This looked to be an incredible year for the Bouncing Souls. On March 24th their 12th studio album, “Ten Stories High” was released. Preceded by the launch of the title track, as well as “Higher Ground” and eventually “Shannon’s Song” fans welcomed new music from one of the most-respected, longtime punks from New Jersey.
On the afternoon of the record release day, the boys celebrated with a small acoustic concert at Pizzanista followed by a full electric performance at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. They would then go on to play the Punk in the Park festival for the third straight time, the only band to do so.
They announced they were going to be playing a nationwide tour that went through April, geared back up in May, and then would tour the West Coast in October and finally their hometown on the East Coast and South in December. Along the way they would be supported by Swingin’ Utters, A Wilhelm Scream, and the Venomous Pinks, amongst others. Just days later they announced that Anti-Flag would be supporting for all of April and October, and it seems like would be the best year ever for the band.
While the April shows went off without a hitch, seemingly out of nowhere fans were shocked to see that on July 19th, all Anti-Flag’s social media had been removed, both band and personal pages alike were gone without a trace. Even the band’s website was down and the only clue anyone had was a short, matter-of-fact letter left on their Patreon page announcing “Anti-Flag has disbanded.” Not long after, news started spreading about a podcast where a young woman claims that a lead singer in an unnamed political punk band has sexually assaulted her. It wasn’t long before people started surmising the accusations were about Anti-Flag lead singer, Justin Sane.
Two days later, Bouncing Souls announced that when the tour kicked back off in October, Anti-Flag would no longer be part of the tour, “in light of recent events,” and that they would announce a replacement shortly. Since then, Justin Sane has posted a letter denying the allegations and declaring his innocence, while the rest of the band made their own statement essentially stating that since a core tenant of the band is to listen and believe all survivors of sexual violence and abuse, they felt that the very accusations meant their only option was to disband.
While there are still many unresolved issues and questions surrounding the entire incident, the punk rock community hopes to move on and show better support and allies towards all people in the scene, making this safe for every single person.
With AF off the bill, Bouncing Souls recently announced that for the October dates on the West Coast portion of the tour, support would be none other than San Pedro’s Bad Cop/Bad Cop. They will be joining an already-stacked lineup that features support from Philadelphia’s ska natives, Catbite and San Diego’s Urethane.
Southern California will have three chances to see them: October 12th at the Observatory North Park in San Diego; October 13th at the Belasco in Los Angeles; and finally, October 14th at the Observatory in Santa Ana. But do not sleep on these shows as all will no doubt sell out.