Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with SOIL vocalist Ryan McCombs. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On rejoining SOIL:
Ryan: "Originally, the guys came to me and asked if I was interested in being a part of the tenth anniversary of the release of 'Scars', our first major release back in 2001. They came to me sometime in 2011 and asked if I wanted to be a part of that. That was all the plans were. We toured the U.K. I had some down time at the time with DROWNING POOL, and it sounded like it would be fun. The DROWNING POOL guys understood, and they were supportive of it. It was good timing for me personally. We did it, and put our past squabbles behind us. We got together, went over, and just had a blast. At the time, I was kind of in that frame of mind. I felt like I needed a change, musically. Playing those old songs again, remembering where they came from, feeling a lot of those emotions again within those songs, and having a blast doing those shows in the U.K. was just enough to breathe life back into me. When I came back home, I was still kind of unsure about what I wanted to do. Adam [Zadel, guitar] and Tim [King, bass] and I kept talking, and things just kind of snowballed from there. We had almost too much fun, so it was hard to even think about not doing anything further. Adam and I started writing, and it just felt right. Doing the SOIL thing just kind of came naturally once again."
On why guitarist Shaun Glass wasn't invited to be part of the reunion:
Ryan: "When I left SOIL back in the day, and again with DROWNING POOL… I don't ever wanna throw stones. Everybody's got their reasons for the decisions that they make, and when the three of us decided to do this again, we just wanted it to be among the three of us. Again, I'm not gonna throw stones about it, because everybody's got their reasons for feeling however they do, and within their own mind, they're justified for it. In my mind, though, these were the guys that I wanted to do this again with. In Adam's and Tim's minds, this was the package they felt comfortable doing it again with. Just for the sake remaining the good person I hope I always do remain [laughs], I'll just leave it at that."
On leaving DROWNING POOL:
Ryan: "I was the one guy that didn't really grow up in the music business; I didn't grow up playing music with the rest of the guys in SOIL, so I was always kind of the fifth wheel with that band. When I joined DROWNING POOL after a little time off in between bands, they definitely did their best to make me feel welcome and to make me feel a part of it but there was always that same kind of feeling of being the fourth wheel. To be fair to those guys, my personal life really took on some big changes. I went through a divorce during my time with DROWNING POOL, and dealt with some of the personal demons that can result from those kinds of changes. Those guys really were there for me, and at the same time had to put up with a lot because of what I was going through. It did cause kind of a separation between myself and the other three members. They were really great guys and we had a lot of good times together, but there was definitely a bit of separation there that kept growing in the last few years. I joked around on the anniversary tour that I discovered I may have commitment issues, jumping around from one band to the other. [laughs] You get into a situation, and for me the business side of music has always weighed a lot on me as far as just not liking the way a lot of things are done in the business. It seems like after I've been involved in a certain situation for awhile, it's hard for me to deal with a lot of the things that frustrate me about the business. It does weigh a lot on me, and I tend to lose sight of the enjoyment of it. Every once in awhile, it just seems like the way my life has gone, I just need a breath of fresh air, and something new to relight my fire and my passion for what I've always loved to do. It was just the right thing, the right moment."
On leaving SOIL in 2004:
Ryan: "It was a culmination of things. There were definitely some personality issues between myself and some of the other members. My wife and I at the time had had a child, and the stress that I was feeling internally — wanting to be home, and wanting to be there with my sons and with my wife — really just compounded and made those internal struggles that I go through every day that much bigger and real to me internally. I had such a desire to be home with my family, and so after the touring cycle for 'Redefine', it finally just came to the point where I made the call for me personally and emotionally that I just needed to try to go home and be the father and husband that I wanted to be."
On SOIL's next studio album:
Ryan: "This is the first time Adam, Tim and I have been writing together since 'Redefine', so you have the key component of what made those records. I was always the lyric writer of those albums, and if I stumbled somewhere, Adam was always there to give me a little boost, and give me a little direction here and there. You've got us back together as far as the lyrics that I write go. You've got Adam too; he was 98.9% of the music on those records, and if he ever had any struggle with whatever — if he ever had any questions — I was always there to help with the arrangement of the songs. We really got the key components of those albums back together again, and I feel like the material that we're coming up with is that perfect anchor to where you had 'Scars' and 'Redefine'. I think this album is the next stage, the next album in line for SOIL."
On what others feel about the material on SOIL's next studio album:
Ryan: "I let my ex-wife listen to it. She was one of the first people I let listen to it, because she has known my material from day one. She right away compared it to 'Scars'-era SOIL, and that was the first thing she said. I think with the album, you're going to have a vast array of emotions on that album given everything that we've been through in the last couple of years, and just life in general. I think there's going to be a definite feeling of that old school SOIL within the record."
On using Kickstarter to fund SOIL's next studio album:
Ryan: "A lot of people's perspectives of the music industry is that if your CD is on the same shelf as METALLICA's — like ours is in store — then you're all making METALLICA money, and that's so not true in this industry. For every band that you have like METALLICA that's making METALLICA money, you have hundreds of bands that are just scraping to get by. Because of the deals that I've been involved with and the situation of the industry as I've been growing up in it, I've never once made a dollar on any of my records — from 'Scars', from 'Redefine', from any of my DROWNING POOL stuff. The way deals are written nowadays, and the way the Internet and everything has evolved and come to be the thorns in the industry's side, the money isn't there that people think is there. You see it every day, and I don't think people realize."