Q & A with Sonny Whosoever

by brandon speck

Had the amazing privilege to sit and talk with P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval in March. You’ll notice the whole front of the site is dedicated to our lengthy, incredible, very open and very honest conversation, that I finally had time to post in its entirety. Here also is the video of the talk from the P.O.D. bus on Mar. 15 in Jackson, Miss.

A couple of stories follow, but here is a Q & A with Sonny Sandoval. And the children in the background, Sonny’s JD Whosoever and my Spencer Whosoever (having a blast)!

On the Whosoevers … 

“I think when it just comes to young kids, we’ve been through so much and we’ve experienced so much, with a lot of these bands and just rock n’ roll, I don’t have the luxury to hide in church. Even when I went home and took five years off from this band, I was asking God, ‘What do you want me to do Lord? I see so much stuff here on the road. My faith is being tested all the time. I’m tired. I’m just getting caught up in a routine of my Christianity…’ I went home and I’m like ‘whatever you want me to do. I’ll go back to construction…what is a good Christian?’ 

 

“So many different theologies and views, from California to the East Coast and all around the world. It had just gotten confusing to me. For me, I just wanted to go back to the basics of when I first gave my life to Jesus. That’s kind of how the whole Whosoever vision came about. Even then, just being discipled and having my accountability and even doing a lot of stuff for the churches, I felt like God had restored a lot of things in my life and renewed my love for His church, but He had already given me a platform. So for me, it was like God was whispering in my heart, for me and this goes for nobody else, ‘I don’t need another pastor.’ Everybody’s striving to be a pastor, start their own church, move somewhere, start a megachurch somewhere, be somebody and that just wasn’t me. God had given me a platform to hang out with these bands. I’ve already built 20 years of relationship with every band out there. And if anything, I hope to be the one constant thing in this rock n’ roll game and that’s just becuase I’m sitting at God’s feet.”

 

On the notion that “Come as you are” may not seem real to kids …

“…I’m tired of defending that. It’s just like, Hey, I get it. But it all comes down to the cross. It doesn’t come down to he said, she said. It doesn’t come down to Pastor so-and-so. The world feels like they have to get their lives together before they come to God’s throne and that’s just the exact opposite. So again, I just think it’s honesty and being an open book before anybody.”

 

On sharing Christ and the stories of the rock lifestyle …

“I think a lot of that’s a facade. I mean it does exist,” he said, then laughed. “It depends on the people you’re with. When everybody says, ‘Tell me your craziest rock n’ roll story,’ I really don’t have one. I mean, you hear stuff and you know stuff that’s going on but again, it’s how much you want it and how much you don’t. You are tempted. It’s your choice. We’ve been around for 20 years and it really just comes down to how much do you not want that and how much do I want to live out my faith? It all exists, but surround yourself with good people and you have accountabiltiy like the Whosoevers.”

 

 Fourteen years have passed since “Southown” …

Southtown hit the MTV airways in 1999. Sandolval said the band was having a recent discussion about how fast the time has flown by. 

“It seems like yesterday. It’s been quick but we’ve all grown in so many ways and our experiences have grown just tremendously. All our experiences from being new Christians to experincing Christianity outside our little bubble and going around the world and being in a rock band and having success, having the ups and the downs, Our experiences are huge. When you have these experiences, you have to constantly go through them and weed through them all the time, because I myself, like I said, I’ve had a lot of hangups about the “institution of Christianity” and religion and I know the guys have too. We were just having an honest discussiion about our love for the Lord But it really does seem like we were teenagers yesterday starting this band. But I know we’re here for the right reasons.” 

 

On Murdered Love …

“We had taken almost five years off. For me, it was me saying. ‘Lord, I just want to do whatever you want. I want to be in Your will. I don’t want to be in a band just to be in a band. I had gone through so much in those years, two trips to Isreal, this whole Whosoever thing started and just my accountability group, going back and forth to Raul Ries’ church and experiencing a lot of outreach in that way. So I had been sitting on a lot of stuff. And when I felt like God was telling me, ‘I need you to go back ot there, be the light of the world,’ and a lot of things were just sitting on my heart, but even with the whole thought of  “I Am,” that was a demo that we had almost over a year and had sat on that forever.”

On social media’s affect on spreading the Gospel …
“Like everything before social media, before Internet, God is in control. That’s it. He’s gonna do what He wants to do. We don’t convert. We don’t save anybody. It’s the Holy Spirit that does that. I think if anything, we get in the way of it, because we like that ole pat on the back. We like to think, as just human nature, we like stealing God’s glory in so many different ways. God’s gonna get his point across to whoever He wants to in His perfect will, His perfect timing, in the way He wants. I can rest in that. I don’t have to stress about how many times I said “Jesus” from the stage or if I said an alter call at Ozzfest. It’s that institution of Christianity that kind of brainwahsed me into thinking ‘What am I dong for the Lord. If I’m not serving God, if I’m not saying this, because I have a microphone,’ that all became confusion. But if I’m just in God’s presence, and I’m doing what the Lord wants, the Spirit is going to minister and speak to whoever it wants. And I believe that more now than ever. It’s the only reason I’m here. Jesus was the perfect example of building relationships with His boys and His brothers and just the ministry of reconciliation, and all that stuff’s happening. Look at Head with Korn, even me and my own guys. And so God’s in control, regardless of all that, man.”

bwspeck@gmail.com

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