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"When I was in Sol Power, we used to play with P.O.D. at Crowns [in Tijuana]," says Tim Pacheco, hired last fall by P.O.D. "This was in the early '90s, before they got signed to Atlantic."

Pacheco and fellow South Bay musician Odz (rhythm guitar) were asked to join P.O.D. as tour support. Though they're not full-fledged members, they aren't complaining. They've played Times Square on New Year's Eve, appeared on Jay Leno's show, traveled to New Zealand, and played the six-week Fall Brawl Tour (Staind, P.O.D., Taproot). The band played the Cornerstone Fest in July.

"It was like the Christian Woodstock in the middle of a [Illinois] cornfield," says Pacheco. "It was a trip. I've played with hippie jam bands [Wise Monkey Orchestra, Psydecar]; this was like a hippiefest, but with no drugs or nakedness. Instead they had prayer tents.... A lot of Christians can be really hard-core. They can be really extreme. They hang on every word. They take what you say to heart."

Were there questions about spirituality before Odz and Pacheco could go on the road with P.O.D.?

"Yes and no," says Pacheco. "I have to tell you, I would like to play with people who have standards and morals." He says before P.O.D. took the stage before each show, "We would huddle up, say a prayer, and give thanks for being there."

Regarding the forced departure of founding guitarist Marcos Curiel, Pacheco says P.O.D. long-timers "don't ever talk about it. It's kind of a touchy thing."

P.O.D. sold three million copies of Satellite, the last album to feature Curiel. Fewer than a million copies of the follow-up CD (Testify) have been sold. Pacheco blames Atlantic.

"The label kind of dragged its feet on the release date. When it finally did come out, nobody could find it.... They didn't support it."

Pacheco says that playing for P.O.D. is a lot different than playing with Psydecar.

"I learned there is a lot of red-tape politics with a major label.... When I first started, [lead singer] Sonny had never sung with anyone onstage. I was told by the road manager that I couldn't stand next to Sonny. I do what they ask me to do."

Pacheco sings the national anthem at Petco Park on August 19. P.O.D. will play after the Padre game.

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