Category Archives: media

Pierre Bouvier for Rolling Stone about the importance of Warped Tour for Simple Plan’s career

Many alternative music fans were shocked to learn recently that the summer of 2018 with be the last ever edition of Warped Tour. Warped Tour, the biggest alternative traveling music festival, has been a safe haven for the fans of pop punk, punk rock and other alternative music genres ever since 1995 when Kevin Lyman founded it. The tour brought tons of acts across United States and Canada and made thousands of fans fall in love with them. With this week’s announcement of the 2018 Warped tourdates however, Kevin Lyman confirmed with mixed feelings that it will be the final year of Warped.

Simple Plan have been tied to Warped Tour almost since its beginnings. Before they became a band, Reset was a part of Warped for a couple years and Simple Plan were a part of its lineup for many summers, most recently in 2015 and they also took part in the 2017 Warped Rewind At Sea cruise – a “nautical” spinoff of the popular traveling tour.

Pierre Bouvier from Simple Plan talked to Rolling Stone a few days ago and discussed the importance of Warped Tour in Simple Plan’s beginnings and shared his thoughts on what might happen next now that Warped will be no longer.

We definitely recommend reading through the whole article, which will give you lots of insights on the behind the scenes of the music business and Warped Tour in particular:

When we first played Warped Tour with Simple Plan, I already had a lot of experience with Warped Tour on my own, just attending and being part of it with other bands. I remember playing the Toronto show, and our way of doing it was super DIY. We went around the entire crowd all day along with a couple Walkmans to play our five-song demo. We’d walk up to people and say “Hey do you want to hear some music? We’re playing at 1 o’clock at whatever-stage-we’re playing-at.” We would go out and recruit fans one-on-one. It was this one time a year where all us like-minded punk rock and pop-punk fans would get to see each other, meet each other and be around people who were similar to us outside our friends and bandmates. We would realize in each city that there were so many people who enjoy Blink-182 and Green Day and Face to Face and Offspring and Pennywise and all these cool bands you don’t see on MTV or hear on the radio.

Of course, this was a time before social media exploded. Being able to tap into something like that was a lot harder. It wasn’t like we could press a button on our phone and find each other. You had to find these alternative music stores or go to Warped Tour and get a glimpse of who these bands were and what this culture was like. It was a really special time of year when these bands came around.

Either the year before or after we played for the first time as Simple Plan, Chuck and I attended Warped as fans. Because of our experiences with our previous band, we had a relationship with some of the guys from Blink-182 since we had played some shows together. I know that Chuck had hung out with Mark [Hoppus] quite a bit. I think it was at the Toronto Warped Tour we basically waited outside their tour bus for them to emerge so we can possibly intercept them and play them our newest demo we had recorded in Montreal. That was how you did it back then: you would find bands you liked and play them your song.

I have a vivid memory of being outside Blink’s tour bus, hoping they would come out so we could say hi. I remember feeling so stupid and thinking “Man, what are we doing here? They don’t want to talk to us!” Chuck was like “No, man! I know Mark, and he’ll be happy to see me!” So we waited for hours, and they finally come out and we pass along the demo. That demo had an early version of the song “I’d Do Anything,” which ended up being our second single off our first album. Mark really loved the demo and started corresponding with Chuck. Then we thought it would be the coolest thing as little pop-punk boys from Montreal to ask Mark if he would sing on the song, which he ended up doing. Basically the Warped Tour is a huge factor in how the band got some notoriety and excitement and hype around it. It ended up being a big hit for us.

That vibe was really important. Everyone is the same on Warped. All the tour buses are parked together. Everybody eats the same catering. It allows people to hopefully catch a glimpse of their musical heroes.

I think for a lot of our fans and fellow bands, we’ve always been considered on the poppier side of Warped Tour. We’ve had a lot of mainstream success and radio support, and there are a lot of people who may not be hardcore Warped Tour fans who may know our band that heard our songs. But it was always important for us to remain part of that scene and not just be an MTV pop-punk band. This tour is where our music started, and where we as fans started. It’s important for us to keep being part of it.

We’ve always made a conscious effort to go, even though there were some years it financially didn’t make much sense to do Warped Tour; because there’s so many bands, it’s not a huge moneymaker for anybody. We could’ve taken more lucrative offers somewhere else, but it was important for us to go play – and possibly lose some money but to connect with our fans. [Playing] the Warped Tour as a band is an experience like no other. It’s like going to summer camp.

Kevin Lyman [Warped Tour’s founder] and his team really handpicked bands that are part of a style. If you like Green Day, Blink-182, Simple Plan or Good Charlotte and so many other bands, you’re probably going to like the band playing on any stage. That’s what’s cool – it gives an opportunity to bands in this style … they could expose their music to a potential crowd that already kind of likes the style that they’re doing.

Also, it didn’t always work the way Kevin envisioned it, but it kept bands humble. If you went on Warped Tour and thought you were cool but acted like a dick or above everyone else, there’s a chance you might get kicked off the tour. There was even a year that I believe Alien Ant Farm had a bit of an attitude when their Michael Jackson cover was blowing up and got kicked off the tour because of it. It’s humbling, and at the time could’ve been frustrating.

For us, we played Warped in 2002 and it was right when No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls came out and we started blowing up. Our pay on that tour was peanuts — maybe $200, $300 a day — and we were playing a small stage that could barely accommodate the crowds coming to see us. At the end of the tour, Kevin asked us to do it the following year and we agreed to a $500 a day contract for 2003. As that year progressed, we became so huge with a platinum record and everything blowing up. We came back to Kevin and said we needed more money, and he said “Nope! We agreed on a handshake for $500.” At the time it was so frustrating. We were one of the biggest bands on the bill and were getting paid shit. Looking back, it’s part of the mentality.

That’s what is cool about it. You can go see someone who is on the verge like Katy Perry, Sugar Ray or even Eminem. You can see them on a small stage at a random time, and it’ll be chaos and mayhem. That was part of the magic. We’re all the same, and now that we know Kevin a little better, I do think that’s what he was trying to achieve: not to create a bunch of asshole rock stars. I think some people took it the wrong way, but I get it.

But Warped Tour was part of a generation. Over the last five years, it’s not as tightknit and genre-specific as it used to be. Back in 2000, all the bands on Warped had a similar sound, where now, and because it’s only normal that music is evolving and changing, there’s a lot more things. From electronic music to people like Machine Gun Kelly and Twenty One Pilots. It’s no longer just bands playing guitars and drums and rocking out. It wasn’t sustainable as it once was anymore.

It’s going to have to be replaced by something, one way or another. I think it’s a shame that something like that can’t keep going and exist and be a place for people to exist and discover new things outside of their phone or social media or Spotify. Then again, that’s where the future is going. That’s evolution and how our parents feel about us and how we’re gonna feel about our kids.

It’s a shame that that this style and culture can’t sustain itself as it used to. There will always be alternative styles and music and cultures. By the time my kids are in high school, I’m sure there will be things they love that will make me go “What the hell is this?” For them, that will be their Warped Tour.

Even the style of music that Vans Warped Tour represented at the beginning and even halfway through, I don’t know that that style of music will get a lot of new pioneers. I don’t know if there will be another Blink-182. There will be other people who are alternative and different, but all the pop-punk pioneers are doing things that are nothing like what they used to do. Is it because they got bored of it? Have all those bases been covered? Have all those songs been written? I don’t know.

– Pierre Bouvier [Rolling Stone article] –

Rolling Stone named Simple Plan’s debut album among 50 Greatest pop-punk albums!

One of the most respectable music magazines, Rolling Stone, released a new list on their website, which names 50 Greatest pop-punk albums of all time [see the original article here]. And while it could be debatable which of these bands are or are not pop-punk by someone’s standard, it’s safe to say that the list features 50 great albums that certainly had an undisputable impact on the pop-punk we know today – whether it’s because of Blink-182, Green Day, The Ramones, Jimmy Eat World or… Simple Plan.

For Simple Plan it is surely a great honor that their debut album, ‘No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls’, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, is also included on this list – particularly in the 33rd place. Check out what Rolling Stone had to say about SP’s first studio effort below:

33. Simple Plan, ‘No Pads, No Helmets … Just Balls’ (2002)

The teen-comedy film boom of the late Nineties and early 2000s helped to push pop-punk to larger audiences, and Canadian crew Simple Plan excelled at making snappy, catchy, sweet tunes that feel like the big scenes they complemented in flicks like The New Guy, The Hot Chick and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. The dramatic dejectedness of “I’m Just a Kid,” sweeping romance of “I’d Do Anything” and brooding family drama of “Perfect” captured the genre’s signature edge-of-seventeen mindset. “Until the day I die, I promise I won’t change so you better give up/I don’t want to be told to grow up,” Pierre Bouvier sings on the aptly named “Grow Up,” a song that also name-checks Good Charlotte, Sum-41, Blink-182 and MxPx. Adding to the album’s classically pop-punk feel, Simple Plan even got vocal assists from Blink’s Mark Hoppus and Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden on a pair of songs.

– Rolling Stone –

And here’s the full list of 50 Greatest pop-punk albums by Rolling Stone. Are there any albums you would like to add to it?

50 – Discount – Half Fiction
48 – 5 Seconds Of Summer – 5 Seconds Of Summer
47 – Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
46 – Good Charlotte – Good Charlotte
45 – All – Breaking Things
44 – The Distillers – Sing Sing Death House
43 – The Ataris – Blue Skies, Broken Hearts… Next 12 Exits
42 – Lagwagon – Let’s Talk About Feelings
41 – The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation
40 – Bouncing Souls – Hopeless Romantic
39 – Screeching Weasel – My Brain Hurts
38 – Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
37 – The Undertones – The Undertones
36 – Saves The Day – Through Being Cool
35 – Pennywise – Unknown Road
34 – The Ergs! – dorkrockcorkrod
33 – Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls
32 – Lifetime – Jersey’s Best Dancers
31 – Tsunami Bomb – The Ultimate Escape
30 – AFI – The Art Of Drowning
29 – Green Day – Kerplunk
28 – The Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette
27 – MxPx – Life In General
26 – The Jam – Snap!
25 – Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
24 – Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material
23 – Alkaline Trio – From Here To Infirmary
22 – The Rezillos – Can’t Stand the Rezillos
21 – Operation Ivy – Operation Ivy
20 – All Time Low – So Wrong, It’s Right
19 – Good Charlotte – The Young and the Hopeless
18 – Bad Religion – Stranger Than Fiction
17 – Rancid – …And Out Come The Wolves
16 – Green Day – American Idiot
15 – Sum 41 – All Killer No Filler
14 – New Found Glory – New Found Glory
13 – The Offspring – Smash
12 – Jawbreaker – 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
11 – NOFX – Punk in Drublic
10 – Misfits – Walk Among Us
9 – Paramore – Riot!
8 – Blink-182 – Dude Ranch
7 – Generation X – Generation X
6 – Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady
5 – Fall Out Boy – Take This To Your Grave
4 – Descendants – Milo Goes To College
3 – The Ramones – Rocket To Russia
2 – Blink-182 – Enema Of The State
1 – Green Day – Dookie

Sebastien to be featured on the Mike Herrera Hour podcast

As many have guessed, after Simple Plan invited their old pal Mike Herrera from MXPX on stage the first night in Seattle, Mike Herrera decided to return the favor and invited one member of Simple Plan to join him on his podcast the following day. The choice was obvious: Sebastien. Since Seb has a podcast of his own, on the same radio station (Idobi radio), the two had loads to discuss.

The Mike Herrera Hour feat. Seb Lefebvre will air this Friday, September 8th at 8pm EST and to get you a bit more excited about it, you can check out Seb’s video of his journey to Mike’s studio below:

A new Canadian youth novel to feature Simple Plan as characters & Chuck Comeau pens the preface!

The third (and final) installment of the “La fraternité du rock” book series by France Gosselin, entitled “La fraternité du rock: Radio rebelle” (In translation: ‘The Brotherhood of Rock: Rebel Radio’), which follows the journey of a young man called Canisse, who’d dream is to become a drummer in a rock band, is set to be released on September 16th – and it will feature a group of characters we’re quite familiar with over here at!

Indeed – the members of Simple Plan will play an important role as characters in the plot of this youth novel. According to the interview for Journal de Quebec with France Gosselin, the author of the book, the Simple Plan plot of the story was inspired by her meeting with the band at Festivent in 2015.

According to the author’s words, the members of Simple Plan have already been given the book and approved of the passages featuring their band.

A small reference to Simple Plan is also made on the cartoon cover of the book, in which one of the characters can be seen sporting an “SP” hat.

And that’s not where Simple Plan’s involvement with the book ends – Chuck Comeau not only invited the author to the band’s upcoming show in Quebec City, but even offered to pen the preface for the book. According to Chuck, the book reminds him of the times when his on band was just starting out in his parents’ basement.

Recap of the Simple Plan documentary Vie de tournée

Thanks to Emilie, prepared a short recap of the long-awaited and recently released documentary Vie de tournée, who’s new episode focuses on Simple Plan, their Brazilian tour and includes extensive interviews with all band members.

Instead of a complete full translation (since the video is 45 minutes long), we opted for a recap, which will give you an insight into some of the interesting bits that were discussed in this TV special:

Fatherhood & being in a relationship

It’s always tough to leave their kids at home and go on tour. For Chuck, the band has always been his priority but now that he has a kid, his priorities have slightly changed.

– The tour life can be very hard especially for those, who are in serious relationships. A few years ago, Jeff went through a difficult separation from the mother of his two daughters (Zoe and Maya). She was there since the beginning of Simple Plan. It felt like a big failure to him. Jeff struggled with this change in his life quite a lot. It always took him several days to adapt to being at home alone after the tour, but he has learnt a lot and the guys helped him.

– The guys adapted their tours to their fatherhood and David had to follow the lead. He feels like he lives a completely different live than them, because he’s single. But even though he has no children of his own, he loves kids and says the guys have beautiful children.

Touring without David

– The tour in South America this documentary revolves around (December 2016) was the first tour without David. He said that his body was letting him know it was very tired, so he listened to the signs. He needed to step back. For him touring includes way too much movement and it doesn’t allow him to feel grounded at the same place long enough. So he tries to slow down as much as possible. During the guys’ tour in Brazil, he went to his mother’s home in Matane to recharge himself.

– The other guys were initially afraid of not having David on tour, but they quickly changed their attitude on how to solve this problem. Logistically, it’s very complicated to do a tour in Brazil, so they really didn’t want to cancel it – plus, they really wanted to go. According to the guys, it’s always very special to be in Brazil, there is a big buzz around the band, big excitement that they find in other countries too, but here’s it’s accentuated, crazier and more chaotic.

– The guys had a meeting on how it will work without David. They explained that David had pre-recorded the bass tracks except for the first album, so Seb was going to play bass and Chady guitar on some songs.

– David focused on the positives messages that he’s received. Someone even sent him a video of Pierre on stage, where he said: “Sing louder, so that David can hear you!” It touched him very much.

Tour life’s tolls on life

– Sometimes it’s hard to find a balance on tour. For Pierre, it’s to accept that there is no balance. When he doesn’t want to get up to catch a flight but he has no choice, he takes a deep breath. The guys take it one day at a time, one show at a time, even one hour at a time.

– This tour was the Pierre’s first return on stage after their previous Canadian tour being canceled due to Pierre’s vocal chords problems. He spent 2 weeks without saying a word, the third week he spoke a little and the fourth week he began to practice and warm his voice. The guys supported him – they only canceled shows 3-4 times in 15 years.

– Sometimes there are some tensions between the members of the band, especially between Pierre and Chuck. One example being having to often wait for Pierre to do the encore. Chuck wants everything for the shows to be by the book.

A little too devoted Brazilian fans

– In Brazil and other countries in Latin America, it often happens that the fans stay at the same hotel as SP. It’s more accepted to be a fanatic there. But when is it just too much? According to SP, it depends – sometimes they can handle a lot, they have the energy to do it, but sometimes they know just after waking up that is not a good day.

– Seb discussed the obsession of some fans to have pictures with them everytime, even if they meet them multiple times in one day: “We see some fans at the airport, take a picture with them, it’s cool. Then we go to the hotel, the same fans are there, we take a picture, cool. Then the soundcheck party, take another picture, the stage is behind, it’s different. Then the VIP party, we can talk some more there, it’s fantastic. But then they arrive to our hotel, it’s late, we want to go to bed because we have to get up early the next day, and the same fans are there – so maybe that picture is a little too much…”