Interview: Back Together, New Album in April
…With Guitarist Marcos Curiel
Curiel discusses being back with his band, how the new album has been
delayed 8 months, and his views are the disturbing trend of school shootings
he original wrote about in 2001.
I write as a music critic outside of this blog, and sometimes I get to
interview musicians. When I do, I post them.
This latest one was with Marcos Curiel, guitarist for Christian nu
metal rockers P.O.D. P.O.D. released two straight platinum albums in
1999 and 2001 before Curiel had to leave, but now he’s back, and
they have a new album coming out in April. Their most popular songs
of the past include “Alive” and “Youth of the Nation.”
Mitchell Blatt: Listening to some of the songs released early on your
new album, it sounds like they are heavier than past albums like Satellite
and The Fundamental Elements of South Town. Is that something you noticed
Marcos Curiel: When I write something, I’m not trying to put a
tag on it, it’s really just what comes out. I don’t go into
it with the frame of mind like having a plan. It just kind of happens.
MB: How has your music changed over the past four years?
MC: I wasn’t in the band for the past two records, but I was a
founding member and a visionary, and I heard them going in a direction
that I never thought P.O.D. would go in. I wasn’t there anymore,
but I had a big say so in the direction of the band when I was with
them. The band has been with me since my youth. I really feel like I
know which way the band should go.
Buy their new album here.
MB: It says on MTV that you left in part because of “spiritual
differences.” Is that true?
MC: We’re all different people in the band, and I don’t
expect them to believe like I do, and I don’t think they expect
me to believe like they do, but overall, we believe in the same thing.
I guess some people are just more liberal than others. To a lot of people’s
eyes, I am a liberal person. I can’t help it, that’s just
who I am, how I see things. Spirituality is different for everybody.
“Some people are just more liberal than others…”
MB: You said that you are kind
of more liberal than most people, so would you say you are more liberal
in your beliefs than your fellow bandmembers?
MB: Did that contribute at all to you leaving the band?
MC: There’s a story out there that says that I left and a story
out there that says that I was fired. That’s in the past, and
we want to move on to positive things like writing new music.
MC: We’re different people. Let’s just put it like that.
MB: You’re not going any further with that, I guess.
MC: To go back to that comment, some people—I’m not saying
the band—view me as more of a liberal person in politics, in spirituality,
everything. Even if it’s just people outside the band.
MB: In general, it seems like a lot of Christians are viewing you as
a band as being too liberal. I mean, they’ve been attacking you
for touring with all these secular bands like Korn…
MC: If anything, we’re just trying to spread positivity, which
is rooted in our faith in God, but you can’t please everybody.
The band that really sets the tone for us—and they’re a
completely different type of rock—would be U2. U2 is one of the
bands that is rooted in faith, but they have been able to break free
and reach as many people as possible. That’s what we try to do.
We try to reach the masses and inspire people.
MB: Do you ever have any quips with touring with some of these bands,
for example, Marilyn Manson?
MC: No. I mean, there needs to be a balance in life. The thing is, I
just saw Marilyn Manson, and a lot of people think, ‘What?!’…
The funny thing is, I went in thinking there was gonna be some haters
there. The majority of the Manson fans knew about our new record, and
I was getting asked for photos and autographs and everything. I encountered
more haters when I went to the ‘Sounds of the Underground’
tour from all these little hardcore kids who thought I was too mainstream.
I was like, ‘Whatever, dude. You just hate me cause I’m
on the radio.’
“At ‘Sounds of the Underground’ tourall these little
hardcore kids thought I was too mainstream. ‘You just hate me
cause I’m on the radio.’”
What’s cool is that everyone is an artist regardless of what they
put forth as an artist. There’s a mutual respect regardless of
our belief systems.
MB: Still, I mean Manson has a record of trashing God, and he often
burns a Bible when he plays “Anti-Christ Superstar.” Did
he do that when you went?
MC: The thing is, my buddy, who plays keys for Manson—this is
how diverse he is—he also plays in Gnarls Barkley. It’s
cool that he’s multi-talented and diverse, because there’s
a lot of kids who want to concentrate on one thing like, I remember
myself when I was younger. I used to sit back and say, it’s all
about Metallica and Testament and Slayer. Nothing Else Matters, you
know. As you mature, you open yourself up to a lot of new styles and
appreciate music and songwriting in general.
MB: The new album was originally slated for release last August. Why
has it been delayed so long?
MC: We’ve had to step back. This is the longest time it’s
ever taken for me personally or for P.O.D. to write a record. The music
had been done for a while. Vocally has been what’s taken the longest.
So we were supposed to release it in August last year, then it got pushed
back to September, then October, then November, then January, then March,
and now April.
MB: Alright, it’s definitely getting released in April then?
Not like Guns N Roses, waiting 13 years to release an album?
MC: No, it’s just getting back to the mold of having the original
band back together. You know, Sonny [Sandoval, lead singer] has three
kids. He has a t-shirt company. He’s got a lot of things going
on. Getting back together and rocking was a great thing, but it took
time. The music came out quick, but the vocals took a little longer.
MB: Do you have a tour scheduled for this summer?
MC: We’re probably going to do a lot of radio shows to promote
the record. We’re also talking about doing South America sometime
like July for like a month hopefully. Our big major American tour, we’re
going to do that this fall.
MB: Have you heard Weird Al’s song “Angry White Boy Polka”
[which features a compilation of songs about suicide, breakups, school
shootings, and other issues angry white boys face on a daily basis]?
Angry White Boy Polka Video
MB: What did you think having your song [“Youth of the Nation”]
featured in it?
MB: I wanted to ask you some
more questions about “Youth of the Nation” [inspired by shootings
at Columbine High School and Santana High School]. Pretty depressing song
the way you portrayed the youth of the nation. Do you think the situation
has changed since then?
MC: I thought it was funny, because that’s when you know we’ve
made it. The funny thing is, people take us really seriously. We are
a serious band, but we know that, at times, we don’t have to take
ourselves so seriously. We have fun. That’s why we went ahead
and did a video like “Boom” (where they played an ultra-competitive
ping-pong match in comedic style; watch it here). We wanted to show
people that we could have fun. They have a movie out now called “Balls
of Fury,” but we did that same topic back in the day.
MC: I think people are a lot more aware of the situation about shootings.
First you had Columbine, then Santana was the one that was personal to
us because it happened in San Diego, and we were rehearsing and writing
Satellite a couple of blocks away from the school. One day on the way
to the studio, there were all these helicopters and cars speeding by.
We really didn’t know what was going on. When we got to the studio,
this guy had the news on, and he was like, ‘This kid just went and
started blasting fools.’ So we started jamming, and that rhythm
just naturally came out then Wuv [Bernardo, drummer] put that drumbeat
on it, and the song was born.
“One day on the way to the studio, there were all these helicopters
and cars speeding by. … When we got to the studio, this guy had
the news on. ‘This kid just went and started blasting fools.’”
But as far as answering your question, I think people are more aware.
I’m not sure the situation has gotten a whole lot better, though,
because there are still a lot of shootings going on. They aren’t
even just going on at schools anymore. They’re happening at the
mall now. I think a lot of it is, people need to be aware of their surroundings,
and if they see any warning signs, they need to speak up. I think sometimes
people just assume that everyone is okay, and that’s not always
I have a really different viewpoint on the world, and I think a lot
of times the conditions that we live in here in America causes these
MB: Being such a spiritual band, have you heard from any kids that
you have influenced?
MC: You know, I was talking to a friend who was hanging out with a certain
artist who was bummed because this artist can’t check their Myspace
because they get a lot of suicide letters. When you think about it,
the reason is, the music that comes out of that artist is really depressing.
P.O.D. has been blessed to have tons of letters from people who were
thinking about committing suicide but our music got them through it.
Now they are so thankful, and they are lifelong fans. That’s what
it’s all about, man. We’re here to encourage and inspire.
That’s what Bob Marley did. That’s what U2 does. That’s
what Santana does. We just want to spread positivity. There’s
just way too much negativity going on in our everyday lives. When you
can hear something that’s going to uplift you like “Alive”
or something that’s going to bring out knowledge like “Youth
of the Nation,” we’ve done our jobs as an artist. We’re
trying to be relevant with the people. I joke around with this all the
time, but I really do think that P.O.D. is the band for the people,
dude. It’s sounds cheesy, but at the same time, it’s not,
“A certain artist can’t check their Myspace because they
get a lot of suicide letters.”
MB: Do you think these artists who have depressing and sometimes violent
music should be blamed at all for suicides?
MC: Let’s put it this way. When we shot the video for “Youth
of the Nation,” we had a girl sitting on the hood of the car going
down the highway trying to be free-spirited, you know? Don’t think
there’s anything wrong with that, right? But, Viacom and MTV had
us edit that out because kids are so easily influenced. It’s like
on shows like “Jackass,” where they have to put out those
warnings. Kids will actually try to do what they see on TV. So, if kids
are going to copy what they see, don’t you think they are going
to copy what they hear?
“In the video for ‘Youth of the Nation,’ we had a
girl sitting on the hood of the car going down the highway. MTV had
us edit that out because kids are so easily influenced.”
I’m not saying that’s for everybody, but in certain cases,
there’s going to be a song that’s going to make some people
sulk in negativity.
MB: So, do you think the artists should be held accountable, then?
MC: That’s a tough subject. I don’t think you can pin it
on one particular band or one particular thing. It’s an accumulation
of a lot of different things. Kids not communicating with their parents,
or their parents are just fucked up. Then that kids getting picked on
at school. Then when they get home, they pop in this angry, obnoxious,
negative music, and that’s going to fuel how they feel. I would
think that in some cases, it would cause them to go out and act upon
MB: Do you think anyone will get mad at you for saying “fuck”
in that last response?
MC: Who knows … There might be some haters. The thing about that
whole word is some people are getting so caught up in that one word
that they are forgetting about the whole subject matter that we are