Drowning Pool guitarist C.J. Pierce says having to search for another lead singer following Ryan McCombs' departure in 2011 was "frustrating. I went through a little bout of depression, like 'Here we go again...'" But Pierce and his bandmates are confident that the fourth time will be the charm for the Dallas headbangers with new arrival Jasen Moreno.
"We've always known Jasen," Pierce tells Billboard. "He came up with us in the late 90s. He's been that guy on the scene; he was always great but never got his shot. I had no idea he was going to audition for us, but he came in and learned every song off every record, and then we sent him a bunch of new songs and he sounded great on them. It was like we'd worked together for 10 years, so we instantly started working six days a week, 10-12 hours a day. He's real ProTools savvy and just a team player, and a really sweet guy.
"So now I look back, and things happen for a reason. It led us on this path and now we've got our favorite musician we've ever worked with, hands down. So we had to go through all the rest of it to get to this point."
Moreno makes his debut on "Resilience," Drowning Pool's aptly titled fifth studio album "Resilience," which is due out April 9. Pierce says some of the songs, such as "Life's a Misery," reflect the initial funk after McCombs left to rejoin SOiL. But, he promises, "it's not all doom and gloom," and the group actually wrote more songs for the album with Moreno than it has for any of its other albums -- including, Pierce says, 15 other songs "in the bag" for a potential head start on Drowning Pool's next album.
"I would say ('Resilience') has the staple Drowning Pool sound," Pierce says. "We wanted to do more of a heavy record, a metal record, but we try to mix it up. There's a lot to choose from. It's definitely more of a heavy record than we've done before, though."
Ironically, however, "Resilience's" lead single, "Saturday Night," is one of the set's lighter moments. "Yeah, it's more of a party song, which we've never really done before," Pierce notes. "People ask us what it's like to be on the road, and we say every night on the road is like Saturday night -- the doors open up, everyone's drinking and having fun, usually what you do on a weekend even if it's Wednesday or whatever. It's something new and different, but you look at, like, Led Zeppelin; they would bring some new style every time they made a record. And ('Saturday Night') is fun to play live, man. We go from that to 'let the bodies hit the floor' and it really gets people going."
Drowning Pool is on the road with Flyleaf until March 24, then plays a trio of Texas shows in late March -- including March 26 in Dallas -- before heading to the U.K. and Europe in April. More North American shows are planned for the late spring and summer. "We're hoping to be on some kind of big rock tour," Pierce says. "If not, we'll go and do our own."