Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Interview: Bowling For Soup

You may only know them for one or two songs, but believe it or not, Bowling For Soup have been going for 17 years and have released a staggering 11 albums. I spoke to frontman Jared Reddick before their show at Bournemouth's O2 Academy about life in a middle-aged 'fart joke' band. 

You guys tour a heck of a lot. Do you ever get bored of it?
I mean you get homesick, and more often these days than in the past years because we’ve all grown up a little bit and got families. But now it’s more about just touring whenever it makes sense and not trying to stay on the road for twelve months a year, which in the past is something we we’ve been known for. Bands that we’ve known for years who tour a lot think were crazy because we tour a lot. So I think that says something about our work ethic. But we still enjoy being around each other, still enjoy playing the shows and doing our thing so hopefully we can continue for quite some time.

Are there fewer parties on your now that your older?
No, in fact I think that’s why people think were nuts. We tend to turn it up a little bit. When we get away from home we go a little crazy. You never know what to expect with us!

New single ‘Turbulance’ is one of you’re more serious heartfelt songs. Do you ever get tired of being known as a silly comedy band? 
I wouldn’t say I really get tired of us being known in any way, just because it’s kind of cool that people know who we are, whether they know us as the fart joke band or whether they know us from Phineas and Ferb. But its one of those things where sometimes people hear the song ‘Turbulance’ and they’re like ‘well this is very different from Bowling For Soup’, but its really now. I mean we’ve released eleven albums and on each of the albums there’s one or two ballad type songs. But I suppose in the past those aren’t the songs that have gotten the attention so I wouldn’t say that we take offence to it or anything like that because we do sort of act the way the more funny songs are. So I think it’s fine that that’s where people’s brains are. I mean as a songwriter it gets a little bit difficult because I’d like to, and I do, write all kinds of different music but I’m kind of forever known as the beer song fart joke guy. So its nice to have songs out there and actually hear people say ‘ok, well that’s quite a departure for him as a songwriter’, that feels good.

You’ve covered Fountains Of Wayne's Stacy’s Mom as the B-side, what made you choose that song to cover?
Well quite honestly, ever since that song came out a very large part of the population of the planet think that Bowling For Soup does that song. And it’s one of those things where we’ve been playing shows for years and years and people hold up signs that say ‘Stacy’s Mom’, and we’re like ‘we’re not the ‘Stacy’s Mom’ band we’re the ‘1985’ band’. And so I think we just got to the point where it was like if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. So now if you’re like ‘My favourite song by Bowling For Soup is ‘Stacy’s Mom’’ then people won’t think you’re an idiot. They’ll go ‘oh, I like that one too’ or ‘that’s a really nice cover song’. Either way, you’re fine. So I’ve basically just taken care of a large part of the population that’s been wrong for years, and I’ve made them right.

Bowling For Soup have done quite a few covers over the years, is there one that’s your particular favourite?
I still really like the ‘Summer Of 69’ cover, which was one of the first ones we ever recorded. And live we do Cheap Trick’s song ‘Surrender’, which I really like. But it’s always nice to take somebody else’s song and put your own little spin on it. Except for when we did the song ‘Ghostbusters’, they really wanted us to stick to the script. But for the most part on all the others we’ve been allowed to put our own little twist on it and that’s always good fun.

You’ve been together 17 years now, what has been the highlight of your career?
It’s really hard to say. I mean to be honest if you know anything about our band, we’re definitely not that band that rocketed to the top and we didn’t get recognised overnight so we’ve had a lot of experiences and had a lot of really nice things that have happened to us. A lot of highs and not really a lot of lows to be honest, which I think comes from not getting out there too fast. Because then you don’t really come down quite as fast. So for us I think there’s just too many to name. We’ve seen the world multiple times, we’ve met a lot of people and done a lot of amazing things. So to tie it down to one of them would be impossible for me.

Is there anything left to do that you havn’t done yet?
I think its just matter of taking it as it comes. Continuing to enjoy it and as it becomes less fun, maybe do it a little bit less. But right now it’s still a lot of fun and we’re all doing other things musically. As side projects come along and family things come along, it makes Bowling For Soup more exciting to come back to. So we’re just going to forge ahead and take it as it comes.

You split from Jive Records in 2009, who are you with now and how is it going?
We’re on our own label now called Que-So Records and its going great. We’re allowed to do things now that we couldn’t do in the past. 'Fishing For Woos' came out in April and it’s done great, especially considering that we did everything on our own. Were able to go into the studio and do things like ‘I’ve Never Done Anything Like This’ which is or new single Then we went in and re-did ‘The Bitch Song’ and we did the cover of ‘Stacey’s Mom’ and we can just go in and do it and release it and there’s not somebody there telling us we can’t. We’ve got a new Christmas album coming out soon and we’re re-releasing our first three albums so it’s really nice, just content-wide to have nobody blocking you. We just decide we’re going to something and we do it. That’s probably been the biggest change for us and definitely the biggest benefit.

You’ve made quite a name for yourselves in the world of TV and movie soundtracks. What has been you’re favourite project of that nature to do?
Those are all a blast. I mean anytime you’re associated with a television show or movie it’s awesome because it’s just cool to be in a whole other world but still be in your element musically. But I’ve got to say the biggest one for us, and the most fun still, is Phineas and Ferb. It’s great that we’re the theme for that and they’ve animated us in the show and we get to go and write songs with those guys all the time. Also, in the show, I play a character called Danny who sings for the band Love Handle. It’s just been a blessing for me and for the rest of the guys for sure.

Is the Bowling For Soup documentary still going ahead?
I think we will eventually do it. What happened was, it became a time thing. We split from Jive Records about the same time that we had thought about doing this and so it became more about just regrouping and getting new music out and getting back on the road than it did about doing the documentary. I think we will do it eventually, the shooting of it would only take about two days. So I think it might be something that we do next year or the year after. 

You and Erik have an acoustic side-project and have toured the UK the last couple of years. How is that going?
I mean that’s not really as much of a side-project as it is an extension of Bowling For Soup, it’s a different way to present the songs and a little bit more of an up close and personal show to present to the fans. It’s something that Erik and I have been doing for years and years in the States and just tried it a couple of years ago in the UK and it went great. It’s not something that were just excluding the other guys from, or that they feel excluded from. It’s just another thing that Bowling For Soup does. It’s enjoyable because we can play pretty much play any song. In Bowling For Soup when you have to do it as a whole band it takes a little bit of preparation at least. We’ll hopefully be back in April again. 

Was it strange to perform without the rest of the band?
No it feels natural because we’ve been doing the acoustic thing almost as long as we’ve been doing the full band thing so. Bowling For Soup has been together since 1994 and I think Erik and I started doing the acoustic thing in 1996. It’s two different things but at the same time it’s the same songs just presented in a different way. But it’s the same sort of vibe as the other shows so I think the transition works pretty well.

What’s next for Bowling For Soup?
Well after this tour my new band People On Vacation, which I’ve been doing on the side, will release our first EP. And then Erik will have a solo album come out. Probably the next thing for Bowling For Soup will be the acoustic tour in the UK in April and then the full band will kind of get back to work next summer, whether it’s some summer touring or starting to work on new material. I’m not really sure yet how that’s gonna go. Really we’ve been hitting it pretty hard since Fishing For Woos came out, so we’re gonna finish the tour, take a nap and then get together and regroup.   

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