Simple Plan Know Why We Are Still Addicted To Pop-Punk

IIs writing pop punk music in your forties harder than it was in your twenties? Pierre Bouvier, the spiky-haired man of a simple plan, can’t help but get a little self-referential.

He answers: “That’s a bad joke, but sometimes I feel like life is a nightmare.”

It may be 2022, but anyone with a pulse in the early 2000s will likely feel it deja vu. Our contemporary fashion? Realism Noughties in the form of pastels and bucket hats. pings? Electric guitars and sentimental belts, brought to you by acts like the PUP and Blink-182’s smaller cousin, Kelly machine gun. feelings? Spiritually speaking, they’ve been pretty terrible for at least two years now.

This is where Simple Plan comes in. With their signature blend of invigorating guitar tones, emotional frankness, and a state of wit, the group has established itself as a priestess for the sometimes frustrated, naive children within us all.

With the release of their new sixth studio album, Harder than it seemsAnd the the band Wandering With Sum 41 this summer – the first syndicated shows, believe it or not, in the parallel functions of Canadian fashion for two decades. A European leg will follow in the fall, as bands meet again on scheduled dates for the Sum 41’s This Looks All Killer No Filler tour.

When I first started Simple Plan, “People were like, ‘Oh, you better hurry up — this whole pop-punk thing just goes away,'” Bouvier said. “But we’ve always thought that kind of music has a timeless quality.”

with Harder than it seemsThe band has sought to restore ancient charm with a few modern updates. From the album’s opening songs, this goal is more than achieved.

Wake Me Up (When This Nightmare’s Over) sets the stage for a fun familiar journey with anxious trash-kicks, a flash of tumultuous romance, and youthful bravery. Tracks like “The Antidote” are a classic simple plan, while others quietly test influences like pop and (in the case of “anxiety”) reggae. Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 joins “Ruin My Life,” while “Best Day of My Life” features a bit of self-reflection.

When he discussed the sound of the album, Bouvier grew up again.

“I think in the path of any band, there’s always a moment where you start to wonder what it’s like,” he said. “Should we change? “

We’ve been through these stages, and I think now, for me anyway, I look at what we look like and what people expect of us as an asset,” Bouvier said.

A Simple Plan Pointing to the Future, February 2, 2005, in Bangkok, Thailand.

MG Kim / Getty

Drummer Chuck Cuomo couldn’t help but throw a forgiving signal of his own: “It was a little trickier than it seemed at first,” he said with a necessary break for a laugh. “But we kept writing and we kept writing.”

The band has already finished work Harder than it seems When the COVID-19 lockdown brought everything to a halt two years ago. Like everyone else, they started scrambling as their kids were taken out of school. (“Welcome to My Life,” really.) This clearly wasn’t the time for a new release.

But amidst this chaos, a funny thing happened. “I’m Just a Kid,” the debut single that started Simple Plan’s career, went viral on TikTok.

Cuomo said that it took a long time for the group to discover that countless users and celebrities were resubmitting childhood photos to chime with their hymns to alarm teens. “Bowling for Soup was calling us up and saying, like, ‘Hey, do you guys know what’s going on with your song?'”

In the end, however, the fad became impossible to miss. Thus, a new generation of angry teens discovered the simple joys of stories like “I’d Do Anything”, and the reggae song “Summer Paradise.” (It’s only a matter of time before white-studded armbands and belts take over local high schools, if they haven’t already.)

Cuomo admits, at first, that he worried about becoming a “nostalgia band”. Now he appreciates discrimination. “I think we can have it all,” he said. “We can be proud of our past and really excited about our future, and I think that’s how our fans feel.”

As one might expect, it was difficult for a band that had been playing shows since they were 17 years old to suddenly stop. Now that they’re back on the road for a Blame Canada tour with Sum 41, both bands and fans are bringing energy.

“You still feel it,” Bouvier said. A lot of people here who come to see the Blame Canada Tour probably saw a concert for the first time in a few years.” For Comeau, the timing couldn’t have been more fitting for the band’s Sum 41. If people are going out, I think they want to, he said. It’s special.” “They want it to be a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

And speaking of once-in-a-lifetime events—the Simple Plan was ever invited to the massive emo gathering in Las Vegas this fall, Festival when we were young? Bouvier said that when the squad came out he was confused. Why didn’t you have a simple plan on this thing? Fortunately, there was a solid explanation.

“The first thing I did was text my boss,” he said. “He’s like, ‘Uh, because you’ve already planned a tour? ”

Although the band couldn’t attend, Bouvier said, “It’s great to see all these bands come together.” However, he has the same practical reservations as the rest of the online public regarding layout.

“How can all these teams play in one day? Practically, on paper, it looks a little bit Fyre-y, but we’ll see. I mean, this squad is amazing, so if they can make it through, it’ll be the greatest fest ever.”

People were like, “Oh, you better hurry up – this whole pop-punk thing is going to go away.” But we always believe that this kind of music has a timeless quality.

While the emo comeback has been a happy one, it comes hand in hand with a sobering reassessment of the broader “scene” culture, which was very white and also, like many musical scenes, rampant of exploitation. Brand New Frontman Jesse Lacey He was accused of soliciting fans via email and instant messaging; In 2020, Simple Plan cut ties with both guitarists, and a week later, cut ties with the guitarist due to allegations of sexual misconduct.

When asked how they think this landscape could change for the better (and whether or not this is actually happening), both Cuomo and Bouvier expressed cautious optimism. Their band has made hiring and collaborating with more women and people of color – on their tours, in music videos, and everywhere else.

“As a spectator, we had to do more,” Cuomo said. “Now it’s up to each squad to really step up and implement positive changes.”

If any inappropriate behavior happens now, Bouvier said, “I’m more confident now than ever that people will try to stop it…when I’m walking around in shows or even anywhere in the city we’re in, I feel like it’s already happening. So that’s something Good “.

No music scene comes without warts — or in the case of the Vans Warped Tour scene, sun warts are perhaps a better analogy. One thing Bouvier and Comeau will say about the genre, however, is that its embrace of raw emotions was ahead of its time. “We’re talking more and more about mental health and we’re highlighting that,” Bouvier said. “I think pop punk music shone the spotlight on mental health before it was popular.”

Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan performs at the Hollywood Palladium, November 22, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

Timothy Norris/Getty

Simple Plan has played more Warped Tour than any other group besides Less Than Jake. The annual summer tour has been instrumental in building their fan base; Although the steamy weather can be stressful, Bouvier described the experience as “a punk rock summer camp.”

“We understood early on that you had to take a bus with a shower so you didn’t have to crowd the communal bathrooms,” Bouvier said, laughing. They also learned early on to bring some toys – dirt bikes, scooters, things like that.

Naturally, when Kevin Lyman announced that the event was coming to a close, Simple Plan joined in with her last resort. Although some bands skipped out on the assumption that final performances wouldn’t go well, Cuomo said they were amazing. In your head, you know: ‘Well, this might be the last time we do that. “So I think we enjoyed it a lot more while we were able to do that.”

“I definitely miss her,” Bouvier added. “I’m sure Kevin will be doing some one-off assignments here and there. We’d be happy to be a part of what we can be up to in the future, for sure.”

Now that pop punk is back with a vengeance, it seems safe to assume there will be no shortage of opportunities for nostalgia. A simple plan that, with any luck, will be around the whole time — at least as long as her fans stay hooked.

As for that question about what it’s like to write pop punk in your 40s? Bouvier admits that adult life can be a nightmare, and the stakes are much higher. “The things I have have a greater impact on the more people I love.”

At the same time, “Having that life gives me more to sing about – more to write about.”