Punknews interviewer Ronnie Raffaniello recently spoke with Bouncing Souls vocalist Greg Attonito. Read it and get psyched.
To start off, describe the Bouncing Souls in one sentence.
The Bouncing Souls is a Rock Monster of Love.
As a band, do you prefer to write and record or tour better? Why?
I really enjoy writing and recording and I really enjoy touring. The trick is finding the balance. The act of creating is awesome. Sometimes writing songs can make you feel like a kid on a treasure hunt. Playing the music for people can be like pulling out your favorite treasure for everyone to enjoy. That sharing experience is really empowering and enjoyable beyond description at times. Too much of either makes them not fun anymore. Its all about the balance of the two.
What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment as a band?
Our biggest accomplishment exists on a deep level to me. Let me try to explain it. Right now we are in a gnarly transitional period in the evolution of humanity. Everyone on Earth right now is in the frying pan so to speak. I feel like as a group we have done our job by bringing some solace and sanity to this crazy humanity. I include our crazy selves in that equation too. We all are responsible for taking care of each other and taking care of the earth. This most basic humanity has been lost and its up to us to restore it. How cool is that! It has been a great to discover through my experience in this life and with the BS that we are all part of a pivotal time right now. Everyone has a great role in this story and we all are here to turn the tides. It's great to be living in this time and it has been great to bring some positive energy to help all of ourselves make a little sense of the chaos. What could be a greater complement than. "Your music saved my life." Helping people and helping ourselves along during a tough time in history is the band's biggest accomplishment.
Do you have any current plans for a recording an album? If so, when can fans plan on hearing your new music?
We are in the middle of recording 12 new songs right now. They are sounding great! We will be releasing them next year to celebrate The BS 20 year anniversary! We will be releasing one song on the 1st of each month for the entire year. At the end of the year we will have a sweet box set with all the new songs, some vinyl and surprises that we haven't totally figured out yet. We will also release a few seven inches throughout the year.
Can you explain BYO's "Punk Rock Bowling?" Are you planning to be a part of the event this coming January?
Well..It's a bowling tournament for various record labels, lifestyle companies, bands and friends to convene and party at...The bowling kind of takes second to the partying. It is Vegas. he Stern's are like family to us and we love them. I always love to see them and various friends that we usually run into there but I won't be attending this year. I'm not sure if the other BS guys are going or not.
What is your favorite album to play songs off during a live show? Do you have any specific songs that are your favorite?
This question is hard to answer because the the favorites always change and combinations of songs are sometimes fun to play. I have been enjoying our new acoustiky cover of "Hybrid Moments" by the Misfits. Its different from the original. We kind of showcase the '50s rock aspect of the Misfits which is pretty fun.
This summer you were part of the Vans Warped Tour for the fifth time. What is it about the tour that keeps you coming back to play?
It was our seventh time on the warped tour actually. We were on it a few times in the early years for a week here and there. The people who run the tour are our friends and we are so loved by them. They enjoy seeing us because there aren't so many bands from the early days that still come back and play. Thats one part of why its great. We also just have a great time with the kids and all that comes with traveling with 800 people and rockin to thousands everyday. In the long run the Warped tour really helped us create a nationwide audience that we keep going back to. Its a great place to meet new bands, check them out and get know them as individuals. The Warped tour really has created a community where bands/people can meet and make new things happen.
What's the story behind your song Letters From Iraq (The Gold Record, 2006)? Do you feel the lyrics have a bigger impact on listeners once they know the story?
We wanted to address the war in Iraq in a song but we didn't really have an angle that worked. You can't write from what you read in the papers or see on CNN. It comes out phony. A day or so after we talked about it we received a message from our friend Garrett who had written a bunch of poetry during his time as a soldier in Iraq. He sent pages full of amazingly powerful words describing his experiences and feelings while in the thick of the action in Iraq. It was just a matter of cutting and pasting and making it work. Since the record has come out a lot of soldiers have thanked us for acknowledging them with the song. I'm not sure if the impact is different once they know the story..Maybe it hits home a little deeper.
What made you decide to cover Lean on Sheena and Better Things on your 2006 release, The Gold Record?
Ted Hutt, who produced the record brought in the song for us to listen to. We are all friends with Joe Gittleman and we love the Mighty Mighty Bosstones so we were open to the idea. We all liked the song and said we would give it a try in the studio and see how it went. He really played it for us the day before we went in to track the drums. We didn't think about it much..we just went for it. I think it was Bryan who mentioned Better Things one day when we were writing songs and right away I had a feeling it was going to be great.
What is the greatest compliment you've received regarding your music?
I think I answered this in another question. When someone says your music saved their life you have received the greatest compliment possible in my book. It happens all the time and its always meaningful.
As a band that has been a part of the music industry for more than twenty years, what advice would you give to bands that are trying to "make it?"
Don't try to "make it." Do your thing your way and see what you discover. Enjoy the road trips and the bad food. Enjoy having a good time with your band mates. Enjoy being frustrated at your band mates. Enjoy high gas prices. Enjoy the discovery of creating music and you cannot lose.
Have there been any albums out this year that you feel everyone should own?
I'm open to new music but I'm not one of those people who has a knack for searching out and finding new stuff. The Gaslight Anthem record is good. I like the AKAS new record but I don't know if it came out this year. I love my wife Shanti's new record, Stranger Days. The acoustic stuff is amazing.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Yes I would like to plug my wife's upcoming tour starting on Halloween in Savannah, Ga. She will be doing an acoustic package tour with Jeff from Say Anything, a group from Texas called Smile Smile and Paper Mache. It should be a good show. Shanti will be accompanying Jeff on songs from his solo project, XO, and Jeff will be accompanying Shanti on songs from her new cd, Stranger Days. Check out the dates at her website.
Thanks for the interview. Enjoy life.