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Bouncing Souls Biography

Home > Music > B > Bouncing Souls > Biography

Birth Place: New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
Years Active: 1987–present
Genres: Punk Rock, Pop Punk

The Bouncing Souls are a punk rock band from New Brunswick, New Jersey, formed in 1989. Members of the band currently include Greg Attonito (vocals), Pete Steinkopf (guitar), Bryan Kienlen (bass) and Michael McDermott (drums). The band's name is a reference to Doc Martens shoes, which were a staple of punk dress. Doc Martens uses the advertising slogan “with Bouncing Soles” for their air-cushioned soles.

The four original members grew up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey and played in smaller bands during high school. Although they decided to forgo college, they made the decision to move to the college town, New Brunswick, New Jersey, which is home to Rutgers University. New Brunswick had a reputation for supporting underground music, and over the years had seen not only musical acts but actors enjoy professional success. The Bouncing Souls not only became a staple in the New Brunswick music scene, but also helped other bands gain an audience by opening up for them in the clubs around town, as well as parties and shows they put on themselves.

Their first full-length album, “The Good, The Bad & The Argyle,” was released in 1994 on their label Chunksaah Records. The album was a compilation of several EPs the band had released previously. Two tracks of this record, “Candy” (popularized by The Strangeloves and covered by many other groups) and “What Boys Like” (originally by the Waitresses) served as homage to 1980s new wave while simultaneously striking a humorous jab at homophobia. Their next album, “Maniacal Laughter” was released in 1996. Half the album was written in a week. It led to a high profile tour with Youth Brigade that got the attention of Epitaph Records.

The Bouncing Souls signed with Epitaph in 1997 and released “The Bouncing Souls” later that year. While it contains some Bouncing Souls classics like “Cracked,” “Kate is Great” and “East Coast Fuck You!,” certain tracks on the record were anticlimactic in comparison to their low-fi earlier recordings.

“Hopeless Romantic” followed in 1999. “Hopeless Romantic” has been heralded for mixing poignant lyrics with their melodic rapidly-paced punk style. Soon after the album's release, personal problems arose between the band and long-time drummer Shal Khichi which resulted in his departure from the band. He was replaced by former Skinnerbox, Mephiskapheles, and Murphy's Law drummer, Michael McDermott.

2001’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” was the first album released with the new line-up. By now, the band had become viewed as seminal to the modern punk sound, with a new generation of fans discovering their earlier releases. 2002 brought a B-sides album, “The Bad, the Worse, and the Out of Print,” and an acclaimed split with Anti-Flag as part of the “BYO Split Series.”

In 2003, the band released their sixth album “Anchors Aweigh,” as well as their first DVD, “Do You Remember? 15 Years of the Bouncing Souls.” In 2004, their cover of “Better Things” by The Kinks was used in the film “The Manchurian Candidate.” In 2005, they had two live releases, a double album, simply titled “Live,” as well as a DVD, titled “Live at the Glasshouse.”

The band released their seventh album, titled “The Gold Record” on June 6, 2006, or 6/6/06 which the band has called "The number of the release", in reference to 666, which is known as “The number of the beast.” Also, due to their first full-length record being a collection of previous releases, many fans also consider this to in fact be their sixth studio album, and thus 666 is also partly in reference to this.

In 2009, the band released a series of 16 digital songs and four 7-inch EPs as part of the “20th Anniversary Series.” Twelve of these songs were released as an album titled “Ghosts on the Boardwalk” in 2010. The Bouncing Souls released their ninth studio album, “Comet, in June 2012 via Rise Records, their first album for that label.