caught up with Chuck and Sebastien from Simple
Plan in Manchester to talk about being back in
the UK, their current album 'Get Your Heart On',
plans for the future and much more.
how does it feel to be back in the UK?
Sébastien Lefebvre (Guitar): It feels
like this band has a really good relationship
with the fans here. We’ve never really
been played much on the TV or the radio, but
all these shows are sold out. There are mosh
pits, crowd surfers – there’s always
a lot of energy. It’s always a good time.
Chuck Comeau: It’s really cool. We’ve
been coming here since 2002 now, it’s
a place we know really well, we have lots of
friends here. London’s always an awesome
city and the rest of the country is really cool.
We feel really relaxed here, it feels like home.
played at Groezrock this weekend, how was it?
Sébastien: It was a lot of fun!
Chuck: Yeah, it was a really good show. We
were a bit nervous about being the most pop
band over the two days, but it was good, everyone
was going crazy. It was good to run into some
old, old friends from back in the days of our
old band. We’ve played shows with MXPX,
so seeing those guys was a lot of fun. It was
cool to watch them and get the chance to catch
up. We’ve been pretty much playing music
with those guys for fifteen/sixteen years now,
so it was cool to chat.
Sébastien: It was a cool festival, the
crowd was awesome and the festival itself was
really well organised. It’s always a treat
for us to watch really awesome bands, it almost
breaks the routine. We played just before Refused,
but we also go to see Thrice and Zebrahead –
it was nice to run into those guys (Zebrahead)
because the last full European tour was with
them. We got to play with them in Zurich the
day before. It was really cool to see them because
they’re really sweet, good people.
been a band for over a decade now, did you ever
expect it to last this long and that you’d
still be traveling all over the world?
Sébastien: That’s probably the
most amazing thing. I think you always hope
it’ll happen, but often that’s not
the case. I think as a band we’ve been
to forty five different countries now. For me,
that’s record breaking. I never thought
we’d get to do that.
Chuck: I think we’re going to add some
more this year, every time we get to play a
new place it’s a real accomplishment.
Every year we stick together, every album we
put out, it’s almost like a sweet revenge
to everyone who ever said we’d only be
around for one song and then we’d be gone.
It’s almost like proving them wrong, and
that’s exciting! It keeps getting more
fun, with the last record we were a little jaded,
we’d toured non-stop for three albums,
so with this one we kind of took stock of where
we’re at and realized how lucky and privileged
we are. You hear every day about bands that
are breaking up, there are loads of bands that
we came up with, or after us that were set to
be the “next big thing”, whether
they fall apart, fight or put out a record that
doesn’t do anything, you look back and
it makes you appreciate what you have so much
more. It makes you more grateful and it makes
you more hungry to make better records and keep
going because technically we should be done,
we should be forming a new band, or getting
a new job or something. But we’re still
doing it and we’re getting bigger than
ever. We’re breaking all our own records.
It’s amazing, things are looking up and
it’s fucking awesome!
well as being a band for this long, you’ve
managed to avoid any line-up changes, something
that’s unusual, how have you managed to
Sébastien: It’s extremely unsual,
I think it’s more of a case that we all
have the same goals for this band, so whenever
there’s a problem we never let it get
in the way. We solve our problems as they come
and then we move on.
Chuck: I think we’re lucky that we have
smart guys in the band. We all realise that
the band itself is more important than any one
individual in it, I think that’s a key
factor. I think it means a lot more to the fans
too. I think the music is important to them,
it almost feels like you have a responsibility
to them. There are people all over the world
that want more songs and more Simple Plan shows,
that’s why we want to keep this band together.
Sébastien: Actually, I just met this
girl outside who said, “I don’t
know what to say to you other than thank you”,
and I know what she means, I said the same thing
back to her.
Chuck: It’s a mutual feeling, I think
they feel happy that we’re around and
we’re happy that they’re still around.
of fans, do you still see the same familiar faces
at your shows, or do you keep noticing more and
more new ones?
Sébastien: There’s both actually,
especially in Europe, because the cities are
so close together that a lot of fans witll come
to three or four shows in a row, so we start
to recognize them. Every night we ask fans if
they’ve ever seen us before and a lot
haven’t, so it’s a mix of old and
new. We have a lot of fans from the first record,
but the ones that have gotten into us from the
new one have gone back and listened to older
stuff, so it’s pretty cool.
brought We The Kings with you for this tour, they’re
a relatively new band flying the flag for pop-punk,
how do you think things have changed since you
were starting out?
Chuck: I think it’s changed a lot. I
think it’s changed in some good ways and
some bad ways. I think it’s probably easier
to get your music out there than it was, even
to record music, it’s all become a bit
more accessible. However, I’m not sure
it’s going to be easy for all these young
bands to reach a certain level. It’s hard
to get people’s attention now because
there’s so much music out there. There’s
not one place where people get their information,
whether it be news, advice or new music, it’s
so scattered. It’s going to be hard for
a young band to come out and be the new Green
Day, Blink 182 or even Simple Plan. The attention
is so divided. But at the same time, it doesn’t
matter where you’re from anymore, what
label you’re signed to or whatever, as
long as you can get the music out there, it’s
a lot faster. Sometimes it’s maybe too
fast, maybe bands get a big buzz too quick and
they’re not ready for it. Like, they haven’t
toured, they haven’t paid their dues and
they don’t appreciate it.
released your record Get Your Heart On! last year,
were you happy with the way it was taken?
Sébastien: Absolutely. It’s quite
a feat that on our fourth album we still manage
to get new fans and get the old fans to like
it too. Being on the road and playing these
songs, we love it just as much as they do. We
worked really hard on it, we wrote probably
around sixty or seventy songs and we picked
our favourites and put them on the album. We’re
extremely proud of where we are now and we’re
extremely happy with the way the record was
such a busy touring band, how does this effect
the logistics when it comes to writing a new record?
Sébastien: We kind of have to stop touring
to write music.
Chuck: Yeah, we don’t really write when
we’re on the road.
Sébastien: When we’re traveling
we’re pretty tired, so it’s not
always the best time to write, but we love to
write, so we make of point of saying, “right,
we’ll finish the tour, play wherever people
want to see us and then we’ll write some
have you had chance to take some time out to write
Chuck: Well, we had a lot of songs that we
wrote for the last album that we want to find
a way to put them out before the next one comes
out as a way for our fans to have more new music.
I think that’s important because the last
record took a long time, there was a big gap
between the third and fourth album and the fans
want new music, so I think this time we’re
going to find a way to put out some new stuff.
I’m not sure in what format or capacity,
it might be a DVD or an EP, but there will definitely
be new music from us in 2012 and hopefully that
will bridge the gap between the last record
and the next. We’ll probably start writing
more new stuff in the new year.
you think it’s important to keep the momentum
going, despite having been a band for all these
Chuck: Yeah, I think so.
Sébastien: Probably now more than ever.
Like Chuck was saying before, maybe the attention’s
not as strong as before, so if you disappear
for too long you kind of have to present yourselves
as a new band. We’re the kind of band
that’s always very present online and
stuff, so to have a DVD or an EP coming out
will just be an extension of what we already
Simple Plan Foundation is something that’s
very close to you and has achieved a lot over
the years, how did this come about?
Chuck: I would say that it came from our fans,
all the letters that they wrote us and all the
stories that they shared with us. After every
show we always do our best to hang out and they
tell us how our songs have really helped them.
Just last night a girl told me that she went
through depression and the only thing that helped
her out was our band. So we heard all that and
thought about what we could do that was more
direct and tangible.
Sébastien: I like tangible, that’s
a very good word!
Chuck: Thank you, me too! So, the idea for
the foundation was born then. It’s all
about helping young people who are going through
tough times whether it’s drugs, depression
or sickness. Pierre’s (Bouvier, vocals)
brother went through a really tough time with
cancer, so that kind of inspired us to add that
to the foundation as well. For us, music was
our way to find a direction and a purpose, so
that became a third mission, to promote music
as a way to help kids. We want people to find
something they love, something they’re
passionate about, whether it’s sports,
music, science or whatever, as long as you have
a direction and something you love then you’ll
be successful. I think this year we’re
going to reach the landmark of $1,000,000. It’s
something that has grown beyond what we expected
and we’re really proud of it.
Sébastien: It’s a part of the
band now, it’s intertwined. That’s
a good word as well! It’s just something
that we do now.
you think that it’s important for people
in the public spotlight to use this as a platform
to help others?
Chuck: Yeah, I think so. I don’t think
you have to, but for us we’ve been successful
and very privileged, we’ve seen the world
and been able to live pretty exceptional lives.
When you look back at your friends at home,
we’ve lived thirty years in ten years,
we’ve done so much and been so lucky.
We’ve had so many gifts from life that
I feel the least we can do is try to give a
little back, try to get involved and try to
give our share, y’know? Obviously it’s
a drop in the ocean, but if everyone were to
get involved, everybody pitches in then it’ll
make a difference.
you have any plans to come back the UK this year?
Chuck: I’m not sure exactly, there’s
no concrete plan. I think we’d love to
come back here, maybe in the fall. Maybe come
back to Europe then and do a big run of shows.
Sébastien: The fact that all these shows
are sold out is a good incentive for us to come
Chuck: When we had the choice to do the tour
and to come to the UK we were curious because
it’s not like we’ve released a single
or anything, but when you come out here and
you see all the love and all the fans showing
up it’s a really good feeling.
Interview by Ben Connell