Simple Plan – Jeff Stinco

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Interview by Jamie Homer

How you feeling about four gigs in four nights here in the UK?

Not too bad actually. We have no acoustic shows in the day, which is a nice treat. We do not have real good coverage in the UK right now, no TV, no real media, so its good exposure for us to play here. Our show in Birmingham last night was crazy – it was sold out and was one of those shows which reminds you of why you play music. Everything just clicked for our band. Before in the UK we started out playing at the Electric Ballroom for 400, then moved up to an audience of 900, tonight I think there is 2000 here at the Astoria, which is really cool. We have sold out Manchester for tomorrow night with 1500 people and 1000 fans will see us in Glasgow. We can start to sense a little growth for us and get a sense of a small buzz starting for us here. In North America they are going are going crazy for us; here its more of a challenge, and kind of like starting all over again.

How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard you?

That is sort of hard to do. We tend to play the music that we love. If I must, we play pop, hard rock, rock and punk all at the same time. I feel that our music is quite intense and our last album was a real eclectic diverse one with a wide range of sounds.

How was your gig in Sweden?

Stockholm was awesome. We had never been there before. It was an awesome gig, with tons of energy and one of those real sweaty shows. We did this online chat where 28,000 Swedes came and chatted with us and followed that with a two hour signing promo. I think Sweden is going to be big for us; it has that feel to it. They don’t feel the need to pigeonhole their music, if they like it and it sounds good then that is good enough for them.

Who influences you and your band?

A guy I really dig is Butch Walker who is just an amazing singer and songwriter. I also love Elvis Costello. We just keep missing the chance to see him play live. I simply have to see him. Sometimes I feel scared to see and meet my heroes as I find there is just too much attitude and I tend to walk away disappointed and let down. Simple Plan takes a great amount of influence from Green Day and we are very excited to be supporting them in Australia and New Zealand and later back here on this tour. Their new album is just amazing. Sebastian learnt to play guitar by watching Billy Jo play. Our whole band are big fans. I really respect their desire to stay together as a unit. It really is amazing to see their ability to pull together their best work after all this time. That fire in them is essential for any band’s longevity I think.

What was it like to work with Bob Rock on your new album?

It was great. He approached us actually. He had worked with another big band in Canada called Our Lady Peace, who we share management with. He is one of the top guys to work with. We shared the same kind of vision about what a good rocking band should sound like. He flew from Hawaii to work with us in Montreal, as he wanted us to record and produce at home with our friends. Chuck and Pearce spent two weeks alone in Vancouver to write songs and the rest of us met them in Vancouver later for two weeks. It was a crazy time for us and we partied hard most nights.

Is the music scene in Canada different at all?

Today national boundaries are no longer relevant. People are thinking more globally now and music is so much more accessible to everyone: you can make great music anywhere. There is no place in music for boundaries anymore.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Stick with it. Don’t let go, it’s really all about the songs. I realise that the only bands which remain relevant are the ones who write good songs. Perseverance is the key. Now in the UK its slow going for us. We want to work really hard here, almost twice as hard as we first had to in the States to get going. I really believe that it if you have something worth saying and you can put it to music it really is worth sticking it out.

What can your fans expect from your gig tonight?

A big party. Forget your ego, leave it at the door. Leave your problems behind. I think there will be lots of energy with fun songs and a nice mix of music from both albums. It will be a good old-fashioned rock show.

Being from Montreal, are you guys all Habs fans?

Yes we are actually. We are also good friends with Jose Theodore (goalie) and have partied with him a few times. We are all just so disappointed with the league this year and cannot believe there will be no hockey this season.