Jason "Gong" Jones – Vocals | C.J. Pierce – Guitar | Stevie Benton – Bass | Mike Luce – Drums
Few bands over the past decade have arrived with the meteoric rise Drowning Pool enjoyed in 2001. Following five years of gigging in the south, the band's debut Wind-up single, "Bodies," took over radio airwaves across the country from the moment it landed on programmers' desks. The quartet emerged as the breakout metal band that year, as Sinner went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies.
In 2001, Drowning Pool kicked off Ozzfest, playing the first notes heard from the stage at the ungodly hour of 9:50am. Guitarist C.J. Pierce recalls, "It was awesome to set the mood for the tour. You would think that it would have been too early for a rock show, but we would have played at 6:00am next to the Porta Potties." One year later, they were announced as one of the main stage headliners for Ozzfest 2002 and simply put, the band had arrived.
As the quartet criss-crossed the U.S. countless times over that long year, they made friends wherever they stopped and amassed a very sizeable following. Few other acts display their genuine quality of being one with the people, and this graciousness served them well. It has been said that the band's late singer, Dave Williams was "the lucky fan who won the microphone," and true to form as they had the year prior, the band stood and spent time signing and conversing with their fans at each and every tour stop on Ozzfest 2002. That is until tragedy struck on August 14th.
As Drowning Pool arrived in Manassas, Virginia for a date mid-way through the tour, Dave Williams was found dead on the band's tour bus. He had passed away from natural causes, specifically Heart Cardiomyopathy, Concentric Left Ventricular Hypertrophy. The band subsequently cancelled all public appearances, returned to Dallas, and buried their partner and friend. Stevie Benton mentioned, "It was the hardest thing to ever have to do. One minute we were on Ozzfest having the experience of a lifetime, and the next moment our whole lives were rocked with the sudden loss of our brother. Ultimately though, you have to look forward to the future and not withdraw into a shell. I think Dave would be happy to see us continuing the way we are."
A year later, following an exhaustive search for a new frontman, they unanimously chose Jason "Gong" Jones as Drowning Pool's new singer. Born in Charleston, S.C. and raised in Columbus, S.C., Jones moved to Los Angeles in the nineties in pursuit of a career in music. He performed with a number of acts along the Sunset Strip, where he became close friends with Ming "Lucky" Cheng (brother of the Deftones' Chi), who coined the name "Gong." While in LA, Jones also became an acclaimed tattoo artist where he has adorned the skin of thousands with his art.
On meeting Jones, Drowning Pool drummer Mike Luce offered "It came down to a chance meeting between Gong and I. Engineer/Producer James Murray introduced us at a studio, and I remembered the guy leaving a lasting impression." After arriving back in Dallas, Pierce, Benton, and Luce were still in search of the right voice and character to complete Drowning Pool. Ironically, while speaking to Sonny Mayo (Snot, Hed PE), he mentioned a guy he was jamming with to Luce. Almost simultaneously, Benton was offering remarks about a demo he had received that mentioned a singer who was working with Mayo, and how great the vocalist in question's voice was. Luce concluded "the voice was Gong's! We brought him in and it was instantaneous!!!"
The follow up to Sinner, titled Desensitized, will be released on April 20th. The lead track "Step Up," a monstrous hard-driving stampede, leads the way as the first single from the film The Punisher, marking the return of a band that has been missed. Drummer Mike Luce mentioned, "The new album has a wider range covering more ground. Songs like 'Step Up' and 'Hate' are just straight-up hard rock, while 'Love and War' and 'This Life' have slow, heavy passion behind them." Stevie Benton added, "The song 'Numb' strongly expresses the hopelessness people can feel in certain situations – that became our theme for the entire record. Feeling hopelessness isn't the end. It can lead to great things."
Guitarist C.J. Pierce poignantly stated, "This new Drowning Pool record is the most amazing work we have ever done as a rock band. Not only is this about a band continuing on and overcoming a most unfortunate situation, but it is also about personal triumph. I know our family, fans, and friends will be pleasantly surprised, amazed, stunned, and struck by the fact that this recording is heavier and deeper than our previous effort." He continued "One track that stands out to me the most is a song called 'This Life.' It was the first guitar riff I wrote after the passing of our friend Dave Williams and one of the first three songs we wrote with our new frontman Jason Jones. This song pretty much sums it up. We are all in control of our destiny to a certain extent. Sometimes life throws you a curveball or somebody pulls the rug out from under your feet – but as we all know, life goes on, music goes on – such is life, and Drowning Pool will go on."
--- from the official Drowning Pool website