On the D day of “Resilience“‘s release in Europe, RYL! got the opportunity to chat with guitarist CJ!
Hello CJ! How are you?
CJ (guitar) : I’m actually hurting pretty bad, I think I pulled a muscle. Also I got some more tattoos, a five hour session and I slept on my right side on the plane, so my whole side looks like someone stabbing me, but no complaining in rock’n’roll. (laugh)
Glad to be back in Paris? How long was it since the last time?
CJ : It’s been a long time for the band, for Drowning Pool, but I come here on a pretty regular basis because I grew up in New Orleans, so I do have some Parisian heritage and I come here in vacations a lot. I’ve been to the Louvre three times and I still haven’t seen all of it, it’s so huge man. But I love it here probably my favorite city; Jim Morrison moved here… I was thinking in moving here for six months just for trying out, we’ll see what happens in the future. I definitely love Paris.
So your new record “Resilience” is out today in Europe. What’s the message behind its title?
CJ : It’s a mix of stuff. Going in the writing process, there’re a handful of songs that kind of express the frustration… This band has been through a lot of stuff, like a rollercoaster riding; and when we knew that with the singer switch again which is very frustrating to have to do that, we wouldn’t make any full progress with the last position we were in. These songs kind of express that intensity and once we got Jasen Moreno, we started having fun again by finding the right guy filling this spot. So there’re lots of parts reflecting just fun rock’n’roll songs. It’s a good mix of both.
So it’s also the first record with your new singer, Jasen Moreno. How did he end up in the band? Were there other names on your list?
CJ : Yes, actually this time around more than any other time. Lot of great rock singers sent auditions and it was cool because, you know in the past we had so many issues and I was planning to take a good year or so to find the right guy I don’t want singer switch anymore. So we knew Jasen, he came up on the scene in Dallas with us in the late 90’s and we toured with his previous band so we already had a relationship and I didn’t know he was going to audition. We got a couple of guys, pretty well named, and his came up, he just nailed it man! Out of respect to the Drowning Pool fans and the past records, he took the time to learn every song and he also brought something new. He’s a hard worker and I never seen anybody so dedicated ever. So it’s been very healthy for our band, I knew we had to make a switch, appreciating the fans sticking with us but, we made this changes to improve our band.
As a new band member, what did he bring to the band?
CJ : He brought some fire back in it. He’s just really passionate about music and that’s why I still do this; since high school we love playing music together and we finally found another guy that’s just equally passionate as we are. He also makes me to wanna be a better writer.
We listened to the album and it’s pretty cool. His voice is very interesting. Isn’t it hard to have a new singer, the 4th for already 5 records?
CJ : It was just another day in the life of Drowning Pool. (laugh) This is probably the easiest switch we ever had. You know it was kind of like I just knew with the last singer that it’ll never last, I knew that a long time ago, so it’s just the matter of getting to this point, like if it was on my grocery list. Like “buy some toilet paper, fire the singer, oh find a new singer” just a normal day in the life of the band. We’ve down this road so many times now, but we have to move forward. It’s definitely frustration coming up too.
Is there any difference in making this new record, comparing to the others? Studio process, writing sessions.
CJ : Even though we recorded it at the same studio with the same producer, it’s always different for the writing process and the recording process. You’d think it is but it’s extremely different. Honestly I think it’s the easiest; working with Jasen such a singer, songwriter as well, and he’s great to bounce his ideas off. With other people in the past, I used to call it a sketchshoot, you’ve got an idea and you’re throwing it down, whereas Jasen try it out twenty different ways to make it out. So it really made it fun for writing and just made it easy. We worked really hard on these songs and we went through all, making what we wanted to say and we attacked it, so I’m very proud like the other records.
Does he play any instrument?
CJ : Yeah, he plays guitar and piano. He plays a bunch of instruments.
Did he bring piano stuff?
CJ : He didn’t yet, but I think we’ll see that on the next record! We already started writing a lot of material so.
About “Resilience”, if you had to pick 3 songs from it, which one and why?
CJ : Thank you for asking for 3 songs! People ask for one and I just can’t give you one song. “Digging These Holes” one of my favorite songs, sounds like classic Drowning Pool, probably one of my favorite guitar solo I’ve written. “Life Of Misery”, kind of my therapy song, dealing with frustrations and all these relationships that didn’t worked out, and it kind of reflects that; and I’m very happy with “In Memory Of…”, dedication song especially to Dave Williams and Dimebag Darell; and I do like “One Finger And A Fist”.
You will also tour Europe in a few days, what can we expect from it?
CJ : Rock show! Fire, lasers everything you’ll need like Iron Maiden (referring to our T-shirt), I wish we got all that stuff. You definitely see us in the crowd, hanging out with all the fans. We just bring 100% every night, we enjoy playing together and we push each other to have fun with it. Loud rock music!
What about the setlist?
CJ : It’s a mix. As I said, Jasen learnt all of our songs so we kind of mixed up. It’s fun because we play songs we didn’t play with some of the other singers on the other records. When I see my favorite bands… not necessarily the single is our favorite song, there’re album tracks that are to me always my favorite so, when you kind of figure out “oh my God it’s that song!”. So we play a bunch of songs from the “Sinner” album, the first record, pretty much the whole record; and a handful of new songs and a mix of the other two.
You’ll tour with Fozzy. Did you listen to their last album “Sin And Bones”?
CJ : I heard some of their stuff. It’s weird because we got a lot of mutual friends in the business. Like lately, the last month, me and Chris Jericho were mailing each other looking forward to the tour. We did a few shows in the past, I know they came a long way, everybody knows Chris Jericho. Super nice guy, so looking forward with these guys, it’s going to be a fun run, for sure.
By the way, did you watch WrestleMania yesterday?
CJ : I didn’t see it yesterday, sorry! I slept. I got to bed at about noon. And I slept till five o’clock’. I don’t know at what time it came on.
It was from 1 AM to 5 AM, here in France
CJ : Totally slept through. (laugh) That’s terrible, totally missed it. How was it?
The main event sucked but the others were fun. Chris lost so…
CJ : We’re about to do this tour, he can’t lose! (laugh)
Back to the album, can we consider that there’s an evolution in your music due to the singers?
CJ : It’s funny, again with Jasen Moreno, he really kind of favors to me, for all the singers we had, close to Dave’s style; I don’t think we got any limitations now. Again, with the last one, I’m really proud of these records but they kind of have distinct sound on the voice where Jasen has such a great range vocally, that musically I can write anything and he’d sing on it. I’m just so proud of this record, such a natural progression. Also, you want to bring something new to the table, my heart was always in rock’n’roll, but there’s lot of toys getting out every day: pedals, new pro tools, plugins and stuff. So we wanted to bring little sprinkles of that to stay relevant.
What can expect the fans from your new record?
CJ : It’s more metal than we ever had before. Mike’s on double bass, I got some bunch of leads, Dimebag’s sprinkles influences. It’s a very honest record; all the songs are definitely about specific subjects, and you’ll know it when you’ll hear to it.
What’s the last CD you bought?
CJ : What is the last album that I bought? I’m always buying stuff. I’m kind of buying back catalogue stuff to restock my phone. I bought all the Testament collection, a double Van Halen collection.
What’s the last gig you attended to?
CJ : It might have been The Pretty Reckless. We’re friends with them and have to same producer, I love her stuff, killer voice.
Any message to the French fans?
CJ : Please come out to the show and believe me, we know the frustration, we’ve been through it, but Jasen is awesome, super cool guy, and has a great voice. Come out and have fun with us guys! I’ll be there at the bar, always hanging out, come have a drink and have a good time with rock music.
Finally, as a tradition, we are “RockYourLife!”, what rocks your life?
CJ : RockYourLife! (laugh) What rocks my life ? Iron Maiden. Anything loud, loud music, that rocks my life! (laugh) And a nice shot of whisky!
Website : drowningpool.com