A Sinner Departed: A Look Back at Drowning Pool's Dave Williams

Categories: Pop Life

On June 26 of this year someone edited the Wikipedia page of former Drowning Pool lead singer Dave Williams to add in the following note: "A common rumor is that he drowned himself in a pool, hence the band's name." That's such a silly notion it seems hard to believe anyone really spreads that idea around, which explains why that bit of text has been removed from the article.

The truth is simpler: Ten years ago today, Williams fell asleep in the band's tour bus and never woke up, the result of an undiagnosed heart condition. Since then the DFW-based band, now on its fourth singer, has recorded three albums, none of which have matched the success that marked the first part of their career.

Now, some would ask, "Are you really going to write a blog about the guy who wrote what may be the greatest meathead anthem of all time?"

Well... yes, for that very reason.

"Bodies" is a song that has been misinterpreted by psychopaths, used to torture enemies of the state, and acted as the theme song to multiple wrestling pay-per-views. It's not a particularly deep song, but it is flexible.

It also serves as a time capsule for everything that was great and awful about hard rock at the start of this century. Everything about the song straddles that great/awful line:

  • The main riff is catchy but unmemorable.
  • "[Number] nothing wrong with me" is a perfectly fun but dumb thing to yell out.
  • "Let the bodies hit the floor" is a great hook that is beaten to death to the tune of 26 or so times.
  • It's a song that is about a violent activity (moshing) that isn't a celebration of violence; it's a song that isn't about mental illness, but the video features a guy in a mental hospital.

In that sense, "Bodies" is kind of like the Andy Warhol of nu-metal: You're not sure it's genius, but if someone claims that it is, you're not inclined to argue.

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John Phillips
John Phillips

I don't even recall what was being played in 88, when in boot camp.

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