Bouncing Souls

Here is an interview I did with the Bouncing Souls on Friday, October 20th outside of the Masquerade in Tampa, FL.

Who are you guys?

I’m Bryan and I play bass, I’m Pete and I play guitar, Rob – Merchandise!

How many records have you guys put out?
Pete : We’ve got four full-lengths. We have a live ep and a whole lot of seven inches.
Bryan : Four full-lengths… plus the Bad, the Worse, and the Out of Print. That’s an hour long.

What label was that out on?
Bryan : Chunksaah Records

Is that your label?
Pete : That’s our own label.

Do you have any future plans with that?
Bryan : Yea. I have a compilation called “East Coast Fuck You” and Im trying to put together. That’s our latest endeavor man. After putting out, The Bad, The Worse, and The Out of Print, now its like we got a little office out in Asbury Park, NJ. So far its like a mailorder place ya know? We sell all our merchandise through there, shirts and out of print shit. We would like to make it a real label ya know? Add other bands someday but it takes a lot of time and money. Well, we did actually put out, sort of co-put out, a NJ punk band called Worthless on Chunksaah Records so check that out.

How long have The Bouncing Souls been making music?
Pete : Probably about 11 years, 12 years. I don’t know anymore.
Bryan : That’s what happens with age, you start to forget.

Has their been any lineup changes in the last 12 years?
Bryan : Yes, one. One lineup change just last year.

Your drummer. How’s the new drummer?
Bryan : He rocks!
Pete : He’s great.
Bryan : He kinda looks like Spock. Spock Rock.

I hear you guys have a new record coming out in 2001?
Pete : Yea, April.
Bryan : April, maybe May.

That means December in music terms.
Bryan : No no! This is totally… this is a real thing. We are recording next month, in November. We already have a title for it, its called “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” because it is how we spent our summer vacation.

Does that have any relation to The Ataris?
Bryan : Why, what did they do?

They have a song called “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”
Bryan : Oh, jeez. No, no relation at all.

So what is the downlow on the new record?
Bryan : Well the purpose for this little tour is really to rock the new songs in front of people. We do like five a night, ya know mix it in with the rest of the set. And, it rocks. It rocks hard. Its like a little faster then Hopeless Romantic and if you like Maniacal Laughter, its got that edge but its as melodic as Hopeless Romantic. So we’ve just improved on things, I think, this is like the best stuff we have done.

Greg (vocals) : Hi, Im Greg, and Im late.

So new record, 2001, what kind of tour do you think you will have following that?
Greg : A lot.
Bryan : A lot of touring man.
Greg : Just a whole cycle of touring. America, Europe, Italy, Australia maybe. Starting in the summer.
Bryan : Maybe the Warped Tour. A couple times around the US.
Pete : The usual.
Bryan : The usual. Hit Europe a couple times, if we can. We’ll try to go to Japan this year, we’ve never been to Japan. We’d be psyched if we could go there.

How many international tours have you done?
Pete : 5… maybe more.
Greg : 2 to Australia, 3 to Europe. Does Canada count?
Bryan : Not really. Its like going to Minnesota but dealing with the border.

US tours… what has been the craziest?
Bryan : Well… each one has its own particular flavor depending on the lineup of bands that are touring together ya know? We toured with Youth Brigade and 7 Seconds and that was a lot of drinking and we just did the US last year with the Dropkick Murphys and that had kind of a skinhead flavor. A lot of men standing around, a lot of big men. A lot of dudes.

Greg : Sausage.
Bryan : Dudes! Until we played, and then it was all chicks.
Pete : The Pietasters tour was fun, they are a fun bunch of guys.

How long has this tour been going on? [w/ Youth Brigade, Mustard Plug, and Inspector 7]
Bryan : Like two days.
Greg : Three days or something.
Pete : Its like less than two weeks, we just want to go out and play the new songs a little bit before we record them.

Do you have any regrets today?
Greg : Ummm…. No I don’t.
Bryan : He wishes he could say that but he cant!
Greg : If I did I would figure out why and I would do something about it.

Is there any reason why your drummer left?
Bryan : Well we wont get deep and personal but in general he is probably happier now not being in the band, I think. It was a long time being in a band and living this kind of lifestyle is not necessarily for everyone ya know?
Greg : That is a good way or saying it in short.

Who is your favorite member of your own band?
Bryan : I dunno man, I cant really pick. Its soo hard, I love them all.
Pete : Yea that’s no fun, that’s not a fair question.

Which songs get the biggest crowd reaction?
Bryan : That’s a good question.
Greg : There’s a couple. “Kate”…
Bryan : “Kate” is great. “Say Anything”… “Here We Go”. “Here We Go” is like a crowd song, its for everyone in the room to get involved in. Its cool if you can write a song that way, sing-a-longs and chants an stuff that involve everybody.

I’m sure being around for as long as you guys have been there have been some mishaps and what not. What is some of the weirdest stuff that has happened at a show?
Pete : I shit myself once on stage. I ate too many eggs.
Greg : Tell him what you were wearing.
Pete : I was wearing fishnet stockings and a nurses outfit.

Where was that at?
Pete : Salt Lake City… a long time ago.

Has that changed the turnout since?
Pete : We lost a whole crowd pretty much.
Bryan : Kids with knees and elbows out the door.

What’s your favorite Bouncing Souls song?
Greg : We got a whole bunch of new ones so they are always fun.
Pete : We have a couple of new favorites because they’re new.
Bryan : And that always happens when you’re in a band because you get the most excited about your most recent stuff. But there are some songs I like, I really like “Night On Earth” from Hopeless Romantic. That is my favorite song off of that record. I can say that.

How do you think the new stuff compares to some of the older stuff?
Pete : Well with the new drummer it has kinda changed a little bit.
Bryan : I think we are tighter ya know? Having developed as musicians from the very start together, we all have learned how to play together it made us more determined. It was the first time I as a bass player had played with a new drummer and it kind of made me try harder. The new record is going to be tighter I think. It’s a bit sharper and tougher. That is a big difference I think, especially compared to Hopeless [Romantic] it’s like a little less fluffy, like music to get rad to ya know? Definitely to get rad to.

How do the vocals sound?
Greg : Umm… I am always trying to sing better ya know? High.
Bryan : It’s true man. They are pretty high in some of the songs, Greg sings pretty high.
Pete : We’re challenging Gregs vocal range on this record.

What influences your unique sound?
Bryan : That’s a good question. It’s just like who we are, what we’re into, and how we write songs. I think our emotional reactions to things that happen to us in our lives, whatever that is it comes out in the music.

Who does most of the song writing?
Bryan : It’s pretty even actually… we all do.

If you weren’t in the Bouncing Souls what do you think you’d be doing?
Pete : That is something that I have thought about a lot actually lately. I keep asking myself “what would I be doing if I wasn’t in this band” and I don’t have an answer.

Bryan : We’d be in a box factory making boxes maybe. That was always our joke.

What are some of your hobbies outside of music?
Bryan : I like riding my bike. I just got a motorcycle so I am kind of excited about that.
Greg : I like to surf when I get to the beach.

Do you guys have any favorite movies?
Bryan : Yea tons of ‘em.
Pete : We like all sorts of movies.
Bryan : I like John Cusak’s movies like “Say Anything” and “Grosse Point Blank.” I like Audrey Hepburn too.
Pete : There is so many different movies…
Bryan : I like Clint Eastwood and Kung-Fu movies and James Bond movies.
Greg : Yea I’ve been into Kung-Fu movies lately.

What takes up van time from city to city?
Pete : Chip parties.
Bryan : Yea we have chip parties. We go to convenient stores and everybody buys fucked up chips and like bean dips and shit.
Greg : We sample various chips.
Bryan : Last night after the gig we drove a half hour and stopped at a gas station/convenient store and I got Chili Cheese Fritos and Frito Lay Bean Dip.

Pete : I got Baha Pecan Doritos and Jalapeno Chedder Dip.
Bryan : And we all sat around in a circle.
Greg : I was not in the chip party last night because my ice cream cone would not work with the chips.
Bryan : You cant really fix that up, you go in one direction or the other.

So you guys did that Fear of a Punk Planet show… what was that like?
All : It was cool.
Bryan : Doing anything with the Vandals is cool. Warren and Joe are really funny people, really cool people.
Greg : Yea they are great.

What is your favorite beer?
Bryan : That changes too… depending on the mood.
Pete : Corona right now.
Greg : It’s nice with the lime.
Bryan : Guinness is like, if you didn’t get a chance to eat before you get to the bar ya drink a Guinness. Start off with a Guinness or two and then you lighten up with something like that.

Are you guys planning on voting this election?
Bryan : I kind of was but I missed the registration day.
Greg : Yea I missed it too. Its like when I’m on tour I slack.
Pete : Im going to try and get an absentee ballet when I get home.

Who would you have voted for?
Bryan : I would have voted for Nader if I voted.
Greg : Yea Nader… or Gore.

What’s your favorite record of all time?
Bryan : Ah shit! A lot of favorites questions. The answer is I cant narrow it down to one ya know?

What is some of the stuff that you grew up on?
Bryan : I like the Damned a lot… still. They were one of my favorite bands in high school. The Who.
Greg : The Replacements.
Bryan : Yea The Replacements, they were cool. I like the US Bombs. I like that record US Bombs – The World… that’s an awesome record. Have you heard of this band “The Explosion”?
Bryan : We got a cd called “Flash, Flash, Flash”, it’s like a demo or something.
Pete : They are on Jade Tree. Anyways… they rock.

So what is some of the new stuff that you have been listening to?
Pete : I like the new Anti-Flag record a lot.
Bryan : Yea.
Pete : They are a good band.
Greg : I like some of those new Green Day songs.

Which ones?
Greg : I don’t have the whole record yet.
Bryan : Church On Sunday, I like that song. And there is a couple of really good songs on there.

When you think of Green Day does the word “punk” come to mind?
Bryan : Yes
Greg : Definitely

What has the fan changes been like in the past 10 years?
Bryan : That’s a good question. It is pretty drastic, the fan changes, definitely in the last 10 years.

What about the punk scene in general?
Bryan : We have seen it kinda go from being almost dead, in the late 80’s, to umm… everything that came and passed. There was a few years where emo got big in the early 90’s and everybody started wearing like work jackets and like backpacks, there was a whole PC kind of thing going on where everybody was getting very very PC. And then Rancid got big and it brought out a lot of mohawks and stuff and then there was a lot of “your not punk”, “no your not punk, you’re a sellout!” and everybody was a sellout and nobody was punk enough and everybody was punker then them. And then ska got really big, and then ska died.

Greg : And then the mainstream thing happened and tons of people that weren’t “punk” starting coming to shows and everything so you had a reaction, for me I thought it was cool because it was just expanding like the whole thing ya know.

Bryan : Bands like Green Day are like the wide end of a funnel ya know? They brought so many peripheral, maybe go this direction or that. And these kids love Green Day and then they wonder what Green Day likes and what influences them and they go deeper into it and discover punk rock that way.

What are your views on MTV? I know you have an anti-mtv logo logo on The Good, The Bad, The Argyle.
Bryan : I just don’t like it. I choose not put videos on it.
Greg : There’s not much to it really worth watching.
Pete : We just choose not to be a part of it ya know?

Have you ever been approached by them?
Bryan : Yes, we have had a few different opportunities to be on it. I remember once on the Warped Tour…
Greg : They interviewed me. There was a bunch of guys with a camera and they started to interview me and then they were like “Are you sure you want to do this?” and I said “Whats the matter?” and they go “We’re from MTV” and I said “Oh…” because there was a bunch of people interviewing ya know and I was like “Ahhh maybe I shouldn’t.” They knew about us and they knew about our shirts and everything but some of the people from MTV bought our t-shirts.

Bryan : Yea they liked them. And we played with Green Day and they were all psyched about the no MTV shirts and they really liked them and we gave them the no MTV shirts and I remember that day someone said “Oh yea I saw those guys getting into the MTV limo” and we were opening that show and Green Day was wearing those shirts and they got into the big MTV limo with those shirts on.

What do you guys think of the candy punk stuff like A New Found Glory?
Bryan : I have listened to that New Found Glory record and it didn’t really do too much for me. I cant say because I don’t really listen to that stuff that much.

Pete : I never really listen to it that much but I know a lot of those bands are from Jersey so they cant be all that bad.
Bryan : Yea it’s true, Jersey kicks.

Are you guys going to stick with the same old Bouncing Souls that you have had since BYO, do you see any big changes coming up?
Bryan : Same old Bouncing Souls… in what way?

Bouncing Souls is unique in its own, ya know, you guys don’t plan on changing anything too much do you?
Greg : Whenever we write songs it ends up just having that Bouncing Souls sound, I think, so that sound is just us, its going to be that way, whatever that is.

Bryan : It is just us being ourselves and we don’t ever plan to change that. That doesn’t mean that we are going to keep writing the same song over and over again, we’ll write whatever is on our mind, but like Greg said it, it does end up having that Bouncing Souls feel but that is just because of the players.

Why did you leave BYO?
Bryan : We had a contract for two records with those guys and it was up and we were kind of free agents as it were, quote unquote, and that’s when Brett from Epitaph approached us and sat down with us for two hours and told us about the label and how he runs it and we were impressed and were like “wow that’s sounds really cool” and it sounded like a really cool place so we went out and visited it, everybody was psyched to be there, it was a great vibe, and we were like “oh this is cool, lets do this.”

Is the new record going to be on Epitaph?
Bryan : Yea. We are happy with Epitaph, they are cool people.

How do you feel about “punk”?
Bryan : I have my own personal experience with it, ya know, and my own personal feelings like probably Greg has his own experience and feelings to. How I feel about it like I guess it is sort of part of me, and always will be. It has been a giant part of my life, it changed my life, and it brought me to where I am now so its got a big place in my heart and always will. And it is music that I like too ya know?

Pete : Yea it’s a personal thing ya know, like I am into music and the whole scene so it’s a part of me and what I have been doing for years and how I have grown up and seen shit. It has opened my mind to a lot of shit and closed my mind to a lot of stuff to, just like the weird shit in the scene that is just bullshit and you think its kinda dumb… I dunno.

Greg : Yea… those guys said it pretty well. Music and punk music has become my life, I guess, to a certain degree. It is a living and music is something that expands and you do what you want to do and that can be for anybody, not just someone in a band.

What is your favorite part of the band?
Bryan : The shows man. Like a big show where everybody is into it and it is just like everyone gets on the same wavelength and its soo powerful. Something that is created at a show, when everyone is into it and singing along, everyone’s dancing, ya know the whole thing and the activity and everyone being into it is one of the greatest things I have ever experienced, still to this day. I love it.

What is the weirdest thing you have done for money?
Pete : Worked.
Bryan : Stealing. We have done some crazy jobs.
Greg : I had a job once where I had to sit in a dunk tank and they would throw the ball at the thing and water would splash all over me, all day… that was my job all day. $9 an hour or something. Pete dressed up as a shark.

Bryan : We used to all work for this weird company, a party rental company, and people would have bar mitzvahs or whatever and they would call this company and we would go to the warehouse and load all this shit into a box truck and drive out to wherever, unload all this shit and sometimes we would have to dress up and be part of the theme ya know? There was like game booths that we would have to work or like a two-man donkey suit or we would dress up as a dinosaur an stand out on the road and wave outside of a gas station. I mean you name it we had to do it man. It was a weird gig. Everyone in the band had the same job and we would all go work two nights in a row, like a 16 hour shift, and we would all work these big crazy work weeks and everyone would have to take their paycheck and contribute at least half of it, sometimes all of it, depending on what the band needed ya know? and that is how we funded the Bouncing Souls for a long time.

How do you feel about Napster?
Bryan : I think that’s like “How do you feel about the weather?” ya know its just there, it happens. It has changed music, it is permanent and you have to embrace it.

Pete : I think it is going to change the way music is sold and how it is bought and heard but I don’t think that is a bad thing. The music industry is pretty fucked up anyway and it needs to be fucked with.

Do you think it hurts you guys in any way?
Greg : No. I think it is great, free advertising. Being in a band like us, people in Europe came up to us and were like “I heard about you guys so I got your song from Napster and then I came to see your show.”

Pete : Its like they download a song and then go out and buy the whole record. People want the product like to look at and read along to and shit, I don’t think that’s ever gonna change. I don’t feel threatened by it, as a guy in a band or anything.

Bryan : The people that I think are most threatened are major labels and I think that’s great because their structure has been the kind that sort of made us grow to kind of hate that whole industry where it just keeps bands down, it keeps everyone down with money ya know? its hard enough being a musician and now everyone can get their songs available to everyone. You don’t have to get signed to Epic ya know, you’re based on your merits and on your music, it’s a great equalizer.

Greg : It threatens the control of the people on the major labels that decide everything because everyone has access to music and can decide what they like right away on Napster, instead of being fed this on the radio and like “this is what’s cool” and theres nothing else for me to find ya know, because that is how it seems to work. People aren’t gonna go out of their way to search out music, there are very few people that really do that, most people are like “cool its on the radio, im gonna go buy it.”

Pete : I think the internet makes anyone able to put music out to population, it is no longer going to be controlled by the record labels who have all the money and control over the whole fucking world, ya know, the internet is just like free and anyone can use it. It is a whole new world.

If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
Greg : The amazing thing is the world is pretty perfect as it is.
Bryan : If you think about changing one thing, think about how it would affect everything.
Greg : It seems fucked up but its kinda gotta shit itself out, its workin itself out as it is.
Bryan : Its like the same thing with the past, its like the no regrets thing, you look back and you’re like “what would I change” and then your like “fuck” when I really think about it I wouldn’t change anything because I’m happy right now so everything else led to it. Everything in the past is perfect, I believe everything is perfect.

What do you think of Britney Spears?
Bryan : She’s pretty cute.
Pete : She’s cute.
Greg : Yea, she’s cute!

Do you guys plan on playing with her some time?
Bryan : In what way? I could think about that.
Pete : My friend Todd, he used to play bass for the Pietasters, is playing bass for her now.


Interview by : Josh Stern