New York punks Bouncing Souls weigh in with a new record How I Spent my Summer Vacation. Interview by Steve Tauschke with singer Greg Attonito.
Hey Greg, tell us how your Australian tour went down last year?
"It's easily one of my favourite places to tour. The tour itself wasn't the greatest, we didn't get to finish but I enjoyed Australia. We also came over one time before that with No Fun At All in 1998 for some club dates."
Has the band been anywhere off the beaten path recently?
"We went to Poland, which was exciting. The people there were so happy we came, at least they were a few years ago. They just loved the music, especially at places away from the bigger cities the crowds are a lot more receptive instead of being more judgmental where they get bands all the time. It's fun to play the big cities and also the faraway places."
Your merch & website guy Rob has written a tour journal about your travels right?
"Yeah, it's good stuff, interesting stuff. He's been writing since he was in high school where he wrote a lot of poetry. We were friends back when we were a really small band and he would come out on the road with us and write letters to his girlfriend back home. One day she gave them back to him and he turned it into a journal. He started small, making little copies and now he's got this full size book. He's a great story teller for sure."
How's your relationship with Epitaph .. still going strong?
"I really like the people there. They're easy to get along with and they understand what kind of band we are."
And they let you do other things, like that split single with Weston. Whatever happened to that band?
"I think they're still around but have changed members. I haven't heard from them in a couple of years but I think they're still going."
After touring the old material so much it must be fun for you to make a new record?
"I've always enjoyed the creative side of writing songs and to tap into a greater creative part of yourself and to get it out into a song. That's the best part of it for me. That's why understanding that and doing that on this record is different from previous ones because you're taking a step up for yourself and hopefully making better music."
Did the band attempt anything on this record it had never tried before?
"We wrote songs separately, like Pete and Brian wrote some songs and we did more recording before we actually went into the studio which was really good because we were really prepared before we went in. We've bashed things out in the past but it's much better when you're prepared."
What's your producer Seymour's background?
"He worked on that Santana record, he got a Grammy on it., not the big single but the rest of the album. He also remixed the new U2 single recently."
It sounds like he came at a price?
"It wasn't terribly expensive but he did a great job for what we paid him, that's for sure. We gave him his going rate."
So how did a U2 mixer cross paths with an indie punk band in Bouncing Souls?
"We did this song for this television show called American High and we needed to do the song right away so Pete and Brian went down to Electric Ladyland studios in New York to record and Seymour happened to be engineering there. So he did the song for us and we liked him a lot and asked him to do the whole record."
Speaking of Brian, and this is off the topic, but he recently acquired his Shaolin Iron Palm which involves three months abstinence from sex, drugs and alcohol, is that true?
"Well, if you really want something then you definitely do it."
I know you're into surfing .. have you noticed any unsavoury things in the water lately?
"Ha, back home we call them Coney Island White Fish, which is really a condom. It's not too bad on the east coast. I think it's worse in California where I've heard of surfers getting nosebleeds from all the pollution washing down after heavy rains."