Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

Sometimes a simple plan can go a long way, as a certain pop-punk quintet from Canada has proved with its debut album, "No Pads, No Helmets ... Just Balls." Not expecting a lot more than to develop a small fan base while touring, the high school friends who formed Simple Plan are now climbing the top half of The Billboard 200.

"It's the best thing in the world," drummer Chuck Comeau says. "I remember being 15 and talking about how bad we wanted to do a cool tour or hear our songs on the radio. Now, to see it finally happen-it could all stop tomorrow and it would still be amazing."

It has been almost one year since the album's March 2002 Lava Records release, and while the set was an international success, it initially got no U.S. airplay -- which often puts a band on shaky ground with its label.

"Since things weren't happening in the States, we went to Japan and Australia and Europe. We said, 'Let's go and seize every chance we have and be busy everyday,'" Comeau says. "We knew we had a good band and good songs. We figured one day people would get it."

Now, "I'd Do Anything" is No. 24 on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart, and the band's been embraced by MTV, which featured it during its "Spankin' New Bands" week in January and invited the act to record the theme to the new series "Fraternity Life."

Lava's senior VP of marketing Lee Trink credits the group's current emergence into the spotlight to the fan support. "That's what allowed us to go to the major outlets and say we had something real here," he says. "Not only do we have great songs and a great band, but the fans have obviously responded."

For Comeau, lead singer Pierre Bouvier, lead guitarist Jeff Stinco, bassist David Desrosiers, and guitarist/backing vocalist Sebastien Lefebvre, the newfound glory of Simple Plan couldn't have happened in a better way.

"Obviously, every band would like to get it right out of the gate," Comeau says. "But, for us, having our record sell steadily week after week was the best setup we could ask for. I don't think you could ask for a better way to establish a band. It's real. It's touring and it's a lot of hard work."

Simple Plan will join Rancid, Pennywise, AFI, the Used, Distillers, Taking Back Sunday, and others for this summer's Warped tour. As previously reported, the multi-stage festival will kick off June 19 in Boise, Idaho, and run through an Aug. 10 finale in Asbury Park, N.J.





Excerpted from the March 8, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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