P.O.D., Sonny Sandoval Interview: ‘Satellite’ 20 Years Later


The members of P.O.D. stand outside in a green field in this press image.

P.O.D. – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. joins Anne Erickson to discuss the 20th anniversary of the band’s “Satellite” album, the group’s longstanding faith and more in this video interview

P.O.D.’s groundbreaking 2001 studio album “Satellite” may officially be 20 years old, but the album’s themes of positivity, triumph and faith are just as relevant now as they were in the early 2000s. The album – which, sadly, was released on the same day as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – featured the blockbuster singles “Youth of the Nation,” “Boom” and “Alive,” the latter which served as an inspirational anthem for a generation following the 9/11 attacks.

P.O.D. are honoring the 20th anniversary of “Satellite” with a U.S. tour in which the band is performing the album from front to back. They also have a special, “Satellite: 20th Anniversary Edition” double-CD and digital tribute to the album out this month.

Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. joined Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio for a TV interview to discuss the 20th anniversary of “Satellite,” how the album’s songs are still important today, the band’s longstanding faith and more. Watch and read the P.O.D. interview below, and subscribe to Audio Ink Radio on YouTube here.

Anne Erickson: Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of P.O.D.’s “Satellite” album. That era of music was such an exciting time. Nu-metal and post-grunge were booming. What do you most remember about that time?

Sonny Sandoval: I agree. There were a lot of original bands at that time, just bringing together different music and styles, and there were a lot of creative bands back in that time. To be able to fuse punk and hip-hop and metal and all this stuff was just a cool time. But, I have to remind everybody that our record was released on 9/11, so that was probably the craziest thing ever. But, one thing about P.O.D., we’ve always been a positive band, hoping to influence people and give people hope. So, for that time in that moment, that record, I think, is what a lot of music fans needed.

I had forgotten that record came out on 9/11 until I looked it up, but I do remember your single, “Alive,” getting a lot of airplay on the radio after 9/11 as a hopeful anthem.

It was actually No. 1 already on MTV’s TRL for videos, and I think it was in the top five at rock radio. So, when 9/11 happened, it kind of shifted everybody’s thinking. They were all about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and all their sad problems. A lot of that kind of sad, emo-core type music was out, too, where everybody was complaining about everything, and once 9/11 happened, it was more about, OK, we’re more of oneness and a unity and that big question of what’s going on in our world and maybe there is (an) afterlife. There are all kinds of questions, and we happen to be one of those bands. When “Alive” was out on the chart, our music, at least lyrically, wasn’t like a lot of the bands that were out there at the time. We were probably just one of those handful of artists that- I know MTV asked us questions, and they wanted us to get on TV and say something. Radio stations were calling us to be able to encourage their listeners, and it was like, our little band from San Diego, the world cares about what we have to say right now? It was a pretty crazy time.

“Youth of the Nation” was a huge hit off “Satellite.” Do you feel this track, unfortunately, has become even more relevant with all the school shootings that keep happening?

Yeah. I definitely think it’s probably more relevant 20 years later, unfortunately. There are still no answers, whether it’s gun control- but not only that. I focus more on young people, and we live in a crazy world right now. We always have, but it progressively keeps getting worse and worse and worse. There’s the Internet, and everyone has a phone now, and there are no restrictions on things. I read a statistic that so many years ago- we live a lifetime up to 70, 85 years, and our brain, it’s supposed to consume all this knowledge and experience. But now, a 15-year-old is already consuming all this stuff out there in her or his little brain, in an undeveloped body, and that’s why we have depression and anxiety and young people’s suicide rates are up like crazy, because there is too much to take in right now. Unfortunately, 95% of what they’re taking in is not good for the human soul, and that’s why we wrote that song then. Our hearts and minds have always been focused on young people and the stuff they go though. Obviously, we were a little bit younger then, but 20 years later, we’re getting older and a little bit more experienced, but young people are still going through the same stuff and worse.

Faith is a big part of P.O.D. People know of you guys as a faith-based band. How much has your belief in God and Jesus helped you on this wild ride of being a rock star? I love the fact you’re Christians but not “crazy Christians.” (Laughs)

Like everybody else, we’re not perfect. If all my guys were here, we could sit and talk for hours about all the struggles and trials and mistakes that we’ve made throughout this career, but that’s the thing about faith. It’s living. It’s ongoing. Just because we believe in God, it doesn’t make us perfect. We don’t cross the finish line and have everything figured out. I think that’s what you’re referring to when you say “crazy Christians.” They’ve kind of given that impression that they’re holy and everybody (else) isn’t and they have it all figured out and everybody else is wrong and going to hell, and that’s the exact opposite of Christians. Christianity is recognizing that I live in a crazy world, and I’m kind of crazy myself, and I do need a Savior. I need balance in my life or I’ll just go off the deep end. For us in rock ‘n’ roll, we’ve all made mistakes, but today is a different day. As long we’re continuing that, we’re not sitting in our mistakes or regrets or even in things we know we shouldn’t be in and are just getting out and moving forward, just knowing God loves us and cares for us and does have a plan for our lives. So, we try with everything that’s in us to shoot for that goal. If not, we’d shoot for our goal, which is way back there. It’s a live and learn process.

What’s the status of new music from P.O.D.?

Yes, we’ve been working on a new record. I think everybody has during the whole COVID time, but not being able to go jam- a lot of these new bands all live in different states, and they just send files, and all of a sudden, they create music. P.O.D. is not like that. We like to sit with each other and play music and figure stuff out, so it’s been a rough thing. We’ve been trying to write as individuals, but it’s just a learning process. Not that it’s difficult, but we like to get together like what a real band is supposed to do and hang out and talk and vibe out and just jam. That’s what bands do. So, we’re working on new stuff.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Music, Rock