Interview to POWND
PRESENT YOURSELVES OUR READERS...
"We are the real deal. Rock and roll oozes out our pores. (laughs)"
WHO ARE POWND AS BAND MEMBERS?
"Rick, Ronnie, Steve, Mike and I."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE VERY FIRST BEGINNING OF BAND...
"Mike and Ronnie are brothers that began playing music together in the early nineties. After playing in a couple of local cover bands together here in Kentucky they began meeting a virtual "who's who" of regional musicians. And in 1996 they decided to put together an original band that had a much heavier edge with guitarist Mark Spencer, bassist Jason Coley and drummer James McDaniel. The original line-up of Pownd performed nearly nonstop for four years and also released a DIY album which sold well within the region. Somewhere during late 1999 and early 2000, Spencer was out and was replaced by guitarist Rick Sargent. It was here when the songwriting within the band began to greatly improve. The band immediately recorded a new 5 song demo that would catch the ears of Century Media who gave them a trial run opening up a few dates on the Halford tour in 2000. It was short lived due to personal conflicts with Coley and McDaniel. The band turned around, came home and inevitably burned bridges with Century Media. The band immediately contacted me and shortly after bassist/guitarist Jimmy Lee (who had a short run as Pownd guitarist before Rick came in the picture). We recorded alot of what would become "Circle of Power" soon after."
WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS RECORDING-EFFORTS?
"I wasn't on the first album so I don't have much to say about it."
WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR FOLLOWING?
"Our following has been great. The fans have always stood by us. Before I joined the band, I was a fan. I would see them live and tell them, "There is no reason why you guys can't be huge in Europe or elsewhere!". I think that sentiment remains strong with the Pownd fans. We put on such great live shows and we are not intimidated by anyone. We've opened for the likes of Opeth, Iced Earth, Ratt...and we don't care. We are going to try our best to give them a run for their money live. Everybody has just been waiting for us to break but for whatever reasons, it just hasn't happened. Our fans are die hard. They think we are rock stars. We connect with them and touch them which is the most important thing a band can do with their audience."
COULD YOU INTRODUCE US "CIRCLE OF POWER"?
"Circle of Power" is actually the product of three sessions that span nearly five years. It was originally independently released in 2003 and had a completely different song list, mix and cover art. We toured and shopped the shit out of it but to no avail. We would get nibbles from labels but no real bite until Lance King at Nightmare Records called us in late 2005. He loved it and wanted to put it out so we said, "Fuck yeah!!! Do it man!". He made the decision to bump some of the tracks in favor of other demo tracks we had made for Gene Simmons/Jeff Waters then asked us to go back in the studio and do a new song. We did "Swatting Flies" (which was supposed to have been done in the original sessions but we were unhappy with the take and therefore it was scrapped). The whole affair was re-mixed by producer Phil Osborne, beautifully mastered by Lance himself and finally saw the light of day earlier this year."
THE SOUND IS VERY HEAVY METAL AND RESTLESS...
"I love the way you put it. I feel the same way especially the way you describe the sound as being "restless". Most of the guys in this band have literally played music their whole lives and since we have been together as a group, we have seen quite a few trends come and go. I remember when I first started doing a lot of shows with the guys, bands like Limp Bizkit and Creed were very popular here in the States. We would go out of town and do gigs with these numbers that we had written that were real and honest. The local kids would sometimes scoff at us and say "Why don't you guys give it up?" or "You should try and sound like Disturbed". We would get pissed. We could play that shit but we didn't want to. We were listening to what we liked, played what we liked. It made us play harder to win those kids over and we usually did. It really came through in "Circle of Power"."
I NOTICED A THRASH METAL BACKGROUND IN YOUR SOUND, RIGHT?
"Not really. Playing wise, that probably mostly comes from me since I had played in a couple of death metal bands in California and then a thrash band in Kentucky shortly before I joined Pownd. Plus I grew up buying just about everything Metal Blade, Megaforce and Combat Records put out. It really changed the way the songs were arranged and definitely gave them a sense of urgency they hadn't had before. We really, truly listen to everything. It's not uncommon for us to come rock and rolling into a show cranking Cat Stevens or E.L.O."
WHAT'S ABOUT THE PRODUCTION OF ALBUM?
"The album was mostly produced by local musician Phil Osborne. He did a great job for what he had. The basic tracks were really rushed which we didn't care for at first but, in retrospect, it gave the album the live feel that it has made it endearing to those who are just now discovering the band. It really was a low budget affair and if it hadn't had been for Phil doing it for peanuts it probably would have never happened."
ANY PARTICULAR CONCEPT CONCERNING THE ALBUM?
"Of course not. We were really just trying to make a great rock and roll album and that's it."
WHAT'S THE MOOD OF IT?
"Honesty. A lot of metal bands are scared to death to show their true colors especially in today's dark and dismal musical climate. We are just real guys experiencing real day to day things. We are not going to lie and say we are are pissed off or that we hate the world. Our life is good. We are all very happy people just thankful to be alive and occasionally if a song happens to come out dark and dismal...it's for real."
THE MOST SALIENT ASPECTS OF YOUR NEW ALBUM?
"A friend of ours once made the comment that it was rock and roll album armored in metal and I really think that nailed it right on the head. When we would set down to write songs, it was never really about writing a metal song but more about writing a good song...period! We all grew up idolizing classic rock bands of the 60's and 70's but the 80's metal scene was OUR generation so obviously it was going to be a huge element within our sound and we are very proud of that. It's natural, not forced and that's just the way the songs come out. It sets us apart from a lot of what is going on."
WHAT'S ABOUT THE FEEDBACK?
"Most of the reviews have been great! Being on a label like Nightmare has been a bit of a challenge for us sometimes because we sort of stick out like a sore thumb next to the rest of their roster. I mean most of the bands on Nightmare have this really progressive power metal sort of sound and we are more akin to Judas Priest or maybe even Alice in Chains. On a couple of occasions it has confused the journalists into saying "What!?! This isn't Dream Theater!!!" and they give the disc only one spin which can be bad. People that like it always comment on how infectious the album is and how it just keeps getting better every time they listen to it. It really grows on you."
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SOUND?
"We want to make people smile. I know it sounds cheesy, but making people depressed with music is the easiest thing on Earth for a musician to do. But if you make somebody wanna live, then you have really done something. We really want people to have fun. We are not out to make a statement and you certainly don't have to dig deep to find the meaning of the songs. We just want people to laugh, drink their beers, bob their heads and most of all...PAY ATTENTION!!!"
"Probably not with this album at this time. Touring is a tricky thing and can be financially devastating for a band especially in the US. We were offered a 2 1/2 tour with Metal Church earlier this year and we declined because really there is only one original member of Metal Church left and we didn't see much of a draw. It was risky and we decided to let the album build up some momentum on its own, which it did. We stand by our decision. We are trying to make business decisions that will keep the band afloat. As soon as we get the green light we are gone. I can't wait to hit the road. That is when this band will really become what it should be."
THE FUTURE OF THE BAND?
"We are leaving in the morning to start recording the new album with Nevermore/Annihilator/Shatter Messiah guitarist Curran Murphy behind the board which is very exciting. He is a big fan, a sweet guy and an awesome musician. The dude took the stage with Annihilator on the Judas Priest reunion tour for Christ's sake!!! I really look forward to working with him. As far as the new material goes, don't expect another "Circle of Power". The music that has been written is somewhat more emotive and melodic but definitely retains the Pownd sound. I really think it will take us to the next level."
ANY LAST THOUGHTS?
"Yeah, we have a video for "Still, I Bleed" that will be featured in the upcoming horror film "Stash". It can be viewed at www.myspace.com/pownd. Check it out!!!"
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