With 20 years in the business, rock band P.O.D. has a lot to be proud of three Grammy nominations, more than 10 million albums sold and several hits, including "Southtown," "Alive," "Youth of the Nation" and "Goodbye for Now."
The San Diego band, which blends punk, reggae, rap and metal, comes to downtown Modesto's Fat Cat Music House & Lounge tonight to promote its latest album, "Murdered Love," featuring the hit "Lost in Forever."
Lead singer Sonny Sandoval, 38, is grateful for the band's success, although he sometimes wishes it came with a bigger financial reward. It's so much harder to make money from recording in this age of free Internet music.
"We missed the boat of the payout the big rock 'n' roll money," he said in a recent phone interview. "There's no reason to make music anymore unless you love doing it (or) unless you're a Disney star," he said.
"Our music stems from the underground world. We got as mainstream as we could get."
Sandoval was a gang member in his teens, spending lots of time drinking and smoking marijuana before converting to Christianity and joining P.O.D. The initials stand for "Payable on Death," a reference to Jesus paying for Christians' sins with his death on the cross.
While the band is known as a Christian group and has had its albums sold in Christian bookstores, Sandoval said the musicians avoid religious labels.
"I'm a believer, but if I was your local mailman or picking up your trash, I wouldn't consider that a Christian profession it's what I do," Sandoval said. "I don't subscribe to the institution of Christianity that term in itself is negative. There are so many stereotypes that are hard to swallow. I subscribe to Jesus. Even the modern-day American church pisses me off. That's not Jesus of the Bible. A lot of that is man-made: How do I manipulate God to do what I want to do?"
Still, Sandoval said his Christian faith is everything to him.
"Music and this band doesn't define me as a person," said the married father of three. "I'm so grateful and blessed to be able to do this. At the end of the day, I'm trying to raise good, decent, healthy kids and I'm trying to be the best husband I can. Those are the things that are important to me."
Sandoval said he thought about leaving the group after its 2008 album, "When Angels and Serpents Dance." He felt the group was becoming too much of a business and keeping him away from his family. But he's glad the group reunited after its long break and produced "Murdered Love," because it's music that comes from the musicians' hearts and is what they want to do, rather than a calculated attempt to make a lot of money.
He thinks fans have stayed loyal because of the musicians' passion for what they do. "I believe that we are a pioneer of a style of music," he said. "It's a lifestyle it's not 'Hey, let's play this genre of music.'
"It's what we are, from every element of sound, from the streets we come from, from how we live our lives."
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, 930 11th St.
CALL: (209) 524-1400