Whole Notes

Whole Notes

Sonny Sandoval recalls 9/11’s unique impact on P.O.D.

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September 11, 2001 was supposed to be the biggest day of P.O.D.’s career. After grinding it out on the road for nearly a decade—playing tiny clubs, churches, storefront youth groups, and (trust me on this one) Wal-Mart parking lots—it was finally time for the breakout album that would change everything.

Even before its release, Satellite had already yielded the mega hit “Alive” and was expected to be a Christian crossover success like nothing the music industry had ever seen. P.O.D., would go on to sell over three million copies of Satellite in the U.S., alone and become an international touring phenomenon.


But not before the hard rock band would be forced to stop in its tracks along with the rest of the country.

“At that point, we had worked so hard and we were excited about the record,” Sandoval recalls. “We did a Midnight signing in our hometown of San Diego. We were going to play a big show up in L.A., that day. So we had all these plans but I woke up that morning to a phone call from my mother-in-law (saying), “Turn on the TV.” I turned it on and at that point, nothing else mattered.”

Sandoval, like millions of Americans, vicariously experienced the horror that is now etched in the English lexicon as “9/11.” The sight of two planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan followed by the reports of a plane crashing into the Pentagon and another plane crashing in a Pennsylvania field (averted away from Washington D.C., by its brave passengers) took precedent for the next several days and weeks.


The same certainly held true for Sandoval who says it was a time of intense spiritual reflection.

“It wasn’t about music,” he says. “We couldn’t care less about P.O.D. It was about what was happening to our world. We kind of kept that same mentality going through it. I just wanted to be home with my family. I wanted to get on my hands and knees and make sure I was right with God. ‘What’s going on Lord?’”

As life slowly got back to some semblance of normal, P.O.D., found itself in a unique position. The media had caught on to the irony of the band’s now infamous release date but was also interested in how many people were being inspired by the positive rock anthem “Alive.”

“It was one of those few songs that, before 9/11, was positive,” Sandoval says. “It was uplifting. It offered hope. At the time, all of the sudden people didn’t care about the sex, drugs and rock and roll industry or Hollywood. Everybody was looking to the meaning of life and searching for God in those desperate times.”


And according to Sandoval, it was the aftermath of an American tragedy that allowed them to stand out even more so in an environment that had previously been littered with anti-faith messages.

“A lot of bands kind of jumped on that (positive) bandwagon,” Sandoval says. “The Slipknots of the world weren’t selling records because their music was negative. We were just honored to have a voice at that time.”

While P.O.D., has yet to duplicate Satellite’s commercial success, there’s no question the band has remained a positive force within the rock scene. It’s that opportunity to tell a unique audience about their faith in Christ that keeps Sandoval and his band mates moving forward some 20 years after they first came together as a hardcore garage band.


“That’s what inspires us,” he says. “It’s the power of God that keeps us rolling on. When you know it to be real and true, that’s when you have to share it with whoever will listen.”

Read the full transcript of our interview with Sandoval by clicking on these links:

P.O.D. interview Part One

P.O.D. interview Part Two

And you can keep up with the latest P.O.D., news and download a free copy of the new single “On Fire” by visiting the band’s official website HERE.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment woody

    There have only been a few items, I have gone out at midnight to pick up. Star Wars on DVD was one, P.O.D.’s Satellite album was another.

    I went out about 11:50pm on September 10th to walmart to pick up the new album. I had previously seen POD at Cornerstone that summer where they played a few of the new songs yet to be released. After getting to walmart, I had to track down a stock boy to check in the back for the album. He came out with a copy for me.

    Shortly after midnight on September 11, I played the CD on the drive home. I didn’t have any classes that day, so I stayed up till about 3am listening to the album.

    I woke up that morning to see the news. Later that evening, I had to go to school to be a lab monitor for the computer lab. I wasn’t even sure if I should go. I did, and I brought along Satellite and my portable CD player, because I didn’t know what to expect when I got to the school.

    So as I read article after article on the Internet about the attacks, I was listening to that album. So for me, all the songs contained on Satellite will forever remind me of that day.

  • http://ahugefanofp.o.d. brittany botts

    i just realized that i mss spelled sonny’s name wrong oh and i believe in the lord as much as p.o.d. does well bye.

  • http://ahugefanofp.o.d. brittany botts

    soony and the guys are amazing i felt the same way when i found out about 9/11 sonny and the guys have good hearts i truly love p.o.d. and i always will i have to go now bye. p.s. i will alawys remeber how awsome p.o.d is i will foget how much the care for the world like i do well bye.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Cari McLaughlin

    Sonny & the guys from P.O.D. have always been an inspiration to me & now to my young daughter. We go to as many concerts as we can & The Whosoever events as well. I even got my first tattoo at their house from Mike Kellerman before they hit it big!!! I hope they keep doing what they do for many years to come. God bless Sonny, Marcos, Wuv, & Tre!! Happy Birthday Marcos.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment sic fig

    I been following this band since Carol from pointe loma turn me on to them.. I still have snuff the punk with the org. art work. Watched them live and always listen to their music.
    The guys are a class act, thanks guys!

    sic fig
    lexington KY

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