The Bouncing Souls interview

on Friday 16 February 2007

eGigs caught up with singer Greg Attonito of punk band The Bouncing Souls, before their Manchester show.

Bouncing Souls

How’s the tour going?

It's going really well, we're about two, three weeks into the UK tour, and it's going good. London was great, one of the best shows we've ever had there. We hit a little bad weather in Birmingham; the show was actually pretty good anyway; I guess a bunch of people bought tickets but didn't make it but it was still good.

Can you tell me where your name comes from?

It come's from the Doc Marten boots, from the tag that say's with bouncing soles.

But you don't wear them!

I never wore them much; Brian, the bass player was more of a Doc Marten wearer, I had a couple of pairs of shoes in my day but I haven't worn them in years.

The Draft are supporting you, this isn’t the first time you have toured with members of the band.

We've toured with Hot Water Music a few times, but yes, it's the first time for The Draft. They're a good band; it's cool to see 'em. Last time we saw them they were just starting out, so they've got a lot better.

‘The Gold Record’, your latest album, was released on a special date, a bit like the remake of the Omen.

It was kinda by accident; we wanted to release a record the first week in June, so we we're like, “sounds good”. Then someone figured it out and we're like “Hey, it's 666 [06/06/2006]” and then everybody was just so excited, we were like “let's run with it” and while that happened we did six nights in New York, leading up to the last day of the record release party which turned out to be a lot of fun. It was pretty punishing to do six nights in a row in New York, I learned, physically, but it was a pretty cool experience.

Bouncing Souls

There’s two covers on there, "Lean on Sheena" by Avoid One Thing and "Better Things" by The Kinks. What made you choose these songs?

Well, 'Better Things' was one of those things, like I had listened to as a kid, I had that cassette tape that I used to listen to all the time, and Brian brought it up, just as a suggestion one day and it just made sense; “that's just an awesome song, let's try it”. Actually it took a little work to make it work because it's an odd song in a way, in Ray Davies' version it's very like English and swingy, which is awesome, but it didn't work for us, like it kinda lays back, which is really cool. So we kinda put it towards the front edge, but it was still weird for a while until finally we got used to it and worked it out.

The other song, 'Lean On Sheena' was suggested by Ted Pot, our producer, who is also from London, by the way, and who really was a great creative and objective view on making this record. He really liked the song which was written by a friend of ours who we all knew, which was Joe Gittleman (bass player from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and he suggested it so we just started learning it.

Bouncing Souls

You also included a song based on a letter by Garett Reppenhagen, a soldier serving in Iraq. I bet you’ve made a serviceman very proud!

We met him right before he was leaving for Iraq, he was in Germany, where we were playing a show and we met a bunch of American soldiers and they were all just talking about it and they had joined the army under a certain idea of what they were getting into it for. Once they got in they learned so many things that were going on but they were already there so it was a really weird experience for them, and it was weird for me because I had all these real strong opinions about it and just meeting them in person, being like “man, what would I do if I was in the army and I don't agree with the war?”

So that was really interesting and then years later, we kept in touch, and as time went by we sent them music and shirts and stuff while they were there, and then as we were writing the record we really wanted to write a song, but political songs are really weird, they can be like, just really bad! Because if you are writing about these ideas that you don't really know about, like, I can't believe what I see on TV, I can't base a song on it, I can't stand on it. I can write from my own personal experience and then I know I can really stand on it.

We came up with some really bad ideas, like “War is bad, it really sucks” ya know, but who cares, we know it's true but does it make a song worth singing. So the next day after we had that conversation Garrett emailed Brian and sad “I have all this great poetry from my experience blah blah blah, check it out”. There it was. We printed it all out and we were just like “here's the songs; there's a million songs here” we just had to map it out and figure it out and we could all stand on that, cos it was this different perspective, a very personal perspective, not necessarily trying to shove information down peoples throats because we are all so inundated with people trying to shove information at us instead of painting a picture and allowing you to pick up your own feelings from it, which is I think what music and art should be. Garrett was excited, he was just stoked. And all of his friends too were really excited to feel that they had a real voice with a band that was somewhat popular.

Bouncing Souls

The Bouncing Souls are 20 years old this year, and with just one alteration to the line up?

It's a miracle; we've been together longer than most bands, even the ones that have been around for years, so it's an achievement; it's experience that I can never trade, and I guess the chemistry; there's always a combination of a million things that I guess make those things work and everyone has to agree to a certain degree on the same thing. There's no one telling you how to do it so you can be really lazy, that's one thing to this day that we are continually working on communicating on just the basic stuff cause that's where you get misunderstandings. It's just managed to work, don't ask me how. I could teach a class at the university, How to keep a band together for twenty years!

Your first home grown label, Chunksaah Records; is it doing well?

We don't run it on a day to day basis, Kate, our Tour Manager at the moment; she's been taking care of the day to day business of it. We've done a few releases in the past few years, it's just managed to have enough time and effort put into it by Kate that it's been able to do those last few releases. We might possibly releasing another Bouncing Souls DVD, which would be like a tour; we videotaped the entire last tour, so it would be like this one tour story. It's in the works at the moment and depending on how it comes out we might release it if we feel like people should pay money for it, or it could be a twenty minute thing on the internet, we'll see.

Who designed the Rocker Heart logo?

Brian. Everything you see artistically and visually Bouncing Souls related the bass player Brian did it.

Don’t you think it’s about time they brought a bit of the Vans Warped tour over here, like they did for Reading Festival before it split in two?

I guess they weren't able to get the ball rolling enough in England and Europe. They do the Taste of Chaos tour when not working on the Warped Tour, does that come over here? I'm sure it's been somewhere other than America.

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article by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

published: 25/02/2007 14:24