SAN DIEGO CITY BEAT

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P.O.D.’s resurrection

“You gotta hold hands before you kiss and make up, right?” Sonny Sandoval says. “Well, even if you’re making up, you can’t just jump back into making out right away—you gotta take it slow and feel each other out.”

This is how Sandoval—frontman for San Diego alt-metal group P.O.D. describes the reconciliation process that led to four friends finding their way back together.

“Once those make-out sessions, or whatever, got going, we just knew it was time to make up and get back together again,” Sandoval continues, before chuckling, “maybe we’re more like in a marriage now.”

The South Bay quartet is arguably the most unlikely (and unfashionable) major-label act to ever catapult from local all-ages venues to triple-platinum success. The openly Christian, melodic rap-rockers experienced a meteoric rise to TRL-topping heights with the 1999 smash, The Fundamental Elements of Southtown, and its 2001 follow-up, Satellite.
The band didn’t exactly fall from commercial grace after that but internal rancor led to the departure of founding guitarist Marcos Curiel in 2003. Subsequent albums (including 2003’s Payable on Death and 2006’s Testify) received a far more modest reception than Southtown and Satellite. But now Curiel is back in the mix for the band’s latest album (their “Peaches & Herb reunion record,” as Sandoval calls it), When Angels and Serpents Dance, which drops April 8.

The album boasts Curiel’s signature riffage and a more expansive and collaborative sonic palette. And the title is apparently no more biblical than, say, the name of your favorite back-in-the-day Iron Maiden album. Sandoval says the phrase simply “seemed the most old-school metal” choice on a working list of possibilities.

The band invited some of its musical heroes to join them in the recording studio, including The Marley Sisters (“I’ll Be Ready”), Helmet’s Paige Hamilton (“God Forbid”) and, Sandoval’s biggest personal triumph, Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies (“Kaliforn-Eye-A”).

“Mike Muir was just amazing… and wise… and really funny,” Sandoval gushes. “They say don’t ever meet your heroes, but in this case, we got away with it, man. We’re really happy with it.”

P.O.D. has been preparing for a national tour by playing a string of dates at Hard Rock Café venues (including an April 7 show at the Hard Rock in San Diego).

“I figured we’d play their music venues, but we’re not. We’re playing, like, the restaurant part of the place,” Sandoval says. “So, as we’re setting up our gear and sound-checking, people are gonna be eating their appetizers and dinners, I guess.

“That’s fine, though,” he adds. “As long as they don’t mind dodging flying [microphone] stands during dessert.”
—Will K. Shilling