Bouncing Souls front man Greg Attonito has been mulling over the idea of a solo album for more than a decade now, but juggling his commitment to his regular gig in a wildly successful touring band didn’t leave a lot of free time.
But during a rare break earlier this year, between records and touring the globe, Attonito finally ran out of excuses and sat down with a notebook and guitar. The result is the beautifully solid, mostly acoustic solo album Natural Disaster. Gearing up for another tour with The Souls, he won’t have a lot of opportunities to play these songs in front of U.S. crowds right now, but plans to play some while on tour with his group in Europe.
Attonito spoke recently about the decision to finally make this record and future plans for the Bouncing Souls.
Innocent Words: How long have you been thinking about putting out a solo record?
Greg Attonito: I have thought about it on and off for about 10 years. That sounds like a long time when I say it. Wow! I kept finding excuses not to do it and I had plenty to choose from: I was too busy; I didn’t like the song ideas I had; I was insecure about putting out solo stuff in general. I played around with a million stupid reasons not to do it until I woke up and said, “I gotta do this!” I made myself a goal and did it. I’m so glad I did.
IW: Why release it now?
Attonito: I had some time between Bouncing Souls tours this fall and this winter so I made myself a deadline to be done recording in March of 2011. I also made a commitment to myself to be as honest as I could be in the process of writing and recording. I wanted to bring energy to this recording that was different than anything I have done with (the Bouncing Souls). That was one of the big reasons for doing it. To shine a light on the pieces of me that haven’t seen much light in the Bouncing Souls. I didn’t realize how badly my mind, heart and soul needed this until I did it.
IW: Was it difficult telling the rest of the band that you wanted to put a record out on your own?
Attonito: No, we have all been doing other projects more and more so it made sense to everyone. It also turned out to be a great way to refresh my stoke for writing new Bouncing Souls songs. Now that I have expressed some things on my own I’m excited to get back to the group dynamic which can be a really good time.
IW: How long have you been sitting on these songs?
Attonito: All of the songs on the record were written in the past year. I have recorded a lot of stuff over the years, but I never felt compelled to release any of it. Listening back to that stuff I realized I didn’t really love any of it because I was having trouble letting my emotions go… I had some issues getting in the way, but that itching feeling to express myself on my own was always festering. I think a “now or never” kind of feeling came over me last year and I realized I had to dig into what was holding me back.
IW: Having worked with the other guys in the Bouncing Souls for so long, was it odd at all to go into the studio and not have them next to you?
Attonito: The odd part was having 100 percent of the responsibility. All of the creative energy was on my shoulders and all of the choices had to be made by me. I loved that idea and had a lot of fun with it but it was also hard work. The Bouncing Souls all work well in the collaboration dynamic so I really wanted to see what would happen if I had all that creative responsibility myself and follow through and finish it.
IW: So when will the Bouncing Souls be working on their next record?
Attonito: We have already written songs for it and they are sounding great. Our plan is to record with Bill Stevenson sometime this winter. We want to go into it with a plug in and press record kind of attitude…like we did on our early records.
IW: Looks like the band has a pretty long schedule coming up. Being married, is it tough on you and your wife to be apart for that long or are you used to it at this point?
Attonito: It is tough but we learn to manage it better as we go. Being completely present when we are together is really important. When we make our time together totally rich then the time apart doesn’t seem as bad.