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Saturday, May 25
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

Band makes music life's pursuit

The Bouncing Souls never desired nine-to-five office jobs. Good times and music went hand in hand, and that meant too much for them to trade in their instruments for suits and ties or their BMXs for laptops. \n"It just felt right," said guitar player Pete Steinkopf of creating his sound.\nPlaying music felt right for so long that they decided they didn't want to give it up. From their first shows in 1987 to now, they've never stopped playing.\n"It didn't all come to us at once," said bassist Bryan Kienlen. "We just kept doing it, basically." \nBouncing Souls can be described as punk rock, fueled by power chords, hefty bass lines, speedy drums and hard-hitting vocals. Drawing on the music they grew up with, they created this band, though it runs much deeper than that. This music shaped their lives and who they are today, they said. \n"It was a means to finding who I am," said singer Greg Attonito.\nFor Kienlen, music held just as much importance.\n"It was my religion when I needed it in high school. It was what I needed most when I was growing up," said Kienlen. "Now, to me, it's really different. It's a way of life. It's what I am without thinking about it at all." \nSteinkopf also said punk rock has become a way of living. \n"It's the way that I live my life. It's not just the music," Steinkopf said.\nAs a result of this deep compassion for music in general, Bouncing Souls understand where their fans are coming from. They often meet people at shows who remember the first time they saw the band and every time after that. Bouncing Souls members said they feel comfortable with this level of passion coming from fans, because they can easily relate it to their own love of music.\n"I'm a fan first," said Steinkopf. "I'm the same way about music." \nOn their current tour, this connection with fans will be emphasized when they play at Vans Skate Parks in different locations across the country. These dates are specifically set up to give the band a chance to hang out with their fans and sign autographs. The Bouncing Souls welcome the opportunity to meet all of their fans.\n"I want to meet people and get in their heads and get in touch with what people are thinking. That's pretty important to me," Kienlen said. "You get to share that energy. We give it and we get it back."\nAfter five albums, Bouncing Souls has established a strong foundation, musically and lyrically. They always stay true to themselves, playing music that reflects what is going on in their lives and their view of the world, members said.\n"It's an expression of life and how you see things, and your relationships and something you experience. That's the way it always is," said Attonito.\nKienlen agreed, reiterating that they follow what comes out naturally, instead of trying to force a sound or idea. Some similar themes recur throughout all five albums, including friendship and the joy found in music and live shows. Though these themes are present, each album represents a time capsule of the thoughts and experiences of Bouncing Souls at that particular time.\n"It's not premeditated, it's always spontaneous," Kienlen said. "I can't explain why we say what we say. Each record is a good glimpse of what's on our mind."\nBand members said as long as they feel they are growing and improving their craft, they'll keep at it. They started over a decade ago, a bunch of guys from New Jersey who loved soccer and BMX bikes, who also happened to play music together. Five albums and countless tours later, they still find excitement in getting better and trying new things. \n"I still feel like I'm working on learning to write songs," Kienlen said. "It's that same feeling, like, 'OK. That was cool. Let's try to improve.'"\nRecently, Bouncing Souls decided to give back to their community on the East Coast. Kienlen and Steinkopf currently live in New York, not far from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks. On tour in Europe at the time, the Souls were baffled upon arrival, and like many decided to help in any way they could. Instead of going through the United Way, they decided to donate a percentage of the fall tour money to the Fire Department of New York City's Widows and Children's Fund.\n"When we found out what happened, it was like everybody's reaction, we wanted to help out," Kienlen said. "It's good to be able to do a little something"

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