In a world where we’re ruled by 150 characters and 30 second clips, staying relevant and keeping attention is harder than ever. Somehow, the Canadian pop punk legends who arose around the turn of the century are still filling venues all these years later.
Five albums, more than 10 awards and countless hits later, the band has also managed to hold onto the original line up of Pierre Bouvier (vocals), Chuck Comeau(drums), David Desrosiers (bass, backing vocals), Sebastien Lefebvre (guitar, backing vocals) and Jeff Stinco (lead guitar), when many bands from their time haven’t been so lucky.
“It’s kind of crazy to think about it because there aren’t many bands from our era or from our style of music that doesn’t have lots of line up changes,” drummer Chuck Comeau says. “I think first and foremost we’re all friends; we grew up together, we came from the same kind of place, had the same values and went to the same high school together. So on that very basic level we really understand each other and I think that makes all the difference.”
“That has worked for us for 17 years now and I think more and more as the years go by we realise how special that is and how much the fans really appreciate the fact that we’re the same five. It makes it even more precious to us and want to protect it even more and keep going. We appreciate that we built that legacy and we want to protect that.”
The relationship Simple Plan has with their fans stems much deeper than just being true to their craft and making good music. The band have also created something that has changed people’s lives.
“We have so many moments on the road and online, there are so many moments that we get from our fans, and it makes it extremely awesome for us to be aware of it,” he says.
“There are more ways now than ever to realise the impact music has on people, and that’s pretty special. People get our lyrics tattooed, and write us these long letters about how our music has helped them with depression and to get through tough times in their lives. It makes you realise that it’s more than just songs on a CD, it actually means a lot to a lot of people and I think that’ll never get old. It’s pretty fucking cool to hear that.”
As a result the single ‘This Song Saved My Life’ was created, giving back to the fans for their dedication to the band. “I’m just really humbled they chose our songs or the band for that purpose. It makes me realise how important these records are for the fans and makes me want to work harder for them. I don’t want to let them down,” Comeau says.
The past two years has seen the band step into a new area of music for their fifth studio release, Taking One for the Team. Naturally developing different interests over the years aside their roots in pop-punk, those genres have infiltrated into the newest release, though it was a difficult process to achieve.
“Every record for us just gets harder and harder because you have to live up to the records before it,” he says.
“These records for us were successful and did well. When you’re making a record you don’t want to put out a record that goes nowhere, you want it to be an accomplishment from the past and it makes you want to work harder and an album that can stand up to your legacy as a band. The bar is high and the pressure is on, so we work really hard.”
“It’s all about balance, and I think that’s particularly why this album took so long. We had a full album, but looking back we were like, ‘You know what, it sounds like it was missing some old school, up tempo, songs’. And we went back and wrote some more songs and fixed the album, because we felt that it wasn’t right. So I think it’s really important to stick to our roots and our sound because there aren’t many other bands who do that anymore.”
“We wrote [those last three songs] pretty much on the deadline and it changed the whole record,” he adds quickly with a laugh.
With the new release comes the news Simple Plan will be heading to Australia. Their first visit since hitting our soil back in 2013. After touring Mexico, parts of Asia and America, the band were itching to head back to Oz for which they also penned the track ‘Summer Paradise’. As the song states, “I gotta find my way back, back to summer paradise”, and come September they’ll do just that.
Feature Image (not in story): Chapman Baehler
Published in Forte Magazine, The Brag, Beat Magazine and online.