The Bouncing Souls
For the past 25 years The Bouncing Souls have covered all territories, examined all subject matter and charged through explosive punk rock songs that reflect on almost everything. But now the New Jersey group will explore a new frontier: Space. The band's new album, Comet, their ninth full-length studio release, showcases the fact that even after a quarter of a century the musicians can still find new artistic and musical ground. After a few late-night tour conversations about the 2012 end of the world prophecies, the band members penned a song called "Comet," a track that grappled with the idea of living life to the fullest no matter when life might cease to continue. That track evolved into the disc's title and cover art.
"That song is about the idea that a comet could hit us as at time on any day, whether it's 2012 or 2050," Greg says. "Just having that approach toward life: 'Well, a comet could hit us. Life could end right now. How do we want to live our lives?' It poses that question."
The Bouncing Souls may not have expressed this sentiment in this way before, but the band, which was formed during high school by a group of friends, has always embraced it. After forming in high school, the friends moved into a punk house, self-released a seven-inch and headed out on the road. The group's debut, The Good, The Bad & The Argyle, was released in 1994 on their own label, Chunksaah Records. Since then the band has offered up eight albums and countless EPs and splits, and been signed with Epitaph and BYO Records. They've toured extensively, with acts like Green Day and Hot Water Music, and have played more Warped Tour dates than any other band. But in the end it comes down to four friends playing music they like for fans who like it too.
"You go through so many things and so many life experiences together, so much creative experience together, and I think having a record come out from a group that's been together for so long is special," Greg notes. "After 25 years of being in a band we spent a couple weeks in a basement and just had a great time. I think that's a huge achievement."
Comet does, in fact, originate from a basement. Last year, the members of The Bouncing Souls decided to get together and write ten songs for what would become a follow-up to 2010's Ghosts On the Boardwalk, an album that compiled tracks released over the course of a year. This would be the first real cohesive release since 2006's The Gold Record and the musicians wanted to go back to the way it started, just them in a basement writing songs into a tape recorder. This meant that by the time the band went into the studio in January the ten tracks that make up Comet were almost completely done. The recording took place in Fort Collins, CO at The Blasting Room with Bill Stevenson, a musician and producer The Bouncing Souls had known forever but somehow never worked with. In total, the recording and mixing process lasted only 12 days.
"This album began as a conversation about how we felt an element of true and urgent inspiration had gone missing lately, and that if we were to write another album, it needed to be truly inspired, written out of a pure need to express something," Bryan explains. "Having tried writing songs every different way, and on every different size budget, we realized that much of our best stuff was written in next to no time and without any real money involved. We decided to give ourselves ten days to pull an album together. Ten songs in as many days— no fluff, all blood and guts, like it was in the Maniacal Laughter days. Plus, without Bill Stevenson, there would have been no Descendants, and therefore no Bouncing Souls. I really for the life of me can't believe it took us this long to work with Bill."
"Recording with Bill was great," Pete adds. "He has been writing and recording great songs for decades. That guy knows what he's doing. He knows how to write a song and how to make everything sound right from every angle. He totally understood what we were striving for and put his whole self into it."
The resulting album, which will come out as a joint release between Chunksaah and Rise Records, is a dynamic, impassioned collection of melodic punk rock songs that showcase a group working at its best. It veers from insightful social awareness to the group's signature love songs: First single "Static," a propulsive rocker, "acknowledges the lack of humanity that's going on in music and in the media," while the aforementioned title track urges the listener to seize the day. The album, which will be released on 6-12-12, six years after The Gold Record came out on 6-6-06, is, ultimately, The Bouncing Souls, the next chapter.
"We've lived life more," Greg says. "We've had more experiences. So it's the same subjects, but from a different perspective. That's what makes each record an evolution. We've done three-chord punk songs the whole way, but new angles have emerged as we've gone along."
"I feel lucky every day to have been a part of this band for so long," Pete says. "It has enhanced my life in so many ways I couldn't even start to list. Being able to be a part of something that allows you to express yourself and to be creative while being around your favorite people in the world is something that I feel thankful for every day and I think that shows on this album."