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Interview with Ryan Ryan McCombs of Drowning Pool

 Заголовок сообщения: Interview with Ryan Ryan McCombs of Drowning Pool
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Ryan Combs, the lead singer of Drowning Pool, recently took some time to talk to us. We spoke of the troops in the Middle East, and of the current state of Drowning Pool. Please read this whole interview because these guys are doing such amazing things for the troops fighting this war and for the troops returning. After the interview, I have included links to the various groups that Ryan spoke of during the interview, and also a video that he mentions as well.

This interview was actually done on November 20th, 2007. Unfortunately, due to school and the holidays, I'm just now getting this posted. I want to apologize to Ryan, Drowning Pool and all related to them.

Nags: How is the tour going so far for you?
Ryan: We've been out on the road for about 7 months. I'd say that we've got another nine or ten ahead of us. As long as we're out working on it, then things must be going okay. If they send you home, then you know that you're not doing too well.

Nags: For this tour, I hear that you guys have a pretty unique thing going on where you have been donating portions of every ticket sold. Tell me more about that.
Ryan: Well, it's something where we got involved with the I.A.V.A. which stands for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America after our second trip over to Iraq and Kuwait in September of 2006 with the first being in November of 2005. We've actually gotten involved with them on a couple of different issues. And then the U.S.O., which was the organization that actually took us over to Iraq and Kuwait both times that we went. Both being non-profit organizations, we wanted to help them out some more to help doing what they're doing. So we decided to start donating a dollar of every ticket sold to our shows to both the I.A.V.A. and the U.S.O.

Nags: That's very cool! Now, you mentioned the shows overseas. How did those come about?
Ryan: It was something that we had wanted to do for some time. But the people that we were with at the time, just didn't know the right connections. They just didn't know who to get ahold of or what to do to make it happen. And we kind of fell into it at the end of the day. There was a radio DJ in Dallas, Texas at The Edge. Her name is Jesse Jessup and she had a U.S.O. tour all planned out, she was taking a band from the Texas area there with her and they backed out at the last second. The other 3 guys in Drowning Pool, C.J., Mike and Stevie happened to be in the studio with her the day after she found out that they were backing out. They got to talking and she asked them right there on the air if we would be interested in doing it. And of course having the opportunity to do something that we've wanted to do for so long, they jumped right on it. So we cruised over to the sandbox with her.

Nags: How was it over there playing for the soldiers?
Ryan: It was amazing. You think... You take a look at all the shows that myself and Drowning Pool have had the opportunity to do over our careers. There have been some amazing crowds. Some amazing historic shows as far as venues and festivals. You take a look at that, and then you realize that you do a show or shows like in Iraq and Kuwait and everything else pales in comparison to that. You think, you have got a two hour period of time where you connect with a crowd of troops and they're not worried about anyone shooting at them or they're not worried about shooting at anybody. For all intensive purposes, they're back at home at a rock show. You can see it in their eyes and it's just an amazing feeling to bring a little piece of home over to them where they're doing what they're doing.

Nags: I also heard something about you guys being involved w/ Obama with a new law? What's the situation with that?
Ryan: Well actually, it's a bill that we've been trying to get passed. It's called Lane Evans Mental Health Care Reform bill which is associated with the 'This Is For The Soldiers.Org' campaign that we've been working on with the I.A.V.A. And what it is, is a website that people can go to and learn more about the campaign. They can sign a petition that can help us prove to Congress that people around here, people in the U.S. still care about the troops. And prove that the people don't JUST care about the Paris Hilton's and the Britney Spears of the world. What the bill does, it's going to provide more funding for and more personnel for the V.A., as well as make a screening process mandatory for the troops when they come home. We've had over 1.5 million troops serve in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. 1 of every 3 of which are coming home and reporting some sort of mental health issue. By making the screening process mandatory, hopefully people won't fall through the cracks. Also will hopefully avoid all the issues that we had after the Vietnam conflict with high homeless rates and high suicide rates from our returning troops. It's really the least we can do when you really think about it. They're over there doing their job for The United States in the name of The United States, the least we can do is give them the care that they need when they come home. It's really a great cause and it's been awesome to be a part of it with them. And the original bill, when it came to Congress... When it came to Capital Hill, Obama was the first one that kind of jumped on it. We had sent out a letter to all of our congressman and Obama was the one that kind of championed this thing. It was neat. We went to Capital Hill about a month or so ago, I think you can find the footage on the internet and various places (*editors note* the video is linked at the bottom of the article), and we had gone to Capital Hill to present, what at the time was about 30,000 names in a petition and we presented that to some of our congressmen. And Obama actually saw us and came up to us. He knew what we were doing and knew why we were there and it was so cool to see someone in his position that took the time to spend with a bunch of tattooed freaks because he knew what we were up to and what we were trying to get accomplished. And he was so supportive and so cool. It was really neat.

Nags: Most people know the history of Drowning Pool, with Dave passing away, and Jason joining and leaving the band. How has it been for you since joining the band?
Ryan: It's been great. I was worried about it walking into it, but the old school fans of Drowning Pool, they know the connection between Davy and I. They know the connection between the rest of the band and I. But they've really excepted me, with me being in the position that I've been in. It's really where "Full Circle" originated from. I've commented from time and time again that this band really has a family feel with Mike, C.J. and Stevie. They live together, they work together outside of the music and with the music. It was truly the closest thing that you could call to four brothers being in a band. Then after Davy passed, they lost that feel and lost that connection. They really feel like it's back again now that I'm in the band because we've been friends for so long and for me to be in the position that I'm in right now, the band has really come Full Circle in their eyes. And it seems to have in a lot of the fans eyes.

Nags: You mentioned the fans, what can they expect from your live show?
Ryan: Well, we're an energy band. We're really old school rock as far as the way that we approach a show. We're not about playing to taped tracks which you hear about with the Britney Spears, and the pop singers and I think the fans out there would really be amazed about by how many people in the rock and metal world are actually out there playing to recorded tracks as well. We pride in ourselves about actually playing our music, plugging our instruments in and going. Because of what we're doing, I think it provides just a bit more energy and we like to have fun up there. We like to just have the music explode. And it's just a good time.

Nags: Now as far as the music industry... I just read yesterday that Gene Simmons came out and bashed Radiohead and Trent Reznor for trying to come with different ways to approach getting the music into the hands of their fans. What are your thoughts on that subject?
Ryan: Well, I think that things definitely have to change. I think we need to venture into different avenues in how to keep some sort of semblence of the music industry around. The internet really has dealt a potentially fatal blow to the music industry and it's going to take people being creative and people finding new ways to keep music a business instead of a free giveaway. Now Radiohead came up with this whole internet pay to download thing. But the simple fact of that is, when you dive into that, you have to look at how much the companies that have made these websites have made and how little the artists are still making off of it. The industry really is in an all time low though. People have to, the people that have the power such as the people you listed, they really have to focus on a way for the rest of us, because they actually have the avenues to do it. And everybody really needs to dive into different ideas to build the business back up to where we're all going to be able to continue to do this.

Nags: Obviously, with performing music as you do, you have to just completely love music to keep doing what you're doing. With that, I'm sure that you probably check out newer bands. So, are there any newer bands that you are into that might be doing something new? 10:31
Ryan: You know, I've always been a big Black Label Society Fan. But I think that's moreso because I'm more of an old schooler. I love the AC/DC's, the Credence Clearwater's, and to me, Black Label is just one of those bands that is about being a friggen rock band. A metal band. Just strapping on the guitar and just seeing how true you can be with an instrument. As far as newer stuff, you get on the road and it seems like your tastes change a little bit. When you're younger it seems to be more about what music speaks to you. I was a huge Alice in Chains fan growing up because of the lyrics and all, but nowadays, it seems to be more about the people behind the music. I seem to be drawn to bands that I meet where I realize that the members of the band are real people. We actually just got done doing some festivals down in Florida with Seether and Finger Eleven, and just being around those guys is a blast. Regardless of the matter that they also put on a killer show. Just seeing the beforehand and the aftermath with those guys... They're just such real good people. So the bands that I've been drawn to nowadays is Skindred, Finger Eleven, Seether, a lot of good bands. A lot of good people out there. I guess that's one of the neatest things about being in the position that I've been in, is just being able to meet the people that are behind the music and getting to know them. And also seeing who's living in reality and who's not.

Nags: Alright, I just have a few more questions for you. It's questions that we at Music Equals Life like to ask to liven up interviews a bit. The first - to steal a question from Inside the Actor's Studio... What is your favorite curse word? And why?
Ryan: Oh wow! *laughs* Damn, I'm not sure. I just love them all so much. They all have that special moment where they just work so well. I think that I would just have to answer that with a non-answer or go with, they're just all so near and dear to my heart. They're kinda like having a bunch of kids. You just can't favor one over another. They're all near and dear.

Nags: Fair enough. Okay - the other one, if you are what you eat, you'd be a what?
Ryan: *laughs* I guess Vagina would be.... Recently, I'd be a Mexican because I've been having a lot of Mexican food lately.

Nags: I personally just wanted to thank you, and the rest of Drowning Pool about all of the stuff that you're doing for the soldiers. I think that it's a great thing!
Ryan: I appreciate that big time. It's a great cause and it's just really cool to be a part of it!

I'd like to say thanks again to Ryan Combs of Drowning Pool for taking the time out to speak to us.

Since this interview was done, Drowning Pool has had some unfortunate luck.

On December 6th, bassist Stevie Benton was rushed to the hospital after their concert in Eau Claire, WI. He was suffering from partial paralysis. The doctor at the hospital diagnosed Stevie with Bell's Palsy which causes paralysis of the face and sometimes can cause sensitivity to sound. In most cases the disease is temporary and with proper rest, resolves on it's own.

And then as reported on January 6th by tunelabmusic.com: Drowning Pool have had their equipment stolen for the second time in just over a month. After the band was robbed of all their equipment a month ago they decided to move everything to a public storage unit about a block away. The band lost two Basson speaker cabinets, four Lakland bass guitars, two Kustom ‘72 Coupe amplifiers, one D.W. drum kit and other equipment. “Money doesn’t grow on trees. We’re now with our third singer, and we’re just getting by as it is,” said guitarist C.J. Pierce. “Who has the money to go out and buy all this gear? It’s a lot of gear, and it costs a lot of money.“

The first time which was reported on November 21st, all of their equipment was stolen while at their rehearsal space at Universal Rehearsal in North Dallas, TX. The band does have insurance that covers theft while they are on the road, however the insurance does not cover equipment that is stored at their rehearsal space or in storage. So neither time was covered by insurance.


I'm a sinner, look at all these people in front of me
Look at all these people in front of me
Look at all these people in front of me
Look at all these people in front of me, now

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