[Exclusive Interview] Greg Attonito (Bouncing Souls) – A Chat in New York City

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Nowadays it seems “punk rock” has become a stylish term. But long before it becomes a hipster trend, there were four Jersey boys decided to devote their lives into punk – The Bouncing Souls. 20 years later, they still carry the original punk spirit and put out music that inspires thousands of kid out there. Today we’re glad to have the opportunity to chat with their frontman Greg Attonito before their headline show for Red Bull Sound Select: New York City about The Bouncing Souls‘ Christmas plan, their new drummer and his side projects.

BS interview 1

G: Greg Attonito   D: Dinosaur Journal

D: As a band, how does it feel to connect with thousands of people with your music?
G: It’s amazing. I mean… you always take it for granted and forget about how cool it is. So I think there’re always new things happen to reinforce how amazing it is.
D: That’s why you continue?
G: Yes, it’s really awesome.
D: I know you guys have inspired so many new bands.
G: Yea, absolutely.

D: But do you guys feel a lot of pressure? When so many people look up to you as a role model?
G: It used to be a little bit more, but in the last 5 and 6 years… We sort of pass it, it’s been enough… maybe something is not so great, or not everybody will love this or that. But you know, I’ve done so much already that I’m happy with myself in the end. That’s all I count. It’s always gotta be somebody that’s gonna be like.. “That’s gonna be better” or “It’s not as good” or whatever they said. It’s like… it doesn’t matter. I don’t care so much anymore because I’m happy. That’s all I can do.
D: That’s very important. It’s sort of the punk spirit.
G: Haha yea, you gotta do it for your own selves. If people like it, great! If not, what can you do?
D: Many young kids who want to start a band see you guys as role models. Does it give you lots of pressure?
G: It’s about the love of making music, making connection with people and being like positive energy. Just keep doing. It hasn’t been easy.

D: Well I think you guys are amazing. 20 years… it’s been a long time haha. The next question is something many people would like to know. Can you tell us about the new drummer George Rebelo?
G: He’s been amazing. We had this show and two other shows booked but we have no drummers ’cause Michael (Mcdermott) left. We gotta find a new drummer. So we were  kind of stress for a little while. So once George played with us, you never know until you do it.
D: So he has been a long time friend of your?
G: Yea he’s a buddy. We knew we would get along great. We knew we were all buddies. But as far as how we feel plain you don’t know when you actually do it.
D: It sounds very good during the sound-check.
G: Yea it sounds great. The show was awesome.
D: I heard all the positive feedback from the previous show.
G: Yea, it was good and he (Rebelo) has been doing great.

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D: So do you have any specific future plans for The Bouncing Souls?
G: We’re doing Home for the Holidays in December then we’ll make a plan for next year. We haven’t made a plan yet because we’re in the transition period with George. And now we know it works and we’re gonna decide what we’re gonna do with The Bouncing Souls.

D: As we all know you guys have been continues doing music together for 20 years, have your mindset changed as you’re growing up? For example, in the movie Another F Word, Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) and Lars Frederiksen (Rancid) expressed their musical changes related to their fatherhood roles. Does it happen to you?
G: Yea… It’s been so long. We were totally kids. Now I’m like… still a kid in a way, but have so much more experience and know more about the world, so the whole perception of yourself and the world is different. And that comes out through our music and I think that comes out through the energy of our music. For example, our early music is so like… you know, almost chaotic and it reflects being teenagers. And that’s what it is. And now, our music… I think is more rock-and-roll-ish and more solid and that’s what happens. Hopefully in theory we grow up a little bit.
D: But it’s important to keep a young heart.
G: Exactly… and still being playful.

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D: So what do you think of today’s punk rock scene? Many say it’s been commercialized…
G: Well music seems to be doing well… Like in general, people are able to express themselves so well. Technology and like… young kids, they are way connected to themselves and their creativity.
D: That’s why you give so many opportunities for them to open for you?
G: Yes! (there’re) a lot of opportunities but it’s not easy.  There’re a lot of good musicians.
D: Good to hear it! Like everybody says “punk is dead”… Do you think so?
G: It’s different. It’s not the same. I think it’s good in different ways.

D: So can you talk about your side projects?
G: Last year, I’ve been doing a children’s music project, Play Date,  with my wife Shanti. It’s been awesome. We put out a record in October and next week we’ll pay at the Austin Music Festival in Austin Texas, which is a huge music festival. And they have one called Austin Kiddie Limits music stage. So I’m totally looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. A new way to experience music. Seeing little kids like,,, the first time they see a love show. It’s pretty fun. And I’ve been doing a lot of visual art and that’s going very well. I’ve been selling some works.
D: What’s the scale of them?
G: Different sizes. From small to a couple of 5ft by 5ft pieces of acrylic, oil paintings and collages as well. It’s very cool.

BS interview 2

D: So here’s the last question – Beer and Punk Rock, what will you choose?
G: One over another? They go together for sure.
D: What if you can only choose one?
G: I will definitely pick music. Music always come first!

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