Veteran Rockers, P.O.D., have kept it as raw and real as it comes since day one. Maintaining solid ground over nearly three decades of adrenaline-packed shows drenched in soul, the boys from Southtown still don’t play and are one of the most exhilarating Hard Rock acts to ever hit the stage. I caught up with passionate frontman, Sonny Sandoval, to discuss being a part of Gen-X Summer, tattoos, new music on the way and more.
Congrats on keeping the vision and music alive for almost three decades. Is there a tenth studio album or new music in the works that we can look forward to?
Yeah. We started writing at the end of 2017 and planned on going into the studio around January or February of 2018 but then we got offered to go on tour with In This Moment so we switched gears and went on the road with them. We have been in and out of the studio over the year. I have been going back and forth to LA to finish up vocals and I just finished the second to last song and we’re working on putting it all together.
Incredible. It seems as though you guys have always maintained lacing in your relationship with your higher power in your music. Is that something that you’ll touch base on within the new material?
For sure. It is a part of me and while I am writing the lyrics, I write about my experiences and who I am. We have all grown in different ways. We started as kids, you know? We never came out and categorized ourselves as a Christian Rock band. We were just part of a hardcore scene in which everybody spoke up for what they believed in, you know? Back when we began, we were kids. As you know, you learn to be creative and artistic with your differences and who you are, but it’s always been a theme for us to tie in hope and love into our music. We are a Rock band that tries to make people feel good. We are heavy but that piece of the puzzle is always there. It’s been 26 years with the guys. We do not always see eye to eye on everything, but we know that we love everybody that listens to our music. We are grateful for all of you. If we can write a song that can put a smile on someone’s face, that is definitely top ranked in our hearts.
Beautiful. I noticed something that is so significant about you guys when I saw you a few months ago in Detroit. You come with an army that is so felt. Everyone is rockin’ P.O.D. merch and representing, yet you welcome everyone into your world. You don’t separate yourselves and it creates an opportunity for the fans to connect with you guys.
Yeah, for sure. We were a band in a trailer for so many years. We never expected to sign to a major label and sell millions of records. We were that band that started up doing it all independently with a van and a trailer. We were eating at Denny’s at 3 o’clock in the morning with the people that were coming to our shows. We don’t even call them fans, they are family. We don’t know how to act any other way. We are more so friends with our fanbase, but in the music industry, they try to push you toward putting on this persona when you’re the artist. We are just normal people.
Straight up, a lot of individuals who have earned a “backing” and fanbase quite like yours take that for granted. Stepping into a human being’s shoes who just so happens to be a “fan” and remaining grounded as an artist is so important. You’re not going to tour without your fans. You’re not going to experience the world while traveling and touring without your fans, etc. No artist would be doing shit without their fans.
Exactly. It’s so important to keep it real. I still trip out and it’s been 26 years. We have been fortunate to accomplish and experience more than we could have ever imagined.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite pieces and the tattoo artists that you have worked with to bring them to life.
I do have a ‘Payable On Death’ tattoo for the band across my stomach. I also have our trinity logo and the first independent album cover tattooed on my left arm. I have everything tattooed from praying hands to pieces dedicated to my wife and kids. Back when we started getting tattooed, it wasn’t as popular. Our friend that would tattoo us back in the day was no good and he needed someone to practice on! We have a lot of tour tattoos that are not good!
Back in the day and still to this day, a lot of band members get tour tattoos and don’t even think about what they’re getting tattooed or who they are getting tattooed by….
True. Our guy came on the road with us back in the day. He was our roadie and friend who has come around as a tattoo artist over the years. He has a couple of shops now, but back in the day, it was a different story! It is nuts to see how far tattoo culture has come. We know a lot of tattoo artists in San Diego and all around the country that put out incredible work. I follow so many tattoo artists on Instagram and it’s surreal to see what is possible these days.
True. You guys are heading out on the road with Buckcherry, Alien Ant Farm and Lit for the Gen-X tour. Have you guys toured with each other in the past?
Yeah, we have been doing this for so long. All of those guys are old bitches themselves! As we were shooting the promo for this tour, we were talking about how we are the last of the platinum babies. It is crazy how unheard of that is these days. We were talking about MTV, music videos and the old-school way of doing it and just having a blast. People are still coming to our shows and we are so grateful for that. We still all love playing live shows and making music. We are all good friends so it will be one big summer party for all of us.
For sure. As veterans in the game, tell us some of the most important words of wisdom that you’ve heard over the years that you have brought along with you throughout your career?
It is such a new process these days. You can do it on your own. The recording process has become so easy and bands can seriously record anywhere these days. Through all of the advancements with equipment and technology, it is an awesome thing to be able to do that but at the same, it creates a separation and steals from the process of writing and hitting the studio, you know? You have to love what you do. You have to have fun while you are doing it. You have to love making music. If you set out wanting to be a “rockstar”, that’s the wrong motive. To each their own, but you have to grind it out. I salute the young ones that are out there and are stoked for every time that they get to hit the stage; that reminds me of the way that we did it. I hope that kids embrace the process and see the bigger picture.
You can’t forget about lacing soul into the music. You have to choose to lace who you are into your artistry. Fans can feel that. Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
I am grateful that we get to spend another summer doing what we love with a bunch of good people. Again, I can’t thank you all enough for showing up to our shows. I didn’t know how this tour would turn out, but the venues and promoters are eating it up and really want this old-school fun summer package that we are bringing to the table. We couldn’t do it without all of you.
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