Marcos Curiel has long been a fan of Carlos Santana, so when the P.O.D. guitarist discovered that the jam rocker wanted P.O.D. to record a song for his upcoming album, Curiel felt so alive he thought he could… well, you know how the song goes.
“Every chance we get, we try to go to a Santana show because they just rock live,” enthused Curiel. “We’ve always been a band that’s open to so many different styles of music, so when we got the opportunity to work with Santana, we jumped on it.”
P.O.D. got that opportunity after their producer, Howard Benson, heard that the guitar legend was looking for more material and convinced Santana’s handlers to give the nÃ¼-metal crusaders a shot. Santana sent a demo to the band and encouraged the guys to do with it as they pleased.
So P.O.D. set to work in Los Angeles right before they started Ozzfest in early July, finishing it on the road in Philadelphia. In the end, they radically reworked the original and titled their version “America.” When they sent the disc back to Santana, he was pleased with what he heard and started recording the tune’s guitar solos.
“It’s definitely got a rock vibe to it,” Curiel said. “There’s a lot of space when it comes to chords and progression. It’s got a good energy, and the vocals are amazing. It’s telling a story about a girl named America, which in actuality is talking about our country. It totally rocks.”
It may rock too hard. While executives at Arista like the track, they’re afraid it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the record. Due October 15, Shaman features guest songwriting by Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas and appearances by Placido Domingo, members of Ozomatli and other yet-to-be-named acts.
“The thing is, people are saying this is a really poppy record,” Curiel said, a hint of concern entering his breezy voice. “Some folks at the label are saying [our song] might be a bit too heavy.”
Even if “America” doesn’t make the cut, there’ll be no shortage of P.O.D. for the remainder of the year. The band recently made a video for “Satellite” with director Marcos Siega, who previously worked with the band on “Southtown” and “Rock the Party (Off the Hook).” The video features live footage from a recent headlining show in Virginia Beach, Virginia, interspersed with special effects reminiscent of the Will Smith movie “Enemy of the State.”
“There’s a satellite from outer space zooming in on the Earth,” Curiel explained. “It comes in through the clouds and goes through the city and then a grid, and it zooms in on the tour bus that’s cruising around the country and zones in on us performing a live concert. The graininess is kind of like ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and it’s kind of mixed with the blue-gray shine and tint of ‘Sleepy Hollow.’ ”
The song is the title track from the band’s 2001 album, which will be re-released on August 27 with extra tracks and a bonus DVD. The new audio material includes an acoustic version of “Alive,” a remix of “Youth of the Nation” by ex-Fear Factory accomplice Rhys Fulber and Crystal Method’s remix of “Boom,” which also appears on the electronica act’s new remix disc, Community Service. The live video footage is of “Set It Off,” “Youth of the Nation,” “Outkast” and “Without Jah Nothin’.”
“We wanted to give back to the kids,” Curiel said. “Also, you’ve got to keep it interesting with all this downloading going on. We got a statistic report that our entire record had been downloaded from a million and a half to 2 million times. So we figured we gotta make people want that record. So we decided to put four or five songs from one of our European tours on this DVD. And you have us talking about what the record means to us. It’s cool. We just want to keep the fans sparking for more.”