When Simple Plan hit the road next month to begin touring in support of their second album, Still Not Getting Any... there will be very little resemblance to the quintet that formed five years ago in Montreal. For starters, the vehicle that crosses the Canadian border for the first show on October 30 probably won't have a designated spot for a defibrillator.
"We used to tour in an ambulance," singer Pierre Bouvier explained. His father owned a transportation company in Montreal. "We actually had two ambulances. The first one we had, I played with the sirens so much, my dad had to take them out."
Simple Plan's mode of transportation has been upgraded since the release of their first album two years ago: Their new ride is a full-fledged tour bus with all the amenities. Still, Bouvier warns the band's fans not to be jealous.
"If you've toured before in a van, then a tour bus is really nice," he said. "But for people who live regular lives, a tour bus — when there's 10 people in it — is not that luxurious."
"If you think your room at home is small," guitarist Jeff Stinco added, "my room is six feet long by two feet high. It's a coffin!"
Simple Plan's wheels aren't the only thing that has gotten bigger and better. Where their debut, No Pads, No Helmets ... Just Balls, was a juvenile, hopped-up blast of pop-punk energy (its first single "Addicted" was an apologetic love song that emphasized the title's first two syllables), its successor, due October 26, finds the band mixing more matured fare with their genital puns.
After hearing some of their fans' laments, they wrote the first single, "Welcome to My Life," to show that even rock stars get the blues (see "Simple Plan Still Not Getting Any, Expect To Look Like 95-Year-Olds"). "Crazy" describes a world gone mad. "Me Against The World" is the heaviest song they've ever written (Bouvier listened to a lot of Thrice), while their saddest song was too depressing to even name.
"It's the last song we recorded for the album," drummer Chuck Comeau explained. "It's a piano song with string arrangements. It's very different for us. It's called 'Untitled' because we couldn't think of title — it's that good."
While Still Not Getting Any... is different than No Pads, don't call it a departure from its predecessor. Natural evolution is a much preferred term.
"The biggest difference is that on the first record, we set limits for ourselves," Stinco said. "We were just starting out as a band and we decided, 'Maybe we shouldn't do this, we shouldn't do that. We're not that kind of a band.' "
"We didn't even know what we could do back then," Bouvier interrupted.
"On this album, we just said, 'You know what, let's just be the band that we want to be.' And whatever comes up, we'll do it. We're fine with it."
Simple Plan tour dates, according to Lava Records:
- 10/30 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
- 11/1 - St. Louis, MO @ Mississippi Nights
- 11/2 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
- 11/3 - Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
- 11/5 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's
- 11/6 - Towson, MD @ Recher Theatre
- 11/7 - Hartford, CT @ Webster Theatre
- 11/8 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
- 11/10 - St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Landing
- 11/11 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
- 11/13 - Austin, TX @ Emo's
- 11/15 - Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
- 11/16 - Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
- 11/17 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
- 11/18 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey