Arguably one of the friendliest places on the planet and famed for its legendary hospitality and overall awesomeness, it’s no wonder that Bowling For Soup are from ‘The Great State of Texas’. Sure it’s a big place, but it comes with a big heart and it’s one this happy go lucky rock band carry all over the world wherever they perform.
Singer Jaret Reddick, bassist Erik Chandler, guitarist Chris Burney and drummer Gary Wiseman, have all shared a journey that is fast approaching almost two decades of laughter and smiles but most of all, infectious song writing, hard rocking tunes and the happiest live shows you’re ever likely to witness – no argument! Bowling For Soup have come a long, long way (and sank quite a few beers) since forming in the small town of Wichita Falls, Texas, back in 1994 and have since managed to spread their enigmatic musical net all over the planet, giving millions of fans a taste of that Lone Star State fun.
Learning their trade and finding their own niche would be difficult at a time when the musical climate was in serious shift. ‘We were just the stereotypical, small town guys with nothing else to do – starting a band to keep ourselves out of trouble.’ recalls Reddick looking back. There was certainly no current trend to follow, every other band seemed to be genre jumping to try and catch ‘the next big thing’ without even knowing what ‘the next big thing’ was, leaving the members of Bowling For Soup with no option to just go out and have fun. Brought up on a heady diet of 80s John Hughes Movies, LA Hair Metal, Steve Martin comedy routines (which spawned the band’s name) and hook laden punk rock, BFS hit the ground running on the simple blueprint – Be themselves, have a good time and pretty soon, everyone else will join in. It worked!
Almost twenty years later, a dozen or so albums, movie soundtrack appearances and even becoming their own cartoon characters in a hit Disney series is hard to criticize. This is no flash in the pan, gimmick band. Certified hit singles such as the Grammy Nominated ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ and the US smash hit ‘1985’ over consecutive releases, back to back, more than proved this. Even since leaving their long time relationship with Jive Records in 2009, the band have been able to form their own cottage industry, recording and releasing albums on their own terms and producing promo videos through singer Reddick’s own video company, Built By Ninjas – perhaps the most impressive being the poignant mini movie to accompany the song ‘Turbulence’ from their recent ‘Fishin For Woos’ album. Reddick reveals that whilst not having the financial backing of a major label, being out on their own has a more longer lasting reward, ‘We’re in control of everything now. If we decide we wanna do something, we just do it – we don’t need to ask anyone’s permission. It also makes you feel super proud when you do something yourself and it’s a success’
Nothing seems to be slowing down this power pop juggernaut. 2012 sees the band taking their thirtieth trip overseas (that’s 3…0) to the UK for what is sure to be another smash tour, proving once again that they don’t necessarily need a single on radio rotation or Top Ten video to bring in the crowds. ‘I think the UK audiences just get us. Our fans are just amazingly loyal and get our humor. We owe all of the UK our entire career!’
These hardcore fans keep coming back time and time again because they know they’ll get the best of both worlds with a Bowling For Soup live show. They can always count on the great songs and comedy banter but each show is individually tailored to what happens in the venue that night. No set list, no scripting, just an undeniable on-stage chemistry between four best friends who can just turn up to play and see what happens! I guess that’s as punk rock as you can get?!
Today their live crowd is the most varied cross section of music fans you’re likely to find at any rock concert. What may have began as spiky haired, skateboard short wearing teenagers at a Vans Warped Tour Show has somewhat changed. Those fans are still there but don’t be surprised to now see the occasional middle aged rocker who picks up on the numerous Mötley Crüe references dotted within the songs, and even parents with their children can be seen singing along, no doubt thanks to the band serving up the theme tune to the hit Disney cartoon ‘Phineas & Ferb’ – quite literally the most heard cartoon theme on the entire planet! Everybody LOVES Bowling For Soup – it’s plain to see!
‘We felt like we’d accomplished all we wanted to do after ten years and now it’s nearly twenty! How lucky are we?’ Jaret admits in astonishment.
Regardless of whether they’re entertaining a sell out Pop Punk Crowd, US Troops on an aircraft carrier in the Middle East or if they find themselves sandwiched between Thrash and Emo bands in a muddy field at a Rock Festival, Bowling For Soup continue to go out and simply do what they’ve always done best – Be Themselves! You’re more than welcome to join in!