Chicken Soup for the Bouncing Soul

Advice Columns | Jan 1st, 2004

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dear bryan, i’ve been a souls fan for years (just fyi) and have always really been
drawn to your lyrics. as i meander through the jungle known as one’s twenties, i find i have less/almost no tolerance for people who play mind games and can’t be emotionally mature about things. these include, but are certainly not limited to boys who are super-into me until i decide i’m remotely into them, and so forth. i understand there’s the element of not-scaring-someone off to consider, but christ, is there a middle ground? any advice from such a brilliant lyricist and fantastic guy on how to combine my tendency to own up to my feelings without ruling out the dating of boys and having of friends would be sincerely appreciated… your #1 fan in new mexico, andrea

First of all, NM is my favorite state, nice to hear from someone there (the land of enchantment, Rt, 66,Tucumcari!) Ok, anyway.. I may not be the best one to give you advice on this one, because I am the same way. I tend to just flow my feelings, I have a basic
policy of living in the moment, and expressing myself honestly as I go. The catch is, when you put yourself out on the line, it tends to scare some people off. Being in this vulnerable position, it stings a little more too. Still, I’ve never been one to be so careful, and holding back feels like death to me. It’s not even a choice for some of us. It’s being a punk rocker, we wear our heart on our sleeve, it’s a bullshit filter. Keeps the people who would hate us away, and attracts kindred souls. Be yourself, it’s your call to the universe and you will eventually attract your soulmate. The ones who bail, well you got them sussed early on, fuck ’em they’re a waste of time. I wouldn’t give you any strategy on how to suround yourself with numbers of people around whom you’d have to censure yourself. I’m not a big strategy guy and don’t want any part of anything contrived. This is how I live, I’m not saying it’s the right way, just the right way for me,I have no choice. I hope this helps, thanks and keep the faith.

Um, so I’m in this band and we’ve got this great Faith No More white funk/rock sound very late 80s, but the kids don’t seem to dig it. Should we abandon the sound for the “punk” sound that is so popular? Would people react negatively? If we do this should we acknowledge our early material we’ve already released? A band I knew once did this, the name is on the tip of my tongue. They were from Jersey, Bouncing Boots or Soul Bounce or something. –Reggaefire

You give us way too much for being so clever as to make decisions like you described. Punk changed my life when I was fucking 13 and I’ve never been the same since. It was a mixed tape given me by my older sister with Blag Flag, DK, and the Plasmatics, me my skateboard and my ramp. Got a band together in highschool and learned to play together by covering everything playable, (Ramones, U2, Clash, Johnny Be Good, whatever.) We loved all the punk we could discover, X and the Damned were my favorites, but we all loved Government Issue, Bad Brains, the Exploited, and everyone else we saw. I actually became a skinhead around senior year and really got into oi! The band collectively got into ska (Toasters, Citizens) and loved the shit out of Fishbone, (they were so great back then) and like the rest of the punk scene, freaked out when we discovered the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We’d never seen a show like that before. The music was sick and the live show was out of control back then. Hey, the first three records by them were awesome to us and like nothing we ever heard before.

The band was just becoming the Bouncing Souls right then, and we wanted to emanate those bands. In short, we tried our hand at it, but eventually realized our version of it sucked, we hated all the “funk” bands we ended up playing with just eventually became disenchanted with it. But in that time, we learned a lot about playing together. We weren’t a ‘funk’ band as our music was all over the place. We had hardcore songs, ska songs, songs that went from punk to reggae, to hardcore to funk all in one song. We were influenced by the Psychedelic Furs, the Cure and Idol among other 80’s pop that didn’t suck or at least seemed to have a bit of a punk edge. Most of what we wrote just sucked, with good moments here or there. It wasn’t til we wrote “Joe Lies” that we realized how good it felt to play a song if we just stopped wanking off with our instruments. It was the process of finding ourselves song by song. We were raised by the punk scene of the 80’s and it still is there as an influence in how we make decisions with the band.

To answer your question we never made such a decision; we’d be dicks and probably would not be around if we were like that. Punk would not have been a smart decision to make anyway if we were like that. Remember, before Green Day no one was ‘punk’ with the intention of getting rich or being popular. I’m glad we found ourselves, it’s been a long and continuing evolution. I’m not ashamed or trying to ‘cover up’ the crappy early stuff — watch the DVD, we dredged up the worst of the funky stuff and put it in the documentary, complete with old friends making fun of how bad we were. We express ourselves with total honesty, we dig our lyrics out of our own hearts and write about our own painful experiences, revelations and loves as this is so far all we can do. I wish I was so clever as you think we seem to be; I’d be able to write songs without having to almost die first.

If I was anything like you seem to think I am, I guess I’d be cool and rich, probably in an indie-emo band. That’s what’s cool now right? And a couple years ago i think it was ska, right? We write from the heart, our music has never been ‘cool’. Our version of things has never fit right into anyone’s category; we’ve endured because we’ve carved our own path. Who cares if we sucked 15 years ago or if you think we suck now? I’m satisfied in myself that I am progressing personally, and music is my truest friend and therapy in this world. I’ve dedicated my life to it, I stil live month to month, I have no money to save, can’t afford insurance, etc and wouldn’t change the way I do things for any of it. 16 years of it and counting.


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