The ‘80s took a lot of flack over the years, mostly during the ‘90s -- but not from the Bouncing Souls. The decade wasn’t even over yet when, back in ’87, a group of rowdy, skateboarding punks raised on The Breakfast Club decided to start a band. Like many fledgling punk bands, the fact that Bouncing Souls couldn’t really play their instruments didn’t stop them from taking over every basement show and party in New Jersey. Taking their name from a shoe slogan, the Souls crafted fun, bouncy punk songs about their friends (“Johnny X,” “Kate is Great”), throwing toilets off of roofs (“The Toilet Song”), and, of course, the best lines from their favorite ’80s movies (“These Are The Quotes From Our Favorite ’80s Movies”).
Nowadays, the guys are pushing forty, and while they may no longer be taking their aggression out on porcelain thrones, they’re still playing the same kind of fun, pogo-inspiring songs of their youth. And they still love their ‘80s movies. ThePhoenix.com took some time to talk to Bouncing Souls singer Greg Attonito about what it means to grow up, and how The Breakfast Club changed his life.
So I know you’re a fan of ’80s movies ’cause you wrote a song about them. Do you have a distinct favorite?
There’s so many good ones it’s hard to pick a favorite. There’s certainly a string of them that were really great like Breakfast Club, and the ones that John Cusack did in the ’80s, and Sixteen Candles, and Pretty In Pink. That whole string of movies captured a moment in time when those people, my generation, were growing up. Every generation goes through the same kind of things, but we all have a slightly different backdrop, and that time period was really captured in those movies. I think that’s why they’re a bit special for myself and the other guys in the band, too.
A lot of those movies are about these outcast, underdog characters that somehow triumph in the end. Is that something you relate to on a personal level?
Oh, definitely. I think there’s some people who are like, “Man, I just can’t deal with the way the world is,” and there’s other people that just manage to cruise right into it and work with it. And that’s something that’s kinda always boggled me, and something that I’ve tried to manage with myself because I’m like, “You know what? I’m here in the world for a reason, and I should be able to manage it.” Musicians and artists, or even any kind of people, don’t fit in to some degree. We’re all these kinda whacko individuals, every one of us, and it’s a matter of accepting that and figuring out how you’re comfortable with it in a world of other whackos. To try to get there, and live that way, I think is the trick to life, I think that everybody has to face it, there isn’t anyone that doesn’t. It’s an ongoing thing and if you get a little better at it along the way, then you’re doing something right in life.