July 19, 2013
We recently caught up with Sonny from P.O.D. backstage at Ram’s Head Live after P.O.D. finished their set and he was quite pleasant with interesting answers to all the questions we threw at him.
Rock N Roll Experience: What made you reactivate P.O.D.?
Sonny: I got to go home for a while and do some things I wanted to do in my heart and then I started calling these guys up and we came back on our own terms...I think when you disappear for a while everybody...not necessarily gives up on you but they kinda just stop wanting from you & taking from you so you can come back & do the album you wanna do, go with what label you want to go to, really on your own if you want instead of having everybody in your pockets and trying to tell you what your bands supposed to be so it’s just us doing it more on our own terms now.
Rock N Roll Experience: Why did you cut your dreads off?
Sonny: I was just going through alot in my life and it was just more of...once it starts to become your identity it was more of just a stripping down of everything & letting that stuff go...it was more of a spiritual thing to me & once it started to become a trend... everybody does it because it’s, it’s like it makes me sick & I’d rather just strip down & start over....if I could take away my tattoos right now I would.
Rock N Roll Experience: really?
Sonny: I think it’s just become trendy and I remember when you used to walk around 22 years ago it was like it meant something, I mean I wouldn’t take them away but it doesn’t mean as much, I mean it does to me but it doesn’t mean as much having it & setting myself aside from the norm because now the norm is everything.... if you’re a lawyer, the boy next door is tatted on his face.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you a big House of Pain fan?
Sonny: I was more of a Cypress Hill west coast but then once they kinda became part of the whole Assassins crew, I mean I liked “Jump Around” yeah.
Rock N Roll Experience: So when this tour is over what’s next for the band?
Sonny: It looks like we are gonna do some fly out dates and go to the Philippines and China and they are trying to book Europe again so we are staying busy and I can’t complain.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are P.O.D. big overseas?
Sonny: (laughs) I think everybody’s big overseas (laughs) I think they just appreciate American music & we get so spoiled here in the states it’s like you don’t have to see a band this time because you can see them next month but over there it’s like wow, this bands coming over! The first time I went to South America it took us almost 15 years so it was like 10,000 kids showed up and we were like, wow, this is nuts! Here you can see a show 20 times a week.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you still consider P.O.D. a christian band?
Sonny: I never did, I never took a stand and said we were a Christian band, I don’t know what that means, I wasn’t born a Christian, it was a decision I made on my own & it’s a personal faith that I have, I would never market my God in any business, I think the Church does that enough itself so I think we’ve just been so open in our faith that people labeled us that & when we first started I think we were real militant in alot of our beliefs not in a Christian Crusade kinda way but more like we came from the streets so once you become something it’s like, this is what I am, I’ll die for this so it was more of an adjusting mentality of this is what I am and if the world doesn’t like that I’m a Christian then I’ll go out swingin, then you learn that’s not what my faith is about, my faith is about surrender & love & forgiveness.
Rock N Roll Experience: So this tour with Flyleaf wasn’t put together as a Christian rock package?
Sonny: I think Flyleaf are trying to break that stereo type too, it’s the same thing, the moment you’re...this is what amazes me, this only happens to the bands that are Christians...if a band comes out and says I’m a Buddhist or I’m Hindu they are never labeled as a Hindu punk rock band & unless you shelter it & say hey, I’m whatever & this is me & you make a complete stand, again, I think we get lumped into it & that’s a balance that we fight all the time...I don’t play Christian festivals and there are bands that I like that play them like Devil Wears Prada, The Chariot, or For Today...that’s bands that I like and they play normal places, it’s not like we are playing Churches & back in the day we would play wherever they let us play & it’s the same thing, you get labeled like that but I think that’s more of a stereo type of the world saying, Oh, They are a Christian band so don’t listen to them if you’re not a Christian..that’s not what we are about, we wanna make music.
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you ever done a show with Stryper?
Sonny: No and I couldn’t tell you one Stryper song...(laughs), we get compared to them, they were known for what they did, I mean again, I’m vocal and open about my faith but I think you have any type of success it’s like, oh yeah, it’s that other Christian band like Stryper. What i think is cool about what we are allowed to do by selling millions of records is pave the way for all the other bands that are coming through and no longer it’s, oh yeah, it’s that Christian band, it’s yeah they just kick ass, they rock, they are good...they don’t have to be 20 times better than the next band just because they have a stigma of having faith behind them, it’s like wow, they are good & P.O.D. sold record so let’s overlook that little bit (religion).
Rock N Roll Experience: So you don’t down the bands who are anti-religion?
Sonny: No, I’m anti-religion, I hate religion. It’s how you define it, I think religion is man made, I think religion has used the name of God and the name of Jesus to get what they want and to manipulate people and cause wars over it but that’s the outskirts of it, if you’re not reading scripture and you don’t know the bible then you wouldn’t obviously know that Jesus is the opposite of what the institution of Religion and the institution of Christianity has said it is....Jesus was the ultimate punk rocker, he was the ultimate rebel, he was against religion, he was against the government, he was against alot of things...
Rock N Roll Experience: and he had long hair
Sonny: and he had long dreads and he hung with the people and he broke bread with the poor folks and the common people but no one sees it that way, they see it as white American bible belt white-power, blue eyed Christianity and that’s not Jesus, (laughs) I’m none of those things, ya know?