Interview With Marcos and Traa of Payable On Death (P.O.D.) – I recently had the opportunity to catch P.O.D. at Canton Hall in Deep Ellum (Dallas, TX). I met up with Marcos (guitar) and Traa (bass) from the band for a brief chill session talking about life on the road and what is down the way for the band.
YesterdazeNews – Tracy Fuller: You’re recently just back from the ShipRocked cruise. What was that like?
Marcos: It was our third one as a band. It is like permission to go on vacation and work at the same time. Right, Traa?
Traa: Yeah. For the fan experience, I think its cool because the band and all the fans are in the boat together. You get a good opportunity to interact with the fans, and the fans get the opportunity to interact with us. It is a cool combination.
YN: Do y’all have any special memories that stand out to you?
Traa: Actually, yeah. We played on a pirate ship this time. The ship was floating out in the water, and it was just cool.
YN: What do you think when people tell you that your music has helped them through hard times in their life?
Traa: for me, it kind of makes what we do worth it. I feel like music is meant to inspire people. There is a gift in it when you can touch people in certain ways through music by creating something from nothing, and it has an impact on someone’s life. It is a big deal to me. It is a blessing to do what we do. There is a lot of meaning to what we do as oppose to just playing music.
Marcos: I mean in general, music is an escape for a lot of people from reality. If we can inspire somebody to have a better day and get through what they are going through.. then mission accomplished. Life isn’t easy. Music is an escape for people. Me myself growing up. If I didn’t have music or an instrument who knows where I would be. Because a lot of my friends ended up locked up or dead from the neighborhood. I think playing the guitar, and my buddies saved my life.
YN: Now I have to ask since you are in Texas, Tacos or BBQ?
Marcos: BBQ here for sure.
Traa: Yeah, BBQ here for sure. We got the tacos on lock. Keep that on the West coast. You guys got the BBQ. We’ll keep the tacos.
Marcos: Listen, the barbacoa tacos you got here. They are good.
Traa: For here, on the BBQ tip, I am all for that Rudy’s BBQ. You know about that?
YN: Oh yeah!
Marcos: and truck stops like Buckeyes!
YN: Beaver Nuggets are where it’s at!
Traa: We don’t have that on the West Coast
Marcos: We don’t have Waffle House either!
Traa: That’s the bomb beat right there!
YN: So after you’re done with this tour, what is on the horizon next?
Marcos: we are going to go in the studio and start tracking for the new album in March.
YN: do we have a working title for it yet?
Traa: not yet. it’s coming
Marcos: But we are looking to drop the record possibly in September or October
Traa: August if we are lucky.
YN: Tour to follow right?
Marcos: Once you put it out, we gotta cruise around the world.
YN: What has your experience been like working in the music industry on the business side of things?
Traa: It definitely has its highs and lows.
Marcos: For the most part, you got to have a great attorney. There is a lot of liars and cheats. It’s the music business. Everyone is trying to come up on everybody.
Traa: I think also we have learned as a band is that we have to be more hands on. A lot of times when we first got signed we were so excited about getting signed that we had so many people working for us that we got hands off. As we got older and wiser a little bit smarter about how we do business. We just kind of have our hands on a bit of everything. In the music industry, I think its important for bands to be educated about what they are doing.
Marcos: It is called the music business. It’s like any other business. if you own a restaurant, you got to put all your time in it, even on the marketing side of it.
YN: Your music has evolved quite a bit since your punk rock roots, what do you miss most about those days?
Marcos: watching it grow. Like a beautiful tree. We would go on tour in the middle of nowhere. You got four dudes from Southern California on a Tuesday night in a suburb outside of Detroit, and you got 700 people in the club. Ready to rock out with some pod. That was just from touring and watching it grow without a record deal. That was just from touring 4 or 5 years. If we did not see it grow we probably would have just kept going even if it was the same 3 or 4 people.
Traa: For me, it was just watching it grow organically. For me, it was sitting down with these guys. I don’t come from San Diego. When you got a dude all in hip-hop and another jamming some Slayer. Back then we did what we did, and you’re either down with that or you’re not.
Marcos: I think the cool back story with Traa is that he had come to a show or something with our previous bass player. Traa is the OG bass player, but that guy took off. Our drummer Wuv’s uncle had a funk band, and Traa was the bass player. We asked Traa for a favor to play our first show at the Whiskey. Traa came and did it. Next thing you know we had the conversation and Traa is like” I don’t want to go back”.
Traa: I remember seeing these guys and being blown away. I remember telling Wuv’s uncle, “This is your nefews band? These dudes are dope!” Long story short, Wuv’s uncle wouldn’t talk to us for a long time after I left the band.
Marcos: That whole story and even the story how Sonny became the singer was funny. After Sonny’s mom died, Wuv had the idea when we were jamming. “My cousin is rapping in a local hip-hop group called Unlicensed Product.” There was a scene growing with hardcore rap in San Diego. Next thing you know it’s just like the Doors movie, our first show with Sonny has his back to the crowd with his beanie and Wuv is like ” Turn around dude. Turn around Sonny!” Finally, he turns around and unleashes the beast!
YN: Last year you guys played the Gathering of the Juggalos in Oklahoma City, what was that like?
Marcos: That was our second or third one.
Traa: Anytime you play with the Juggalos is an experience. It’s weird. As different as you might think we are to them as they are to us. Somehow they just embraced our band. I’ve come to respect that they Juggalos are true to who they are and what they are about. It’s hard to explain. There is a relationship between us and the Juggalos.
Marcos: They are fans of our music surprisingly. We were shocked when we found out. It was like, ” the clowns are fans of our music, cool!”. When they invited us to do the first one we were nervous.
Traa: They were throwing batteries at fools, dude.
Marcos: Next thing we know they were chanting “FAM-I-LY, FAM-I-LY, FAM-I-LY.” We were like damn I guess we’re in.
Traa: Juggalos are crazy, but they are the real deal man. I love them.
Marcos: It’s buck wild man, you will see some things. It’s like Lord of the Rings there dude. People were chasing the homie down. You know what I’m saying.
Traa: Juggalo justice. I guess someone stole someone’s cell phone at the Gathering. Instead of calling the cops, they found his car and they ripped it to pieces and burned it.
Marcos: They were marching!
Traa: with pieces of the car through the crowd!
YN: Who are your influences in life and music?
Marcos: For me, it may sound cliché, but my mom. She was a single mom. She brought my sister and me up. She was shocked when I told her I wanted to play guitar. She wanted to know who was influencing me after that. She saved up her money because it wasn’t always there and she bought me my first guitar and amp. She has always been filled with wisdom, and I always respected her. She inspires me. As a musician, Carlos Santana. He is like a mentor to me every time we get together. He never talks down to me and talks to me like a brother and encourages me.
Traa: It would have to be my mom and dad. I mean they have been together for fifty-something years. It’s not often you see that anymore. I that in itself takes a lot of perseverance. It takes a lot of selflessness. As a musician, I would have to say, Quincy Jones. I am a bass player, but I have always been a song guy, and Quincy is a songwriter. He wrote stuff for people like Michael Jackson and stuff when I was growing up. Most people probably don’t know who the hell that is but that’s who influenced me.