„Fuck you assholes!“: Interview mit BADASS Bryan Kienlen von The Bouncing Souls.

313983_2264233663016_1026060500_nAlso, ich muss schon sagen: The Bouncing Souls haben sich heimlich in mein Herz geschlichen und sind dort auch nicht mehr wegzudenken! Als ich die Jungs damals im Hamburger Knust sah, war ich etwas irritiert: Was zur Hölle macht Sänger Greg denn dort? Jeweils 3 Schritte vor und zurück. Ab und an einen Sprung hingelegt, mehr gab es nicht. Das Publikum wurde trotzdem reichlich zum Pogen angestachelt. Insgesamt ein amüsantes Bild, was sich dort abspielte. Nach dieser Show begann ich, mich doch mehr mit den Souls zu beschäftigen. Es wurde Youtube durchstöbert. Ob Interviews oder irgendwelche Akustikversionen. Ich verliebte mich immer mehr. Diverse Alben wurden gekauft und: Selbst dieser Blog ist nach einer Songzeile von den Souls benannt worden. Wie ihr merkt: Ich kann nicht mehr ohne diese Band sein! Umso mehr freute ich mich, dass sich der grandiose Glatzkopf Bryan sofort damit einverstanden zeigte, einige (viele!) Fragen zu beantworten. Wahnsinn. Damit hätte ich tatsächlich NIE gerechnet! Genug gesabbelt! Bryan ist an der Reihe!


What was your life like before you said: ‘I will’?

Bryan: The same: hanging with my friends.

Where did you spend your honeymoon? And how was it? (The first tour of The Bouncing Souls)

Bryan: First Souls tour was with Lifetime across the US.  Where do I begin?  It was full of adventure, we lived on a couple bucks a day, slept in a van.  It changed our lives, that’s when we realized we wanted to tour forever (or damn near anyway).

If you would have to declare your love to Greg, Michael and Pete: What would you say?

Bryan: Fuck you assholes!

What do you think is the secret of this successful marriage?

Bryan: Love of course, it makes all good things possible.  Tolerance, compromise, etc are essential but if we didn’t love what we do and each other, it would never be possible.

You don’t only share beds but you’re also professionally inseparable. But: everyone needs his privacy once in a while. What do you do to be for yourself for at least an hour? How  can you refrain from it?

Bryan: It’s so important to get alone and into your own center at least once a day.  I do whatever it takes when opportunities do arise.  Long walk works well.

What topics could you argue over for hours?

Bryan: My favorite is writing the set list, I can do it all day.  There’s always a song we’re forgetting to write in,  there’s always more we can do to make the show better.  I torture the guys with it every show.

What subjects do you agree on quickly?

Bryan: This band seems to share a brain on a lot of subjects, but perhaps more importantly a single heart.  We all had our lives changed by the power of music, and the punk scene we came up in as kids.  That spirit still guides our vision and the decisions we make.  We’ve made every decision according to how it feels in our heart.

Established fact: Some couples say I will to another twice. If that would be the case for you: What would your wedding ceremony look like? Who’d take over the parts of the pastor, bridesmaid, maid of honor and organist?

Bryan: This is just getting weird.  I think you’ve „jumped the shark“ with your analogy at this point.

Did you ever have a bit on the side?

Bryan: I’m a tattoo artist full time here in NJ where I live.  It occupies most of my time when not on tour.  I live at the beach so I surf as much as possible and ride bikes (beach cruiser, BMX, Harley-Davidsons).

In a long-standing marriage it can become boring quickly. What do you do to set yourself on fire again?

Bryan: Get away from it for awhile.

Loads of marriages run downhill. What is, in your opinion, the reason? What tips do you have?

Bryan: Getting along with your friends is alot different than keeping a marriage together I think.  And I’m not much of an expert on marriage, the longest I’ve lasted with any girlfriend is 8 years, I got as far as being engaged with her.  I will say that she did inspire a good three records worth of Souls songs.

PART TWO: 1994 – 2012.

1994 “Neurotic”: “I was scared and afraid.” What are you afraid of?

Bryan: That’s the verse Greg wrote.  I wrote a different one: „Surround myself with people, but I am always alone…“

1996 „Lamar Vannoy“: „He was only 16 and he knew he wasn’t like everyone else.” Tell us something about your youth! Any sins of your youth? How did you come in touch with music for the first time and what’s the reason you sticked on it?

Bryan: Was given a mix tape with Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, and the Plasmatics on it.  Used to skate my ramp every day blasting it over and over on the boom box.  Nothing has ever been the same, it opened doors in my mind, I was in 6th grade.

1997 „Shark Attack“: “Let the eating games begin. “  What are the differences between eating on tour and eating at home?

Bryan: I eat much better at home, it’s just inevitable.  On tour you can get so bored on long drives, then you stop at truck stops and wander the aisles of snacks and they start talking to you.  After the show I’m so wound up, I have to hang out late and drink most times to wind down before sleep.  Shitty habits. What can I say: I love fun!

1999 „Bullying the Jukebox“: „You look great but all your songs are lame.“ If someone asks you to stock the jukebox with new songs- which 5 songs would you definitely pick and why?

Bryan: These are the hardest questions to answer. How can I possibly narrow music down like that.  Plus: what I want to hear changes from time to time. Currently thinking about Hot Water Music’s Neverender album…  „In the Light“ of Led Zeppelin’s „Physical Graffitti“ album, uhh been listening to lots of Cumbia music (it’s Mexican, check it out, it’s a great time!)  and been enjoying a lot of dub.  Still I love Avail’s „Over the James“ album, DMX, Slayer, old blues, Tom Waits

2001 „Gone“: „…it went straight to my heart, I carried it with me until the darkness was gone.” Which songs were/are real live-saver for you and why?

Bryan: When Lori (the 8-year relationship) and I broke up, I was borderline suicidal, utterly lost in the deepest pit of depression.  The song „When Angels Sing“ by Social Distortion played a big part in healing and lifting me out and away.

2003 „Kids & Heroes“: „Hey, where have you gone? You used to be the one that we looked up to.” Which heroes did you have in your childhood and which ones today?

Bryan: I wrote that song about myself, always looking for a hero to be someone outside myself.  I realized I needed to become my own hero.  I’ve also learned it’s not fair to put unrealistic expectations on the bands I looked up to.  If they wrote songs that changed my life shouldn’t that be enough?  Who am I to tell them how to run their lives.  If had a vision of a better way, it was up to me to enact it.

2006 „Letter from Iraq“: “Presents full of Christmas loot. All that’s left of Bullet Billy- is a pair of bloody boots. His mom is on the phone; his girl is all alone. We all stand in the rain for a twenty-one gun salute.”The poem is from Garett Reppenhagen. What’s the story behind it? How did it come to the cooperation? What was your first reaction after you read those lines?

Bryan: Garrett was a friend of the band who was also a soldier overseas.  He was totally disillusioned by the government and the Iraq war in general, and was writing us letters from the front lines which contained vivid truths no one was seeing in the news.  When we were writing the Gold Record, we wanted to address the subject of that war, and who better to tell the story than someone who experienced it.

2010 „Badass“: „Hey guys, do you know what else is pretty badass?“ “What?” “Your mom?” “No, besides my mom!” Who or what doesn’t deserve the stamp of “Badass” and why?

Bryan: In my opinion, more people don’t deserve it than do, too many to list. But it’s all just a goof, our 8th grade selves still expressing.

2012 „In sleep“: „My heart is free and I drift away, drift away.“ What dream can you still remember and what was it about?

Bryan: Unfortunately I don’t remember enough of my dreams when I wake up. That song is actually more of a love song.  The last one ever written about Lori, years after our breakup. Technically I guess it was a daydream.  I had written the music and words around the time we did the Gold Record, but it was still incomplete until Pete and I got together at my house last year and worked out some details to complete it.

PART THREE: „Do you remember?“ Old days vs. now!

Old days vs now: What means of transport did you use to get to the first shows of the Bouncing Souls? What does it look like today?

Bryan: Greg had a van in high school, it was the first Souls vehicle.  We’ve traveled in the same box truck (the „White Castle“) since ’96, but we’ve finally begun retiring her, letting her spend her golden years in peace.

Old days vs. now: Clothes and hairstyle. If you look back in five-year increments: Which changes do you see before your mind’s eye?

Bryan: Jeans and army jacket or flannel, then years of British influences, both punk and skinhead, slowly giving way to a more American biker vibe, always a lot of black.

Old days vs. now: All over the years: How did the audience change between in former times and now?

Bryan: Shows were actually dangerous in the 80’s into early 90’s until punk got all popular with bands like Green Day and Rancid opening the doors to the general public, it all got a little watered down.  Maybe a bigger percentage of any show’s population is just pretty normal people now.  That’s ok who am I to judge, and besides I’ve had more than my fill of maniacs in this life.

Old days vs. now: What’s the difference between the lyrics?

Bryan: In most ways that hasn’t changed.  We write from the heart and always have. Each record is just a snapshot in time of our life experiences and feelings.

Old days vs. now: Housings: Where did you sleep at the very beginning during your tour? Where do you sleep today?

Bryan: We went to crashing on punkers‘ floors, and sleeping in a van and camping, to getting one room, to two, then three, then four rooms for 8 people.  I love Pete and we’ve been roomates on tour for 24 years but frankly I’d love to be able to afford my own room.602185_10152578506690344_384229988_n


Your personal „top 3“of the moldiest lodgings so far?

Bryan: Too many to remember specifics.

Tell us some of your most embarrassing moments on stage!

Bryan: Barely ever felt embarrassed luckily. Pete shat himself once though. Back when we were young, we had all eaten the same shitty breakfast buffet that morning but somehow it caught up to Pete during the show.  This was like 92 or 93.

Strangest venues?

Bryan: Can’t think of any.

Which three songs do you love to play live on stage?

Bryan: It changes all the time.  Although I always love to play „That Song“ every time, and also „Highway Kings“, and „The Something Special“. Those are all fun ones.

And which three songs would you ban from the setlist for the next 6 months?

Bryan: „Ole“, „We Love Fun“, and „The Screamer“ are all songs which are better listened to as recordings.

One short story of Dave Hause:

45 year-old wasted woman in Charlotte: „Give me a Flogging Molly shirt.“
Me: „Ma’am, I only sell my own items. And please don’t touch my face.“
Wasted: „Can I have a Skinny Lister CD?“
Me: „Ma’am, I only sell my own items, and I don’t really want to hold your hand.“
Wasted: „Well you suck. Give me your CD.“
Me: „If I suck, you shouldn’t buy the CD.“
Wasted: „Well you’re good at singing and suck at getting me what I want. Will you love me forever if I buy your CD?“
Me: „I won’t even love you for 2 minutes. How about you keep the 10 bucks, I keep my CD, I’ll give you 10 bucks just to leave me alone and stop this conversation.“

What was your funniest experience at the merchandise?

Bryan: I also read and enjoyed that story when he posted it, haha. Depending on my mood I can stay out at merch and just back and forth with people all night.  Other times I hide out where I can’t be found.  Can’t recall a specific one funny as Dave’s at the moment, but things like that happen pretty often.

How important are the fans for you?

Bryan: They are everything! Without them none of it could exist.

What compliments did you hear or read about The Bouncing Souls?

Bryan: I generally don’t get too caught up in that stuff, whether its positive or negative.  Always some people will love it and some will hate it.

How can people drive you crazy?

Bryan: If I’m in the wrong mood, anything can set me off down crazy street.

What can we expect from the Souls in 2013?

Bryan: Europe in June and some scattered appearances in the US, not too much else. Gonna more or less drop out of sight for awhile.  We toured alot over the past year in support of „Comet“, and now we’ll turn our attentions on personal lives.  Come see me for a tattoo!

We are done! Do you want to say anything more?

Bryan: I finished!  What do I get?  What do I get?  Haha seriously, thanks Jasmin for the interview. Hope to see ya out there.


20.06. Schweinfurt – Stattbahnhof
21.06. Scheeßel – Hurricane Festival
22.06. Neuhausen ob Eck – Southside Festival
22.06. Chemnitz – Talschock
25.06. Berlin – SO 36
27.06. Montabaur – Mair1


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