Sebastien Lefebvre has been an integral part of Canadian pop-punk band Simple Plan for every step of their career, and over the last 12 years since their debut album No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, the band have become an internationally recognised group.
In November/December 2013, Simple Plan will be back on Australian shores headlining the mighty Warped Tour, a punk rock festival that Sebastien believes is one of the best around.
“I think it’s great because there’s just so many other great bands and there’s more of a camaraderie going on with the Warped Tour than what happens on any other type of festival or show and it’s amazing for the fans to pay for one ticket and see all the bands that are on Warped.
“Last time we did Warped was a couple of years ago, and we just had such a good time, hanging out with everybody. As long as you have a shower on your bus it’s the best tour”, the guitarist explains.
After a decade of growing and progressing as a band, Sebastien still remembers what it was like to be one of the kids on the other side of the fence, having the time of his life at Warped in Canada.
“I think I probably was about fourteen or fifteen, and Warped Tour was playing in the City and I lived in the suburbs so taking the bus and the train to go to Warped Tour was actually a big deal enough. I get there and it was the first year I really got into Punk Rock, and Lagwagon’s there, Offspring’s there, NOFX are there and all my favourite bands were playing.
“Funnily enough, Chuck (Corneau, drummer) and Pierre (Bouvier, vocalist)’s old band Reset was the first band on Warped tour that year! So I don’t know, it was one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to.”
They’ve come a long way since then though. Simple Plan have recorded four successful albums since they first broke out, with a series of hit singles and videos and numerous international tours under their belt. These days, they are philosophical about their career and how it feels to be a band that has matured and gained respect over time.
“We first played Warped Tour in 2001, which was before the first album even came out. We only played two days in Montreal and Toronto and we were going around with our CD player, back then before iPods of course, because obviously no one knew us and we just wanted to make sure people would show up.
“We’d go around and play a few songs for kids who looked like they might like us, and said ‘hey we’re playing at 2’! We had a good time. There were a few hundred people to see us, and it was nuts!”
Being one of the younger bands in the pop punk explosion of the early 2000s, Simple Plan have experienced the changing perceptions that surround a band coming of age, particularly regarding notions of paying dues and building their history on the road.
“Obviously we’ve been around for a little while now and people do respect what we do as a band. Not they didn’t when we first started. There was more a reaction like ‘These guys are the new kids’, ‘who knows how long they’re going to last?’, but now after almost 12 years of touring, we can show up on Warped Tour and be one of those established bands that I used to go see as a kid.”
Simple Plan and their peers, bands such as Blink 182, Good Charlotte and the like, have been cited as influences by many of the up and coming bands that are just emerging now which is something Lefebvre and his band members find exciting and energizing.
“We meet different bands and they come see our show, and when we’re finished they say ‘hey we’re playing at seven over on that stage, we’re fans of you guys’. There can be only a five-year difference and it works. When we were twenty and starting out those kids were fifteen and picking up a guitar for the first time!
“It’s actually kind of crazy we were doing some promotion in the states a few months ago, and we ran into Demi Lovato just randomly and when she saw us she said ‘oh my God I went to your show, I watched your new year special on TV and you guys were a big influence on me when I was younger!’
“With our first album, we were still nobodies and Good Charlotte and Blink 182 were kind enough to believe that it wasn’t going to be horrible for them to be involved with appearing on it, and we felt like it was a vote of confidence”, the guitarist recalls.
“That’s what music is all about. It’s about giving.”
The Warped Tour has been absent from the Australian circuit for well over 10 years now, and the return has been met with a lot of excitement. Sebastian is quick to assure that Simple Plan are just as thrilled to be on the tour as their fans are to have them.
“We love coming down under so much, and that’s why we do it as often as we can, so when Warped Tour came up we were like of course we’ll do it, it’s a no brainer! I mean we just always have a great time over there.”
With a new album in the works to follow up from 2011’s Get Your Heart On, Lefebvre isn’t ruling out debuting some new songs for the Warped Tour crowds.
“We’re only starting writing now. Warped comes at the end of November, so maybe. It’s not that we’re lazy we just prefer writing and practicing new songs, so there’s no way of knowing at this point if we’ll have something new to show people, but you never know. We can’t cross it out just yet!”
Vans Warped Tour 2013 Lineup
New Found Glory
The Summer Set
Kids In Glass Houses
We Came As Romans
Crown The Empire
The Dangerous Summer
For All Those Sleeping
Vans Warped Tour 2013 Dates
Friday 29th November
Brisbane RNA Showgrounds
Saturday 30th November
Sunday 1st December
Friday 6th December
Exhibition Park, Canberra
Saturday 7th December
VENUE TBA, Melbourne
Sunday 8th December
VENUE TBA, Adelaide
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