When it comes to perfectly perfect pop punk Simple Plan have been providing us with addictive tunes for many years. The band have just released a 15th anniversary edition of their hugely successful first album No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls. To celebrate the 15th anniversary in April 2018 it’s finally Australia’s turn to hear the album in full live as Simple Plan are headed back to the land down under. We caught up with the Canadian bands guitarist Jeff Stinco ahead of the tour as we reminisce about their first album.

SCENEzine
You are currently celebrating over 15 years since the first Simple Plan album. Does it feel like it was that long ago?

Jeff Stinco
Initially when we started this whole celebration no it didn’t. It was like how the did 15 years pass by so quickly. But now when we are reminiscing about all of the stories around that record a lot has happened since. We’ve had a really cool career and it’s still going. What we didn’t do enough of was just stop and kind of smell the roses and appreciate those big moments in our career. We decided for the 15 year anniversary we wanted to stop and actually do it properly and that’s when the tour came about.

SCENEzine
The album itself No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls has been in so many best pop punk albums of all time lists. It must be a cool feeling knowing you’ve been the soundtrack to a lot of peoples youth?

Jeff Stinco
If anything that’s one thing we hadn’t realised. As a musician you are always thinking about your next move, your next song, your next tour. I think it would be kind of pathetic to always live in the past so we haven’t been that band. But over the course of the last year celebrating 15 years of No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls we spoke to a lot of people. A lot of people have been telling us how important that record was. They have been telling us about playing certain songs at their weddings, hearing songs on their first time driving, their first time making out in a car (laughs). There’s songs from their prom and there’s so many moments tied to those songs it’s amazing to see that the record was the soundtrack to a lot of peoples lives.

Needless to say we were living the best year of our lives, touring for that record. We were going around the world for the first time. We were opening for Metallica, Aerosmith and we were playing Australia for the first time on the M One festival with Billy Idol and Midnight Oil. We had some crazy moments, surreal things happening to us when we were in our early 20’s touring for that record. It’s pretty amazing how important that record was for us and for some of our fans.

SCENEzine
Is it kind of funny to be singing “I’m Just A Kid” on stage now that you have kids of your own?

Jeff Stinco
Dude I used to hate that song. On the first record it made sense, the song is really about staying young and light hearted yet overly dramatic about your problems. But over the course of our career we played that song over and over at one point I was literally begging the guys not to play the song in the setlist. I was like come on guys we are way past that, we got to stop. We did stop playing it for a little bit. We are playing it again for these anniversary tours and suddenly I saw people jumping around smiling, older people even. It just dawned on me the song is not even about the lyrics anymore it’s about the vibe. It’s about staying young and not taking yourself too seriously. Not necessarily being overly dramatic but using music a way to just scream it out. I love that song now, it’s funny it gained a new meaning for me.

SCENEzine
Like many guys I grew up having a crush on Eliza Dushku. What was it like working with her on the “I’m Just A Kid” video?

Jeff Stinco
Yeah it was quite surreal actually. I had never really met any celebrities before. Suddenly we are shooting a two day video with a bunch of celebrities, a super hot Hollywood girl. It was insane and a lot of fun. When we came to the video set it was a different era, the videos were costing a fortune. We had trucks, make-up and catering. It was like why the hell is the label spending that much money on us. It made no sense but we decided to ride it because we didn’t know how long it was going to last.

SCENEzine
Do you have any memories of doing the photo shoot for the No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls album cover?

Jeff Stinco
Yeah that shoot was fun. It was shot in New York and we had this really cool concept of crashing a wedding. Those models on the cover they were completely acting, they were pretending that they were so into us. They invited us to some party and we showed up at the party at 9pm but nobody was there. There was no party. I’ve got two ideas either it’s because the party was starting at 1am like all the parties in New York and we were just rookies and didn’t know. Or they just gave us the wrong address. It could be either or both (laughs). We never met them again, we don’t know who they are, we don’t know their names anymore. So we were a bunch of rejects who were lucky enough to be successful in a band.

SCENEzine
When you think of pop punk 3 of the biggest names are Simple Plan, Blink 182 and Good Charlotte. It must be crazy to think that album features guests from both Blink 182 and Good Charlotte?

Jeff Stinco
Yeah and we still cross paths with these bands. A lot of the bands from that era/genre are not together anymore or have different band members. But those bands are still going. We were very fortunate to have Mark Hoppus put his stamp of approval on one of the songs. That came about because Pierre and Chuck were touring in another band called Reset prior to Simple Plan. They had played some shows with Blink 182 and kept in touch, they were part of a scene already. As part of that scene it made sense to support up and coming bands. So throughout his career Mark appeared on a lot of other artists records.

We knew the Good Charlotte guys from going to their shows and talking about the industry. It was a tight community where everybody knew each other, obviously there was competition amongst the bands but Blink 182 was on another planet. They were so huge Mark did not have to help us, him supporting a younger band was amazing it was a gracious and noble gesture.

SCENEzine
A lot of bands say massive hits will come really quickly in the writing process. Is that the story with “Perfect”?

Jeff Stinco
“Perfect” came about really late in the album process. Interesting enough “I’d Do Anything” was the first song we ever wrote as a band. That song was written probably three years before we even recorded No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls. So “Perfect” came about as we were recording the record it was probably the last song that was written for the record. It was done rather quickly. It was a tedious song to record because we had a different arrangement for it and we switched it around quite a few times. But the actual genesis of the song was quick and really last minute. Oddly enough it was the most successful song of that record. So you can plan all things and try as hard as possible to control everything but sometimes it just happens the way it has to.

SCENEzine
Was the “Perfect” video fun to make getting to shoot on a rooftop in the rain?

Jeff Stinco
It was tedious. First of all I am extremely afraid of heights and it was a real roof. They built a structure as high as the real house. With special effects they super imposed the fake roof over the real roof for the video. We were shooting with really cold water at night on the roof, it was slippery. There was nothing fun about it. It was actually really tedious and really tough. The shot was probably done at 2am and went on until 5am it was intense.

SCENEzine
You’ve completed tours already playing the album in full. Are you excited to get to Australia knowing you should have the songs perfectly down by now?

Jeff Stinco
(laughs) I feel good about it, that’s for sure. We definitely know it now. We were supposed to do two weeks of anniversary shows then fans from Canada, Europe, Brazil all started requesting it. I’m looking forward to our fans in Australia telling us about their memories from that record. It’s a really big party. There are certain songs from that record that lyrically are kind of tongue and cheek, really we shouldn’t be singing them anymore (laughs). We are having a lot of fun doing these show, it’s always a really good vibe. People are just there to have fun and have a nostalgia trip, it’s cool.

SCENEzine
Is there anything in particular you like to do while in Australia?

Jeff Stinco
We have a lot of friends in Australia. There’s a lot of great cocktail bars. You guys still have a lot of live music going on and great restaurants. I’ve got a bunch of friends to see and I’m expecting them to take me out to good places and show me around. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m not going to sleep very much.

SCENEzine
Lastly I was at your very first Australia show seeing you at M One Festival back in 2002. Do you recall what it was like to play live in Australia for the first time?

Jeff Stinco
It was pretty insane to be honest. It was kind of ridiculous we were a small unknown band thrown into that large festival setting. We were just learning the ropes and barely had enough songs to play half an hour. By that time it was the biggest festival that we had ever done. It was a lot of fun. We couldn’t believe the big bands that we were touring with. It was cool because we only played half an hour so we played half an hour then partied for the rest of the evening as the other bands were going on.

(interview by Christian Ross)

 

 

15th Anniversary World Tour Dates – Australia

Saturday 21st April – NightQuarter, Gold Coast (All Ages Event**)
oztix.com.au
 
Sunday 22nd April – Eatons Hill Hotel, Eatons Hill  (All Ages)
oztix.com.au

Monday 23rd April – Forum, Melbourne 
ticketmaster.com.au

Tuesday 24th April – Forum, Melbourne
ticketmaster.com.au

Thursday 26th April – NEX, Newcastle
moshtix.com.au
 
Friday 27th April – Big Top Luna Park, Sydney (All Ages)
oztix.com.au

 

 

 

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