“You think it’s over/Well I’ve come too far/To back down now” - “Full Circle”
For Texas modern rockers Drowning Pool, Full Circle, their third album, and first for Eleven Seven Music/ADA, represents a chance to continue to build on their success, with a new lead singer in old friend Ryan McCombs, a new label and new management, but the same fiery commitment to their music and one another.
Marking one of the new album’s fateful coincidences is the fact the ex-Soil vocalist Ryan McCombs made his live debut in Dallas with the band at Ozzfest in August of 2005. It was almost three years to the day since he joined Drowning Pool’s guitarist C.J. Pierce, bassist Stevie Benton and drummer Mike Luce on-stage in Indianapolis at Ozzfest 2002 to sing “Bodies” with the late Dave Williams, who would pass away from a rare heart disease just a day later.
“There’s never been a point when we thought about stopping,” says C.J., who moved to Dallas in the mid-‘90s to form Drowning Pool with Luce, Benton and Williams when they were all still in high school. “Everything we’ve gone through has just brought us closer.”
McCombs had completely walked away from music before joining the band. He had been frustrated with the music industry, but most importantly he wanted to spend time with his family. With the persistence of the 3 remaining members along with the support of his wife, Ryan joined the band in June 2005.
“She just told me, ‘This is the music you’ve been waiting to play your whole life,’” nods Ryan, whose youngest son Mitchell David is named after Williams. “When I first thought about singing for Drowning Pool, I felt I was stepping on toes. It was Dave’s own parents who put it into perspective for me. ‘If anybody was going to do this, don’t you think he’d want you to?’ That was enough for me. After that, I decided to join the band.”
“We wanted to keep writing music together,” adds Mike. “But we did wonder if it would still be Drowning Pool without Dave or whether we should keep the name in his memory.”
“We decided to keep the band going because if we didn’t it would put to rest everything we did with Dave,” says Stevie. “If someone in your family dies, you don’t change your last name. You just keep going.”
And keep going they did on a third album that is more mature, melodic and accessible than its predecessors, but does not sacrifice any of the power fans have come to expect from the group. With McCombs in tow, Drowning Pool has crafted powerful new songs like “Reborn,” paying tribute to Williams and the band’s legacy with lyrics penned by Ryan that reference past song titles and the promise, “This ain’t over/Till it’s over.”
The key to the album, “Soldiers,” is a nod to the very same soldiers who’d listen to “Bodies” before flying missions over Iraq, a heartfelt tribute that urges the public to support our troops, even if they don’t agree with the war. CJ notes, “It’s your family and friends over there and they need your support.” The group has already played USO-sponsored shows for the troops in Iraq and Kuwait, and will return to the later this year for yet another performance. Drowning Pool’s close relationship with the USO has allowed them to make the track available as a free download on the USO’s MySpace page.
“During the past year-and-a-half, we have been fortunate to spend a great deal of time with American soldiers overseas,” explains Stevie. “We are honored to be so embraced by our servicemen and women. After returning from the Persian Gulf, our priority was writing a song about our troops and for our troops. I hope they will accept the song as a show of our respect and thanks for all they do for our country.” CJ adds, “This is not only for American troops but for troops in all countries fighting for peace.”
“I think this record will surprise some people,” insists Mike. “We’re going to overturn the conventional wisdom that all Drowning Pool does is wrestling themes or videogame music. Not to say the record won’t have those kinds of songs, but we’re breaking the mold. We’re starting to heal and explore different horizons musically and lyrically.”
Full Circle is a third album that fulfills the expectations of the first two. It promises to reward the band’s existing core fan base while continuing to evolve and attract new ones.