eGigs talks to Bryan Kienlen (and his wife) of the Bouncing Souls before their Huddersfield and Rebellion shows.
How's it going?
Going well thanks, we just flew in last night.
You seem to be stoked this year?
We thought it was a kind of play on the 'Home for the Holidays', we just kind of retired the 'Home for the Holidays' tradition and we wanted to exchange seasons and keep it going in the Summer instead of at Christmas time so we were like shall we call it "Home for the Summer" and then I just thought up "Stoked for the Summer" because it has the same ring to it and it's true, we are stoke for the Summer; most people are. Hey, it's warm. Warm-er.
Stoked for the Summer videos Part 1 and 2, how did they come about?
Bryan: We were just trying to spread the word about the shows and we were like "Let's make a video". That just happened really organically, we didn't spend any time figuring it out. Since Pete and I live in the same area I was like lets get together and we'll make a video. I'm like "We'll be calling Greg and talking about practising" and that was the premise for it. George came up with his part, we told George to send us the video from his phone in Florida of himself practising, me and Pete shot our thing, Nicole (Bryan's wife who is sat here also) actually filmed us eating breakfast and we sent it to Greg.
Nicole: It's simply how these guys are all the time, it's a video of them just joking around!
Bryan: Yeah! Greg's wife Shanti edited it and did such a good job of clipping it together, like how fast it moves…
You have a new album, your tenth, out. 'Simplicity' is full of fast tracks that hark back to your earlier albums. Where does the name come from?
That title for the record didn't even come until we were just about done recording it. We were in the studio and I was taking advantage of having that much time on my hands to design the record. I don't have that luxury any more because I work as a tattoo artist. I'm not complaining, my jobs cool! I was designing it in the recording studio… I was playing around with titles. I had a record cover idea before I have a record title idea. There was a few different versions of that, and then Simplicity just… it was good because I could just sail it around the room and see how everyone liked it ya know? The reason for the name is I think it describes the band pretty well. We are not overly complicated musically or in any other way, we just follow our hearts and I think that's the purest way to live and the best way to live. I think it was about that and the record itself too. In the case of this record we really tried to not over produce it and hold back on all the bells and whistles and just try to get a feeling of the band live and try to write songs that we would want to play live and that would go over well live. We just wanted to capture that sound.
Some would say this is a move away from your more mellow albums of late like 'Comet'. Any reason for the move back to more upbeat songs?
I think it's just the added flow of life. As you go along in life you think of things and you try things, you explore things… 'Comet' was like a good case of that. We were just trying stuff and getting into something different. It was long over due… we just realized that we only wanted to play the songs off of '[How I spent my] Summer Vacation' and 'Maniacal Laughter' and some of 'Anchors Aweigh'. That's kind of like us at our best, ya know? We are confident at other stuff and we enjoy it but I think we are at are most natural state when we're just writing from the fucking hip.
'Up To Us' plays homage to heroes past and urges us to carry on where they left us at. Who is you biggest musical hero?
So many an they have been dying like crazy… Joe Strummer, Johnny Cash, now Lemmy, David Bowie, Prince… these guys were all brilliant ya know. So many of them. It seems, I dunno, like there have been a rash of them. John Stabb, singer of Government Issue, erm… there's more than I can think of right now. There's just been a lot of them lately.
I think unfortunately we are at that age now where many of our heroes will sadly be passing…
Yeah I think that's it, our heroes are just fucking older than us and we're old, huh! That's why they are dying.
Having heard the stream on Spin for the new album I already have my favourites in 'Writing On The Wall', 'Rebel Song' and the great short snap of 'Hey Aliens'. What are your favourites?
I'm currently super stoked about 'Driving All Night', I just love playing it, its in the rhythm, it's fun to play with George, we have a really cool pocket in that song, it's got the fast thing so I get my rocks off that way.
Do you find releasing streams of albums online mean that fans can digest the songs before a show and turn up and sing along like they are old hits?
Yeah that was our thought too by streaming it. We had these big record release shows and it's good, people know the songs.
You set sale on Flogging Molly's Salty Dog Cruise next year. Have you done a cruise show like this before?
We have but not on that level. There's like a little booze cruise that happens in New York that we have done a handful of times and we will always have a lot of fun with it.
Is this your first time at Rebellion fest?
No it's our second time. Its amazing, it's always epic line ups. Descendents are one of my all time favourite bands.
Any other festivals lined up in the UK or Europe?
We are playing Punk Rock Holidays in Slovenia, we're doing Rebellion Fest and a handful of UK dates then Punk Rock Holidays. Then we are flying from there to Atlanta and playing at Wrecking Ball, another festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
What was it like working with John Seymour again (Producer of 'How I Spent My Summer Vacation' and 'Anchors Aweigh').
It was like no time had passed between Summer Vacation and Anchors Aweigh and then 'Simplicity'. It's totally natural working with him. He just understands us and doesn't try to produce us really… he will tell us if something feels weird, but he totally respects us like you guys got your thing and I'll make it sound good.
You now have Hot Water Music's George Rebelo in the band, how has he fit in? Like a glove?
Yeah. I'm so happy we wrote a record with George, it's cool.
There are a couple of tiny venues on the UK tour like The Parish tonight and Kingston's Fighting Cocks. How did these choices come about?
We used to go through Destiny Booking and were just going to London proper. We switched to Agency Group and they had a lot of great suggestions like we should get off the beaten track a little bit and come to towns like Huddersfield and instead of just playing the major cities because this is where people live, ya know. It makes sense.
A lot of people were like "Oh my god Bouncing Souls are playing at the Parish!"
Yeah, and it's fun for us, this is cool, showing in a pub. Seeing a little more of the real country ya know.
They had Snuff here not long ago.
I love Snuff. Aw, that fucking great.
You are known as a touring band, what is your most memorable experience?
I think its impossible to single out one, in 25 years it's a long blur, awash with great experiences! Just so many.
How were the Stone Pony shows, as a celebration of 25 Years of the Souls?
They were awesome, they were so cool.
It was their 40th and your 25th?
Yeah. We are good friends with them and it's nearby to our hometown so we have a long-standing relationship with them, like our home field.
If you didn't have the Souls what would you all be doing?
Bryan: Tattooing! Or maybe playing in another band. I'm not even sure, with the Bouncing Souls it wasn't so much us having musical ambitions it was more of… our ambition was to stay hanging out with our friends, so I can't even say if I would be in another band, 'cos its all about hanging out with these guys.
Nicole: They are all a big family and it's beautiful really.
What does the 30th anniversary bring for the Souls?
Oh my god, that's coming up man! No plans, it's coming up quick! New record maybe? That's about right maybe? Three years?
Is the White Castle Van still treading the tarmac?
We just retired it, its so sad, but we just retired it.
Who is Lamuar Vannoy?
He is a real person, he's a friend of ours, he's also a guy who we really admire, he's a unique person, to this day he remains is own freak. He's just an awesome person.