P.O.D. here to R.O.C.K
“This is about that promise we have all have of a better tomorrow. That’s the message that I really wanted to get across…” says P.O.D. vocalist and driving force Sonny Sandoval. He is talking about a song from their new album Testify called Goodbye for Now. He describes the song as being about the pledge of a happier future; that things will improve if you give it a chance. In many ways it epitomizes P.O.D.’s musical output over the last 14 years they have been together.
Ostensibly a heavy rock outfit with hip-hop, latin and reggae influences the music serves as a potent matrix from which to launch his vocals. Go beyond the instrumental contribution and you find positive lyrics that deal with standing up for what you believe in, looking forward to the future, strength in yourself and sheer faith.Faith is something that is most prominent in any P.O.D. release. The band members are born again Christians, mostly hailing from San Diego’s San Ysidro neighborhood, but the rock outfit shy away from evangelical behavior and instead invite audiences to come close and share their experiences and beliefs. It is not their way to ram belief’s down other’s throats, but rather to play a blowout show for everyone there and hope that the feelings of unity and emotions arising from their music will make people think more about who they are, what they are doing and how they can make the world just that little bit better. As Sonny once said in a 2001 interview, “We’re Christians 110 percent, without a shadow of a doubt. We’re not trying to hide anything … but we make our music for everybody.”
P.O.D. members are not shy of expressing their belief but are always at pains to point out that their music is simply an expression of their life, it is all they know, all they have ever done and all they ever will and it is God that has given, and will continue to give them, the strength they need to carry on with their musical endeavors. The band’s music takes influences from all compass points but with a heavy feel for rock, reggae and hip-hop. Citing bands like Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, 24/7 Spies, Pink Floyd, Run DMC, Deftones, Marvin Gaye, Black Uhuru, Isley Brothers, Metallica, it’s easy to hear all of these bands winding their contributions into the band’s own vision.
It was in 2001 during the emotional aftermath of the September 11th attacks that P.O.D. came to real national prominence, their song ‘Alive’ already enjoying decent airplay on radio and TV was taken up as an unofficial anthem of hope and love with the lyrics, “Every day is a new day / I’m thankful for every breath I take,” and, “I feel so alive for the very first time.” The infectious chorus gloriously married to an instantly memorable riff, the song had millions singing along and launched the band’s career into the stratosphere. Their follow up album, the eponymous Payable on Death, quickly sold over a million records.The road has certainly been a long and rocky one for the P.O.D. boys. Caught in the middle between so-called true Christian’s who lambast the band for not having enough faith or being proper Christians because they are in a rock band and on the other side coming under attack from non-christians who won’t listen to their music because they have instantly labeled it as “Christian Rock,” and it is in some way inferior. It is a point of contention that the band have learned to deal with.
“Sometimes, you can’t win.” Sonny said in a LiveDaily interview, “You’ll never be good enough, or you’ll never live up to somebody else’s expectations of what your faith is about. It’s sad, man. The bottom line: this is me. I’m the man that makes the decisions in my life, and the next man has to do that for himself.”Vail Colorado