Punk rockers go pop: Simple Plan takes risks to keep things fresh

Punk rockers go pop: Simple Plan takes risks to keep things fresh

Canadian rockers Simple Plan know how it feels when your favourite band changes their sound, but tell YP cadets why it's important to keep it fresh


Simple Plan has many different sides - and faces.
Photo: Warner Music

It's currently a very creative time for music, with many bands and musicians trying out new genres, producing their biggest hits, and furnishing fans with great albums.

But some established artists play it safe by rarely deviating from the style of their biggest hits.

This is a rut that Canadian pop punk band Simple Plan refuses to get stuck in.

The upcoming release of their pop-based album Taking One for the Team will offer a sound that's wildly different from their pop punk roots.

Formed in 1999, Simple Plan is fronted by singer Pierre Bouvier, with Chuck Comeau on drums, lead guitarist Jeff Stinco, Sébastien Lefebvre playing rhythm guitar and bassist David Desrosiers. The five were childhood friends and all had the same unstoppable passion for music.

The band is still made up of the original lineup - something that all members take pride in.

"It's important for us, and it's our pride that we are still the same five band members. It's a rarity nowadays in music," Stinco said in a phone interview with Young Post.

In an industry where appearances are important and fans can be fickle, many musicians fear being abandoned or negatively judged by the public, so churn out the same, safe music to keep the fans happy. Simple Plan makes a point of showing that their unpredictable nature and willingness to experiment is something that sets them apart from others.

Released in October, ahead of the release of their fifth studio album, the single I Don't Wanna Go To Bed saw the band come under heavy fire from fans.

The group was accused of straying too far from their former pop punk sound when they collaborated with rapper Nelly on a track that sounds more like Maroon 5 than Green Day. In response, fans bombarded the Summer Paradise band's social media accounts with vicious comments saying the "old" Simple Plan has vanished.

Stinco disagrees. "We're not going anywhere," he says. "Simple Plan is the kind of band that has a lot of different sides, and we allow ourselves to be creative with those faces."

"Some people got the joke of the song, and laugh at the video, but some were not as understanding."

But the band doesn't blame fans for being angry, because they remember what it feels like when a favourite artist tries something new.

"When I was younger and just getting into music, when the bands that I loved made a record that was kinda different, I always had mixed feelings about it, because, in a sense, you want your band to stay as it is," says Stinco.

Simple Plan's ambitions are less materialistic than fame and fortune. They view their musical journey as an evolution of their many personalities and influences that give the band its identity. They feel that those who know and love the pop punk sound must be open to embracing the many genres the band plans to experiment with.

For such a well-established rock band, a shift in sound is a risk. Though still rooted in the pop punk style, their fifth album is set to be their most musically diverse yet, largely due to a fear of growing stale.

The band believes in the importance of keeping it fresh - not only for the fans, but to avoid getting sick of the same sounds themselves.

And the fivesome advises all musicians and bands to draw on as many sources of inspiration as possible to avoid reaching a musical plateau.

"I'm going to say it over and over, if you keep on repeating yourself, you're gonna bore everybody," explains Stinco.

"It's important that you bring your listeners on a journey in your record. If they [albums] were all the same, it lacks depth and everyone would lose interest."

In a sense, Simple Plan's plan for future success is, well, simple enough: stay different, keep it fresh, but keep a foot in the pop punk genre that they and their fans know so well.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Punk rockers go pop


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