Sunday, September 1, 2013
It was a hot afternoon as my call was connected to P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval. Although a short conversation, he seemed a sincere, dedicated man who believes in all that he does. Here’s our chat as it starts with Sonny saying, “Hey Mark!”
Q: Hey Sonny, what’s happening?
A: Just runnin around right now! (laughs)
Q: Are you at home right now or on the road?
A: I’m at home! We’ve been doing fly out dates for the last couple weekends. We have one more this weekend and next weekend closer to home then we’re off on tour.
Q: Where’s the next one close to home?
A: Riverside, it’s about 2 hours outside of San Diego.
Q: Awesome! I may come out and check that out then as I live up in the Long Beach area.
A: Right On! It’s an intimate little radio show out there for the local station out there for ALIEN ANT FARM, it’s their home town and it’s the last date of their tour so we’re gonna hook up with them.
Q: So, are you a [San Diego] Chargers fan?
A: (laughs) Of course!
Q: You have to be down in the 619 right?
A: (laughs) I guess if you’re born and raised you have to be but we have a lot of LA transplants down here so we have a lot of [Oakland] Raiders fans too.
Q: I can do without the Raiders!
A: Me too!
Q: You’re really gonna hate me now because I’m a [Denver] Broncos fan.
A: DOH! You know what, it’s not like that Chargers/Raiders hate. Even last year I was pulling for the Broncos in the end so it always makes for a good season us against the Broncos!
Q: The Raiders, there’s no middle ground as you either love them or you hate them.
A: It’s that San Diego rival Team.
Q: What set this up is that you guys are playing the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento in a few weeks (September 14 & 15), a big show, a lot of great bands, how do you like playing festivals?
A: They’re a cake walk, you know what I mean. You get an amazing crowd, great bands, it’s always a blast. Those shows are guaranteed to rock and have fun. There’s a different vibe when you do a smaller intimate club like we were talking about earlier on the 7th in Riverside. I’m grateful for all the people at the festivals because now that’s kinda keeping this touring game alive, all the big package tours.
Q: My first encounter with you guys was a guy named Dave at Atlantic Records sent me your album and asked if we wanted to work this album on the street and on the internet for marketing. I listened to it for a couple of days and called and told him I loved it and he said, ‘Sorry, we gave the project to somebody else.”
A: (laughs) I haven’t heard that name in a while. That makes me want to try and find out what he’s doing. All those old school people from Atlantic, he was always good to us!
Q: You have an album that’s been out a while now (MURDERED LOVE), what’s some of the inspirations for your lyrics on this album.
A: You know, we had taken 5 years off before even considering doing a record. And in my heart and in my mind, I really laid down the band and didn’t know if the right time was gonna come back up to pick it back up again. In that time I was able to do a lot of cool community stuff, work with charities, and give back and do something that I thought was selfless. I got to dive into my faith and got to do some soul searching. Given all that experience I decided that it was a great platform to say what you want to say and there’s still fans out there that love what POD does and I want to give it another shot. Obviously my faith always comes into play, but just spending a lot of time with young people, the stuff they’re going through, the mindset our world is in right now, and relating that to what I believe as a Christian.
Q: I travel a lot for work, and I hear the song Beautiful on the radio a lot. Can you tell me a little bit about that song?
A: Yeah, I like to tell stories in my lyrics. I had this positive, uplifting hook for the chorus. And once I showed the guys, everybody dug in and I kinda wanted to take the verses a little bit more deeper so it wasn’t necessarily just this happy, poppy kind of song. The lyrics are kind of dark. Again, it’s hanging out with a lot of young people, and seeing a lot of the stuff they go through. There’s so many ugly things out there that tear us down and even cause us to believe that we might not be as beautiful as the rest of the pretty things out there. But then again I believe that God loves every single one of us. Just a reminder to those that are struggling and going through stuff that it’s gonna be ok!
Q: Maybe to touch on something, and you don’t have to answer, but one of your fellow musicians in San Diego is in trouble right now, speaking of Tim Lambesis (vocals, AS I LAY DYING). What advice would you give him right now?
A: My heart breaks for him. I don’t know what state of mind he’s in right now. There’s so many different pressures out there. When I first heard, I Tweeted that my heart breaks for Tim, I’m praying for him. I got so much hate mail, people saying what about the wife? What about the family? I never said that, I wish them all the best, my heart breaks for them too. But he’s still human, whether he’s guilty or not. I get it, not that it’s excuse, but I get it that we go through so many struggles here on earth, but also these spiritual struggles and spiritual pressures. Once you get labeled as, ‘hey, you’re that Christian band”, people put a lot of high level expectations on you. With music, it’s like they expect the fact that you’re in a band because you have a microphone and play an instrument that you have all the answers and solutions to life’s problems and it’s like, hey, we’re just a band, I’m the same as you. I’m going through the same stuff and just because I believe in this or that, I’m still on a journey myself. Dealing with somebody like Tim, I can understand the pressures, people thinking because you’re a believer that there’s a stereotype that you don’t make mistakes, don’t struggle, and you’re perfect which is not the case. I don’t know where his mindset is at and I hope that he gets some kind of help.
Q: Whether guilty or innocent, good people make bad decisions here and there. I don’t know what his case is, but everybody’s human, we’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all told a lie, we’ve all done something we shouldn’t do at some point in life.
A: That’s right! Again, for whatever justice should be served, and I’m sure it will. At the end of the day we have a soul and a spirit and we have to answer to the Lord.
Q: No sin is greater than any other. If you steal a penny it’s still wrong.
A: That’s pretty much a paraphrase of what Jesus said. All the people that want to say, ‘I’m not like that guy or my sin isn’t as bad as his.” Jesus says it is, because it’s in our hearts, sinners sin, and we all need to be forgiven and given a second chance.
Q: Back to music, what happens after the festival?
A: We’re going up the coast, hit Aftershock, hit some one off dates, then head out straight, from Arizona, to the Philippines, couple shows in China, Guam, Indonesia, Thailand. Then we go straight from Asia into Russia. Then we’re doing about two and a half weeks in Russia. We went to Russia a few months ago and did a one off in Moscow, and all of a sudden they’re calling us back to do a whole run in Russia.
Q: Those fans have to be so hungry for music.
A: When we got there, it was amazing. It was just 22 years ago the downfall of Communism. It’s kind of fresh in a way, they love American music. And for us to go over there and pack out a huge club and to go back two times in a year it’s unheard of. We’re so spoiled here in America for music. The first time we traveled to South America, it took us 15 years to get there, and all of a sudden you’re playing in a field and there’s 15,000 people and you’re like, where did these people come from, I didn’t even know they sold our music here. They do their research there.
Q: I’m sure they sing along to every song too.
A: Yeah, I was looking at kids in the front row and I was thinking, this album is older than you and I’m thinking these kids did their homework for sure. It’s amazing, you get to see how powerful that music is because you talk to some of these fans, they don’t speak English, but they’re singing your song. It’s really a humbling thing!