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Career move works out for Simple Plan

Montreal's Simple Plan played Vancouver recently and caught up with Joe Leary on their decade of success. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Montreal's Simple Plan played Vancouver recently and caught up with Joe Leary on their decade of success. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Since their debut album 10 year's ago, Montreal's Simple Plan have developed into one of Canada's best rock bands with their classic punk energy and infectious hook-driven modern pop sound. Fresh off an Asian tour and currently making their way across Canada on a bill with Marianna's Trench, Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with Simple Plan lead singer Pierre Bouvier and guitarist Jeff Stinco during their recent Vancouver visit.

24: Did you consciously decide that this would become your career or did it just happen?

PB: I don't think for me it was known from the get-go. Chuck was a very driven guy and at the age of 14, 15 had these visions of playing in front of huge crowds. For me, I never even knew. My parents would ask me, 'What do you think you're doing? You're wasting your time in a band and contemplating quitting school. Are you crazy?' My answer was, 'I don't care about money. I'm enjoying doing this and I'll see where it takes me.' Now we're here making a living doing it.

At some point in the band we hit a wall where we could no longer go to school and do this because it won't give us enough time to be with the band. So we all made a conscious decision to quit school and put all of our eggs in the same basket.

JS: We were also very young when we started and we didn't have any money so it didn't really matter. The goal was just to play, get out there and have fun. On our first tour when we played with Sugar Ray for instance, it was all about getting out there and kicking ass.

24: Every band has its tour-de-force moment or powerful song in their repertoire that stands out from the rest. For Simple Plan, I would say it's Untitled. Where did that originate?

PB: It wasn't written as a specific thing, but there were a couple of stories that inspired it. It's really about going through a tragic moment and having something happen that can really affect them and their lives. Everyone has those moments.

, whether it's losing someone close or just going through a moment of complete desperation for whatever reason. You just feel so naked and lost and exactly like the song says, 'How could this happen to me?' I think the song has really connected with a lot of people.

24: Have you had a lot of feedback from it?

JS: Oh definitely. The video is still being played in schools where they discuss drunk driving and I think the message is very powerful. The song was already strong, but for me the video brought it to another level.

It's a very powerful video, very strong and the images are so amazing. It's probably our best video. That song probably stands out from all our others because it's a very strong statement. A lot of people still relate to it after all these years.

24: And when you can see a song resonate so strongly with fans that must be the ultimate compliment as songwriters.

PB: Absolutely. We've never been a band that gets a lot of awards from the industry, but when you see that kind of response it's undeniable. You see that your song has made a connection and people felt it was impactful.

24: Back in the day, did you ruffle any feathers in Quebec because you're a bunch of French guys that choose to sing in English?

JS: The politics in Quebec were changing already and I think its way different now, but people were not even noticing us in the beginning. They had heard the songs on the radio but had no idea who we were and certainly didn't know we were from Montreal. Also radio was mainly French. You have to play a certain amount of content that's from Canada and French, so it was really tricky for us to get on the air. We were actually competing with international artists for airplay so it took a while before we actually got played on Montreal radio.

PB: A lot of people thought we were from the U.S. because when we first got signed, we were signed in New York.

JS: Over the years we've been asked why we aren't singing in French. We didn't really think about it all that much. For us, it was a question of the bands that we listened to were bands from America and the U.K. and it just made more sense to us to play the music that way. When the duet with Natasha Bedingfield came along on this album, we felt that was a great occasion to bring a guest singer in that answers Pierre in French.