In 2012, Jasen Moreno was announced as the new lead vocalist for heavy metal band Drowning Pool. His recruitment came largely out of left-field for many fans, with his only prior experience being with a small, Dallas-based heavy group.
Having now released two massive albums with the band, 2013’s Resilience and 2015’s Hellelujah, it’s safe to say that Moreno has spent the last few years taking the world by storm.
Passionate yet humble, the man himself sat down to talk with us, teaching us six valuable lessons in the process.
1. Let The Classics Propel You To Greatness
When asked about his early influences, Moreno didn’t hesitate.
“Without a doubt, Freddie Mercury. Queen – that was the first record I bought,” he recalled. “With my own money, I walked to the store and bought it. He continues to be a great influence for me. I didn’t necessarily envision myself as a singer but that started my passion for music”.
Other inspirations included “Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden” and “once I was already into this style of [heavy metal] music, Phil Anselmo [from Pantera]. Pantera were operating out of Texas, so that was inspiring.”
2. Stick To Your Guns
“I didn’t necessarily learn much more about my abilities [during the writing/recording of Hellelujah].”
“I was always confident about what I could do with my voice. It was a very freeing experience, to be able to do exactly what we wanted to do…One thing our label gave us was complete artistic freedom.”
Moreno spent a lot of time pondering his first release with the band, 2013’s Resilience.
“I was just coming into this world… it’s a great record and I’m proud of it, but it definitely didn’t sound like the demos we submitted for it. It got produced in such a way that it changed drastically, and I was aware of it happening when we recorded it. I just didn’t necessarily feel confident enough to speak up and voice my opinions. So I learned that for sure, and I employed that a lot on Hellelujah.”
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Argue
Moreno frequently clashed with producer Jason Suecof during the recording of Hellelujah, but Moreno maintains that these arguments made the album all the better.
“It elevated it. Jason Suecof, he’s really, really smart. We speak the same language, he’s a metal guy and we were obviously making a metal record. The arguments came from [the fact that] he’s a passionate guy and he takes his work very seriously, as do I.”
“There were certain times when he heard me delivering live in a different way and he fought to get his idea down because he believed it to be better. It challenged both of us to find the common ground that would better the song and satisfy his artistic desires and mine as well… it wasn’t like we were at each other’s throats all the time. The few differences that we had helped us to run off some steam and then record songs. We got through it and elevated the team’s ethic.”
4. Find that Special Someone
Just mentioning former vocalist Dave Williams, who tragically passed away in 2002, brought forth a flood of nostalgia.
“He was always the life of the party. They were locals back in Dallas and I was on the local scene as well. It wasn’t just from a performance aspect or from singer to singer. Say you’re hanging out at the club, both of your bands are playing… you would know when Dave would show up. The attitude would change, people were drawn to him, and that is what translated into the music and on stage. Just his being. How do you put that into words? You have to experience that.”
5. The Journey Never Ends
“I’ve chased this dream for such a long time that I kind of lost sight of the goal. When I finally did find myself where I wanted to be, I didn’t quite know how to react,” he laughed.
“That was definitely a turning point, when you realise that once you get where you’re trying to go, that’s not the end of the journey, it’s just a way point.”
“In all honesty, it didn’t seem like I was getting the gig,” he admitted. “So I didn’t pack a bag, I didn’t have high hopes, and holy hell, I got it! It was like ‘Get your bags packed. We’re going to record an album next month.’
6. Hyperventilate. Breathe. Never Look Back.
Moreno’s first show with his bandmates still resonates, where he played alongside Mötley Crüe and Tesla.
“It’s always cool when you get to play with bands that you idolise. I remember playing to a crowd in the thousands, just people as far as the eye could see, and before we were about to go on, I was losing it. I [went from] playing to 40 to 50 people to you know, thousands. I kind of wigged out, but Stevie, our bassist, helped me through that. He was like ‘What’s gonna happen, man? What’s the worst that could happen? You blow a lot, you blow a lyric?’”
“For me that was a very frank way to look at it,” he chuckled. “It was what I always wanted, you know, what is this nonsense?”
When revisiting fans’ reaction to crowd favourite ‘Bodies’, Moreno deemed it “undeniable and unforgettable”.
“I’ll always cherish those moments when people hear the song that they’ve been wanting to hear all night.”
‘Bodies’ Live at Rock USA (2012)