What's in a name? Rock is filled with goofy group names. So it's a good idea to find something that's been road tested. Several groups have taken their name from a novel or a film. The trick is, pick a name that has some relevance or personal meaning. Perhaps there's some cosmic message in a book or film the musicians relates to. Deeper meaning, and all that.
Then there's Drowning Pool's Steve Benton. Turns out the film "Drowning Pool" was playing in the background when Steve lost his virginity. It worked out, Drowning Pool is a pretty good name. Good thing Benton didn't lose it while watching a 3 Stooges movie.
Drummer Mike Luce and guitarist C.J. Pierce were playing without a whole lot of success in their native New Orleans. They packed up and moved to the more Rock friendly Dallas and linked up with friend and bassist Benton. The trio Rocked the Dallas area but it became apparent that if they were going to go any further they needed a strong frontman. Enter Dallas music vet, power vocalist Dave Williams.
Touring with better known groups sharpened Drowning Pool's chops and led to the recording of a six-song demo. The demo landed at K-E-G-L in Dallas and the airplay resulted in a deal with Wind-Up Records.
Drowning Pool's Wind-Up debut "Sinner" contained the blisteringly intense "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor" (as in a mosh pit). Regarding the album's title Williams said, " I have nothing against religion, really, I just had organized religion shoved down my throat and I don't buy it."
"Sinner" was produced by Papa Roach vet Jay Baumgardner and recorded at Ocean Studios in lovely Burbank, CA. Following "Sinner's" completion Drowning Pool linked up with the Ozzfest Tour and that's when Williams was found dead (August 14th, '02) from apparent heart failure on the group's tour bus.
Jason 'Gong' Jones was selected to replace Williams but he left, due to "irreconcilable differences," a year after the release of '04's "Desensitized." The group launched another search for a singer with a number of notable names (including Damageplan's Pat Lachman and Pantera's Phil Anselmo) surfacing. But it was Ryan McCombs (formerly of SOiL) who got the nod in '06. One of McCombs' first efforts was the song "No More" which appeared on the Saw III soundtrack. The group had experience with soundtracks going back early in the decade when they worked with Rob Zombie on "The Man Without Fear" for the '03 Daredevil movie. Later that year, the group split with Wind-Up and jumped to Eleven Seven Music where they unfurled '07 effort, "Full Circle."
While on tour, Benton was hospitalized in Eau Claire, WI, after experiencing paralysis and was diagnosed with the neurological malady Bell's palsy, a condition that usually is temporary. The group was forced to cancel the remaining stops. "I'm really bummed that . . . we can't perform this last string of shows," said Benton. "We can't wait to come back and Rock out with you all again soon."
Drowning Pool resumed touring and issued a live set, "Loudest Common Denominator" in '09. The collection offered bonus tracks, including acoustic renditions of "37 Stitches" and "Shame."
Their eponymous fourth set was their first consecutive studio album with the same vocalist. It was pretty amazing to get as far as they had with the frontman slot being so volatile. But McCombs didn't have an easy time. During the album's production he lost his father and his marriage fell apart which obviously fueled lyrical inspiration or desperation. The set featured the single "Feel Like I Do," which cracked the Top 5 on the Active Rock Radio chart.
A year later, Pierce and Luce announced a new project with former Nonpoint members Zach Broderick and Ken McMillan titled Voodoo Corps. And just a couple weeks later, McCombs left the band to rejoin SOiL on their European tour to promote the 10th anniversary of their "Scars" album.
So Drowning Pool began the dual task of writing songs for their fifth studio album and finding their fourth vocalist.
During the summer of '12 Jasen Moreno, from the Dallas-based band The Suicide Hook, was introduced as the Drowning Pool's vocalist.
Weeks later, the past still loomed large when on 8/14 the group marked the 10th anniversary of Williams' death by releasing a tribute song, their first recording with Moreno, titled "In Memory Of..." Two additional singles were released, "Saturday Night" and "One Finger And A Fist."
"Resilience," dropped the following year. And to celebrate the thirteenth anniversary of "Sinner," Drowning Pool embarked on a U.S. tour followed by a "Sinner" reissue in '14 titled the "Unlucky 13th Anniversary Edition."
The next step was "Hellelujah," an album produced by Jason Suecof, that contained the single "By The Blood."
2007 Full Circle
2010 Drowning Pool
Six albums - four vocalists (Williams, Jones, McCombs and Moreno). That alone would kill most bands. So let's give Drowning Pool points for being resilient.
Though they employ tight, aggressive riffs driven by a propulsive rhythm section, Drowning Pool are like a good team missing a key element that keeps them from becoming a champion.
"Sinner" features a thrashing title track and a Metal groove on "Bodies." "All Over Me" is another track worth checking out. Overall, it remains the group's premier effort.
"Full Circle" shows they can still deliver. But Drowning Pool needs to produce more songs like "37 Stitches" and "Upside Down" to make this album work. The heavy ballads are great for the pop crowd but won't please the faithful. It's fairly easy to understand why some fans failed embrace this album and sales were off.
For a group that goes through vocalists like most people do socks, "Resilience" takes on special meaning. First, like his predecessors, Moreno does on good job on vocals. His contributions to the driven "One Finger And A Fist" and the ballad-turned-Rock song "Bleed With You" help make those tracks work.