There's not a whole lot of bands out there today that can boast a resume as solid as P.O.D.'s. - multiple high-charting full length albums, including this year's brand new album, Murdered Love. I found myself out of my element when I arrived to this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. I guess that's what happens when headliners include artists such as Shinedown, Godsmack, and Staind.
After a day of being entertained by WWE Superstar Chris Jericho's band Fozzy, and Thousand Foot Krutch, I was blown away by P.O.D.'s 45 minute set to close out the side-stages for the day. I had always wanted to see the band since I was a young teenager, but never had the opportunity - the last time the band had previously hit the Northwest was in 2008. After the set, I talked with lead vocalist Sonny Sandoval about the band's new album, the tour, and more.
First off, now that this festival is almost done, how has the Uproar festival been for you guys?
Sonny Sandoval: It's been great man, it's easy, you can't complain. You show up to a new place and different venue, it's like a cakewalk. The only thing that changes is the crowds.
Would you say that this would be your ideal tour, as opposed to maybe a "Whosoevers" tour with The Chariot and Mychildren Mybride?
Sandoval: I mean, this is what we're used to, you know what I mean? If I'm doing Whosoevers stuff, it's mostly free show/outreach type of thing, bringing the community together, and obviously we like to share our faith and hangout with kids.
On a tour like this where you're not headlining, how hard is it picking a setlist? I know there's a lot of stuff missing from 3 or 4 records...
Sandoval: Yeah, I mean at first, we only had 30 minutes, but when Papa Roach dropped off the tour, we got an extra 10 minutes. We play the stuff we think people will know, and obviously we're promoting a new record, so we switch it up a bit.
If you could add any two songs to the setlist, which ones would it be and why?
Sandoval: Oh man, I can't wait to start playing the new single, "Higher", that's a fun song; but that's when people start to know it. I'd love to play "Will You", "Rock The Party", but we'll play them again soon.
Have you thought about doing a 10th anniversary tour for Satellite?
Sandoval: Yeah, we've thought about it. All these bands are touring their records from 10 years ago, and actually our booking agency mentioned "Hey, would you like to go out with so and so and do Satellite?", and it's like "Yeah, we'll do it...".
You're signed with Razor & Tie, which is interesting, considering you've been with Atlantic, and then INO for your last record. What led to the band signing with them?
Sandoval: It's just you know man, major labels are crumbling, and a majority are just out there for the one-hit wonder band, and they're not
looking for the next career band. So with Razor & Tie, they just want to sell records and put out quality music, and not try to rip off a band like us who've been around for 20 years, you know? It's a great partnership, and they're a great company.
And you have 2 more records with them?
Sandoval: Just one.
Did you ever think in the mid-90's that you'd still be doing this for a career 20 years down the road?
Sandoval: You know man, I never look past the moment, you know what I mean? I've been blessed since the first show. I consider myself very lucky, so I try to stay humble, and the fact that we're back at it after close to a 5 year hiatus is a cool thing.
What led to the 5 year hiatus? What did you do with the time off?
Sandoval: I did a lot of community stuff. For me, I wanted to get back to the roots and basics of my faith and find myself again, you get lost a little bit in the monotony of rock and roll, and it is what it is. With so many things going down, our band was starting to become this brand and go play shows, so I just kinda had to find myself again, and be willing to put this down.
When you came back after the hiatus, did you notice any sort of significant change in the scene?
Sandoval: Yeah, but I don't really keep up with it though. But I think that's what allowed us to write the record that we wanted to write; we didn't worry about what was cool, or what was on the radio.
Speaking of the new record, Murdered Love is your 8th full-length album, and it's definitely gotten a lot of positive and negative reactions from people, most notably with the songs "Bad Boy", and "I Am". Can you explain those songs a little bit?
Sandoval: Yeah man, honestly the only people these songs cause waves with are religious, self-righteous Christians. "Bad Boy" was just a tongue in cheek, cheesy, but it's almost trying to flip it on em', like why do girls wanna be the bad girl, the stripper, the porn star? It's like "Dude, I'm a bad boy, but I like good girls", so it's kind of like a joke thing, whereas "I Am" is very serious. It's funny, because you can do a Christian interview and they're so caught up on the four letter word, but you talk to some kid who's suicidal, and he goes "Dude, I love that song, it's my favorite, it spoke to me. I do believe Jesus died for my sins". In 20 years, I don't think we've ever been Christian enough for the church, and I don't think we ever will be, so I just have to answer my calling and answer to God at the end of the day.
Does it get old being on a pedestal for the Christian church? I mean, you'll post a picture on the Facebook page, and then you get all these rotten responses from people, saying stuff like "Oh, I'm never listening to your stuff ever again, you've changed, etc.".
Sandoval: I think it's idolatry, you know what I mean? It's like, "I'm nobody, who the hell am I? I'm just a guy like you who loves God..." and it's trying. I dont get it bro, I really don't understand it, and it gets frustrating, it's been a 20 year battle for us of like "Why am I even a Christian when we haven't been received by the Christian church?" - we have too many tattoos, our music is too heavy, etc. At the end of the day, I have to answer to the Lord.
You're doing a few spot dates after this tour, but can we expect a headliner in the first part of 2013?
Sandoval: It looks like we've been submitted for a few awesome tours, so I don't mind supporting until next summer and let the record get out there, and let the singles come out, and then we'll do our own tour.
So you're here for good then, it looks like.
Sandoval: Yeah, we're taken back from the success "Lost In Forever" has had, so we're going to keep riding the wave and taking things one day at a time.
How's the One Love For Chi charity doing?
Sandoval: You know what man, it needs a lot of help...he needs a lot of help. I think the world thinks that because he was the bass player of the Deftones that he's got all the money in the world, like he's some rockstar, but that's not the case, his family has gone into debt. He still hasn't gotten all the help that he needs, and he's almost been forgotten. Check out oneloveforchi.com, we need people to help send in money and help him out, it's not like they're getting rich off this or anything, you know how medical stuff costs nowadays.
Wrapping up, is there anything else you'd like to add?
Sandoval: I'm just grateful that we get the chance to play music again, and I appreciate all the warriors and all our friends out there that continue to support us and love God.