There’s something magical about Montreal that helps foster a vibrant and prolific music scene. It could be attributed to a rich tapestry of cultural depth and diversity. Amazing bagels. Poutine. Liquor in corner stores. Who can say?
Whatever the reason –many popular artists emerge from Montreal. Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Stars and last year’s winners of the Polaris Music Prize – Patrick Watson. Even two hit wonders like Men Without Hats were Montrealers. I apologize if ‘Safety Dance’ or ‘Pop Goes the World’ are playing in your head. You can dance if you want to. Seriously. Go ahead.
Juno winners Simple Plan are commercially successful with a devoted fan following. Formed in 1999, they’ve paid their dues as veterans of traveling marketing machines like the Vans Warped Tour and as both support and headliners around the globe. Their shows are high energy and they sell their musical tales of angst and conflict of both the teen and twenty-something variety very well.
Hits like I’m Just a Kid, Addicted, Perfect, I’d Do Anything, Crazy, Welcome to My Life and perhaps their most enduring – Untitled (How Could this Happen to Me)’ – a song that shows the devastation resulting from driving drunk are favourites on radio and video channels.
Critical acclaim continues to elude the boys. On their most recent self titled disc – a Rolling Stone reviewer declares their latest track “Love is A Lie” as ‘a whiny rant directed at an unfaithful ex-girlfriend, is a growl away from becoming Nickelback.’ OUCH. Their cleverly titled discs – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls and Still Not Getting Any… a reference to respect from critics perhaps - should get them some props. Critics be damned – Simple Plan’s music resonates with their fans. Period.
There’s more than meets the eye here. They are not only the darlings of the Much Music Video Awards – they are entrepreneurs. The Role Model clothing line, sophisticated and savvy merchandising initiatives and strong web presence is a nod to their growing maturity. Not to mention that Jeff Stinco recently took a parental leave to be with his family!
Always philanthropic, the band had supported many not for profit organizations like MADD, RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes against Drunk Driving) and Make a Wish Foundation but like many donors were frustrated by a lack of knowledge of how their funds were helping. They took action and formed the Simple Plan Foundation to give structure and order to their giving – primarily targeted to organizations aiding youth.
In June, beneficiaries of their initial $100,000 granting were Children’s Wish Foundation, Kids Help Phone and War Child Canada.
Catch the Simple Plan Special with George Stroumboulopoulos Wednesday August 6th @ 9pm on CBC.
Look to this special for revelatory conversation and live performances to bring some fun to a hot August night. Simple Plan will kick off the Canadian leg of their tour on August 19th in St. John’s.