After 20 Years, Simple Plan Just Wants to Make Music and a Difference

The guys from Simple Plan were way ahead of social media.EXPAND
The guys from Simple Plan were way ahead of social media.
Chady Awad
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Although they may be more “pop” than “punk,” the Simple Plan members are undeniably sweethearts. Fans haven’t been able to get enough of these guyliner-wearing Canadians since we first heard their debut album No Pads, No Helmets … Just Balls in 2002, with megahits like “I’m Just a Kid” and “I’m Addicted to You” in which they lamented the struggles of growing up and about how tough love can be.

It’s one thing to whine about how you’re “just a kid, and life is a nightmare,” but Simple Plan takes it to the next level by actually helping kids. They created the Simple Plan Foundation in 2005 and have since donated hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to organizations to benefit young people in need. The beneficiaries range from organizations dedicated to fighting drug addiction and depression to those that promote musical training as a way to “help young people develop a passion and find purpose in life.”

Drummer and founding member Chuck Comeau attributes much of Simple Plan’s success to sheer commitment to its music and message.

“We always believed in this band,” he tells us over the phone. “From the moment we formed the band [in 1999] we thought that if we loved what we did, surely there would be some people out there that would connect with us and love it too.”

Little did they know they would go on to be pop-punk legends.

“It was hard to feel what was happening,” Comeau recalls of the band’s early days. “You had to go somewhere to understand. We’d get these emails like, ‘Oh, it’s selling this much,’ but until we got there, we didn’t realize the magnitude of it. So that was life-changing.”

Even before social media, Simple Plan found their way into the hearts of fans across the world. Comeau says that during the band’s first tour overseas, they had “people waiting for us at the airport and at the hotels and following us on the street.”

The fact that they had stalkers was probably a good indication of their popularity, even in those early days. But even then, Comeau and his bandmates aimed to be as transparent as possible with their fans, which he says fostered a stronger connection.

“Even though we didn’t have social media, we always took a lot of time and effort to be in touch with our fans and connect with them,” Comeau remembers. “We would put up videos on our website and would have something set up where people could send us messages, and we would write back. So we always just embraced the whole connection and being an open book.”

Today, having a social media presence is key to most bands’ continued success; Simple Plan is no exception, and the band is known for being active across all platforms

“I think it’s a wonderful tool to reach people and connect … Now you get a lot of feedback right away,” Comeau says, referring to the process of releasing new music. “Within minutes, you know if you have something people like or not. It can be a bit weird sometimes, but there’s also something powerful about that.”

Of course, "FOMO" also comes along with all the joys of social media, and it seems like Comeau is not impervious to the fear of missing out.

“I just wish Instagram was around in 2002, 'cause we would have like 10 million followers by now," he says with a laugh.

Simple Plan has been around for 20 years now, and they’ve managed to keep the same lineup of five guys through all of life’s ups and downs. Comeau says that he and his bandmates are also just good friends who come from the same hometown, and it’s their friendship that keeps them going.

“We didn’t get together because one guy was the best musician in our city,” he tells us. “We got together because we’re friends and we wanted to do this for fun.”

This camaraderie helps keep the guys grounded and humble.

“If somebody starts to act a certain way, we’re like ‘Dude, I knew you when you were like 13 years old, so don’t front,’” he continues. “When we have an issue, we just get in a room and talk, and we don’t leave until it’s resolved. You put your ego behind and realize you’re all better together.”

Simple Plan has hit the road once again for a tour with We The Kings and State Champs, creating the dream lineup for pop-punk fans of all ages. In celebration of the tour, they dropped the collab track “Where I Belong,” the band’s first new music since 2016. The track has quickly risen to become one of the most popular in their catalog, proving that Simple Plan is here to stay.

“We were able to write something that really feels quintessentially pop-punk but in a modern new way. It feels very 2019, but it also feels early 2000s as well,” Comeau says of the new track. “It’s a hard thing to do, but I think we were able to pull it off. The reaction across the board from all fan bases of all the bands has been incredible.”

The band has performed “Where I Belong” live at all the shows during their tour, and Dallas fans can look forward to this when the tour stops here Sunday, Nov. 17, at House of Blues. Comeau says that State Champs’ Derek Discanio and We The Kings’ Travis Clark will join Simple Plan onstage to perform the powerful track.

Most of the members of Simple Plan have become husbands and fathers at this point, but that has only increased their drive to further the band and its legacy.

“We want them to see our shows and love the music, so there’s that increased motivation,” Comeau says of the bandmates’ children. “It’s all about being able to adapt to where you’re at in your life and make the band situation work.”

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