Simple Plan emboldened by producer

Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:58am EST
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By Robert Thompson

TORONTO (Billboard) - For Simple Plan, the multimillion-selling pop-punk band from Montreal, "The End" was also a new beginning.

After a year writing material for the follow-up to 2004's "Still Not Getting Any . . .," the band was struggling to find a way forward, drummer Chuck Comeau says. But last spring in Miami -- where Simple Plan had gone to test-drive some songs in the studio with producer Danja (Nelly Furtafo, Justin Timberlake) -- it became clear the group could forge a bold new sound.

"It really clicked for the first time in Miami when we came up with 'The End,"' Comeau says, referring to one standout track from the band's self-titled third studio album, which hits North American stores February 12 through Atlantic Records.

"It was different and cool-sounding," he says. "There were beats, which is something we haven't used, and Pierre Bouvier's vocals were so much more layered."

The three songs created in Miami opened Simple Plan up to new possibilities. "We were discovering new music that had us excited," Comeau says. "Modern-sounding records, like the Justin Timberlake record. It takes a lot of balls to admit you like it, but it's amazing."

With the band feeling it had reached new heights with the Danja-produced tracks, including "When I'm Gone" and "Generation" (both also involving producer Arnold Lanni, who helmed the group's 2002 debut, "No Pads, No Helmets . . . Just Balls"), producer Dave Fortman came in to finish the album.

The album rolls out internationally through February. Lead single "When I'm Gone," issued digitally October 29, climbed to No. 18 on the January 5 Canadian Hot 100 after eight weeks on the chart. It premiered globally on the band's Web site ( along with a preorder for the album through online retailer Lala. The single's video debuted on and MTV's "TRL" December 12.

Simple Plan toured for around 18 months in support of "Still Not Getting Any . . ." -- which has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- and a spring/summer North American tour is in the works.   Continued...

<p>Members of the band Simple Plan pose with their statuettes after winning the Fans Choice award at the Juno awards in Halifax, Canada April 2, 2006. For Simple Plan, the multimillion-selling pop-punk band from Montreal, "The End" was also a new beginning.REUTERS/Paul Darrow</p>