|For Texas modern rockers Drowning Pool, Full Circle, their third album, and first for Eleven Seven Music, 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 that 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 three 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 "Enemy," which was one of the first songs written after McCombs left his former group SOiL, a band he fronted for seven years. "The song represents being the better man despite the pain it brings you� the mudslinging that followed when I changed bands blew my mind," says McCombs. "People ignored timelines surrounding my departure from SOiL and tried to make Drowning Pool and I look like we had motives from day one that we simply didn't have. With Dave gone, it's an honor to be the guy they chose to continue with."
Drowning Pool feels the addition of McCombs has made them whole again, a family. It was something the band's fans, and the band itself had been clamoring for since Williams' death. With the odds stacked up against them, Drowning Pool has proven that they are here to stay.
"The fans knew this was going to happen before we had a clue," says C.J. "We just didn't have that family vibe with our last lead singer. And now we've got that again with Ryan. For us, this is it. This is Drowning Pool."
Produced by long-time friend Ben Schigel [Chimaira, Walls of Jericho], and a collaboration track with Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx and Beautiful Creatures' Dj Ashba, Full Circle returns Drowning Pool to its prime. "Bodies," off of their platinum-plus 2001 debut, Sinner, was featured on several WWE pay-per-view events, EA Sports' Arena Football game, and used by Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon and Houston Astros' Brad Lidge to accompany their walk from the bullpen. The chorus "Let the bodies hit the floor," a tribute to their stage-diving fans in the mosh pit, was widely misunderstood. In the wake of September 11th, the song was banned by several radio stations out of sensitivity and the fear that people would misconstrue its meaning. As an example of things coming full circle, the group was invited to Baghdad by the USO on the fifth anniversary of that tragic day to play the song for a group of grateful, enthusiastic troops stationed there. They also played gigs in South Korea and Kuwait. "They were probably the most rewarding shows we've every performed," says McCombs.
Full Circle is a third album that fulfils 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.