SIMPLE Plan guitarist Jeff Stinco initially hated the idea of revisiting the Canadian pop-punk band’s debut album No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls.
It had been 15 years since the album spawned hits like I’m Just A Kid, Addicted and Perfect and propelled the Montreal five-piece onto the global stage next to their contemporaries Good Charlotte, Blink 182 and Sum 41.
Stinco wasn’t interested in walking old ground. Then after seeing the reaction of fans on a two-week mini-tour to test the idea, he was sold.
“It’s really about the smiles, the jumping around, the references to 2002 that make that particular show a lot of fun,” Stinco said.
For the past year Simple Plan have toured the world playing No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls in its entirely, which has included performing obscure tracks like Meet You There and One Day for the first time since 2002. Australia gets its turn in April.
Simple Plan continued to be successful beyond their debut, scoring their biggest hits with the tracks Welcome To My Life (2004) and Summer Paradise (2011), but most fans still rate No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls as their crowning achievement.
“I think because it’s new,” Stinco said. “People love new bands, new stories. That energy is hard to recreate afterwards.”
The early 2000s were a fertile time for pop-punk as many of the bands enjoyed global success.
“It had to do with tours, the Vans Warped tour did well around that time and there were great songs,” he said. “A lot of those bands like Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, Good Charlotte were releasing amazing songs and touring at the same time.
“They grew together and eventually created a scene for that genre. It’s timing, it’s elusive to understand. We were in the middle of it and couldn’t get a scope of it, but it was a cool era.”
Punk is typified as youthful and rebellious. Simple Plan’s members are all in their late 30s, but Stinco argues the band have become more punk than ever through the work of their charity which raises money for teenagers suffering from drug abuse, poverty, illness and mental health problems.
“When you’re younger it’s a rebel without a cause kind of thing,” he said. “You’re snotty, obnoxious and you don’t really care about anything.
“Then as you grow you become more aware of society, the issues around and become more political. In our case, instead of raising flags and being super preachy in our songs, we decided to be social activists.
“So we raise money through our foundation, we’re really active in our charity and that’s how we make a difference. I find that a lot more punk than just wearing spiky belts and a certain fashion.”
Catch Simple Plan at Wests NEX on April 26.
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