DROWNING POOL's RYAN MCCOMBS: 'We've Been Writing' New Music 'Like Crazy'

April 17, 2024

In a new interview with The Front Row Report With Reggie Edwards, returning DROWNING POOL singer Ryan McCombs discussed the progress of the songwriting sessions for the new music that he and his bandmates — guitarist C.J. Pierce drummer Mike Luce and bassist Stevie Benton — have been working on in recent months. He said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "In between the [last couple of tours that DROWNING POOL did], there was no break there. The day after that last show [of the previous tour], I jumped on an airplane, flew down to Dallas and we were in the studio just hammering these new songs we have been writing. 'Cause we've been writing like crazy since we all got back. It's just kind of lit a spark underneath everybody's ass. We're all just having fun with it again. And it's gotten the creative juices flowing and we're just enjoying writing and creating together again. So DROWNING POOL is back in the studio and we'll have new music out to everybody this year."

Regarding how things are different this time around after he rejoined DROWNING POOL following a 12-year absence, Ryan said: "If you rewind to 2011 or whenever it was that we took our break, that's exactly the conversation that was had, that was a conversation between C.J. and I. It was kind of like, 'I feel like you're getting a little burnt.' 'Yeah. I'm getting a little burnt.' 'Yeah, we're feeling this or 'we're feeling that. And it was, like, 'Maybe we should just take a break for for a little bit,' just kind of walk away, take a little break away from our thing, because we toured like dogs. And then, all of a sudden, 12 years later, we're getting back together, and it's, like, 'Wow, that break was a lot longer than anybody anticipated.' [Laughs] But everybody's changed to a degree, because you're talking 12 years. You're talking 12 years of life, 12 years of experience, 12 years of just being in a different place in each individual's lives. So everybody's changed. I know I have. I know that I have big time. The shit these guys put up for me back in the day, man… I've said it from day one, since we did part ways. they put up with a lot more from me than I ever put up with from them. So, I know that I've changed a lot since back then, and everybody has. Like I said, it's 12 years of living that everybody's experienced. There's different kids involved now. I've got a stepson that I didn't have back then. They've all got actual children that they didn't have back in [those days]. So, I mean, everybody's lives has changed in big ways, just as far as just living or being a human being and being alive. And that reflects how you handle your business. And not just that, but you're talking about the fact that we're all 12 years older. So, yeah, we can't be as stupid as we were once."

He continued: "It's interesting that you asked that question [about how things are different now] because having just come out of pre-production with guys, it's the first opportunity to experience back to writing with these guys again. And I always loved… I've said my favorite album that I've ever been a part of is the self-titled DROWNING POOL record. And I've always loved the music that we did together… But there are things that are, there are things even in that regard that are different now and everybody's gotten more comfortable. But it has to do with what I was saying as far as just the years that have gone by. Different people have gotten more comfortable sharing.

"If I rewound to 2012, we all had a hand in everything that we did," he explained. "We all had a hand in the creating, the arranging and every aspect of the songs. But this time around, it seemed like it was even more so. This time around, it was… I mean, Stevie Benton, that dude is a wordsmith. I've always been the majority writer when it comes to the lyrics and stuff and then everything that I've done in my career solely with SOIL and a good majority with DROWNING POOL. But I never realized — that dude is a wordsmith. So I've enjoyed experiencing the fact that from the last time that I've worked with these guys that they've also — even though not once did I ever think that they needed to, but they've grown in certain ways or I should say gotten more comfortable sharing in different ways. And so just experiencing that this time around, it's gotten me even more excited about the music that we're continuing to write together."

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.

Earlier this month, Pierce told Pierre Gutiérrez of Rock Talks about the new DROWNING POOL material: "We have three new songs that we're working out right now. One of 'em is pretty much ready to go there. There's two we're still touching on. So I was hoping to get that going for this [upcoming] run [of shows]. We'll definitely have that ready to go by May, 'cause we're doing two weeks now and then when we get back home for the other two weeks, we're gonna be in the studio finishing that up. I'm hoping to have new music out for everybody by June, but I definitely wanna pop in and play it at shows and give people a taste. So that's gonna be a sporadic thing too."

Regarding the musical direction of the new DROWNING POOL songs, Pierce said: "Oh, man, it's been so great, dude. It's intense as ever, man. It's awesome having Ryan McCombs back in the band. It's been a good 13 years since we had the chance to write music together again. And when he came back in last year — the whole thing is Ryan was gonna come back, [we were] gonna do some reunion shows with him, and he walked in the door and we just started writing together. So we have a lot of music on the plate. We just got it down to the first three here. But, dude, it's just intense. A lot has gone on in everyone's lives in the last 13-plus years, and all of us, we worked together as a band. It was awesome doing this. We're sitting down, doing the final touches on some of the new songs, all four of us at a table, spitballing lyrics and ideas, bouncing off each other as a full band. So I love that about our band. It's fun to work with my other brothers and all of us have a say-so in the song, and that's what makes it a DROWNING POOL song."

Pierce also talked 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."

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.

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