With P.O.D returning to New Zealand shores to perform a gig with DISTURBED and REDLINE in September 08′, the team here at NZRock have resurrected another classic interview from the archives. This one was originally published in the Volume #3, February 2006 issue of Missing Link Magazine – NZ’s 100% Rock / Metal publication. Having just released their album ‘Testify’, here’s what P.O.D’s drummer Noah “Wuv” Bernardo had to say.
What was the recording experience like for the Testify album?
It was a cool experience this time around because we used a different producer. We went from Howard Benson to Glen Ballard. Also just the way we recorded the album. Instead of mostly in the studio we did it in a couple of cool houses which we rented out in Palm Springs, California. The first house was actually Jackie Onassis’s and it was this huge beautiful house set in a nice area. It was quiet and kind of secluded so if we wanted to jam at two or three in the morning we could and that’s something we’ve never been able to do before. So it was a cool atmosphere, it was a cool vibe and it was really relaxing. You know, the vibe was just totally different. I don’t think we’ll ever record in a studio again. I like the freedom of being in a house and being able to record whenever you want. That was different for us this album and it’s probably the main difference that you can feel on this record.
For those who haven’t heard ‘Testify’, would you describe it as along the lines of P.O.D’s former hard rock inspired material or is the even more of a reggae feel this time?
We’ve got some reggae feel in there for sure. That’s what we put in every single one of our records. we always try to put that sound in there because that’s our favourite style of music, we me and Sonny’s anyway. We did a song called ‘Roots In Stereo’ and then another song called ‘Strength Of My Life’ and both of them have that reggae type of feel. We always keep the P.O.D flavour but I think of this one we just tried POD Bandto make the music a little more mature. That’s the kind of step that we’re trying to take so that’s kind of the reason why we went with Glen Ballard on this one. We always try to keep the heavy stuff in there because it’s like the roots of where we came from. But at the same time I think the thing we concentrate on mostly instead of style is more just like the song writing type of stuff. I mean putting together songs that, I dont want to say sound more mature, but just songs that reflect where we’re at today. And that’s pretty much all we can really do.
What were the reasons behind your guitarist Marcos leaving the band back in 2003?
That was something that he decided to do. At the end of the ‘Satellite’ record he was already recording with another band (THE ACCIDENT EXPERIMENT) and naturally our band kept on moving and he wanted to put his time into other things. We had business we had to take care of and he wasn’t willing to stop the other things to continue business with P.O.D so we both separated ways. That’s pretty much as easy as I can put it HAHA!
Do you think the current line-up is the best that you’ve had so far.
Um, I won’t say that it’s the best. Marcos and I started the band together 14 or 15 years ago so I would just say that were P.O.D is at now with Truby… is the air clear? Yes the air is a lot clearer. Is the music better? I can’t say that it’s better but I can say that it’s still P.O.D and I’m not saying that our records now aren’t better than then, it’s just that’s the music we’re coming up with now. I love all the records. The Last record ‘Payable On Death’ (2003) was one of my favourite records we’ve done. So it’s hard to compare. Everyone puts their influence on the record and everyone has their say. Regardless if it was Marcos or Jason it’s always going to be a P.O.D thing. As long as we’re having fun playing music together we’ll keep on going. The reason why we got together was because we loved playing music and it was fun and to this day its still fun for me. So we’ll just keep on doing it until we don’t have the opportunity to do it anymore.
How did your new guitarist Jason Truby come to be in the band?
We’d known him for like seven years before he joined the band. We toured with his band (LIVING SACRIFICE) in the early 90’s when Marcos was in our band and ven back then Marcos had a discussion with us and it was like if we ever added another guitarist to the band then Jason Truby would be the guy. We’ve always had this great relationship with him and we respect him as a musician and as a friend most importantly. So when Marcos moved on it was a natural thing to go to him first. Once he found out that he was wanting to do it and it was OK with his wife and his family then that’s a step we took.
How do you find it being in a high profile rock band when you’re all family men?
All of us have kids but it’d one of those things where you know. We started the band before we were all married and had kids so it’s just one of those things that people adjust to. It definitely didn’t hit us all at one time when all of a sudden we started selling millions of records. I mean we were a band for seven or eight years before we even got signed to Atlantic and we’d been touring for seven or eight years before all that happened so our families and everyone else kind of took the steps with us.
P.O.D started out by creating a fanbase in your home area of San Diego. How did everything eventually fall into place for the band?
At first all we could do was play in San Diego. Then once we started getting opportunities to play in Los Angeles and other places in the country we just went through those doors. It wasn’t something that felt like an effort, it was just one of the things that we were doing as a band. We didn’t know that the foundations were getting stronger and stronger and all of a sudden we were going to get signed. The band was just like an everyday part life and then seven years later Atlantic came knocking on the door. But the thing is we were always just busy playing and we knew that as the years were getting on we were getting busier and busier and more people wanted us to play. So it got to a point where we all quit our jobs and started doing it full time.
What was it like growing up in South Town?
You know we’ve been to Auckland… we’ll South Town is a beach town like that. There’s a lot of surfing in San Diego, it’s a big city, we live right next to Mexico. It’s got all these elements that are combined but the thing that makes it cool is the fact there’s a lot of different cultures down where we live. We grew up right next to the Tijuana boarder and just mixing all those cultures together made you appreciate all types of life, all types of music and that kind of stuff. And I think that’s kind of what helps mix our music together and what helps us have n open mind towards different styles of music.
Youth comprises a large part of your listening audience. What sort of message is P.O.D trying to give them?
The thing is people take our band for a lot of different things. Some people just like if for the rock ‘n’ roll music and the heavy stuff. Other people take it more on the spiritual side. We always have that in our lyrics and I think that’s probably the thing that stands out the most to the people that listen to our music. We have this faith and that’s something that we try to walk by every day whether you’re perfect or not. But we say it for everybody. We say the things that give us peace and keep us moving and ticking. So as long as we keep it positive I think the kids are always going to come back to P.O.D and try to get that from us.
There’s a lot of feedback on the internet from people saying that your music has changed their lives. How does that make you feel?
I think it’s cool man. It makes me feel good to be part of a band that has something to say instead of talking about nothing. I mean it’s one thing to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band and have the opportunity to do it for a living and have fun. But to know that your music actually inspires people or changes their way of thought on the lyrical tier that’s an added bonus. And that’s probably the thing that blesses our band the most.
P.O.D as invited to visit wounded US troops in Washington last December. How did that go?
It was something that I don’t think I would’ve ever been able to prepare for, you know what I mean? It was definitely eye opening. I thought there were going to be bandages and things like that but there were some injuries that… I never thought I would see anything like that. All we could really do was just go and give our support and try to encourage.
With all the soldiers getting killed and injured in Iraq, what are your views on the whole situation?
You know to tell you the truth, one of the things our band agrees not to do when doing interviews is talk about politics. Regardless of what we believe or how we feel about the war our main goal is that we support the troops and that’s pretty much were we leave it. We’re proud to be Americans and obviiously everyone wants all the troops to come home. We just kind of leave the politics at the door and let that be it.
Early last year ‘Head’ KORN’s guitarist left the band to pursue the Christian life. You guys were touring with the band a few months earler so did his dramatic change in life direction have anything to do with that?
No, to tell you the truth we don’t really go out with a mission to turn everybody over and we didn’t do that when were hanging with him. I think he probably saw our band was just completely different but at the same time we’re human beings too. He just knew that there was a difference there and maybe that sparked up his thought I don’t know. But I know a couple of months before he even told his band he had sought out me and Sonny from our band to talk to us to kind of see what we thought about that. And we just said “hey dude, if that’s what makes you happy and that’s what gives you peace then I guess you’ve found what you’re looking for” – and it’s the same thing that we’ve found.
Does P.O.D have any plans for a tour over here in New Zealand anytime soon?
Dude, we love New Zealand! It’s one of my favourite countries in the world man! We’ve only been there once and we’ve been trying to get back there ever since so if we can get back there we’re definitely jumping at the opportunity trust me!
What would you like to say to your New Zealand fans?
Hey man, I just wanna thank everybody for the support and hopefully when ‘Testify’ comes out everybody will enjoy listening to that record as much as we enjoyed making it. So right on! Thankyou guys!