There’s a line in Leviticus that reads, “Though shalt not place a stumbling block before the blind.” P.O.D. know their Bible and believe strongly in this edict, which might explain why they’ve done everything in their power to turn Swedish hardcore band Blindside from an underground curiosity into multi-platinum rock stars.
Not only did Blindside play a Swedish ping-pong team in the P.O.D. video “Boom,” the band’s major label debut Silence is the first release on P.O.D.’s new label 3 Points and frontman Sonny Sandoval has plugged the sightless ones to anyone that’s not deaf.
“Those guys are so great and they’re so nice to us,” Blindside guitarist Simon Grenehed said. “We’ve done two tours with them and every time we always have a good time. We’ve become really close and we hang out with their families.”
Although P.O.D. only started kicking doors open for Blindside over the past year, they’ve been big fans of the band — Grenehed, vocalist Christian Lindskog, bassist Tomas Naslund and drummer Marcus Dahlström — for several years. Sandoval got hold of Blindside’s self-titled debut in 1997 from the president of the band’s Swedish label, and even made an effort to secure the group a deal in America way back then.
“He sent us a letter saying he wanted to release the record in the States, but we didn’t know how to get hold of him,” Grenehed said. “At the time we didn’t know who P.O.D. were.”
The next year, the two groups played a music festival together, and P.O.D. vowed to help the blind to see the spotlight. At the time, P.O.D. were still a year away from releasing their breakthrough record The Fundamental Elements of Southtown, but they took Blindside on tour, and started cementing the bond that would only strengthen with time. This fall, the two groups will embark on yet another road stint.
It’s easy to see why P.O.D. are so enamored with Blindside. The band’s latest album Silence is aggressive, crafty and filled with undeniable hooks. It’s equal parts alt-metal, punk, emo and pop, and it simultaneously massages the brain’s pleasure center and rips at its emotional core. Musically, the album seems influenced by early Deftones, Black Flag and Incubus, but Grenehed insists it was equally inspired by a complete lack of sound — hence its title.
“Lately we’ve been on tour a lot and you just get so fed up with music sometimes that we just lay everything aside when it came to listening to other bands,” he said. “We wanted to find what we wanted to do ourselves and hopefully it’s something more original than you hear every day.”
Like P.O.D., Blindside are driven as much by the Rock of Ages as by the urge to rock. But as with their benefactors, their spirituality doesn’t invade their transcendent songcraft.
“Our faith is really important to us,” Grenehed explains. “It reflects our daily lives and when we play music and write lyrics it comes out through that. But we’re not a preacher band or anything. Check out the lyrics. It’s nothing strange.”
As appreciative as Blindside are of P.O.D., and as much as they enjoy hanging with their hard rockin’ brethren, they decided not to use Sandoval or his bandmates on any tracks on Silence. The last thing they want to do is bite the hand that feeds, but they’re becoming a wee bit wary of being seen as tagalongs.
“I think it’s a good thing to stand on our own legs a little bit,” he said. “Times like this it’s easy to be seen as P.O.D.’s little brother. I hope the music can speak for itself a little bit also.”