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- Posted on Mar 11th 2010 8:08PM by Kay Balbi
Just four crazy guys singing crazy songs and getting ready for the SXSW 2010 Festival in Austin, TX. Bowling For Soup's 'When We Die' highlights a steady melodic beat and has over 2 million website listens so far. "We've created our niche, and our niche is us," says Jaret Reddick, who formed Bowling for Soup in 1994 and today rounds out the Denton, Texas-based quartet with guitarist Chris Burney, bassist Erik Chandler and drummer Gary Wiseman. "We know there are lots of people out there who think guys in their 30s shouldn't be writing about stuff like their 'Wena' and farts and beers and chicks. But I say why not?"
How was the band formed?
We grew up in Wichita Falls, TX. Not a lot to do there, so it is pretty easy to get into trouble. So lots of kids start bands or skate in an attempt to stay outta trouble or just for SOMETHING to do. In 1994, we had all been in bands in and around town for years. We all met a few years before as all of our bands played a little coffee shop that Chris used to run. The band I had with our original drummer, Lance Morrill, came to an end about the time Chris and Erik's did. I had been talking to Erik for a while about doing something together. I really wanted a band with two lead singers. My vision was "the punk rock Beatles". Anyway, in '94, Chris had come to our bands last practice and we drank some beers and just really had a fun time. I approached him about signing on with Erik, Lance and I and it was history. We knew Gary from the same little coffee shop, and his band practiced next to us. When Lance left, we pretty much knew Gary would be the guy. And he freakin was! We progressed quickly. First show within a month and first album recorded and released within three months. That was 16 flippin years ago! Crazy!
How would you describe your sound?
We have always just considered ourselves a rock band. It gets confusing. We originally said we were "punk rock" but at an early show, guys with huge Mohawks threw paper airplanes that were on fire at us as we played shouting "kill the hippies". We just do our thing these days. The successes in pop make it hard to put your finger on exactly what we do. We are basically the new Poison!
What are your musical influences?
Anything and everything. My parent's listened to music CONSTANTLY when I was a kid. Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond and the Eagles. I credit them with my ability to harmonize, because they sang in the car and we were in the car a lot! Ha. We are from Texas, so I think lyrically, that is my biggest influence. I was a child of the '80s and loved hair metal. That's really why I started playing. Freakin Motley Crue were the original hip-hop starts! Girl, cars and beer. And since there was no internet, we only knew about them what they wanted us to know. That made them larger than life.
How did you choose the band name?
At the very last show of the band I was in before this, Lance said on the mic, "Come see our new band Bowling For Soup." which was a play on words from a Steve Martin joke where he says he is working on a TV show called "Bowling for Sh*t" It was a total bit; we never had any intentions of it sticking. The only two other names we considered were "sizzle chest" and "rubberneck", both taken from the first Jerky Boys' album. A band we are now friends with from Dallas, The Toadies, released an album called Rubberneck right as our first show was booked and we had to make a choice. So we went with Bowling For Soup with every intention of changing it....and never did.
What is in your SXSW festival survival kit?
Really all we need is beer and ice. Everything else is a bonus! It is nice when the showers actually work, but we are all savages. After you do Warped Tour, you learn that showers are not really that necessary -- we did it twice! Dry shoes are also great and a water proof jacket in case it rains. But again, ice and beer...That's all we really need.
What kind of mischief do you get into out on the road?
We are fairly tame. We like to drink. We like to have fun. We will streak from time to time. Back in the day we were a lot worse. We once threw an entire hotel room out of a window and set it back up in the street during a snow storm. It looked so funny out there, we watched it all night! We don't really do those types of things anymore.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
I guess it would be Kelly Clarkson. I love everything she does. I like a lot of the pop chicks that are out now, but she is by far my favorite. It helps that she is from Dallas and liked BFS before she was old enough to drink! Breakaway is just a perfect song
The Beatles or the Stones?
The Beatles. I LOVE John Lennon. I never really bought into the Stones, but I have a lot of respect for what they do and have done. But the Beatles were the perfect band. And to me John Lennon was the greatest that's ever lived. I know that's a bold statement....but f*ck it!
What's the craziest thing you've experienced on tour?
We've seen a lot of sh*t! We once had two girls come to our merch tent and pee themselves, giggle and then walk away. It was 110 degrees, can you imagine the chaffing? Holy crap!
What is your biggest achievement so far?
There are too many to narrow to one! Grammy nod in 2003 is a biggie. But we have seen the world multiple times. We are heading to China again this summer. We have sold out tour after tour in the UK. Had a top 5 hit. Sold almost 2 million records...I feel like I am bragging, but you asked! [laughs]
What is the hardest lesson to learn?
Everyone's a critic and you can't please 'em all. It was a while before I could read 100 messages that were positive and not be totally bothered by the 1 that wasn't. Maybe if we just say, "No Hablo Ingles" [title of one of their songs] the negativity will go away. One person that hates you for no reason or is pissed because your show isn't all ages or thinks your an a--hole for playing the town 20 miles away but not in their town can make a lot of noise. I am a really nice guy and thought for years that I had to please everyone. It was a hard nut to crack, but I think I have accepted that someone is always gonna have something negative to say. I just tell them to "suck it" now...Maybe for some high school never really ends.
If a band is just starting out in this genre, what would you tell them?
Go back to schoo! Run for your life! Ha. Really, I would just say "have fun". There are just no guarantees out there and this industry is not a nice place to be at times. Surround yourself with people you like, because vans are small and they get smaller every day. Get a MAC! Ha.
Anything else you would like to share with the fans?
I also just want to say "Thanks" to anyone reading this! I am so lucky to be able to make music for a living and play songs everyday! Believe me, I never take it for granted. Also, thanks for interviewing me. Hope to see you all very soon!
Kay Balbi is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.