Drowning Pool – Interview with Dave WilliamsJul 2, 2001 0
You’ve got to be dying, waiting for your Ozzfest trip.
Yeah. We are pretty excited. It’s really surreal. If you had told me ten years ago I’d be touring with Black Sabbath, I’d tell you you’re out of your mind. Actually, if you would have told a month ago I would have told you the same thing.
Anyone who likes metal has either loved Sabbath or Ozzy in one form or another.
I’ve gone to every Ozzfest and this is the first one I’m going to and…
…not paying to get into?
When the group formed how did you become a part?
They had a different singer in the band who was quite different from me. They wanted more of a frontman that would put on a show. I had been kicking around in bands for eight or nine years and they knew who I was. They asked me if I wanted to be in the band. I loved the music and the first time we went into the jam room they gave me complete freedom. I think the one bonding question that brought us all together and that was if we liked Faith No More. After that the rest is history and we’ve been together for three years.
Were they looking for a writer too?
Yeah. We write the songs collectively and I play a little guitar. I definitely have ideas from the musical ideas. I pretty much write the lyrics, but I take every idea with a grain of salt. We all work together, that is why it says ‘All songs written by Drowning Pool.’ That is the way it should be in a band.
Is it possible to write “Bodies” just hanging at your house with an acoustic guitar or do you need to be in the jam room working that song out?
CJ came up with the riff, and I thought that was cool and I said, ‘Let the bodies hit the floor,’ and they looked at me and said, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ We just built it around that hook and the rest fell in place. It’s about my perspective when I look out and see the pit. It’s about forgetting everything that has happened to you that week, leave your bullshit at the door and get it all out. But you have to have respect for the others in the pit. If you push them down, you have to pick them back up. I’m not going to get behind the violence thing, it is violent, but there is a certain amount of respect and a code. You can knock someone’s head off but you should also look at that guy at the end of the night and say ‘Dude, I had a blast.’ They have a certain amount of respect for each other. Sometimes it does get out of hand and I’ll say something. I’ll tell them not to hurt each other.
For the heavier songs, are they written in a room together? I mean, with the intensity it must be really hard to write these alone.
I constantly have ideas in my head. Sometimes I’ll hear a piece of music they come up with and I’ll apply the lyrics to that. It’s never really, ‘Hey, here is a song, write some music around it.’ Basically, between me and CJ, he’s constantly coming up with riffs and I constantly have lyrics bouncing around in my head. We just go for it. It’s an open kind of ‘Hey, dude, check this out.’
With the song listing “Sinner” and “Sermon” being placed at the beginning and end, was that done on purpose?
Yes. We wanted to start with “Sinner” and end with “Sermon”. We covered all the bases on religion and bad relationships.
I wondered if it was planned.
Our A&R guy said, ‘Let’s call the album Sinner,’ and I was like, ‘Oh yeah!’ So we figured it would be cool to start with that and then close it out with “Sermon”. That song is my baby. I’ve been carrying that song for a long time and wanted to say that for a long time. It’s very personal, actually the whole record is personal to me. Everyone can identify with most of those songs. You might take a song and use it to identify with something you’ve been through, but it might not be what I was thinking about. But if that person gets something else out of it, then I feel it’s a job well done.
What songs did that for you?
I think going through high school I went through most of my shit like graduating, chicks, yourself, and then dealing with your parents. So much stuff builds up. It’s not something to laugh at, it’s an important time in a kid’s life. What got me through was Sabbath, Zeppelin, Van Halen, Motley Crue. I lost my virginity in an ’82 escort to a Cinderalla tape. Good music is good music. I can’t stand it when people deny the fact that there ever was a Cinderella, Poison, Ratt, or Motley Crue. Shout At The Devil was one of the greatest albums ever made.
You know, that album made me want to play guitar.
See what I mean? Music didn’t start with Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana. I mean, god bless those bands, thank god they came out because they changed music, but you can’t dismiss Motley Crue and Van Halen.
If people can admit to being Ozzy fans then they can’t really deny Motley Crue. I mean, they were doing the same thing Ozzy was doing, making great pop metal records.
I saw Motley Crue open up for Ozzy and was like, ‘Wow.’
Over time did your musical tastes move on or did you stick with those groups?
I’ve always kept it with me. Times do change and time is like a wheel, you either roll with it or it rolls over you. I’ve always chosen to roll with it. I’m a fan of music. So when I was seventeen there was only one kind of music, Motley Crue and Metallica. Now I listen to everything from DSI to Billy Joel. That’s a pretty good stretch. Good music is good music.
If you were sixteen, do you think you’d listen to such a stretch or do you find that maturing has opened your mind to more?
Yeah. I definitely think that. When you are sixteen, you are trying to find your place and trying to fit in. You try to make new friends, and if that meant listening to Motley Crue and Run-Dmc then that is what you do. When you are twenty-five you have a bit of breathing room to listen to both Dido and Cannibal Corpse.
Also, I think now with maturing you kind of understand there is something to learn from these individuals too.
Right. When you are sixteen you are still learning who you are. And you are right, I’m still learning and I’m still a fan.
How did you come to your singing style?
I’ve evolved. I’ve been singing in bands for a number of years. When I first started singing, it was when Guns ‘N’ Roses and Skid Row were riding high. When you emulate those two guys, people know it. You can’t kind of emulate them. So I had to pull back a little bit. I knew it, but it was out of respect. You take all your influences and try to hone them into one thing that becomes you. You don’t want to sound like one person, you take all your influences and combine them. I’m everything from Phil Anselmo to Mike Patton.
I was going to ask you about Pantera’s influence on you.
I have more respect for Phil than I could ever tell you over this phone or tell him to his face. I’ve hung out with him, he’s an amazing frontman and lyricist. I’m not even a pimple on his ass, but for people to say they can hear the Pantera influence in my vocals is the biggest compliment. I hope he knows that. Phil is an odd bird. If you get him and hang out with him it’s cool, but he’s hardly ever around. Dimebag gave me a gold record for Christmas. I told him I couldn’t take that and he said, ‘Yes, you can, because you are going to give me one back.’ If that isn’t incentive enough to get a gold record, I don’t know what is.
Do you think they are a little underrated as influences?
They are the undisputed kings of metal. They’ve stuck to their guns. I don’t think they are underrated, people know how bad ass they are. I don’t think they’ve poped yet. Vulgar and Far Beyond Driven are probably the most influential heavy metal records, period. When all the shit is done, those will stand up.
I think stylistically everyone thinks that people are just following in the footsteps of Korn, but Korn wanted to be Pantera.
That’s right. I’ve had conversations with those guys and friends that Pantera is always going to be Pantera, and you know when a new record is coming out that it’s going to be untouchable and unmatched. When you go to a Pantera show and there are two or three openers, everyone is there to see Pantera, they could care less who is opening. The greatest show I’ve ever seen was Pantera opening for Sabbath.
Can you even begin to talk on how excited you are about opening for Sabbath, not only because they are legends, but because they’ve broken so many bands?
It’s very surreal and I’m just waiting for someone to pinch me and tell me they were kidding. It’s just amazing, and in less than a month I’m on the road with the biggest heavy metal tour to date. It’s like a summer camp for drunks, addicts, and dysfunctional people.
Have you ever met Ozzy?
I saw him across the room once. I was with Dimebag and he was like, ‘Hey, want to meet Ozzy?’ I told him I was afraid to. I’ll get the chance. Ozzy, wow, he’s Ozzy. I want to walk up to him and give him a hug and say thank you for making me who I am.
+ charlie craine