INTERVIEW: Jasen Moreno (DROWNING POOL)
Levi: I really want to go to Texas. It's one of those places that's on my to do list. What's the metal scene like over there?
Jasen: Texas, I think the metal scene's coming back. I think the metal scene's struggling all over the US honestly. It seems to be very big in Florida and Tennessee. Texas is a little bit. It's not like it used to be. I have heard that Texas is similar to Australia in a lot of ways. I'm not but I'm going to find out real soon.
Levi: Yeah, that's what Vinnie Paul told me. He said it's quite similar and we've apparently got a pretty similar attitude so I reckon you'll have fun when you come down.
Jasen: Yeah. I hope. I hope that the shows go over well, I don't get too many creepy, crawler critters chasing me.
Levi: No, it's not as bad as people say. You've been playing with Drowning Pool for 3 or 4 years now, you just did your second album, it's called Hellelujah. I'm just wondering what are the guys like to tour and write music with? Is it a lot of fun?
Jasen: Sure. I mean, for the most part it's a positive experience. I mean, everyone has their off days. You wouldn't be human if you didn't.
I'd say they're pretty grounded. Not a lot of egos involved. They don't view me as a hired gun. I've never felt that way. I think that's probably due to the fact that I've known the guys since before they were signed. It's not like I'm a stranger coming in. I think that previous relationship that we've had really helped. It seems to be that they're natural and not a lot of drama man. We're a band. We do what we do. We play some shows and it's a good time.
Levi: Yeah, cool. It's going to be great to see you guys play. What can we expect from the set list? I'm sure you'll be playing a lot of new stuff but can we expect stuff from the early albums too?
Jasen: You can expect to get songs from every Drowning Pool record. There are just rock solid staples that are in the set that are never going to go away. Sinner and Step Up and Feel Like I Do. Those songs will never go away. We're playing five new songs off Hallelujah but that being said we have the ability to gauge the crowd's reaction and response and the attitude and the vibe. If it's a Sinner heavy night, people are just raving about Sinner then we have that ability to audible and it's not so strict a set list that we can't deviate from that. You can expect to get the full experience. It's not like you're going to get any certain records skipped over. You're going to get songs from each record.
Levi: Yeah, and you've never been to Australia before have you, is that correct?
Jasen: Right, I've never been. Can't wait.
Levi: Great. Just some news that's been going around lately on the internet. Apparently Axl Rose is going to be the new singer for AC/DC. I'm just wondering if you're a fan of both of those bands? Do you think it could go well together?
Jason: Yeah, I don't see why it couldn't. I was really big into Appetite for Destruction and then I lost interest after that record. AC/DC is, they're icons man. You can't not like AC/DC. I think it's unfortunate about Brian Johnson. That definitely is sad to hear that. Do I think that Axl can do it justice? I think that if he checks his ego, and I'm not trying to talk messy, I'm just saying if he doesn't try to incorporate too much of Axl into AC/DC then I think it could be fun. I think he just has to remember why he's there. He's there to front AC/DC, not to be Axl Rose. I don't know that guy. I'm hoping that it'll ... Is that true? Is he really going to be the guy?
Levi: Well that's the rumour. Someone took a photo of Axl coming out of the rehearsal room with AC/DC and apparently Malcolm Young and Angus Young's nephew confirmed it as well. It's not 100% but it's looking like it could happen.
Jasen: I mean, I don't think it's a bad thing. Axl Rose is an icon in his own right. Similar vocal register as well. He's got a hellacious attitude so I'm glad they got somebody finally that'll be able to fill the room and not some unknown hack.
Levi: Yeah, speaking of iconic vocalists, who was the vocalist that got you into singing?
Jasen: Freddie Mercury, without a doubt.
Levi: Good choice. When did you start practicing and really putting time and effort into it?
Jasen: You know, I've been singing all my life, since I was in the single digits but I wasn't singing with any plan to be a singer. I didn't want to be a singer. I didn't necessarily not want to be a singer. It's something I did for fun. I was passionate about it but I was more so in love with the idea of being a lead guitarist. I mean, I remember hearing Queen and Freddie and that was really the turning point for me. Singing and voices, but the guitar was always, I wanted to be that guy.
Levi: Do you still play much guitar?
Jasen: Yeah, I do. Of course. I wrote some music for the new record. Yeah, I play. Every chance I get. I play a little acoustic in the set now. We're working that in slowly so as not to freak out too many people. I still play a lot of guitar. That's not to say I regret singing. I love being a singer. I guess I just take it for granted.
Levi: For sure. You were in a band before Drowning Pool called The Suicide Hook? I haven't actually checked out any of the music yet but I will have a listen a little later today. Are you guys still going? Is that still a happening thing?
Jasen: Yeah, there was actually local bands going through so many versions of themselves. Those guys were the same band that I was playing with when Drowning Pool was local and I was local. We would play shows together all the time. It wasn't The Suicide Hook then. It was then called Plastic Tongue but later when Drowning Pool came back and Suicide Hook is a band that toured with Drowning Pool. Yeah, we still work together every chance we get. Obviously I don't have a whole lot of time because Drowning Pool dominates all my time but yeah. There's always going to be that relationship with those guys.
Levi: Were you good friends with Dave Williams when he was still alive?
Jasen: I wouldn't say we were good friends. I would like to say we considered each other friends. We had a friendly rivalry going on as local bands do, trying to be the big dog in the scene if you will. Yeah, I'd say we were friends. Not too terribly close but it wasn't, we were on speaking terms. I'd see him out in the scene and we'd talk and hang out and I'd stay to watch their show and they'd watch our show and we would cheer and try to figure out how to better each other. It always seemed like they were always pinning our ass to us man. Drowning Pool, we all knew they were going to blow up, and they did.
Levi: When you became the front man, were you ever nervous at first doing the songs justice? Did the fans treat you well when you first came out on stage?
Jasen: Oh fans have been great. If they are at a show, they've been super responsive and respectful and welcomed me with open arms. People that don't ever make it to a show that sit on the keyboards and hate us, they give you the most grief. The true fans? No man, they've been great. Yes, I did feel a lot of pressure with that catalogue, especially Dave's legacy because that was the catalyst. That's what started this all and I knew him. I didn't want to detain anyone's expectations of that or ruin anyone's favourite songs. Really concentrate a lot on singing the back catalogue as exactly the way it was recorded. I don't incorporate any of myself. I think that happens naturally because of who I am. I'm not those guys. It happens. I don't change any notes and I don't change words. I sing it the way it was recorded because that's the way people want to hear it.
It's getting easier as time goes by just because you're getting in the groove and you're gelling more with the guys and becoming a tighter band but there's always going to be pressure. You have to honour that legacy. It would be disrespectful not to, you know?
Check out the full interview here...
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