Interview with Stevie Benton of Drowning Pool April 2, 2013

April 8, 2013 by: admin

April 2, 2013

Drowning Pool

Eleven Seven Music

Stevie Benton (Bass)

Dallas, Texas

By: Shauna O’Donnell

Hi Stevie, thanks for talking with me today.

Stevie: Hey how are ya?

I’m good, how are you doing?

Stevie: I’m excellent. Thank you very much for coming on here.

No problem at all. The tour with Flyleaf is over. How did that go?

Stevie: It went really great. It was a blast! They were the coolest people on Earth to hang out with. We had an awesome time the entire tour. The crowds were really receptive to each band even though they’re very different not only musically, but in a philosophical and spiritual way. Different ends of the spectrum if you will. It went off surprisingly well. There were a lot of Flyleaf fans that were really receptive to Drowning Pool and I’m sure vice versa.

Both you and Flyleaf were out with new singers. How did fans react to new singer Jasen Moreno?

Stevie: Awesome! We have a new phrase called Moreno Mania!

I’m part of that I have to tell you. I think he is amazing!

Stevie: He is great! It has been a long time since the first three rows at a Drowning Pool show was full of a bunch of screaming chicks. He is out there working it alone. He’s like the good looking guy and we are the old dudes standing behind him going “what the fuck is going on here?” It is pretty crazy.

I take it he is bringing a lot to the band then?

Stevie: Oh yeah! Absolutely!

How did it come to be that he joined the band? Did you just click with him right off the bat?

Stevie: Yeah, he is from our hometown, so we’ve known him for a long time. His band had opened for us. We go way back. After the trouble we’ve had with the past couple singers, one thing we knew for sure this time, even though we had a lot of really great demos send to us by a lot of really great singers, we had made up our mind early on that we wanted a guy that we have known for a long time. We didn’t want someone who would act one way to get the gig and then a year later he is a totally different person. That was a big thing for us. We already knew Jasen could sing, we just needed to see how we clicked with him when it came to writing songs. Writing this record was really his audition process. For him it went from not being sure if he had the gig from one day to getting on the plane to go make the record the next. At first, he started off looking like a scared, wide-eyed pup and now he is up there shaking it and going crazy on stage. It has been fun to watch.

That is really cool, so he was able to write the lyrics for this record then.

Stevie: A lot of it. He was at least there to contribute. We have always been a band that writes everything together. We at least in the final process of putting a song together do it as a group. Everyone gets their two cents in there. The guy is really like a one man band. He can play and doesn’t really need the rest of us anymore, so the next Drowning Pool record might just be Jasen and all the other dudes.

Are all of the songs on this album new material or are some of them songs that were written before Jasen joined the band?

Stevie: I think 90% of it is new. A lot of it was written during the time where we knew we weren’t going to have Ryan again, but we weren’t sure who the new singer was going to be. We had down time at home, so of course we all sat around and wrote a lot of stuff. Once you get the singer, it all changes because he has to put his stamp on it. You can’t have a singer singing something that he does not feel comfortable singing.

I agree with you. On April 9th you will be releasing your fifth studio album titled Resilience via Eleven Seven Music. This is a damn good record! The album cover is great too!

Stevie: Alright! I want you to call me all the time and tell me that.

I really love the song “One Finger and A Fist.” Those girls were beating the hell out of each other in that video.

Stevie: Yeah I know! I was there right off camera watching every second of it. It was funny, when we first got the treatment that the director for the video put together, we were all sitting around reading it and I was like “I don’t know if it goes with the song, chicks beating each other up, how are people going to view that?” Nobody wanted to be the guy that said “You know what? I don’t want to spend my day watching a bunch of half naked chicks rip each other’s clothes off. That just doesn’t sound like fun.” (Laughs) So, we just stuck with it.

How many of the new songs were you playing live on the Flyleaf tour?

Stevie: I think we were playing about three, but now that the record is getting ready to come out people will be more familiar with the material, so we will start to play a lot more.

On the 10th anniversary of Dave Williams’ death, the band released the first single with Jasen Moreno titled “In Memory Of…” as a tribute to Williams. I was going to ask which song has the most meaning, but I’m guessing this one would be it.

Stevie: Ummm you know, they all mean something to me. If you want to pick a memorable song I think you have to do that individually. It is hard to say because we are right there in the middle of it, but the song definitely has a lot of meaning. We felt like it was about time that we said how we felt about what happened. We just never wanted it to seem like we were trying to cash in on his tragedy, so we were never in a big hurry to put out a song about it. It has been ten years since he passed, so we wanted to at least acknowledge that he is part of our life forever. Dave will always be a part of this band no matter what. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about him or talk about him, so that is really what the song is about.

“Life of Misery” is another one of my favorites on the record. What is the story behind the song?

Stevie: (Laughs) Oh man! That song is kind of about the last year or two that the band had on the road touring on the last record. Everyone was miserable and ready to move on. Our side and I’m sure Ryan’s side as well. Instead of just wallowing in it, it was best to go our separate ways.

The album was produced by Kato Khandwala at House of Loud Studios in New Jersey as well as John Feldmann. This is your second time working with Kato. You have written a lot of records over the years, what is it that Kato brings to the table that isn’t already there?

Stevie: He is a really talented guy and a really good songwriter. He’s not just a producer, he is also the voice of reason sometimes. He is a guy whose opinion everyone trusts. There are four guys in the band and very often the vote on what we should do about a song is split down the middle, so he is that trusting deciding vote. That is invaluable. Plus his personality is dry wit sarcasm. It pretty much makes it impossible to be tense during the recording process because it can be really stressful. Kato is one of a kind. Once you are around him it kind of alleviates all the pressure. You can track a song, think that you’ve nailed it, think that it is perfect, you are done and Kato will come up and say “Well it is your record. If you want me to put that on there I will, but I don’t know.” You’d think that would make the process worse, but it works for us for some reason.

I think it’s important to have that outside ear when recording. The album¹s lead single “Saturday Night” is climbing the active rock radio charts. I watched the video for the song. It looked like it was a lot of fun to film. It was one helluva party going on there.

Stevie: Oh Yeah! That is all we have anymore. Being on the road is a grind, so you have to have fun while you can. Every video has to have people drinking, naked chicks or something.

Where did you film it?

Stevie: Both were filmed in Dallas. “Saturday Night” was filmed in a couple different seedy locations downtown. “One Finger and A Fist” was filmed inside the old downtown Dallas prison where they took Oswald after he shot Kennedy. It was creepy, dark and scary in there. It was a haunted jail.

Next up are some European dates with Fozzy. That sounds exciting!

Stevie: Yes, we are actually going to Russia for the first time ever. We drink a lot of vodka, so we should fit right in.

What are the plans as far as summer festivals this year?

Stevie: I’ve already seen a few pop up on our dates, but I didn’t really check out where they were. I saw both festival and club dates throughout the summer.

I’ve talked to some bands who don’t like to look at the schedule ahead of time. They like to be surprised as to where they are going.

Stevie: Yeah, if you look at it and see show after show it can seem exhausting. I just take it day by day and it is a lot easier.

Drowning Pool continues to grow with each passing year and you guys just keep getting better. What do you think has been the secret to your longevity?

Stevie: I honestly don’t know. Most bands can’t endure a single singer change and we have had multiple. We have had a lot of fans stick with us from day one. We are extremely thankful and grateful everyday that we wake up and are still doing this. I really can’t explain it. I don’t know why so many bands have come and gone. We are one of the few that are still here like a cockroach. That is the only way I can describe us. We are the cockroaches of metal.

The strongest survive in this industry.

Stevie: Well hey you said it, not me, so I don’t have to sound arrogant and cocky. I’ll just agree with you and it won’t sound as bad.

What has been some of the highlights so far in your career?

Stevie: Getting our first record deal of course was huge. That was the greatest time in my life. The build up, the getting it and the time that the three of us and Dave spent driving coast to coast in some van that we had to tape together because labels were calling us. One time we drove to L.A. from Dallas in this crappy van. Cell phones were just starting to become popular, but of course we couldn’t afford any. So we drove to L.A., showcased, packed up, and drove all the way back to Dallas. We got to Dallas where we had this one bedroom apartment with this old rotary phone that had this little cassette message recorder. We literally walked in the door, played the messages and heard a message that said “We need you to pack up and come to a New York showcase in a day.” We picked up our bags, walked back to the van and started driving again.

Wow, but it paid off.

Stevie: Oh yeah! Absolutely! So of course that whole time period and also when our record went platinum. That was big. Another one that comes to mind is we played in Baghdad for the troops on the anniversary of 9/11. That was a big show and one of those nights that gave you goose bumps. It was really awesome! Hopefully we will have a lot more with this record.

I think it is going to do very well. Thanks so much for the interview. It was awesome talking with you.

Stevie: Thank you so much. I’ll talk to you soon.

European Tour Dates w/ Fozzy:

April 11 – Southampton, UK ­ The Cellar

April 12 – Plymouth, UK ­ White Rabbit

April 13 – Brighton, UK ­ Concorde 2

April 14 – Norwich, UK ­ Waterfront

April 16 – Nottingham, UK ­ Rescue Rooms

April 17 – Rugby, UK ­ The Vault

April 18 – Stoke, UK ­ Underground

April 19 – York, UK ­ Fibbers

April 20 – Manchester, UK ­ NQ Live

April 21 – Wrexham, UK ­ Central Station

April 23 – Bristol, UK ­ The Fleece

April 24 – London, UK ­ Electric Ballroom

April 25 – Paris, FR – La Maroquinerie

April 26 – Cologne, DE – Essinfabrik

April 27 – Munich, DE – Feierwerk

April 28 – Vienna, AT – Flex

April 30 – Moscow, RU – KKZ

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