Music: Bowled Over


Bowling for Soup’s Jaret Reddick talks to Jason O’ Mara about being a party band, getting to know their fans and a rather large phallus

Bowling for Soup are often dismissed as a joke band. The band itself, consisting of members Jaret Reddick (vocals, rhythm guitar), Erik Chandler (bass), Chris Burney (lead guitar) and Gary Wiseman (drums), do little to play down this image.

The music video for their single ‘My Wena’ features a woman dressed as a giant penis and their songs often include topics such as their love of beer. However, when speaking to Reddick, it becomes clear that despite the humour in their songs and playful atmosphere of their live shows, Bowling for Soup’s members are serious about the band and their fans.

When o-two speaks to Reddick, Bowling for Soup are approaching the end of their tour and the schedule seems to be quite intense: “We’re doing eighteen shows in eighteen days so we’re all pretty ready to go home I think.”

Despite this, when asked about his thoughts on the tour, Reddick enthuses: “It’s been amazing. It’s always great when we tour this part of the world,” before exclaiming: “Anyway, we’re in Ireland now!”

Judging by the crowd that attends their show later that evening, Bowling for Soup definitely have a strong fan base in Ireland, even though it is likely that many of those in attendance have had few opportunities to see the band previously. Reddick explains: “It’s a different promoter over here. So [for] a few tours that we’ve done, we’ve had to leave Ireland out, and kids get pretty mad at us, so we’re excited to be over here. Tonight is sold out, tomorrow is sold out, so it’s exciting.”

The members of Bowling for Soup are very aware of these kids. They have embraced the internet as a means of communicating with them and have given these fans a method of interacting with the band itself through Twitter, blogs and podcasts.

“It’s interesting, because I see fans in the crowd that I actually feel like I know because, whether it’s someone who tweets me all the time, or who follows me on MySpace or whatever, or comments on things that I’ve put out there,” he says. “It’s pretty interesting, because fans have so much access to you now. But you have to put it out there, because that’s the way the world is these days.”

For their current tour, Bowling for Soup also allowed fans to vote online to choose which of three rare songs they would play live. In relation to this poll, Reddick admits: “They actually picked the one that we really wanted them to pick. We would have played any of the three though.”

When asked about the use of humour in their music and the importance of keeping things fun for the fans, Reddick says: “We’ve always been a sort of a fun party band live and we’ve wanted to stick to that. A lot of bands that started around the same time as us that sort of had that formula have gone on to do other things and some of them great things.” But does he see Bowling for Soup following the example of these other bands?

“I feel like Bowling for Soup is collectively the four of us. It is what it is, so we definitely don’t plan on making changes”.

During the summer, Bowling for Soup celebrated their 16th year as a band. On the subject of his fondest memory of their career thus far, Reddick is non-committal. “There’s way too many to even mention. We’ve toured the world; we’ve been to China, we’ve been to Australia. Over in the UK and Ireland, we’ve done twenty-two times or something like that. So I can’t even pinpoint one, but it’s been an amazing ride.”

After 16 years and ten albums, it must be difficult to choose a set list for concerts? “This tour we’re doing most of the singles and just throwing in some various stuff; some fan favourites, one new song.” But Reddick is definite on his favourite song to play for fans: “Still ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’. It’s definitely the fan favourite. It’s a really fun song to play on guitar and the audience reaction is always so great.”

Bowling for Soup had stated that they would be releasing an EP this year, but recently decided to bring forward the release of an album instead. When quizzed on the status of the album, Reddick explains: “It’s done. There are still a few songs to mix, but all of the songs have been recorded. Basically just sorting out some label stuff, who’s going to be putting it out here and who’s going to be putting it out in the States.”

With such a heavy workload of touring, recording and keeping up to date with fans it is clear that Bowling for Soup are not a joke band. They clearly take what they do seriously, even if what they are doing is incredibly fun.

Bowling for Soup’s new album will be released next spring.