DROWNING POOL are strongly rumored to have recruited ex-BUILT XL frontman Jason "Gong" Jones to fill the singer slot in the group left vacant by the death of Dave Williams.
A native of Los Angeles, Jones, 29, is believed to have spent the past few weeks in Dallas, Texas writing and demoing new material with the band, whose 2001 debut, "Sinner", has sold over a million copies in the U.S.
A relative unknown, Gong had previously auditioned for the then-vacant singer slot in SEPULTURA during the Brazilian band's vocalist search in 1997 and was briefly a member of CHOP SHOP, the short-lived Los Angeles group led by ex-MANHOLE guitarist Scott Ueda. More recently, Jones was linked with the new project formed by ex-FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares (with whom he recorded a three-song demo) and was believed to be involved with FIVE-O-CLOCK, the new group featuring former AMEN guitarist Sonny Mayo, ex-WHITE ZOMBIE drummer Ivan De Prume, and bassist Stevo Bruno.
Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine late last year shortly after kicking off their vocalist search, DROWNING POOL drummer Mike Luce said that the band were aware of the difficult task laying ahead of them. "The other day we got a tape from a guy who sounded so much like Dave it was eerie," Luce said. "It kind of freaked us out, and, it's not the guy's fault, but I don't know if we'll see him because of that. It was just too weird.
"We're not looking for Dave II," Luce continued. "That wouldn't be cool for us, Dave, his family or our fans. At the same time, we want somebody to step in and complete the circle. The guy will show up and be completely the right guy or he won't."
"It's not just, 'Can you sing the parts Dave sang?' but, 'Can you write new stuff and can you live on the bus with eight guys for eighteen months and not be a shithead?'"
The 30-year-old Williams was found dead on the DROWNING POOL tour bus on August 14, while the band were touring as part of the U.S. Ozzfest. An inquest into the singer's death in September concluded that the singer died from cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease for which he was never diagnosed. No traces of drugs were found in the vocalist's system, finally dispelling widespread speculation about the cause of his death.