When I got the invite to hang with Simple Plan at TRL, I hopped at the opportunity. From the moment I arrived, the Canadian pop punk quintet was warm and friendly to me, even if the green room was a little chilly. First off, the guys watched an almost finished version of their new video for their single "When I’m Gone." They all seemed pretty pleased with it.
After a few minutes of the usual let’s get to know one another, we got down to business and chatted about everything from their new self-titled album, out in February, to their underwear preference (boxer briefs for those keeping count) to, well, actually music! The only guy who kept to himself was Jeff, he seems to be a pensive man of little words.
First up on the interview block was guitarist Sebastian. While the other guys were busy eating breakfast and texting, Sebastian told me what he thought of the video: "I think this one’s prolific — we got a storyline going with this girl that allegedly broke up with Pierre and now is seeing him everywhere. The performance is in front of a black background with a lot of special effects going on."
Soon he was interrupted by his bandmates, lead singer Pierre and drummer Chuck, both of whom founded the band. Pierre informed me that the fans are currently loving the band’s new sound. "Reactions are really good. People really like it — they’re embracing new directions, I think that’s pretty cool. They called it fresh sounding. You know, the whole time we were in the studio, we talked about what we were trying to do, so everybody’s sort of been expecting something new from us. They finally heard it and said, ‘Oh my god, it’s really good.’"
Meanwhile Chuck elaborated on the band’s new sound. Simple Plan have had such hits as "I’m Just a Kid" and "Welcome to My Life" and hope that this latest effort will show that they’re not just kids anymore but full-fledged adults. "It still very much sounds like us, but it’s definitely an evolution," he said. "There was a big difference between the first one and the second one, and now there’s an even bigger one between the second one and the third one."
The guys then went into one deep career conversation. I was told by bassist David that when they speak French that means they’re talking business. Lucky for them, I don’t speak French so I don’t know their business.
David told me all about his embracing of the band’s growth as musicians and, therefore, people. "I actually think that being in this band for seven years — you need something exciting. We’ve had two records — we were fortunate enough that they were successful, we went around the world four or five times. It’s nice to keep it refreshing."
He added, "As selfish as it can sound, I needed some — you need to get some energy out of something. You know, we’re like late twenties now, pushing thirty — we need some excitement to do it all over again."
Around noon we headed over to the famed TRL studio at 1515 Broadway. We hung out backstage a bit. After VJ Damien Fahey, who the band tells me is their good friend, tried to get the guys to check out his band at his next gig everyone went out and did their thing. When the time came the guys made their way out to the studio, they did a short interview and premiered their video. The kids really seemed to like it. Soon after we took our pic, said our good-byes and went our separate ways. Or, as the band would say, au revoir
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By Jocelyn Vena