Scene Point Blank: How has the tour been going so far?
The Pete: It’s been great, been fun.
Scene Point Blank: How are you enjoying Canada?
The Pete: We always do.
Scene Point Blank: Even the weather?
The Pete: Yeah. You know what? It was like a fast-forward into winter, although that’s just here in western Canada. Eastern Canada was absolutely beautiful, all the colors you know.
Scene Point Blank: Our first snowfall was yesterday, actually! This tour has been referred to as the Chunksaah tour and you brought with you Luther and Dave Hause. Why these two acts in particular and did you have a part in choosing these bands?
The Pete: Yeah, totally. It’s kind of the current wave of energy right now at Chunksaah. It’s also all really fun people we want to tour with. Hause is our old friend and it’s a no brainer, always good to go on tour with.
Scene Point Blank: Are there any other bands—either from the label or not—you wanted to bring with but didn’t get a chance to?
The Pete: There were a few bands that didn’t work out but I can’t remember who they were. It’s always a process of looking at the possibilities, seeing who’s available.
"That’s our only policy: to follow our hearts and make one decision at a time with no rules."
Scene Point Blank: Your latest album Comet, came out earlier this year, how do you feel you improved on past recordings and how do you feel it’s been received by fans and critics?
The Pete: It seems to have been received really well. Working with Bill Stevenson, I can’t say enough good things about; the guy is a fucking genius. He’s also a guy we look up to on a lot of levels. He’s a high-school punk hero of ours, everything he’s done, Black Flag and The Descendents, it goes without saying.
Scene Point Blank: He knows what he’s doing. [Laughs.]
The Pete: Yeah. And we’re also good friends with him so it was long overdue to do something together. It was ‘96 when the Souls and The Descendents did a full U.S. tour and we’ve been friends ever since.
Scene Point Blank: With Comet, you guys were on Epitaph Records for quite awhile then you signed with Rise Records. What was the reason for leaving Epitaph and why did you switch to Rise?
The Pete: With Epitaph, the contract was up and we could have stayed and it was not a personal issue at all. We’re still friends with those guys, it was just a matter of doing something different. It was nothing newsworthy putting out another album on Epitaph. After Gold Record we left Epitaph and decided to do our own thing with Chunksaah, the song a month thing, there was a big gap between Epitaph and Rise.
Scene Point Blank: I kind of assumed doing the song a month thing was to get everything out there and do it on your own. I don’t want to say it seemed like an odd choice, but just a different choice from going to something where you’re completely free to signing back with a label.
The Pete: That was just a matter of, with Rise, we want to put the word out to as many people as possible and Rise is a great machine for that. So, mechanically speaking, it put us out to some new markets.
Scene Point Blank: It seems like Rise is signing a band a month at this point.
The Pete: At the time they came onto our radar, they’re friends with Mike Fry, they’re friends of ours already. They’re friends with people we consider to be family and they’re Hot Water Music fans. I liked them before I even met them and then I met them and I was like, “Man, these guys are fucking awesome.” Yhey’re just really cool guys, [you] get a good vibe off them. We kind of operate off getting a good feeling from people.
Scene Point Blank: So a good kinship?
The Pete: Yeah, it was high fives all around.
Scene Point Blank: Could you take a second to speak about the robbery that happened earlier this year in Allenstown?
The Pete: It was just an unfortunate incident that can happen at any time. We put a bag down for five or ten minutes and it’s gone.
Scene Point Blank: What got stolen?
The Pete: Some cash, a laptop, a lot of financial paperwork, passports.
Scene Point Blank: Stuff that's kind of hard to replace?
The Pete: Impossible to replace. It was a pretty big kick in the dick.
Scene Point Blank: Obviously you guys have been around for no short amount of time. I can’t imagine this hasn't happened on some level before. Is there a way you dealt with it before that's different from this time?
The Pete: This is the first time we’ve been really robbed, like to this degree. Some things have walked off before and you’re like, “Man, I kind of fucked up. I left that unattended and someone took it,” but, honestly, for the amount of years we’ve been on the road this hasn't happened that much. It’s just on the Comet tour that we’ve been robbed twice. We had road cases stolen one day and we were like, “What the fuck?” The Menzingers got robbed in England on this tour and they stopped some guy from stealing our bass when we played with them. It was an ongoing thing the whole tour between us and them. It may have something to do with the economy being in the shitter for so long and the recession just dragging out. People are hurting.
Scene Point Blank: You've become influential to a lot of people inside and outside of the punk scene. Do you feel any responsibility in holding up your reputation? Does it affect song writing or the way you present yourself?
The Pete: That's a good question. I think it always makes you have to dig deep and do something good or worthy of that love. Basically, there is a bit of a sense of responsibility when so many people hold you in such high regard and or have tattoos of your band logo—like you can’t do something and shit all over that cool legacy. Just for any one person that has a Souls tattoo, I would never do that. On the other hand, it’s impossible to make everyone happy. You try to do your best fucking work and then you put it out there and it’s for everyone to base an opinion on. Luckily, throughout our history, we’ve only ever done what we want to do, that’s our only policy: to follow our hearts and make one decision at a time with no rules. That's never changed and that's kind of how we’ve been able to be around so long because we aren’t stuck in some box that we built for ourselves. You know what I mean?
Scene Point Blank: Who is directly involved in the management of Chunksaah?
The Pete: Kate, Zach, and Mike. These guys pretty much do everything. They got the good brains do the good work.
Scene Point Blank: You guys have been touring for quite some time now. With how long you've been on the road, has there been any thought of slowing down on touring or even slowing down on recording in general?
The Pete: I think when the time feels right to just take a break we will take a nice big indefinite hiatus. We’ve taken small breaks in the past, but who knows? Right now we’re on Comet’s momentum and you’ve just got to do it one record at a time.
Do you want to write another record? Yeah!
It’s not like, “Okay guys, we have to write another record… “We’re not doing it for money, you know what I mean? We’re not compelled to do anything on any schedule.
Scene Point Blank: Does anybody really do anything in punk rock for money though?
The Pete: I think there are some people that do. We just were never really ones to do that. Jimmy Gestapo (singer of Murphy’s Law) once said, “It’s a hell of a way to not make a living.”
Scene Point Blank: True enough. You guys have been together for a long time and, in that time, do you feel like you've missed out on anything or have yet to accomplish something?
The Pete: As a band or as humans?
Scene Point Blank: Either way.
The Pete: With the band it’s amazing to have lived a life where…I have no regrets with The Bouncing Souls. My only criteria was to never get to a point in my life where I'm older and be like, “If I had just tried a little harder and maybe this would have happened or you know if we had just stuck with it.”
I would never want to be one of these guys in a band that broke up [and] then you hit some midlife crisis and you’re wishing you had the glorious punk years or whatever the fuck. We just had no regrets because we just kept chasing our dreams and doing what we want. Of course you sacrifice other facets of your life, you get a long trail of failed relationships and babies you didn't have or wives you didn't keep and just shit you didn't do. I wouldn’t trade this though so I don't have any regrets.
Scene Point Blank: Over your long history, how have you seen the band evolve? What are the future aspirations of the Souls?
The Pete: I think we’re always evolving because we’re just people, you know. Every record is a collection of what we’ve been doing for the past year or two or three. As people we’re always evolving, so that just kind of infuses into the music.
"We just had no regrets because we just kept chasing our dreams and doing what we want."
Scene Point Blank: How different is your life right now compared to when you were putting out your first demos?
The Pete: Wow, I don’t think you can hold one world up to the other. It's a linear evolution. It’s right there in the songs and hopefully is something that you can hear. I think people that follow us as humans; it comes through in the songs. I don’t know if I made much sense with that answer.
Scene Point Blank: No, that works
The Pete: We like to think we’ve evolved. I feel evolved. [Laughs.]
Scene Point Blank: It’s good to feel evolved. [Laughs.] Are there any new or up-and-coming bands that have really caught your eye or are really interesting to you?
The Pete: Yes, and I always draw a blank with stuff like this. Menzingers, for sure. We’ve done three tours with them; they’re great. Luther is fucking awesome.[We’re] big Wet Witch fans. Wet Witch is a cool band from Jersey. Born Annoying, Jersey hardcore/Jersey Shore hardcore. There’s always bands around Jersey. W go to the Asbury Lanes and catch bands there all the time.
Scene Point Blank: How do you feel about Calgary’s scene?
The Pete: Oh it’s great. We’re playing two nights. You can only do that in a great scene.
Dave Hause wrote our set tonight. We don’t get to see it ‘til we get on stage. Him and DJ, our tech, at dinner they went back and forth and wrote our whole set list and we haven’t seen it yet and we can’t see it until we go on stage so we’ll be as surprised as everyone else.
Scene Point Blank: Alright, thanks for taking the time. Good luck tonight.
The Pete: Thanks.