June 8, 2016


Q&A: Drowning Pool's C.J. Pierce on 82-Year-Old's 'Bodies' Cover, Getting a Joint From a Grandma

Joey Foley/Getty Images
Joey Foley/Getty Images

Whether you enjoy metal or not, almost everyone recognizes 2001's "Bodies," Drowning Pool's biggest hit. From its use in the WWE to video games like Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, the track has made its mark on pop culture. 

Most recently, 82-year-old John Hetlinger brought "Bodies" back to life with his unexpected but incredibly awesome America's Got Talent audition on NBC. Fuse hopped on the phone with Drowning Pool guitarist C.J. Pierce to talk about his thoughts on the audition.

Fuse: So what was your first reaction to John’s performance?
C.J. Pierce: I keep saying what an amazing job he did! I’ve been watching it over and over again, and I can’t stop. It’s awesome. You wouldn’t expect an 82-year-old man to get out there and just be like, “RAHHHH!!” He was fun.

His voice was great and you can tell he has a lot of passion.
Yeah, and he’s a good dude with the history he has and all that he’s done in his life. I didn’t know what to expect from him. I got a clip of it yesterday and the messages just started rolling in. I didn’t think he was going to belt it out like that. You look at him and you’d think Sinatra or something like that, so I was definitely blown away.

Does the band come across a lot of older fans in the 70s-80s age range?
Well, I might as well tell this story. I haven’t told anybody publicly, but it’s a fun one. We did a concert in Virginia Beach for a radio show, and it was a big arena. And our fans range from 8-year-olds to 82-year-olds now. So long story short, I jumped down in the crowd and there was a mother, a daughter and a grandma all in the front row rocking out. So I went down and shook everyone’s hands. And out of everybody in the family, the grandma grabs my hand, puts a joint in my hand and says “Have a good time tonight!” Like, rock and roll, crazy grandma! You’re never too old to have a good time. I of course didn’t smoke it. But it’s a rock 'n' roll concert, so what are you gonna do?

I read that you guys are thinking to bring John with you on the road. Is that true?
I mentioned the Open Air festival. I’ve been trying to get in touch with him, and I’d love to speak with him. He seems like a really fun guy all around besides the fact that he did “Bodies.” But we’d love to have him onstage with us, at any time or any place! If we’re gonna do it, we might as well make it a big show. And Open Air festival is a big show coming up in Chicago next month, so that gives us time to get stuff together. But I hope it works out, I hope he does it. Live on stage with us playing, that would be so killer!

And obviously “Bodies” has been featured in so many things in pop culture since it was released, from WWE to different movies. Is there a particular moment that you loved seeing the song in?
I loved that that it’s been used for years and it still gets used to this day, it’s really awesome that song has that kind of life to it. We wrote it as a simple rock song like anything else. We were in the rehearsal room just jamming, just four dudes and a case of beer having a good time! And I think probably my favorite moment was definitely in xXx when [Vin Diesel] jumps out of the car, that was really cool. Another one was Jet Li’s The One. A lot of people don’t know it was in that movie. When you go to the movies and hear your songs playing, it’s definitely awesome.

So you have John on America’s Got Talent just rocking out—what are your plans for when you get to that age?
I was always hoping that at some point, Drowning Pool could play the Super Bowl. Sometimes it takes a long time for bands to get there, and John kind of gave me an idea of what I’d be doing at 82. I wanna be doing the same thing he just did, just playing our songs somewhere!

If you were to audition for the show, what’s a song that you’d choose that most people wouldn’t expect?
Something off the wall would be “Cherish the Day” by Sade. I would do an acoustic version of it in 6/8 time. 

I know you guys put out a new album, Hellelujah, back in February. Are you going to be hitting any big festivals this summer to promote it?
“By the Blood” is out now and we’re hoping to release “Hell to Pay” as the next single. And we’re touring all summer long. We just did the Kansas City Rockfest, which was huge, and we just did one in our hometown, in Dallas. There’s also the Open Air Festival and a lot of biker rallies like Sturgis, so we’re staying busy. 

Wait, I hear a baby in the background, is she yours?
Yeah, I’m on baby duty. Magnolia is just seven months old and she loves getting on the piano. Her and I play on the guitar and we have shakers—she loves those! It’s a lot of fun, lucky me. 

And if Magnolia wants to join the music industry when she gets older, would you approve?
I would approve of her being an entertainment lawyer, or something on that level [laughs]. She can play music, that’s fine. But I’d rather her do the lawyer thing! 

Here’s the last question: Do you have any songs that are sticking with you this summer?
I love hearing new music, but I’ve been a Pantera fan since day one and I listen to them religiously. I’m also a Slipknot and Corey Taylor fan—I don’t know who isn’t, in the rock world. But there’s always music playing in the house.

Below, Drowning Pool remember deceased frontman Dave Williams: