The Bouncing Souls' recently released its ninth album, Comet, celebrating 26 years of energetic New Jersey punk.
"We're doing it for us and them [the audience] almost as a family, it feels like. I think that's what makes The Bouncing Souls special. That's what propels us and keeps it going," says vocalist Greg Attonito. "Otherwise it's, like, why am I going to go on tour again? I've been to this place a thousand times."
The Bouncing Souls have performed in Phoenix quite a few times, and this time the band is stopping by Nile Theater with The Menzingers on Sunday, July 8.
We recently caught up with Greg Attonito to discuss crazy shows in Florida, Comet, and how "East Coast Fuck You" sometimes gets misinterpreted.
Up on the Sun: Looks like you guys had a good time in Florida, aside from getting your stuff stolen. Greg Attonito: I'm calling it the most insane Monday night in history. Things get kind of crazy in Florida in general, but that entire night was just madness. It's Monday -- what is happening here? What are you people on?
What all happened? Just from A to Z, the people were crazy screwed up, like getting backstage, stumbling, not leaving backstage, and getting escorted out, stumbling in the bar. Girls tearing their shirts off in the front row and not putting them back on. Just like, okay, we're hanging out. Cool. Just overall craziness. There's crazy fun, and crazy like what the fuck is going on around here.
Has most of the tour been that crazy or was that just a weird Florida Monday night thing? No, and I have to stress, too, that kind of stuff happens on tour. But what happens in Florida, I'm going to get in trouble saying all this stuff in an interview . . .
It's cool. We're not Florida. I know, but people in Florida will read it. I want to say that it's great. St. Pete is so awesome, and the show in Jacksonville was awesome. It started out really mellow, and all of a sudden, it started getting really crazy, and there's a lot of little things . . . That's about enough of that. I don't want to say it was that crazy.
You guys have been a band for a good 25 years and have only had one lineup change. How has the band managed to stick around for so long? It's very simple. If you really love music and really love each other as friends and have really great people that manage to make it work . . . mostly 90 percent of it is Kate, who's our manager. Without her, we wouldn't have been able to take care of all of the stuff that we can't really do, and tour, and make music at the same time.
Those elements and all of the bands, all of the people that love the music that have propelled us as well, because at this point, we're doing it for us and them almost as a family, it feels like. I think that's what makes The Bouncing Souls special. That's what propels us and keeps it going. Otherwise, it's like, "Why am I going to go on tour again? I've been to this place a thousand times." Did she inspire "Kate Is Great"? The actual story, it wasn't about her. We had written a song, and she called and we were like, 'Hey, what's up Kate?' She was like, 'How's it going?' we were like, 'Good, we just wrote a song, we're trying to think of a name for it.' And she said, 'Why don't you call it 'Kate Is Great'?' 'It's done.' What inspired Comet and what are some of its underlying themes? The original idea was really simple. We just wanted to do it old school -- give ourselves a short amount of time writing, a short amount of time recording, and just have an energetic, virgin feel to it. That was really our main idea. We gave ourselves a calendar --- schedule a couple weeks right here, schedule a couple weeks there -- and then we called up Bill Stevenson, who was really excited about the idea, just into it, like, let's do it old school. Let's do it in 10 days. I haven't done a record, like, in years and I'd love to do it. Just plug everything in and go, and that's we got. Do you feel like you had enough time to finish the record? Yes, we did, and that's why we chose 10. Like, let's make 10 good ones. We got the initial ideas out, and we had maybe 13 or 14 [songs] and then we chipped away, like these are the 10, boom, let's work on them and literally just went over them, rewrote lyrics, went back to them, changed little things and then we went into the studio with Bill for one day.
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You guys released Comet on Rise records. Why did you decide to go with a new label? We wanted to put it out on Chunksaah, but Chunksaah's distribution has been kind of up in the air and not solidified. Kate runs Chunksaah, also. She didn't want to release the record if it wasn't going to get distributed properly. Hot Water Music had just signed to Rise, and Jason from Hot Water had suggested that maybe we give them a call, and we called them up, and they were extremely, totally stoked, they were like, "We would love to put out your record. What do you like, what do you guys want to do? We'll figure it out." Since that first phone call, it's been great working with them and that's pretty much how it came to be.
Has the song "East Coast Fuck You" confused people into thinking it's an insulting song about the East Coast? When we first started playing it, we presented it as this is why we love and how we come from the East Coast, and then we started playing it, so I think it kind of got engrained about what it's about, but I think there has been a bit of confusion along the way here and there. If they're not listening to the lyrics about how much we love pizza and stuff, you might not be getting the true meaning of the song.