(July 2008 Issue)
by Steven Douglas Losey
“When I’m playing my drums, it’s like burning incense to God.”
In an industry that is fond of burning out young bands and tossing out their ashes with the trash, P.O.D. has been through the fire and come through purified and forged like a soldier’s blade. In 2008 the band has new vigor, a reignited passion, and a faith as strong as a ball-peen hammer.
Despite record company politics, the loss of members, and, at times, self-doubt that they should even continue, P.O.D. soldiered on. On their latest opus, When Angels And Serpents Dance, they toss together a stew of styles and grooves with enough tasty riffs to bring hit singles to the masses.
Drummer Wuv Bernardo has been with the band during their entire career, originally founding P.O.D. with guitarist Marcos Curiel in the early ’90s. No doubt, Wuv has seen the good times and the bad. He’s enjoyed triple-platinum success with the release of Satellite–and felt disappointment with 2004’s Testify, when his band barely get out of the starting gate. He’s also witnessed his old friend Marcos Curiel return to the fold after a four-year absence. Today Curiel is not only injecting new life into the band’s groove, but helping to add purpose to their master plan.
MD: What has influenced your drumming the most?
Wuv: Everything from reggae to classic rock, like The Police’s Stewart Copeland and Phil Rudd from AC/DC, and Steve “Grizzly” Nisbett from Steel Pulse. I love the sound of drums and making music, and there have definitely been a lot of diverse people that have inspired me over the years, especially in my early days.
MD: You don’t hear a lot of drummers cite Phil Rudd and Stewart Copeland in the same sentence.
Wuv: As far as Phil Rudd is concerned, I appreciate the art of being simple and just doing what makes the song sound better. If that’s just playing straight, then that’s what you need to do. A lot of AC/DC songs are timeless. They have that straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll groove without trying to overdo it, but at the same time the drumming is exactly what it needs to be. I appreciate that.
Time and time again I find myself coming back to those records because it’s so easy to enjoy those songs. Sometimes less is definitely more, and you can’t really argue about simplicity.
MD: What did you learn from Stewart Copeland?
Wuv: For me, Copeland is one of the guys who, when I listen to his stuff, I’m reminded again and again of all the cool things that he does. I love his style so much. The way he works his hi-hat is incredible. It’s tasteful, and it really spices up the songs. I’ve always tried to remember that when I’m going into the studio, even when we’re writing songs.
MD: How do you approach recording in terms of your mental process?
Wuv: When I go into the studio, I’m usually very relaxed. I typically freestyle it. I’ve never been the most technical guy, and I’ve always let it go on the fly. I play the same way on every record and try to have the same intensity when I lay down the groove. I always go for the best beat for the songs, no matter what, while also trying to have a lot of fun doing it.
There’s more to this interview. Pick up the July issue at your favorite newsstand, book store, or music store now!