FIFA Women’s World Cup – Soc Rock

Canadian pop-punkers Simple Plan help kick off the FIFA Women’s World Cup on the verge of their fifth album release

Soccer and rock ’n’roll might not seem like they go hand in hand, but for the boys of Simple Plan, the two couldn’t be a better fit. The Canadian pop-punkers were the headlining act for two stops in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, the cross-country campaign aimed at hyping up Canadians for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be taking the pitch in various Canadian cities throughout June and early July. The band has been in L.A. for the past two months recording their fifth record, but lead guitarist Jeff Stinco took a break to spend some time with his family in Montreal. We got Stinco on the line to discuss being part of this huge soccer showcase and his band’s forthcoming record.

Q. You’re playing shows in Toronto and Moncton, NB to get people ready for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. Tell me a little about this event.
A. “It’s a big event. It’s the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy Tour and it’s basically a way to hype Canadians to the fact that we’re going to have the women’s soccer team and the FIFA World Cup here in Canada. And we’re very pleased to take the opportunity to start playing again in the light of that new album that’s coming out, too. So it’s a pretty exciting moment. I’m a soccer fan myself, soccer player myself. So it’s kind of cool. I love it when these things happen to Canada. This whole trophy tour, it’s 12 cities across Canada. It’s a big deal. I’m really grateful that we’re part of it, and it’s going to be pretty awesome.”

Q. How did the band get involved in this tour?
A. “Well, they called my modelling agency… [laughs]. No, it’s just sometimes those things kind of line up and they work out. I think they wanted to work with a band that has some things going on and that fit in with their idea of who they wanted to talk to. I think it’s as simple as that. It wasn’t like a big planned thing. We got approached for this and it was really exciting to us and we wanted to be part of this. So it was a very easy match and a natural match.

And to be honest, I think it’s always great to have a chance to play to our fans, especially in such an amazing setting where things are big and they’re well organized. It’s amazing for fans to be in contact with that trophy and I think it’s neat to be creating a bigger event before the actual games take place. There’s something amazing about how big this is becoming in Canada and we were really proud to be part of it because of that.”

Q. This upcoming album is your first in about four years. What can fans expect from this new album?
A. “We put a lot of thought into that, because there’s that balance between keeping your legacy, keeping what people know you from, and we’re very conscious of that. We want to make sure that we don’t pull a one-eighty on our fans. So the energy, the melodic aspect of what we’ve done on the first few records, it’s still present. But at the same time, on the last record, we kind of allowed ourselves to push the boundaries of what we even limit ourselves to with as far as what the Simple Plan sound is. So there are songs that are pretty surprising, even coming from us. There are a lot of different instruments, a lot of different ideas that came in. But I think we managed to keep our identity. There’s nothing worse than a band that you hear on the radio and you’re like, ‘Why are they doing that? It’s not them.’ So I think we’ve achieved that idea of doing something new, just pushing, again, the envelope of what Simple Plan can be, but at the same time maintaining our identity. So, yes, simply put I think there’s a lot of what Simple Plan was all about — the rocking, fun, fast songs. But at the same time there’s depth and there’s different influences that are creeping in as we’re listening to new music.”

Q. It’s interesting how you say you don’t want to throw your fans a curveball, and yet a huge band like Mumford & Sons recently released an album that came completely out of left field sound-wise. What are your thoughts on that?
A. “When I first heard the song [Believe] on the radio, I was like, ‘Who’s that?’ It took me a while before the voice of the singer gave it away, before I could figure out that it was Mumford & Sons. I just thought it was a sick song. That’s where it starts for me. I started thinking about it, and I’m like, wow, that’s surprising, coming from a band that, I don’t know if they created a sound, but they brought a sound back and they were like the biggest presence in that world, I would think. It surprised me a lot.

But then I started thinking, the two last records they put out are probably some of the best songs of that genre. How can you repeat that? How can you make it better? Can you do it again? AC/DC’s done it for years. Some records are better than others and that’s just the nature of the game. But I don’t blame bands for trying new things and challenge what the essence of it is. I always knew those guys were great players and they could probably play a lot of instruments, and that’s precisely what they’re doing. They’re coming out of their comfort zone, trying some new things. I think it’s neat.

To bring it back to my band, there’s that spirit too. We think we wrote the best pop-punk record we could have written when we were doing album one and album two. But — it’s kind of funny, every time you do an interview and it’s a new record, every band says the same thing: ‘It’s our best record yet.’ Well, you really think so when you put it out, and you have to have some integrity and say, ‘Alright, it was the best pop-punk record that I could do at the time, and now what can I do different?’ Try to beat it? Well, maybe. You could probably try to do that on a couple songs, two, three, four songs. But after that, how can you stretch it further? And my band’s always been about that concept: what is Simple Plan and how far can we take it outside of its expected limits?”


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