Super Excited'

June 5, 2024

In a new interview with Scott Penfold of Loaded Radio, founding DROWNING POOL guitarist C.J. Pierce discussed the progress of the songwriting sessions for the new music that he and his longtime bandmates — drummer Mike Luce and bassist Stevie Benton — have been working on with singer Ryan McCombs. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We just got done recording in [Las] Vegas about two weeks ago, and it's getting mixed right now. So we do have three new ideas that we can't wait to get out. We're hoping to get them out here summertime, shooting for like June 15th. But things just take a little extra time, between touring schedule and life and family. Plus, we're not trying to rush anything. We're taking our time and writing what we feel and making sure it's good to go for everybody to hear it. So it's right there, man. It's pretty much just about done."

Pierce went on to say that he and his DROWNING POOL bandmates are once again working with producer Shawn McGhee. "He has his own studio," C.J. explained. "We did the last record with him as well. We did [2022's] 'Strike A Nerve' [with him]. And he's just a great guy to work with. He's on the same page as us and a great friend and a great musician and a killer producer and mixer. So, we love working with Shawn. He really knows how to capture what we're trying to do, man. That's the kind of producer you want. We put him in a driver's seat and somebody you can trust to have that outside ear to take what we have already and elevate it.

"I'm excited, man," Pierce added. "We're super excited, man. I was hoping to get out sooner, but right place and right time for everything. And it's right there, man. It's almost done."

Asked what fans can expect from the new DROWNING POOL music, Pierce said: "It just came out naturally. We just started writing. We were all excited to be together again. And we never try to be that kind of band to [go], like, 'Okay, let's write 'Bodies Part Two' or 'Sinner Part Two'. We just write what we feel. And then this came out naturally just to have that 'Sinner' record foundation with Ryan singing on it, man. It's probably the closest thing we've had that's like that, that's a good blend of us and Ryan and stuff from the Dave Williams [original DROWNING POOL singer] days. And it came naturally and organically and, dude, it's slamming. I'm excited to be playing these new songs coming up here shortly within the next few weeks."

Regarding what it has been like having Ryan step back into the band and if that familiarity was there again, C.J. said: "Yeah, it was there like that and then some, man, 'cause we're all different people. And getting to know all of us, the new us — new and improved, hopefully.

"We just did the [Welcome To] Rockville festival, and just to see friends say that, 'cause people are just now seeing us with Ryan again," he continued. "[People are telling us], 'Man, I can just tell you guys are having so much fun with it. It's awesome to see you guys'. You can tell when a band's up there doing it for real. There's no going through motions with us. And we're having fun with it."

Two months ago, Pierce told Tulsa Music Stream about the new DROWNING POOL music: "It's the first time we have new music with Ryan McCombs in 13 years. And everything's organic and natural. We just started jamming and it just came out like that. It's not trying to push anything or any agenda. We just had this great writing relationship, and it was awesome to click like that again, especially with everybody in the band. Before we finish up the lyrics and all the singing, we're all sat down at the table and bounce ideas off each other to finetune the songs. It's awesome to work with my brothers like that, to have that kind of relationship where everybody has some input and say into it. So when the song comes out, all four of us love what we do with it."

Asked if he and his bandmates usually discuss where they want their new music to go or if they just generally stick to a tried-and-tested formula, Pierce said: "It's actually none of those things at all. Sorry. The answer is none of the above. I mean, some people, they approach it like that. I know some bands have the songwriter in the band or two guys writing everything, and some people don't. I love the fact that we all just get in a room and jam. It's a feeling thing. Music's expressing what's going on at the time. So, the way ideas usually come up with us in DROWNING POOL, it's just, 'Hey, man, I have this feeling, this idea. What do you think about this or this subject matter?' If something comes up, like, 'We should write something about that.' It's different. It's not really a set formula. We need to sound like this; we need to sound like that."

He continued: "It was unfortunate that we lost Dave Williams in 2002 from cardiomyopathy, but it also allowed us to work with other singers. They all have their own style and where they fit within the music Mike, Stevie and I write, So that was also fun. I wouldn't say challenge as much as just coming up with you feel and then see how it works with the strong points of the singer that's singing to it as well. So it just comes up. Everything's, again, whatever you feel at the time; that's what we write. It's never been trying to follow the trend, which is I'm fine with bands that do that or trying to fit in here and there. We try to keep it a hundred percent original."

Pierce added: "There's a few bands out there that have that formula — like AC/DC, as an example — and that works for them and that probably works for them to stick with it. With us, we've kind of been all over the board with, obviously, singer changes and stuff. But everybody knows 'Bodies'. And that's the core sound of what we have anyway. And the excitement of Ryan coming back in the band with the new songs that we have are equal to, if not more jamming than, 'Bodies'. And not intentional, like 'we have to like write a 'Bodies Part Two'' or another song [like that]. It's we just have that fire again. So it just comes out like that."

Earlier in April, Pierce spoke to Pierre Gutiérrez of Rock Talks about how the new DROWNING POOL music compares to "Strike A Nerve", the band's first record in seven years, which came out in September 2022 via T-Boy/UMe. It marked the band's third album with singer Jasen Moreno, who joined DROWNING POOL in 2012. Asked if the material is "more balanced" than "Strike A Nerve", C.J. said: "I wouldn't say more balanced. With Jasen Moreno on the last couple of records, we just started going up a heavy thing. Plus our career, just things that were going on at that time — I write what's going on in my life at the time; it's art, it's music — and just things were getting more intense with Jasen. Not just Jasen, but the music business, everything. So the music got intense as well, as you hear. And then with Ryan back in here, we still have that same intention, but Ryan brings a different kind of aspect and the delivery to the songs. There's definitely the style that we had on the two records we did with Ryan that's there, but we still have that heaviness going on as well. So it's definitely the heaviest stuff we've done with Ryan, for sure. So it's all heavy, brother. There's definitely a few songs that may be… We had '37 Stitches' and songs like that with Ryan. We have one or two songs that are kind of more in that mellow zone with him as well that we're working on. But, yeah, the last few records, we were pretty much just slamming, just full-on super-heavy stuff, man, which I enjoy as well. So you're gonna get a mix of it. I feel like with Ryan, we can get more of a mix of styles in there as well… It's intense, man. It's intense music. That's what we write."

McCombs played his first shows back with DROWNING POOL in March 2023 at Club L.A. in Destin, Florida and at the inaugural Throwdown At The Campground festival in Fruitland Park, Florida.

The longtime SOIL frontman, who has lived in Swindon, England since 2018, originally joined DROWNING POOL in 2005 and appeared on two of the band's studio albums, "Full Circle" (2007) and "Drowning Pool" (2010),as well as a live album, 2009's "Loudest Common Denominator". He rejoined SOIL after exiting DROWNING POOL in 2011.

McCombs is continuing to front SOIL and will carry on recording and performing with both bands.

DROWNING POOL's debut album, "Sinner", was certified platinum within six weeks of its release in 2001, while the CD's first single, "Bodies", was one of the most frequently aired videos on MTV by a new band. DROWNING POOL reached out to an ever-greater audience with dynamic performances at Wrestlemania XVIII and Ozzfest during the summers of 2001 and 2002. Unfortunately, their streak of success was not to last. Shortly after rousing the crowd at Ozzfest in Indianapolis, Indiana, on August 3, 2002, vocalist Dave "Stage" Williams was found dead of natural causes on the tour bus.

Photo credit: Tricia Starr Photography (courtesy of
O'Donnell Media Group

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