Bryan Kienlen isn’t an ultimate fighter, but he definitely personifies mixed martial arts. 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, 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.
FIGHT! Magazine: 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 into the music and 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.
FIGHT!: You know Freddy Madball is into the sport and does some boxing, right?
BK: 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.
FIGHT!: Yeah. He does BJJ at Renzo’s place in New York.
BK: 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 a high school wrestler.
FIGHT!: Do you wanna learn BJJ?
BK: I really wanna learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I feel it’s something missing from my overall game, but like I said, 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.” Ya know (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. Popped it out in the pit. I had two rebuilt knees and they’re strong because of the kettle ball 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’d just be learning combos.
FIGHT! Magazine: Speaking of training, when did you link up with Kurt Pellegrino?
BK: 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.
FIGHT!: Lead singer Greg Attonito’s cousin, Rich, is on this installment of The Ultimate Fighter. Have you ever met him?
BK: 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.
FIGHT!: A lot of labels are sponsoring fighters. Would Chunksaah Records sponsor him?
BK: We should do it. For sure.