The Bouncing Souls - Brian and Pete

Interview Date: April 30, 2009

Associated band: The Bouncing Souls


Welcome back to Boston! What did you guys do earlier today after you loaded in?n

BRIAN: When we first got in, I saw a boxing gym next door. We got here early so I went right up and trained for an hour, caught a class, and then trained for another hour. I got a solid two hours of training in before sound-check today. It's awesome.n

PETE: I didn't really do too much. Just walked around a bit *laugh*

Do you guys usually get to go around and check out tourist-y areas or anything?n

BRIAN: We usually get to wherever we are playing really early.... Load-in is usually 2 or 3 o'clock, then we have a couple hours there before sound-check to do whatever we want or go see anything.

You guys just went to South America, which was a new experience for you.... How was it?n

PETE: It was really great.n

BRIAN: It definitely lived up to our hopes, and more. The people were great; the shows were awesome. It was great to experience and see the new places. It was definitely really cool.

Is there a large difference at all in mentality between South America and here?n

BRIAN: It is exactly as you would really imagine. I feel in Boston or near Boston you can go see pretty much any band that tours. You can go to a show every weekend really. In South America, you can't do that at all. You get some guys down there that have been into a band like us for like twenty years and have never seen us. When we went down, all those types of people came out. It was really awesome.

This has been bugging me all day so I need to get this straightened out: Did you guys really start in '87? If so, why wasn't your 20th anniversary tour two years ago?n

BRIAN: It's kinda tricky.... We wrote our first original song together in 1987, and that's why I wrote that on the butterfly artwork, commemorating that moment. We officially became a band, decided to go for it, make up a name, moved into a house together, and all that in 1989. The name The Bouncing Souls came in '89. The number '87 just refers to the first thing we did musically together as friends. The butterfly art is what seems to have caused that confusion out there.

You have a handful of dates with the Loved Ones, who you have toured with in the past. How did you find out about Black President and Detournement for the opening support on the tour?n

BRIAN: I discovered Black President on Sirius Radio. They have a channel called Faction which plays punk rock. We were driving in my van with our producer heading to lunch and listening to Faction. Black President came on, and our producer goes, \"Whoa, this is a great band.\" Here they are!n

PETE: And Detournement's drummer is Scotty from Lifetime. We go back with a lot of those guys. All buds!

After this, you are going overseas to Europe, then Warped Tour after that. What does the late summer/fall bring for Bouncing Souls?n

BRIAN: We are touring all year really. We just can't hold a club and confirm dates that far ahead unfortunately. That's why we can list off tentative dates and areas but really can't confirm them and sell tickets. We still have the rest of the US to do, especially out west.n

PETE: We're going all the way across Canada so that'll be a separate tour.n

BRIAN: More in Europe, and maybe Asia.

Tomorrow you have another song coming out as part of the \"Singles\" thing you guys have been doing each month. What is the song tomorrow about? Why did you start doing singles every month?n

BRIAN: It's a typical Bouncing Souls song in that it's really a little bit of everyone's lyrics. It's a song that not one person wrote or is one person's thoughts. Every thought is born out of a few ingredients. That's how that works. We decided to put out the singles every month just to do something different. The record industry is having a tough time, and this is a little new flavor to put out our music to. We brewed over the idea slowly for a while before it actually came into fruition. I'd have to say Kate [Tour Manager] had a good hand in the idea as well. We talked about doing it in different ways when we were still on Epitaph. We just never really got around to doing it at that point.

It's the season for festivals and big tours. Last year you guys played the Bamboozle, which is in your home turf. Any reason why you guys didn't play it this year?n

BRIAN: That's the kind of thing where we just didn't want to do it two years in a row. You do it for a year, then you skip the next, then do it again, etc. We'll probably do it next year.n

PETE: It's like the Warped Tour. For the most part, we've been doing that about every other year as well.

Has the economy affected the Bouncing Souls as a band?n

BRIAN: Man, it's really universal. People spend less money so people are making less money. It's hitting everyone. There is this big emotional speculation going on because nobody really knows what's going to happen. Everyone's scared so they are holding onto their money. It's affecting us for sure, just in the same way it's affecting everybody. On the flipside of that, the Bouncing Souls are pretty well-founded at this point. We have such a rock-solid family. We've been going for twenty years and have been able to avoid getting hurt by the ebb and flow of popularity. Some years it's emo, not sure what it'll be next year. We've been able to build a good fan base by hand so we always love just going out on tour and seeing all these people who have been stoked on our band for so long. And as far as record sales.... We haven't really survived on record sales anyway so we are in pretty good shape regarding that.

Now for some nostalgic questions so we can test your memory.n

BRIAN: Oh man, memory questions? I'm not the memory man of the band!

What was the first Bouncing Souls show?n

BRIAN: Oh good, we are starting easy. The first Bouncing Souls show was a Knights of Columbus hall in a town called Barnesville, which was right next to the town we grew up in. We went on a big promotion thing for it, got the local bands to play, made fliers, got the word out. One song into our set, the cops showed up, flashed lights into our eyes and were like, \"Shut it down!\" We were forced to shut the place down, but we had the place rented out for the whole night. We all just slept there and ended up breaking a lot of things we had to sneak out. You know those long folded tables? The downstairs had a bunch of those so we lined a few up and leaned one at the end. We had our sleeping bags so we ran across the room, slid across the tables with our sleeping bags, and tried to go down the slope at the end like a slide. Eventually one of the tables just broke in half. I remember sneaking that off the next morning in my pickup truck. We made a great night out of it anyway.

What was your first tour as a band?n

BRIAN: We tried to piece together a tour down south in Richmond. We broke down like right away and didn't make one of the shows. We eventually got to Richmond and met Avail.... I think this was in 1991. We just ended up hanging out with Avail for like a week dicking around Richmond. We played like one show but were gone for a week. You wouldn't really call that a tour, but to us, it was definitely a tour. Our first REAL tour was us and Lifetime in '93. Summer of '93.

What band have you played with the most?n

BRIAN: Ooh. That's tough. I'm going to go with Strike Anywhere.... Maybe. Kate probably knows. Hey Kate! What band have we played with the most? Was it Strike Anywhere you think?n

KATE (tour manager): We did the Anchors Aweigh tour with Strike Anywhere and all of Canada.... Couple festivals in Europe. Maybe some weird weekend things.n

BRIAN: What strikes you right off the bat? The Loved Ones?n

KATE: Naw I don't think so. I would maybe agree with Strike Anywhere, but maybe Youth Brigade too. Quite a few with them.n

BRIAN: We had some long tours with Youth Brigade.n

KATE: Europe, the States, and a lot of weekend shows. How many times you go to Europe with them, twice? And the '94 tour?n

BRIAN: And even more this year. Maybe Youth Brigade, and maybe Strike Anywhere.n

KATE: If you think about Warped Tour though.... Maybe it's Bad Religion? I'm going to say Strike Anywhere though.

What bands have you tried to get on tour time and time again, but it never works out?n

BRIAN: Dillinger Four was famous for that! They all work, and they are on the half of the line where they work for rent and play shows. When you are in a band, a lot make that decision to say you're touring full time, or you're working to make rent. They are on that other half of the time. We have asked them excessively though. We finally just toured together this year. We did one chunk in the US, went down to Florida and over to Texas with them. The other band is The Bronx, who really wants to tour with us, but every time we ask them, they have something going on. They are trying to do something with their mariachi band. The last chunk of dates we tried to do with them, they couldn't do it because of them doing a mariachi band. Timing has always been pretty bad.

You've been a band for twenty years now. How did you manage to not kill each other from being in the same van or bus together for every tour over twenty years?n

BRIAN: That's a good question. It's the same thing as making a marriage work. You've chosen to live together, and the only way there is room for everyone's egos is for everyone to cool it and make room. Not to say that we are great at that.... That comes back to the point. How did we get this far? At this point, it's like.... We've made it twenty years. Why kill each other now? If we got this far, why spoil it now? Right now, we're just cruising like, \"Whatever, it's cool.\" We're really good at getting along at this point. Even if that means giving each other the space we need or whatever.

Was there ever a point where you thought the band was going to break up because of tensions?n

BRIAN: We were never affected by the world around us and got affected by the success or reactions of the world. We never looked around and decided we should quit for any of those reasons. We've personally gone through things where we've expressed everything in the world to each other. If we didn't do that, who knows what kind of zombies we would be now. When we have done that, we've always somehow arrived at the conclusion that we want to still be a band.

What is the state of punk in 2009 compared to ten years ago or so? Do you feel the scene is as strong as it was before?n

BRIAN: Punk really took a back seat to emo. Actually, going back to the mid-90s, punk got really big. Everyone had plaid pants and big Mohawks all the sudden. And then it took a back seat to ska.n

[in the background]: SUMMER OF '97 DUDE!n

BRIAN: *laugh* These guys could tell you all about ska. But yeah, '97: glory years for ska. Swing music killed it though. I almost forgot about that part. It kinda kicked the door open for horn players, and then it was the zoot suit riot. After that came emo, which we all know at this point. After emo, we got screamo. You probably don't need me to describe that one to you *laugh*. Maybe things happen in waves, which means that punk took a dip and will naturally come back up. I couldn't even say that for sure. I don't think that's necessarily true. Punk was a new thing, and that was its energy the first time out. After that, it never really died.... It evolved. In the early 80s, it was glorious and new in a very different way. It was fucking awesome. I couldn't really tell you what's been going on since then or how the Bouncing Souls play their role in it. I don't really know how or where we fit in to the whole thing. Obviously the 80s punk is what we grew up on, and that influenced our music a lot. Maybe we've carried some of that torch in our music. At the same time, we're not a kind of purist. We're not trying to represent an era or anything. We are definitely a one-of-a-kind thing, and I really don't know what we are or what history will look back on us as being. It can't be bad because it's original. It's honest. That's our only real criteria. Being true to myself is the only real thing that's important to me, and that's all we've got. Maybe that's the true evolution of the Bouncing Souls.