The Bouncing Souls Interview - Bryan Kienlen | ThePunkSite.com
||Band: The Bouncing Souls
|Label: Chunksaah Records
June 25th, 2010
The Bouncing Souls are Warped Tour veterans. By their count, the 2010 edition will be their 10th time of the tour - that's longer than most bands on the tour have even been around. Because of that, we tracked down the bassist of the legendary punk band before they kicked off the show to pick his brain about the tour - who he wants to see, tips for the newbies and the historical significance of Fear.
Read on to see what Bryan had to say about the Punk Rock Summer Camp.
Bobby: Well I guess, starting with the basics, today is the first day of the 2010 Vans Warped Tour. Are you excited?
Bryan: I sure am, yeah. I don’t know what it is; I never get tired of it. This is like our tenth visit on the Warped Tour.
Bobby: So you guys are definitely Warped Tour veterans now.
Bryan: We are indeed.
Bobby: Do you have any advice for any bands that this is their inaugural tour?
Bryan: All kinds of advice. I don’t even know where to begin. One of our tricks that we’ve always employed since the very first Warped Tour that we were on – which was probably ’97 and we’ve been doing it ever since – we pack our own showers. We get those camp showers. It’s basically like a vinyl bag that you fill up with water and you just set it in the parking lot and it just kind of sits all day and the water gets hot. After your set, go back to the truck and shower there. On the Warped Tour they offer showers but it’s like there’s a shower shuttle or, like in the case of today, it’s a big locker room shower – kind of like a prison and it kind of gets gross. This way you can run your own race – things like that, be self efficient.
Bobby: Well I was going to ask, since this is one of the most gruelling tours with 43 cities in 51 days, what you bring to prepare yourself. But you bring your own shower, that’s pretty much all you need.
Bryan: You need a couple of essentials but at the end of the day, it all depends on how you want to lay out your day.
Bobby: Last year, the tour switched up the main stages a little bit where the bands play forty minutes and there’s only one main stage instead of two which kind of makes people have to walk around a bit and explore, see the sights and watch the side stages. Are you glad they did that?
Bryan: I think it got to a point where it was just a little out of control. There was just way too much going on at once and it was just a big noisy ratchet. It seems a little bit more kind of reigned in, in a good way you know?
Bobby: Everyday there’s sixty to eight bands playing depending on the city, anyone from GBH to Andrew WK, Hey Monday to Big D. You can pretty much list a band and they’re playing.
Bryan: Yeah, I just met Lee Ving, the singer of Fear – I was psyched.
Bobby: Are there any other bands you’re really excited to see other than Fear?
Bryan: Oh well, Fear’s on the top of my list man. Alkaline Trio, who we’ve toured with going back a lot of years, we’re old friends so I’ve benn looking forward to both enjoying the music and hanging out. Riverboat Gamblers, there’s a handful of good bands actually. Swingin’ Utters too by the way.
Bobby: Yeah, they’re playing three California dates, it should be fun. With Warped tour, a kid could come here wanting to see maybe Alkaline Trio or Hey Monday or Call The Cops and then get introduced to Fear, Adolescents.
Bryan: That’s what I hope happens. It’s pretty important, in my opinion, I don’t know. You gotta know the lineage. Let’s say, if you consider yourself a punk fan, you can’t really be a punk fan and not know Fear in my opinion. You can’t call yourself a punk rocker and not know Fear.
Bobby: You need to know the SNL show with Fear. You need to know that story.
Bryan: There you go, there you go. The only Saturday Night Live episode that they will not re-air.
Bobby: Oh really?
Bryan: To this day. That’s fucking punk rock right there.
Bobby: I heard that in two minutes they did like half a million dollars worth of damage – in two minutes.
Bryan: Yeah, Google that shit. Kids should Google that shit and read up on it, it’s pretty sick man. John Belushi was a fucking bad ass, he got that band on – he got them to play Saturday Night Live.
Bobby: Of course, over the last few years the sound of Warped Tour has kind of expanded a bit. Like last year they were under fire for bands like Brokencyde and the Millionaires. What’s your whole take on the debate that Warped should only be punk bands?
Bryan: I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that it should only be punk bands. We started before punk was popular and we toured right through all the years when Green Day got big in ninety-four and then everybody was punk and then everyone was pointing fingers and who’s punk and who’s not punk and what’s punk and what’s not punk and it got to be really boring. Everybody was so freaking uptight and the whole thing sucked. I think people get caught up trying to define punk and what’s punk and what’s not and the whole thing gets boring. I think that also, punk’s my sort of personal preference but I also love Slayer – I would love if Slayer played this fucking tour.
I don’t think Warped Tour should be just confined to just punk music and just punk bands – it would be boring; and who would we make fun of? It kind of bums me out a little bit. I think Christian bands kind of freak me out a little bit just because I sort of feel like religions are the cause of a lot of fucking bloodshed and suffering down the years and it’s also a lot of… I don’t know, it gets a little confusion when there are bands up there preaching Jesus. I don’t hate God or Jesus, to tell you the truth; but something about it bothers me. There’s something weird about it, you know?
Bobby: Well there’s the whole Fat Mike/Underoath feud.
Bryan: Yeah, there you have something that I sort of just sat on the sidelines and laughed at. I don’t even like talking about that now and getting in the middle of that whole fucking debate. It’s just… I don’t know.
Bobby: And sometimes, also, it’s the attitude that matters.
Bryan: I don’t know. The Christian agenda doesn’t seem so much about finding and excerpting your own individuality and questioning everything. It seems more like “don’t think and do what we tell you.” I don’t know; something’s weird about it almost. Something rubs me the wrong way as a truly independent spirit.
Bobby: With so many bands playing, all their set times overlap. You may want to see two bands that are playing at the same time. This kind of makes bands have to fight for an audience, to pass out flyers and say “come see us.” Do you think this kind of rekindles the DIY ethic of old punk?
Bryan: Yes, definitely. It’s sort of like a physical, three dimensional version of the internet in the sense that it’s all up to how much you want to hustle and get people to listen to you. That’s what’s true with how the internet has changed the entire music industry. It puts the power in the artists’ hand, which is good.
Bobby: And it also kind of shows your work ethic.
Bryan: Yeah, that’s how it should be – you know? Get out there and work you lazy bums.
Bobby: You just compiled your twentieth anniversary singles into one CD, Ghosts of the Boardwalk, which came out in January. A lot of bands this year are releasing a new CD right in time for the Warped Tour; so many bands just released their CD last week. How important do you think Warped Tour is for promoting a new album?
Bryan: I think it can be pretty important for that. Although we didn’t plan it that way, we just put it out in January because we put all the songs out last year and people wanted a CD after that. So “okay, we’ll put out a CD, no problem.”
Bobby: Now you guys have been going for a long time – this is your twenty-first year since last year was your twentieth anniversary. How do you shuffle or keep the balance between the new songs from Ghosts on the Boardwalk that you want to promote and the old classics that everyone wants to hear?
Bryan: Our only concern is making an incredibly fun, forty minute set. It doesn’t matter what songs are from what record.
Bobby: Well Warped Tour is a music festival; it is a punk festival but it’s a lot more than that. There’s a skate ramp, this year there’s a midget show. How would you describe the atmosphere?
Bryan: I think the travelling freak show aspect of it is a great thing; and I think that things like Breast Cancer Awareness and a lot of good causes, I think it’s great that they’re out here and they’ve been out here every year. I think Kevin Lyman’s great that way with the causes that he champions and the whole thing, the way he assembles it. This is a positive environment, especially for really young people to be exposed to. Like the Girlz Garage and a lot of these things that are out here that are fixtures on the Warped Tour; I think they’re putting out a very good, positive message.
Bobby: At the same time, the point of it is still the music.
Bryan: The Warped Tour has always been music slash lifestyle. The music has always been, arguably, the most important. You can say the pros that came out here on the early Warped Tours, they always had a skate ramp. The BMX riders, the skaters, the motocross dudes – I think that whole lifestyle, you don’t necessarily need to play an instrument.
Bobby: There’s a lot of work to do on the Warped Tour, like we said earlier, but there’s also a lot of downtime, there’s a lot of fun – there’s the barbecue, the backstage, the poker tournaments. Do you think all that interaction between bands kind of helps strengthen the punk community, build friendships?
Bryan: Yeah, it does. We’ve made a lot of friends by basically being out here camping together. It’s a great thing. It’s a total travelling community.
Bobby: With so many friendships being made, there’s always tons of collaborations that always happen.
Bryan: Yeah, for sure.
Bobby: Is there any ideal collaboration that you would like to be a part of or see on this year’s Warped Tour?
Bryan: I’ll tell you what, this year The Bouncing Souls and Hot Water Music are going to put out a split. They’re going to cover True Believers and I think we’re going to cover Wayfarer but we haven’t decided yet. We’re going to cover each other’s songs; put out a split seven inch and we’re going to go on tour in Australia and New Zealand.
Actually, that has nothing to do with the Warped Tour but that’s a good example of a collaboration that I’m looking forward to doing.
Bobby: When is that split going to come out?
Bryan: Just stayed tuned.
Bobby: Kevin Lyman has also said he wants Warped Tour to be a safe place for kids to come to for their first concert; and while it may not be their first concert but for a lot of people this will be their first year going. Do you have any advice for the kids going to Warped Tour for the first time?
Bryan: Bring your sunblock – don’t be one of those people who are bright pink at the end of the day.
Bobby: Two more questions. First off all, you have the song called Sarah Saturday from the Gold Record. I gotta ask, is Sarah Saturday the one playing in Gardening, Not Architecture playing on the Warped Tour this year? Because there’s somebody called Sarah Saturday playing on the Warped Tour this year, so I’m wondering if that’s the same one.
Bryan: Well there is a Sarah Saturday and I met her on the Warped Tour. She used to work on production on the Warped Tour and she’s out here on the Warped Tour right now. She’s out here with something called Earn It Yourself.
Bobby: Yes, that is who I’m talking about.
Bryan: Yes, it is one and the same.
Bobby: Okay, I was wondering about that. Because I saw her name and I thought “I wonder if that’s the same Sarah Saturday from the Bouncing Souls song.”
Bryan: It is, it is. Go say hi to her. Just go up to her and say “wow, it’s true – you do radiate.” She’ll love it.
Bobby: I guess that’s about it, thanks a lot. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Bryan: Nope, nothing on particular. Enjoy the show.
Bobby: Awesome, thanks. I’m looking forward to it.
Bryan: Nice talking to you.