Simple Plan: Pierre and Jeff
With 2003 coming to a close this last year has been anything but simple for the guys of Simple Plan. With a mulit-platinum album, and a new DVD, the guys are gearing up for the New Year. I recently got a chance to sit down with Pierre and Jeff and talk about their beginning, music, and what’s in store for 2004.
What do you attribute to all of your success and the success of similar groups in the genre?
J: You can analyze it forever but I think obviously all these boy bands artists were there a little before us. They created an environment where people got fed up with all that stuff. They just wanted to hear real bands and real music and our scene was always there. It never disappeared it just was not in the limelight as much as it was during the Green Day and the Blink era. It slowed down a bit but it came back with Good Charlotte and Sum 41 and us. I always think we have been around and and I think it is going to stay because kids just want to have real bands to listen to. People that they can relate to, people that do the same kind of stuff that they do and dress the same kind of way and just play fucking music that appeals to them. As far as why it became so popular suddenly maybe people just started writing better songs but it is really hard to say.
What trends do you see coming in music?
P: I really don’t follow it enough. I don’t follow closely enough to see what’s coming up next.
J: I think the hair bands are coming back.
What do you think needs to occur so that the record industry can correct itself?
P: I think more and more it is becoming easier to buy music online instead of stealing it. If you want to get a record online it always crashes and says try again and it never works. If you want to buy it, it is only a couple bucks. I think some people will always do it just like copying tapes I think it will never go away but I think more and more people are realizing they can buy it online now and it is a much better quality.
J: I think now that technology is so accessible that you can just record an album in your basement and just promote it on your own on the net. I think there is going to be more diversity in what people listen to and with Internet radio stations where you can just browse and not listen to fucking commercials. Whatever genre, whatever bands you want to listen to. Overall there is going to be more diversity and easier for bands to come out of their basement and get a crowd and that will help the industry to not be so homogenous. I think it will challenge bands to try different things.
Your current single “I’m Just a Kid”, was actually your first single. What was the deal with that being re-released?
P: They released it and it did really well in Canada and really well in Japan and in the US, it didn’t do shit. I guess that was because of a whole bunch of situations that didn’t work. No one really played it and we just toured for about 8 months straight and sold about 75,000 records without any support and the next single did well. It is mostly attributed to the man Jason Flom (Lava President). Part of the reason we are hear today is because of Jason Flom’s kids. He said ‘if my kids love it, damn it the rest of America can love it.’
J: It was that but I think it was also because we were hard workers and we never stopped being on the road. On the DVD it says it all. We were playing in front of 17 people in Germany. It was the shittiest show ever and we had a lot of those shows.
P: I think he realized that he would probably feel bad if he dropped us because he knew that we really worked hard.
You are on MTV, Nick, Disney, and even played Hilary Duff’s birthday bash. What is the biggest positive to come from such mainstream exposure?
P: We have just tried to do everything we can. If we can do and not change what we are then we will do it. Whether it’s the Macy’s Day Parade or Hilary’s birthday party if they ask us to do it we do it. We have always wanted to be out there and get our music in front of as many people as possible. We’re not too cool for anybody.
J: We do these things, but we do the Warped Tour as well. We do shows that are more oriented to music lovers that are really hard core but we also do all these more mainstream gigs.
P: The kids that are watching those are going to be us one day. I liked New Kids On The Block when I was a kid, I was one of those cheesy kids who did whatever so why not give them a taste of who we are. Radio stations like KROCK won’t play our shit anyway. So why am I going to not do something just to not piss anyone off when they don’t even fucking give me respect anyway. I’ll do what I think is right and if they don’t like it they can go fuck off.
J: We play music so that people can come to our shows and have a good time. We try and not think to hard about the other stuff.
What do you think in your own words makes you live show so special?
P: Crowd interaction and the fact that we are the kind of band that when you leave the show you can say you know a little more about us. We get the crowd into it and talk to the crowd to make them feel more involved and not be like Britney Spears and play 3-4 songs without even saying hello.
J: It is just about putting on a real show. No effects or crazy shit.
Describe your influences in the writing process.
Pierre: Growing up for sure. Most of the songs on the last record have been about us but it is usually personal stuff. We feel that if we can talk about it than people will relate to it and yes it is usually about life and the stuff that we go through.
What is the best and worst part of the music industry?
J: The only good part to me is the music and the shows. The rest is just bullshit.
P: I think we knew the industry before we got into it. I don’t want to say we were smart guys, but we had our heads on right. We knew what we were getting into. There really weren’t any surprises. We never had any fairy tale thoughts or any dreams or preconceived notions. Lucky for us, thanks to Jason Flom, Lava pretty much let us do what we wanted and we never had to change who we are. We decide everything. All of the videos were our concepts; we direct all the photo shoots, what we wear is our decision, what we write and what shows we do. I guess it depends on what label you are on. But I think it is about the band empowering ourselves. If you show a label you can do it yourself, they might let you.
If you could change any part of your career thus far, would you?
J: No. There is a lot of flukes in what happened to us but there were a lot of decisions we made and we stood by. There was some backlash to some of those decisions, but looking back it made us the band we are now and it’s not a bad position. We actually do pretty fucking good.
What can the fans expect for 2004?
P: We are working on an album and we go on tour in February. The same thing we did last year and hopefully we get the same kind of reaction.
J: We are a touring band and the records are an excuse to get back on tour.
+ Sam Conjerti