Bouncing Souls & Youth Brigade Interview - Greg Attonito,Pete 'The Pete' Steinkopf,Bryan 'Papillon' Kienlen, Shawn Stern, Mark Stern | ThePunkSite.com
|Bands: Bouncing Souls and Youth Brigade
||Members: Bouncing Souls:
Greg Attonito, Pete 'The Pete' Steinkopf, Bryan 'Papillon' Kienlen
Youth Brigade: Shawn Stern, Mark Stern
Chunksaah Records and BYO Records
Starlite Room - Edmonton, Alberta
|Date: October 2nd, 2009
||Interviewer: Bobby Gorman
2009 was a big year for The Bouncing Souls and for Youth Brigade as the bands celebrated twentieth and twenty-fifth anniversaries respectively. They helped mark the occasion with a tour together - something they've been doing together for years and years. We decided it would be nice to get the friends together and talk about what has happened over the past two decades in their own band, the punk scene and the music industry as a whole. From their impeccable fashion sense that got them featured in a fashion magazine to the good things in punk that will never die, the guys in Bouncing Souls and Youth Brigade touched on a wide variety of subjects, joking and laughing all the while. We started the interview with Pete Steinkopf and Shawn Stern but were soon join by Greg Attonito, Bryan Kienlen and Mark Stern one by one, with each adding a new dynamic to the conversation. As was stated numerous times in the interview, the noise in the room constantly grew throughout the interview which meant I missed a few words here and there, but nothing too obtrusive.
At the end of the interview I think Pete summed it up best: "We’ve sat around a lot of tables like this for a lot of years and we plan to keep doing that." The two bands are friends, clearly happy with what they're doing and enjoying the fact that they've been able to do it for so long.
Bobby: Starting with the basics, you guys have been on this tour for around a week now, how’s that going?
Shawn: We’re having a great time.
Pete: Yeah, we’re good.
Shawn: If she (referring to a waitress in the bar) keeps walking around, we’re great. *Laughs* It’s terrible. I can’t stand these guys. They’re so obnoxious.
Peter: Hanging out with Youth Brigade, all they do is talk really low and get drunk and you can’t hear what they’re saying.
Shawn: *laughs* It’s true. We’re all a bunch of drunks; but these guys can drink with us though.
Bobby: So it all works out in the end.
Shawn: It works out really well.
Pete: Yeah. We’ve toured together many times and always have a good time.
Shawn: We took them to Europe their first time.
Shawn: Way back when.
Pete: A couple years back.
Bobby: This is, of course, a very big year for both of you guys. The Souls are celebrating their twentieth anniversary. Youth Brigade/BYO are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary.
Shawn: Actually its getting closer to thirty by now *laughs*.
Bobby: Yeah, that is my question. The Souls actually formed in ’87, which means it’s the twenty-second anniversary. *Shawn bursts out laughing*
Pete: That’s not really true though. *laughing*
Bobby: You guys (Youth Brigade) formed in ’82, which means it’s your twenty-seventh anniversary. Did you guys fail math or what?
Pete: That’s a point of contention, but we actually started in ‘89.
Shawn: And no, we didn’t fail math; but when we started the project for the box set it was like the twenty-fourth year. We thought “a year – that’s plenty of time!” but it took us a lot longer. But if you’ve seen the box set, it’s a pretty massive project. I mean, it’s got a movie, a double LP and a book. The book took my brother, just to put together – and me and my brothers wrote it – eight months at least. It almost drove him insane. Actually, he’s still pretty close to the border. If I could fire him, I would’ve because he was so out of his mind, screaming and yelling and out of control. But if you see it, he did a great job.
Pete: It was worth it.
Bobby: I haven’t seen the book but I’ve seen the DVD and the CD. The documentary is amazing and the CD is one of the best comps I’ve hear in quite a long time. Even the idea behind it was quite interesting too.
Shawn: We try to get people thinking you know; keep them on their toes.
Bobby: Like I said, this is a big anniversary for you guys. When you guys did start this whole punk rock thing back in ’89 (Shawn and Pete laugh) or ’82, did you ever imagine you’d be here twenty-odd years later celebrating such important milestones?
Pete: Twenty years.
Bobby: Twenty years for you, twenty-odd years for BYO. There you go.
Shawn: I thought they would, but I never thought we would. But seeing now if we hadn’t been there, I don’t now if these guys would be because we never would have met them.
Pete: It’s all relative. We never really thought about it that deeply, you know? We’re just lucky to be here.
Shawn: Yeah, I mean. When I was twenty I never thought I’d be playing music in my thirties let alone my forties or almost fifties. So I’m pretty lucky to do it.
Pete: We get to do something we love and people come out and see it.
Bobby: Is it weird thinking about the… (the music in the bar gets louder)
Pete: It’s getting loud in here.
Shawn: Those guys are doing an interview; let’s turn the music up!
Shawn: Yeaaaaahh, now we’ve got a much louder voice. Greg has joined us.
*Greg Attonito from the Bouncing Souls comes and sits down with us after completing another interview*
Greg: I don’t know if I can compete with Shawn’s volume. *laughs* How’s it going?
Bobby: Not bad, yourself?
Bobby: How was the other interview?
Greg: It was good. It looks like we’re going to be in a fashion magazine.
Shawn: Did you do some poses?
Greg: That’s what I said, “you mean you want our shitty fashion in a trendy magazine?” I guess the idea is like a normal fashion shoot. Normal fashion photography and then they have band dudes.
Shawn: With no fashion sense what’s so ever! *laughs*
Bobby: That magazine had Lady Gaga on the front and ended up being on the Ellen DeGeneres show, that magazine got so popular because Ellen put it on her show.
Greg: What’s it called?
Bobby: Parlour Magazine. Yeah, when Ellen brought it on, it blew up.
Shawn: So basically, you may be on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Pete: The big time man, big time!
Bobby: Think about the changes of the crowd you guys had over the years. I was born in 87, so I was two years when you guys (Souls) formed. I wasn’t born when you guys (Youth Brigade) formed.
Shawn: You weren’t even a thought in your dad’s head yet.
Bobby: Exactly. Now you’re still playing for the same people you played for in the early nineties and you’re playing for their kids and people like me. I remember last time the Souls were here you guys had a five year old kid come up and play drums.
Pete: Oh yeah, yeah.
Greg: Yeah, I remember that.
Bobby: Is it weird thinking how the different generations are coming to your shows?
Greg: It is weird, kids showing up with their kids.
Shawn: But they’re not kids anymore!
Shawn: But that’s pretty good right? To me, that says that we’re inspiring generations. The music lives on because it has something to say. There’s all these bands that try to claim they’re punk rock and sell millions of records and personally I don’t think those bands are punk rock. They’re all sound, no substance. They may sound punk rock and they may have tattoos and piercings and look the part but they’ve sold millions of records to twelve year olds and those twelve year olds that are now twenty won’t even admit they ever listened to those bands because they had nothing to say. Those bands are gone. These bands survive why? Because they’re saying something that reaches people, they have something that inspires people that they want to pass that shit on to their kids; so we must be doing something right.
Bobby: In the same train of thought about touring, in Let Them Know, the new BYO Documentary, you had a big portion of it dedicated to explaining how you would go and steal credit card numbers to book your tours. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier with cell phones and internet.
Greg: You can’t do that anymore! *laughs* It’s not so useful anymore.
Shawn: It’s actually easier though. It’s actually easier now. I mean, you can get Vonage and it doesn’t cost you shit. The reason we had to do that was if you had to pay for the phone calls, no one ever would have been able to book a tour. We couldn’t afford it. The internet makes it easier in a lot of ways.
Bobby: Well, that’s what I was going to say. The internet and the way we make phones calls has made it easier in a lot of ways. Do you think now a lot of bands from today would’ve made it back when you had to go and steal all those credit card numbers?
Greg: No. Now, there’s kind of a well worn path in touring. Back then there wasn’t a well worn path at all. I mean, those guys probably had an address with a name and some dude that was “yeah, we’ll do a show Shawn, sure!”
Shawn: Yeah, we’d find a store or a college radio station or anything, you know, to get leads. “So, what’s going on there? If you were a band, where would you play?” We did that for years and then slowly a network started. Now you’ve got… I mean, how many shows are coming up this week? Outside you see all the posters all over. Everyone’s coming to do shows.
Greg: A completely different world.
Pete: Back then, it was hand to hand. You played shows to the people who bought the record.
Greg: And you wouldn’t hear from them or see them until you came back.
Pete: Now it’s all on the internet, you contact people all the time.
Shawn: I mean it’s easier now because obviously the digital revolution has made it easier for people to make music. So there’s so many bands and it makes this communication and getting all this information, all this music out there which is a great thing; but it’s kind of a double edged sword. On the other hand, there’s a lot of bands that probably never would have made it and there was a reason for that. They’re just not that good. There’s a lot of mediocrity out there. I’m not the one to start stepping on everybody, but it used to be that you started in your garage and a lot of bands didn’t make it out of the garage because they didn’t have the go-though-all that was necessary to do the touring. A lot of bands would’ve given up. You know what I mean?
Greg: It was hard.
Shawn: They would. “It was a thing I did in high school, but then I had to get a job.”
*Bryan Kienlen from the Souls walks downstairs and pulls a chair up*
Shawn: Ahh jeez! You should’ve brought Mark down.
Bryan: It smells like cheese!
Bobby: Yeah, it does.
Bryan: You smell that?
Shawn: The whiff of poutine.
Bryan: Oh,um, Mark’s wondering around looking for us.
Shawn: Is he?
Bryan: Yeah. He said he’d call me if I found it, and I said I’ll call him.
Shawn: Oh, I’ll text him. *Starts texting* Oh yeah, cheese big time now.
*Mark Stern from Youth Brigade wonders in through the entrance*
Bryan: There he is!
Shawn: Yeaaahhh. You’ll never be able to tell who’s talking now! * Laughs as he looks at me and my tape recorder*
Greg: It’s a whole gang here now.
Shawn: It’s definitely easier now, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily better.
Pete: It’s hard to compare.
Bobby: Well like you said, technology now has had a massive impact on the music industry as a whole. From the way you book tours, from the digital distribution to even how you record where you can record on CubeBase on your laptop. As a whole, do you think having all this technology integrated into the music industry, do you think of it as a positive or a negative thing?
Greg: Sort of the same answer as the last question, a little bit of both.
Bryan: I’d say mostly positive though. All it’s done… in the eighties people were burning – I mean, not burning – they were making cassettes and sharing music. It’s just more widespread. That’s how I see it. They can share it more easily and it spreads more quickly for less money.
Mark: The thing that I would say about is that before all that, if someone was going to invest in a band and put a record out, the band to be pretty special because it was a big investment. So you had less records but more quality. Now anybody can make a record.
Bryan: That’s true.
Mark: But on the other hand, there’s people that might never have been discovered to make that record and they could’ve been great. So that part’s good but people have to shift through the shit to find the good.
Shawn: There’s a lot more.
Mark: The cream has to rise to the top. It takes more effort to find good music.
Shawn: It’s true. Money was much more of a factor which is why major labels really controlled the way music was. I think if you look at how punk rock sort of started; the music business had become this situation where it was all about money.
Mark: There were all these dinosaur rock bands that were playing stadiums.
Shawn: In those days, in your mind was to get out of the garage you had to know somebody. You had to find somebody at a label because to record a record was expensive. To make a record was expensive, only major labels did it. That’s what we were up against when we started. Then we realized “ah screw that, we can do it on our own. We don’t need to put it in all the stores all around the world.” Just do it the way we’ve done everything. Just sort of in our neighbourhood, see how it goes and then sort of build through.
Bobby: Start small and then eventually it will expand.
Shawn: If you’re good, if you’re good.
Bobby: Like you said with the touring, you start small and then build that connection.
Shawn: It’s a solid thing too. It’s not a house of cards. It’s based on real, actual, grit.
Bobby: Even with all this technology and digital distribution, vinyl is definitely making a comeback. You guys (the Bouncing Souls), with your twentieth anniversary, every three months you’re releasing a new seven inch. You guys (Youth Brigade), released a double LP in the twenty-fifth anniversary box set. Personally, what made you guys go back to the vinyl route for these celebratory releases?
Bryan: We never actually stopped making vinyl. We always made vinyl versions of everything we’ve put out. I think we’ve always thought of it as kind of special. It just can’t compete on the exact same playing ground as digital music, downloads and so forth. Even I, I have an iPod and that’s where I collect my music and that’s how I take it on the road; but I think there’s a special place for a vinyl. It’s still important.
Bobby: Why do you think that is? Why do you think vinyl is coming back and becoming the “in-thing” again?
Shawn: I don’t think it ever left. People that liked vinyl, who grew up with that always liked vinyl and always want to have it. There may be some kids who are discovering it but like Bryan was saying, the reason people like digital is that you can put all your shit on a device. You don’t have to have a whole big box full of CDs or boxes and boxes of LPs and carry them around.
Mark: People like to be able to hold the vinyl. I think that’s something that you get from when you were a kid if you grew up with them, kids nowadays they have no clue, most of them.
Bryan: But it’s like he said, vinyl has made a weird comeback and I think part of it is the decline of the CD.
Mark: Yeah, because of the art.
Greg: Also, the iPod has been out for a certain amount of time and everyone’s like “I got everything I ever wanted now, it’s on my iPod.” Now they can get special stuff on vinyl, the physical thing, even more and more young kids are getting to that a little more.
Shawn: The experience of getting something, looking at it and reading it.
Bryan: It really is the antithesis. It’s the most opposite, whereas the CD is like a half-step between the two.
Pete: I think a lot of guys who buy vinyl now; they don’t even have turntables.
Greg: A collector’s item.
Pete: They buy it, put it on their iPod and have this to kind of look at. “Oh, that’s cool.”
Mark: That’s the thing, when CDs became popular, vinyl… there were artists, the vinyl artists; the whole art was just gone. For instance, Jeff Fisher, he did Rancid *Pointing to my Rancid hoodie,* he actually did the XXV thing on the BYO box set. He’s done a lot of stuff; he has a certain distinct style, he was at Epitaph for a long time as the art director. He had a show, this photography thing with these five LA photographers and he brought out these prints that he has preserved of stuff like Pulley’s cover or something. Where you’re looking at it on a CD and you’re like “that’s pretty cool I guess” but seeing it on a four foot print, just seeing the quality of the work – it’s insane. There’s people that are so good even though they’re making people CD covers, you would never know the scope of what’s on that. So the vinyl is something that people want to collect because there’s great art and there’s something to hold.
Bobby: It’s more physical and more visual in terms of artwork compared to getting the MP3 icon where there’s nothing to look at.
Bryan: There’s something more warm and humid I think and there’s nostalgia that ties back to decades and decades of music. I think there’s something very alive about vinyl and people feel it and respond to it.
Bobby: Going back to the iPod and stuff everything every thing into one compact case, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal around a year ago that had a whole bunch of artists basically blaming iTunes for the decline in CD sales for giving people the option to pick and choose songs instead of taking a CD as a whole. So it’s kind of ruined the idea of an album.
Shawn: That’s ridiculous. The thing that’s ruined the idea of album is too many mediocre bands making mediocre albums. They have one or two good songs and then fill it with fluff. I mean, the way it was in the seventies, when you made an album it was a whole piece; every song counted. Some bands did concept things, you’d take the whole album and that concept is gone by the way side. If you look at the format, you’re up against a lot of things. An album, you put it on and you’ve got twenty minutes max before you gotta flip it over. Now you put on your iPod and hit shuffle, you can listen to hours and hours and hours and that probably goes to the fact that kids growing up have a very short attention span. They’re on the computer, they’re playing video games, they’re texting somebody, they’re on the phone, the cell phone, they’ve got the PVR – so many things going as because they don’t have the attention span.
Bryan: It’s true.
Shawn: When we were kids, we’d smoke a joint and put an album on. We’d sit there, get wasted and listen to the album and read the fucking album cover.
Bryan: Let it draw you into its world. It was a bigger wavelength and a slower process.
Shawn: It’s not the same anymore. Everybody’s got so many things going on.
Bobby: It’s all go-go-go-go.
Bryan: Multi-tasking and nothing done.
Shawn: ADHD and OCD and all that shit, I mean, kids are on Ritalin. It’s crazy.
Pete: It goes back to technology too where anyone can write a song and record it in their room and put it on the internet and get a record deal. Then they make the album around that song. So it’s like one song’s a hit and then they write a bunch of crap and put it out. Then they wonder what happened.
Mark: I think the blame is the major labels that just started putting out mediocre releases. The labels used to be owned by people that were musicians and were involved in music. You had like Herb Albert and Clive Davis.
Shawn: You had guys who would go find bands and record them and produce them and know about music. Now you have labels that are run by….
Bryan: Corporate people. They’re lawyers, bottom-line number crunchers.
Mark: They don’t know anything about music. They’re like “hey, that song’s a hit; let’s make twenty songs like that one song.” It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t work that way.
Bryan: Well, they do manufacture hits that way.
Mark: Yeah they do.
Bryan: And the sad part is that the public definitely responds to it.
Bryan: Yeah, sheep. They’re just a bunch of people thinking they’re famous, buying what they’re told to buy and listening to what they’re told to listen to. The top forty. That’s what I think.
Bobby: Here’s what you should listen to now.
Bryan: Yeah, you should, you should listen to it. You should listen to it or something’s wrong with you. Why wouldn’t you like it?
Shawn: Yeah, it’s a consumer thing. I mean…*Somewhat behind him yells “Shawn” trying to catch someone’s attention. Shawn stops and looks around to see if they were looking for him and quickly realizes they weren’t.* There’s too many Shawns in the world. When I was growing up, I was the only one.
Bryan: You gotta start killing them off. The Shawn Killer.
Shawn: *laughs* I mean, it’s not just music, it’s every industry. The corporations have perfected a way of trying to sell you shit. “You should wear these clothes because it makes a statement about you.” Drive this car, be in this mood, listen to this music. Unfortunately, so many people are sheep and they believe it. They define themselves by that. It’s a scary thing but it’s been going on for the last twenty-five, thirty years.
Pete: It’s kind of the root of the problem.
Bobby: Well, that does kind of lead into my next question. A few years ago I was taking this music history course at the UofA and when we were studying Elvis, the teacher brought up this interesting graph called “Industrial Logic versus Cultural Logic.” Where it basically says that there’s some sort of cultural revolution where people will rebel against the norm and create a new sound; and then the mass media and major corporations come in, pick it up, mass produce and turn it into something else using industrial logic which in turns create another cultural revolution.
Mark: A safe one, a very safe one.
Bobby: You guys have been in this music industry for twenty years now and you’ve seen so many different styles come and go. From punk to emo, to ska, to rap and nu-metal. Do you think that this cultural revolution/industrial revolution would be a good way to describe the music industry? How there’s some sort of cultural revolution, they mass produce it which pisses people off and creates another cultural revolution?
Greg: It’s like an endless circle.
Bryan: I think you just described it perfectly actually. I wouldn’t have anything to add to that. That’s exactly what’s happening.
Mark: Yeah, it does happen; but then you look at punk rock that came out in the late seventies and where’s the cultural revolution now? You mentioned emo and all that stuff but it’s just sort of an extension out of punk rock where it wasn’t something that rebelled against punk rock.
Bryan: They grab one of them and package them and sell them to a bunch of people.
Mark: Yeah, but every generation, in every decade there was. There was big band and then be-pop came around and kicked that out and that was crazy underground. Then that got commercial and turned into rock and roll which turned into the top forty stuff. The Fats Domino and stuff like that back in the fifties. Then when you got punk, where’s that? To me, it’s flattering when kids come and see us; it’s great. But I’m like “If I was you….” There was a kid the other night going who was going off about “old punks” and “they don’t know shit” and I’m like “it’s true. If I was you, I would hate me.” It’s nice that kids want to hear our music but I kind of look at them sometimes and go “don’t you just want to start your own revolution against all this?” Not another form of this, you know what I mean? That’s the whole thing; and it’s been thirty years.
Bobby: Now it’s like what will be the next sound? You need a new sort of revolution. It can’t be the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montanas.
Shawn: That’s no revolution.
Bryan: That’s still manufactured crap.
Shawn: It’s really a product of capitalism. That’s what capitalism does. They try to make money off of shit. We did it never thinking “we want to make money and be big rock stars.” We did it because “hey, the fucking music world sucks and we’ve got something to say. We wanna make music and we’re pissed off.” Then all of a sudden “well, we can tour, we can make records” and the next thing you know, we’re making a living off of it. But we still do what we want to do and we didn’t join the system and let some major label tell us what we needed to do or could or couldn’t do. That’s just capitalism. Capitalism sees something, takes it. It takes all the good shit out of it, waters it all down and figures a way to make money out of it and keep perpetuating it.
Bobby: Well even now, they do that so quickly that there’s so many turns in it. Like when you look at a punk. It has been thirty years. When it just started in the late seventies and blew up in ’94 – that’s still fifteen years of gestation, of growing up and building an identity. Whereas now you get it and it’s a year and it’s huge and then something else comes.
Bobby: There’s no growth for that style to evolve.
Bryan: Man, it’s pretty depressing the way you describe it like that. *everyone laughs*
Bobby: I’m not trying to be depressing.
Bryan: I don’t think that you have to completely invent something new for it to have meaning or to define a generation. I still believe the basic rock and roll formula that dates back to the blues is totally righteous and can be done a million, trillion different ways.
Greg: It’s about the spontaneous energy behind it. It doesn’t matter without that spontaneous feeling behind it; that can happen any way.
Shawn: When it comes down to it, all of these things you’re talking about, it’s still fucking rock and roll at the bottom of it, right?
Bryan: That’s another thing we can talk about because sometimes I think it’s so far removed.
Shawn: Yeah, it has; and usually those are the ones that are watered down and come up with crappy, poetic love songs.
Shawn: Yeah. Jingles and I mean, come on, what about electronic music? I don’t even know what that is.
*Over the past few minutes, the bar become consistently louder as more people arrived and began trying to talk over the music which in turned just made the DJ turn the music up, creating an endless cycle of louder background noise*
Mark: Is this picking up? *referring to the recorder*
Bobby: Yeah, I’ll be able to decipher it.
Shawn: You’re gonna get all this music.
Greg: Yeah, let’s turn the music up a little louder.
Shawn: You’re gonna be like “One of those guys from Youth Brigade, I think…”
*Everyone talks over one another joking about how I’ll never be able to decipher what’s being said, which, ironically, I can’t decipher*
Bryan: The louder we talk, the more they turn it up.
Bobby: Yeah, it’ll take a while to type up but I’ll be able to decipher it.
Bryan: Good luck with that.
Bobby: Like I was telling Pete, I did an interview with the Used with Alexisonfire sound checking and only a curtain dividing us. Now, that took a long time to type up.
Bryan: Fucking hell.
Pete: Sound check man, that’s rough.
Bobby: I wanted to talk about the evolution of a punk a bit. A big part of the BYO documentary was about the violence and the riots that happened at the festival in ’82 and stuff like that. There was a big focus on the violence of punk in the early eighties and the media portrayed that a lot too. Fletcher from Pennywise has been quoted as saying “when I went to a punk rock show, I feared for my life.” Whereas now it’s a lot more calm and used as a marketing ploy in some aspects by the major labels or Hot Topic. How do you think it has gone from when Fletcher feared for his life to now you can buy it in stores?
Shawn: Fletcher was a kid then.
Greg: Now he’s big, people are scared of him.
Shawn: Now he’s huge.
Bryan: When Fletcher comes around, people fear for their lives.
Greg: That’s it.
Bryan: There’s still some violence. I don’t know, maybe you’d be able to answer this better because obviously you were around.
Shawn: In those days, it was new and it was getting bigger all the time.
Mark: It was misunderstood.
Shawn: Yeah. That was part of the violence.
Mark: There was no professionals doing anything, we were just doing it and it was big; bigger than anyone thought so it would get out of control. So you had a show that was getting out of control because you would never expect as many people to come, you had police that didn’t understand it because you looked weird and they just wanted to…
Shawn: Just kill you.
Mark: Yeah, just off the bat. And then everyone else who wasn’t into punk rock, it was just something new. They hated it, they hated punks. So that was the reason for violence really.
Shawn: It started getting bigger and bigger; a lot of people got attracted to it because it was crazy out of control and would come just to fight.
Greg: But that’s also something that’s interesting now because if we go out on the street right now, we’re going to see people dressed like a million different ways and none of it means anything – at all.
Bryan: Except its self expression still.
Greg: It is, but not the way it used to be.
Shawn: Oh no.
Bryan: It doesn’t have the impact.
Shawn: You can have tattoos or piercings or a Mohawk and no one’s going to give you shit now.
Bryan: It doesn’t take any guts to do it.
Shawn: Whereas back in those days…
Greg: If that’s good or bad, I don’t know.
Shawn: It doesn’t take any guts anymore to look a certain way.
Bobby: And now with the Bouncing Souls in a fashion magazine… *Shawn laughs*
Greg: Yeah, we’re going to be in a fashion magazine.*Telling Bryan*
Shawn: That’s right.
Pete: When we were in high school, there was like two weirdoes in high school and they’d all go to a show. Every high school in every town in the whole fucking area.
Shawn: A great gathering, that’s another thing that’s been lost too.
Pete: Whereas now, everyone’s got their thing, they’re kind of weird.
Shawn: Everywhere you go, there’s some guy who’s got piercings and tattoos, it doesn’t mean anything anymore. I mean, hey, I like tattoos and piercings, I’d rather have people look like that than not; but for being self expression….
Greg: It’s still got value but…
Shawn: But when the secretary’s got the fucking bull’s eye tattoo on her back, you know…
Bobby: A lot of people nowadays say the old adage that “punk is dead.” What do you guys think about that? You guys are punk icons.
Shawn: They’ve been saying that for years.
Bryan: I disagree.
Greg: It’s kind of a like an *a word I can’t decipher* statement too in a way; you know what I mean? It depends on how you look at it.
Bryan: It’s true. Certain things are dead. Certain things that you saw happen in ’81 and ’82 that we were just talking about, maybe they’re dead but to say “punk is dead” is a weird generalization.
Greg: What does it mean really?
Bobby: It’s too final.
Shawn: There are some young kids that are coming up that are fucking disenchanted and pissed off and confused and don’t feel they fit in, I believe that’s where the spirit of punk lives. And when they find their answers in music and when they rebel and when a show makes them feel better and helps them with their identity in some weird way – all of those good things will never die.
Pete: If punk was dead, there wouldn’t be any good punk bands. Like disco died. There’s no disco bands.
Mark: There is an underground. I mean, there’s underground all over. There’s bands going, playing warehouse gigs.
Shawn: There’s still shows going on under the radar.
Mark: I saw Off With Their Heads at a house party in LA before I came out on this tour. It was packed. Seventy-five kids, it was crazy. Or like that band Fucked Up. Okay, now everybody knows about them, but they were coming from Toronto all the way out to LA and playing places I never even heard of; like warehouses in the middle of nowhere and there would be a thousand people there.
Bryan: That will always be happening.
Bobby: One interesting thing about Fucked Up actually was just, I think, last week they won the Polaris Music award.
Mark: I saw that.
Bobby: So they got like twenty-thousand dollars and they’re going to be making a benefit CD for missing Aboriginal women. It was a really interesting idea to see Fucked Up, an insanely hardcore band, being rewarded for their artistic integrity.
Shawn: That is Canada you’re talking about.
Bryan: Yeah, there’s a lot more benevolent government here in Canada towards being an artist and musician which we applaud you for that and we’re jealous, as Americans. And you’re health care system too.
Bobby: Ian MacKaye once described punk as “the free space where new ideas can be presented” and Mike Ness described it as simply being an individual and doing what you want to do. So my last question for you guys is, having been in a punk band in the punk scene for over twenty years, what does punk mean to you guys?
Greg: I think Ian MacKaye and Mike Ness said it best.
Bryan: Yeah, I think I would’ve just given you the Mike Ness answer.
Shawn: Living life your own way.
Bryan: If you hadn’t read it to me that would’ve been my answer. Yeah, having the balls to be yourself; and a bunch of people like that getting together.
Bobby: Okay, I guess that’s about it. Thanks a lot. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add? Or, you guys are celebrating your twentieth anniversary and your twenty-fifth anniversary. What do guys you see in the future for Youth Brigade, BYO and the Bouncing Souls? What’s in store for the future for you guys?
Greg: We’ll see.
Bryan: We’re going to tour around you man; you know we’re going to keep going and doing it.
Shawn: All I want to do is be able to tour places where I can surf and then I’ll be happy.
Greg: There you go.
Shawn: And if I can tour with these guys and get drunk and surf…
Greg: I’m going on that tour!
Bryan: I’ll be there too.
Shawn: We’re going to go down to Rio for the Olympics.
Bryan: Bouncing Souls/Youth Brigade in Rio.
Pete: We’ve sat around a lot of tables like this for a lot of years and we plan to keep doing that.