On The Line with CJ Pierce of Drowning Pool

Drowning Pool quickly became one of the best-known and most successful rock bands of the new millennium. And a good reason for that is because of their platinum debut album, Sinner. The band’s biggest hit, Bodies, still stands as one of the most recognizable and popular modern rock songs. To celebrate and honor that, Drowning Pool will be issuing a rerelease of Sinner entitled “Unlucky 13th Anniversary Edition”, along with an accompanying tour where they will be performing the album live in its entirety. The rerelease will include two discs with the second containing all of the demos for the songs and an unreleased demo.

I spoke with the CJ Pierce, the guitarist for Drowning Pool, to discuss all of the excitement surrounding these events. We also spoke about hot topics such as performing live at Wrestlemania X8, Motley Crue, Ozzfest, Fozzy and more!

Alex Obert: How is the tour for the thirteenth anniversary of Sinner going so far?

CJ Pierce: It’s going great, man. It’s awesome to be playing that whole album again in its entirety. It’s fun to see the reaction of the fans, especially those hardcore fans, singing along to the tracks we haven’t played in thirteen years.

Alex Obert: Which songs are most exciting to play again?

CJ Pierce: They’re all fun and exciting. Sermon is one that we just haven’t played in a long time. It’s one of my favorite songs.

Alex Obert: What is Jasen’s opinion of the album?

CJ Pierce: He’s been a fan forever. We’ve known him for years. Jasen used to play in another band and we used to do shows together. So he’s definitely heard all these songs back in the day. I think it’s really cool for him to be able to sing the whole record. He’s been awesome, man. Such a great guy, so dedicated. He’s always rehearsing and warming up his voice. He gives it a hundred percent.

Alex Obert: What would Dave think of the current lineup and live show?

CJ Pierce: Dave knew Jasen, so I think he’d be happy about it. Jasen’s got his own cool vibe that he brings. That’s what I love about Jasen, he’s a very original guy. The songs that we have been working on with him while moving forward showcase his own sound and voice. He brings something cool to the table.

Alex Obert: What does it mean to you that Sinner became such an iconic representation of Drowning Pool?

CJ Pierce: I have a really bad concept of time, I just can’t believe it’s been thirteen years. But it still kickin’. Let the Bodies Hit the Floor, it’s still used for all kinds of stuff. People still react to that song as though it just came out yesterday. It’s really cool and unexpected that this album would still have some meaning and relevance thirteen years later. The fact that people are still excited to listen to it, that’s awesome, man.

Alex Obert: And the band got a ton of radio play when album came out.

CJ Pierce: It’s not always like that. We were very lucky and fortunate. We just came out swingin’ when album came out. The songs got used in lot of different things. We did stuff for the WWE, we were on the Ozzfest tour, just a lot of cool things happening at the time. MTV used to play videos and they played the hell out of that one, so that was pretty cool.

Alex Obert: What did you think of performing at Wrestlemania X8?

CJ Pierce: It’s one of the few shows where I was actually kind of nervous. We were playing at the SkyDome with over sixty thousand people there. And on top of that, it was televised for millions of people worldwide. It was just awesome to be a part of that event, man. We have a great relationship with the WWE guys and we met a lot of cool wrestlers there. I actually stepped on The Undertaker’s foot. He was standing behind me and I backed up and stepped on his foot. I turned around and I was like, “Oh sorry dude, I didn’t mean to step on ya.” I looked up and I was like, “JESUS!” The guy was like ten feet tall. And he was like, “Hey, no problem, man. It’s all cool.” It was one of those moments where you’re just like, “I can’t believe I’m here right now!”

Alex Obert: Did you run into Saliva that night?

CJ Pierce: Yeah, that was the very first time I ever met those guys. We’ve been friends ever since and we just saw them a few weeks ago. That was the first time I ever partied with those dudes. Who knew that thirteen years later, I’d still be partying harder than them.

Alex Obert: What do you bring to the party with you?

CJ Pierce: I’m all about the alcohol, man. Alcohol is my choice.

Alex Obert: What’s your drink of choice?

CJ Pierce: Vodka’s easy because you can just mix it with anything, you don’t have to specifically look for something else for it. Or you can just drink it straight up.

Alex Obert: Outside of music and alcohol, what are your biggest interests?

CJ Pierce: It sounds like it’s a boring thing, but I just love music. Back in 2007 was when I really dove into Pro Tools. I have a home studio and I record local bands from Dallas. So not just writing and playing, I love recording too.

Alex Obert: Speaking of music from the studio, what are your thoughts on the previously unreleased demo, Heroes Sleeping? It will be featured on the reissue of Sinner for fans to finally listen to.

CJ Pierce: It’s awesome to be able to get that out there. I mean we just suddenly found that a few months ago, I didn’t even know we had it. Our sound guy recorded it on a cassette tape. I thought that was long gone and lost. It’s just something special to get out there to the fans. It’s just one of those things you’d see in a movie, it’s that lost song that was actually found. I’m looking forward to everybody hearing it, especially the hardcore fans. It’s one to get the demos out there, especially Bodies. Our songs were much longer in the demos, seven or eight minutes. We’d just go off on these little jam parts in the middle.

Alex Obert: As a music fan, which albums blew you away when you were younger?

CJ Pierce: When I was first getting into music, I was a huge Zeppelin fan. And Black Sabbath as well. Those records are great. With Paranoid, it’s like, “What is this scary devil music?” It was badass. Early Ozzy stuff with Randy Rhoads, nobody played like that, ever.

Alex Obert: Which modern rock bands are you into?

CJ Pierce: Nothing More. That stuff’s been high-energy. I’ve always been a Mudvayne fan. Gemini Syndrome has a great vibe, I like those guys.

Alex Obert: It’s become more difficult in a way for rock bands to get noticed with the decline of modern rock radio.

CJ Pierce: It kind of makes hard rock and heavy metal little bit more underground again, that’s how it was when I first got into it. The kids that are currently into metal come out to our shows and they still rock out hard.

Alex Obert: And those kids might just one day tour with those bands, much like Drowning Pool toured with Motley Crue for Crue Fest 2. What was that experience like for you?

CJ Pierce: That was an awesome fuckin’ time, dude. They’re one of my favorite bands. Getting to hang out with a band you grew up listening to, so surreal. You try to be cool, but in the back of your head, you are so excited.

Alex Obert: What you think of them currently doing the retirement tour?

CJ Pierce: I’m glad that they can get another tour in there. But I’m sure they’ll pop out and do some other shows. I hope they do. I hope it’s not the last of them. I know those guys have other projects that they do as well. The Sixx:A.M. stuff is awesome, I hope we can tour with them at some point. They have great songs.

Alex Obert: Who do you hope to tour with in the future?

CJ Pierce: Metallica. (laughs) Just Metallica! I would say everybody, man. We do a lot of radio shows, the one off shows, so we’ve seen all these different tour packages come together. We’ve definitely toured with most bands. But I would love to tour with Metallica, I put that out there every time. I’d love to do a full run with Papa Roach, I love those guys. We did a run with P.O.D. not too long ago, it was freakin’ awesome. P.O.D., Papa Roach, and ourselves came from the same time period and there’s just a certain vibe that comes along with it.

Alex Obert: What did you think of your run with Fozzy last year?

CJ Pierce: Fozzy’s awesome! Those dudes are great musicians. It was a fun time. We went over to Europe with the band and we shared a bus with them. It was pretty busy, everybody was doing their thing. I got to hang out with Chris a couple nights and rock out, he’s a huge eighties fan. He just sings all night long, man. It’s cool to see.

Alex Obert: When you returned to Ozzfest for the entire tour in 2010, what was the feeling like of returning there after everything that went on in 2002?

CJ Pierce: It was great to be a part of that tour again. I wish they did Ozzfest every year. 2001 was awesome and in 2002, we got to be on the main stage. We did a couple of one off shows Ozzfest after that. Each time you’re a part of it, you want to get better every night and put on a better show. You want to top yourself from the night before. It was a huge tragedy losing our buddy, Dave Williams. But it doesn’t bring any kind of bad memories when I think about Ozzfest, it’s all good memories. I remember the times we had with Dave. Even since Dave, we’ve done so many things. We’ve had a few other singers as well. We’ve toured this whole planet, we went to Iraq and Kuwait. We’ve done a lot. It’s a hard part of life, losing a family member or a friend. But I think the best thing you can do is to keep them in your memory and move forward. Enjoy life while we got it and while we’re still here.

Alex Obert: In closing, what is your touring schedule ahead?

CJ Pierce: This tour is gonna go all the way through December. I’d love to do another Spring run through the states and get to more cities. There’s so many cities. We get asked on Facebook why we’re not playing in certain cities, it’s cool that the fans still want us to play where they live. I’m gonna try to hit those on the next run.

Alex Obert: Looking forward to it! I’d love to thank you so much for your time and a great interview.

CJ Pierce: Thanks for having me, man!

Photo Credit: “Iron” Mike Savoia of Savoia Concert & Event Photography

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