Simple Plan’s Chuck Comeau on nostalgia and the upcoming Australian tour
For Chuck Comeau, drummer of Canadian pop-punk band Simple Plan, what makes the band’s debut album, No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls, special is not easy to describe. Rather than the content of the album, which saw its 15th anniversary remaster released on April 6th, Comeau looks back on the memories attached to it.
“(The album) gave us an unbelievable career, an amazing chance to travel the world, do what we love, and do it for a living,” he says.
“It’s really rewarding as an artist to see that the record still has life today, and that the songs can still resonate.”
Named as one of Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums of All Time, Comeau is humble about the accomplishment.
“The one thing we knew was that the album had an impact on people; fans, the younger generation who grew up with us. We’d meet bands who would say “man, that record was so good for us.”
“We knew there was influence, it was an era where this music was really dominating. It was exciting and thrilling, and we were just riding that wave of excitement. The album belonged in that movement, and it was great to be a part of that.”
The remastered edition features live tracks from a concert in California, that were originally going to be released on DVD. The band’s reasoning for including the extra tracks was simple; to reciprocate the love its fans have shown it over the past 15 years.
“We wanted to give as much back to the fans as we could,” Comeau says.
“There’re some more obscure songs, those that only appeared as B-sides in Japan and so on.
“It was really cool to put them all on one collection.”
As you get older, there are things you miss, but FaceTime and cell phones make a big difference.
Excitement laces Comeau’s voice as he describes the beauty of performing in Australia, and why he’s keen for the band’s national tour, kicking off on the Gold Coast on April 21.
“Australia is a special place that feels like home. It’s got a Canadian vibe,” he says fondly.
“We’re very lucky to have created a special connection with fans. They’re grateful that we’ve come a long way.
“Other bands don’t play in Australia as much, but we have the best time and are excited to discover new things and hang out.”
When looking back over years since No Pads conception, Comeau’s voice takes on a sentimental tone.
“In some ways it feels like yesterday, in other ways it feels like it’s been 30 years.
“It’s interesting – you come to define life by albums titles. “Oh, I bought a house on the third album, I had a kid on the fifth,” Comeau says with a laugh.
Having a house and family to return to has simultaneously made touring more rewarding and emotionally taxing than the early days, even though technology has vastly improved since the days of calling cards.
“As you get older, there are things you miss, but FaceTime and cell phones make a big difference” Comeau says.
“We’ve slowed down, but that’s the reason we can play 100 shows a year.”
Physically, though, there hasn’t been much change.
“As a drummer, it’s a heck of a good workout. On that level I’m just as good as I was at 22,” he says proudly.
The 15th anniversary tour edition re-release of No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls is available now.
15th Anniversary World Tour Dates – Australia
Saturday 21st April – NightQuarter, Gold Coast (All Ages Event**)
Sunday 22nd April – Eatons Hill Hotel, Eatons Hill (All Ages)
Monday 23rd April – Forum, Melbourne
Tuesday 24th April – Forum, Melbourne
Thursday 26th April – NEX, Newcastle
Friday 27th April – Big Top Luna Park, Sydney (All Ages)