Bryan Kienlen isn’t an ultimate fighter, but he has trained in plenty different fighting disciplines and mixed those martial arts together. The bassist of The Bouncing Souls and co-owner of Chunksaah Records wrestled throughout high school, took up Tai Chi when he was 25, Kung Fu when he was 30 and Kickboxing soon thereafter. Now, the 40-year-old punk rocker is a regular at UFC lightweight Kurt Pelligrino’s gym, Pelligrino MMA, in New Jersey … that is when he isn’t touring, riding his motorcycle or tattooing people.
MMADiehards.com: The Bouncing Souls are a punk rock band. Would you say the rock culture compliments MMA well?
Bryan Kienlen: Yeah, I say they go well together. There’s a lot of energy in both and in the same way punk rock and skating go hand in hand, I think there is just a lot of rage and energy in the music. It’s a good match. Not to say that punk rock is always aggressive, but I know when I’m training, I like aggressive music. Usually it’s more hardcore. I used to listen to Madball every single day on the way to the kickboxing school because we had to spar and I had to spar every single person in the room. I’m a buck 85, and there were some guys who were much bigger than me. I would kinda get my energy level up listening to Madball. I was riding my motorcycle [and[ it has speakers, so I’m riding in traffic through New York listening to Madball, full volume, go into there, wrap up and glove up, and go “Ah! Ready to rage!” So I think they go well together.
MMADiehards.com: You know Freddy Madball is into the sport and does some boxing, right?
Bryan Kienlen: I know. I picked his brain about it. We went to Japan a year and a half ago, and you know who was on the same plane though? Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags.
MMADiehards.com: Yeah. He does BJJ at Renzo’s place in New York.
Bryan Kienlen: Yeah, he’s a purple belt now. That was actually the first time I ever did any kettlebell training. Harley Flanagan taught me on that trip in Japan. I also rolled with Harley on the floor and got beat up pretty good (laughs) because he was always a bad ass and now, he’s a technical fighter and anybody who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter can kick my ass, I think, pretty well. Unless I got some lucky kicks in and knock ‘em out or something, I don’t have any ground game. Just high school wrestling.
MMADiehards.com: Do you wanna learn BJJ?
Bryan Kienlen: I really wanna learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I feel it’s something missing from my overall game, but I just can’t risk getting my knees popped out place. Every time I had some drunk rolling with somebody who does it, I always end up hyper-extending my elbow or something. I’m like, “Fuck this.” (Laughs) I love it, but whatever. It’s like if I pop my knee and then, I gotta go on tour. I’ve done that too – I popped my knee out at the beginning of a seven week tour, back a few years ago in ‘94. We were on tour with 7 Seconds. I popped it out in the pit. I had two rebuilt knees and they’re strong because of the kettlebell training. They’re really strong, but I’m freaked out by whipping or tearing my ligaments again. It sucks. It’s a long time to heal and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take. I talked to Kevin Roddy, one of the fighters and friend of mine, and we spoke about him doing a private because I won’t be running any risks if it’s just him carrying me because he’s a really good fighter and he just wouldn’t be muscling me. It just be learning combos.
MMADiehards.com: Speaking of which, when did you link up with Kurt Pellegrino?
Bryan Kienlen: Well, as soon as I came down to the Jersey Shore, I asked around and I actually met a kid who trains there. We had some friends in common, got to talking and became friends when I came down here. He was a friend from the motorcycle world, cause I’m into that too and he knew a couple of fighters. He trains there and this morning, we just did kettlebells, came back to my house and I tattooed him. That’s also what I’m doing nowadays tattooing.
MMADiehards.com: Lead singer Greg Attonito’s cousin, Rich, participated on a previous installment of The Ultimate Fighter. Have you ever met him?
Bryan Kienlen: I met him only once, maybe if that. I barely know the guy personally. We gotta do something with him. We need to get that kid wearing a Bouncing Souls shirt or something. He should be representing Chunksaah Records. I gotta give Greg a call about that. I just found it out recently.
MMADiehards.com: A lot of labels are sponsoring fighters. Would Chunksaah Records sponsor him?
Bryan Kienlen: We should do it. For sure.
Bear Frazer is a veteran music journalist and longtime contributor to FIGHT! Magazine. He is currently in the midst of fundraising to shoot The Bam Theory, an MMA Movie Franchise described as the Rocky of our generation. To support this film, please visit http://tinyurl.com/thebamtheory.