Bowling For Soup
The punk group consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Jaret Reddick, guitarist/vocalist Chris Burney, bassist Erik Chandler, and drummer Gary Wiseman. The group really began to jell in 1997 when a heavy touring schedule helped broaden their fan base and landed them opening spots for nationally prominent punk and ska bands. The following year, they recorded a debut EP for the local FFROE label, titled Tell Me When to Whoa!; by now, their base of operations had been moved to Denton, TX, the site of the label's headquarters as well. Later in 1998, Bowling for Soup issued its first full-length album, Rock on Honorable Ones!!!; both it and its predecessor proved popular around the state and the band ended up scoring a deal with Jive/Silvertone. For their 2000 major-label debut, Let's Do It for Johnny!, Bowling for Soup re-recorded some of the best songs from their indie records and added a few new tracks, including lead single "The Bitch Song" and a cover of Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69." Two years later, the band released Drunk Enough to Dance.
The Beatles. Carlos Santana. Norah Jones. Bowling For Soup. Musical heavyweights, yes. But what do these acts actually have in common? They've all been nominated for Grammys. Yep, Bowling For Soup, the drunk-rockers from Wichita Falls, Texas, scored a nomination in 2003 in the Best Performance Pop By a Duo or Group category for their power-pop Sing-a-long "Girl All the Bad Guys Want."
"It opened a lot of doors for us," admits BFS's frontman Jaret Reddick, who wore an unforgettable pale-blue tux to the event. "Now we're no longer known as the fat guys from Texas. Now we're the Grammy-nominated fat guys from Texas."
The Grammy’s are just part of the continuing success story for the band with the unforgettable name. The group actually started out all the way back in 1994 in Wichita Falls, Texas, without any notions of succeeding. At the time, guitarist Chris Burney and bassist Erik Chandler were in a band that frequently played a local coffee shop (conveniently owned by Burney). Drummer Gary Wiseman was also in a group that frequented the store, as was Reddick. "Really, it was just a case where all the bands dissolved at the same time," says the singer. "And I wanted to start a band that was a punk-rock Beatles. So we all got together over a beer and worked it out."
At the time, Reddick, Burney and Chandler were attending Midwestern State University, and had no intention of doing anything more than making music for fun. "It was never like 'let's start a band and be real musicians,’" remembers Reddick. "We got together in '94 because we discovered beer. Beer is really fun! And what better way to get free beer than being in a band? You'll notice that's been a recurring theme for the band over the years."
After relocating to Denton, Texas, Bowling For Soup continued to load their concert riders with outrageous requests for alcohol and suddenly found themselves to be a popular draw. Perhaps it was due to their undeniably catchy pop hooks, or their love of old-school metal, or maybe it was the band's goofy charm.
After putting out 2 albums on their own in Wichita Falls, their third record, 1997's Rock On Honorable Ones!!, sold a whopping 10,000 copies on a tiny Denton-based label. Their fourth release, Tell Me When to Whoa!!, also on the Denton based FFROE Records featured the "The Bitch Song", which got some local radio buzz and helped the band eventually land a deal with pop heavyweights Jive Records, home to Britney Spears, NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. "When we were signed, we were sort of the ugly stepchildren of the label, but that was OK," says Reddick. "Besides, I got to meet Aaron Carter a couple of times, before and after puberty"
Since signing to Jive, the band's career has taken off. 2000's Let's Do It For Johnny and 2002's Drunk Enough to Dance have sold over 300,000 copies and spawned hit singles, including "The Bitch Song", "Punk Rock 101" and "Girl All the Bad Guys Want." The band has also popped up on the Warped Tour, opened for Blink-182 and Sum 41, made a big splash on MTV and, well, been nominated for a Grammy.
OK, so they lost. But joking aside, the nomination DID open a lot of doors. Before the group started recording their third record for Jive, A Hangover You Don't Deserve, Reddick created a wish list of songwriters and producers he wanted to work with, including members of Fastball, Nerf Herder, Sugar Ray, the Nixons, SR-71 and Butch Walker, their longtime producer. Thanks in part to their Grammy nod, everyone said yes.
"The Grammy’s, that's all everyone I worked with wanted to talk about," admits the singer. But he can't deny how the new collaborative process helped out the group. "I think working with other people helped me learn a lot about where I am musically," he says. "And here's what I really learned - if you need a silly song written about a girl, I'm your guy."
That said, the 17 tracks that make up A Hangover You Don't Deserve show off a remarkable amount of musical growth. That's growth, not maturity. Take the opener, the destined-to-be-huge "Almost," which is on the surface an addictive power-pop declaration of failed love and life's near-misses. Catchy, yes. But it also contains possibly the best worst rhyme ever written for a rock song ("I almost got drunk at school at 14 / I almost made out with the homecoming queen / who almost went on to be Miss Texas / but lost to a slut with much bigger breast-es"). Insists Reddick: "That's going to be the song people dig."
But that doesn't mean the other 16 tracks, or the two hidden bonus tracks, can be ignored. The first single, "1985," is an irresistible slab of bubblegum New Wave that fondly recalls the days of The Breakfast Club, Springsteen, Motley Crue, and pre-Kabbalah Madonna. With its rotating list of Eighties icons, the song comes off as a funnier, updated take on REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It" or Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire".
"The Eighties were really influential to me," says Reddick. "And a lot of people coming to our shows are fourteen or fifteen, but their parents are barely in their thirties. And everyone thinks they're outdated, but you know what?" He laughs. "We're outdated too. We just disguise it well in Dickies." As usual, there are some odd twists to the song, including the fact that it was really supposed to be about 1984. "That's true," admits Reddick. "But 1985 rhymes better with 'preoccupied,’ so there's the song."
The album also features a few emotionally earnest tracks, including the pretty ballad "Ridiculous" and Reddick's ode to his band, "Friends O' Mine." "When you're sitting around talking about getting your heart broken or hanging with your buddies, every once in a while you hit on a real experience," says Reddick. "It's just a different part of us. I always tell people even if you think you don't like our records, there's always something on there that you'll dig."
"If you want to be angry, this is not the album for you," says Reddick. "If you want to smile and have a good time and think about chicks and beer, this is your album."
Five Fun Facts About Bowling For Soup
Eighties Metal Band They Most Resemble: Motley Crue. "That's because we drink a lot," says Reddick. "Our radio guy at Jive took us out four years ago, and afterwards he's like 'man, you guys are a lot like Motley Crue, but you drink a lot more and you don't get chicks.'"
Band Name Origin: A takeoff of Steve Martin's "bowling for sh-t" routine on his 1979 classic comedy album Wild and Crazy Guy.
Best Bowling Score: "Actually, we're all terrible bowlers," says Riddick. "We did a local Bowl-a-thon a few years ago, and we were picked to win because of our name. I think Chris bowled a 70."
Favorite Soup: "I'm not a soup eater," admits Reddick. "But Chris loves the Wisconsin cheese soup. And I do like minestrone. But isn't that more of a stew?"
So Why Aren't They Called Bowling For Stew: "Because that would suck."
Jaret Reddick speaks about good time
Bowling for Soup lead singer Jaret Reddick was on the "Tonight Show" set Monday, preparing to tape the biggest TV appearance of the band's 10-year life.
He'd just watched a bunch of "really, really cute" arctic foxes ---- appearing as the lead-in to the group's live rendition of its hit single "1985" ---- and realized that appearing before Jay Leno that night was just more gravy lopped onto a career that unexpectedly turned into a gravy train three years ago.
The Wichita Falls, Texas, group of beer-guzzling college buddies saw their tour support ceased by its record label in 2001, but wanted to hit Europe at least once before everything folded in.
"We hadn't made a dent over here. We were playing for eight people here and seven people there, trying to sell enough T-shirts to eat," he said. "At the time, we had a couple of songs on Radio One. We did 100-200 capacity clubs (in Europe) and they were packed. We saw more people than we'd ever seen in one place.
"I never thought we'd do this, but I get it. I know why we did well in the U.K. when we did. They were ready for someone to not take themselves so seriously. And we wanted to go because we didn't ever think we'd get to go back."
Less than a year later, the band was getting major American airplay with the song "Girl All the Bad Guys Want." It ultimately landed them a 2003 Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group. They lost to Orange County's No Doubt, but that evening ---- dressed in the matching powder-blue tuxedos ---- Bowling for Soup reached a certain pinnacle. It's one that's typically unattainable for guys who jones for '78 Trans Ams like those from "Smokey & the Bandit" and who make savory pop-punk songs that are telltale salvos, explaining that there's nothing grander than having more fun than you should.
"They will answer the phone when I call now. It's great," Reddick said of his current relationship to the band's record label.
All of the pop culture that Reddick crams into every one of Bowling for Soup's songs is simply a sampling of the trove he's stuffed into his head from a very early age. Some of that trivial entertainment knowledge led to the awkward band name. The idea of bowling for something was lifted from Steve Martin's 1978 "Wild and Crazy Guy" comedy album and soup attained permanence when the original band broke up and its drummer told the audience at the final show to come see Bowling for Soup play in a month.
"I think where it came from was, when I was about 4, my mom set me in front of a TV and I didn't get up until after I graduated from college," Reddick said of his pop culture prowess. "If you need a quote from 'Real Genius' with Val Kilmer, I'm your man."
And it's all about the good time ---- the revelry and the cold suds. Every night they claim will be a recovery night, only to have it escalate into the party of the century.
"I think there are aspects in our lives where we are grown up, but we don't take a lot of things very seriously. Especially things in basic life," Reddick said. "I learned pretty early on that you have to laugh at yourself. Things can get bad quick and really suck. We sort of make our own bed. People who are miserable create that misery around them."
But those are other people.
Bowling For Soup Digital EP
Bowling For Soup offers exclusive digital EP on iTunes.
On Your Mark, Get Set...Smoke a Cigarette" –- the new digital-only EP from Bowling for Soup -– is now available exclusively at the iTunes digital music store. The "On Your Mark" EP was released December 21 and features three unreleased songs called "Somebody Get My Mom," "Lil' Red Riding Hood" and "Bipolar." The Bowling for Soup EP costs $2.97 or $0.99 per song.
Bowling For Soup Goes Acoustic
BFS in online Rolling Stone Original acoustic set. Bowling for Soup has recorded a live, acoustic set for Rolling Stone Originals. The set features Bowling for Soup frontman Jaret Reddick and bassist Erik Chandler performing the songs "Almost," "Two Seater," "A-Hole" and "1985."
Other artists currently featured in a Rolling Stone Originals concert include Papa Roach, Jadakiss, The Libertines and Tears for Fears.
You can watch the Bowling for Soup mini-concert online at www.rollingstone.com
Bowling for Soup on ''Almost''
Bowling for Soup to release "Almost" as second single.
Bowling for Soup will release "Almost" as the follow up to the band's current hit, "1985." "Almost" will be the second single from Bowling for Soup's latest album, "A Hangover You Don't Deserve."
Frontman Jaret Reddick tells MTV, "It's another fun little number, but it has more of a mature sound to it. It's more of a play on words than anything. It's pretty out there." Reddick explains, "It's all telltale. Miss Texas isn't from our town. Miss Wichita Falls was, though. The idea is all these things that almost happened."
But Reddick admits singing "Almost" has its challenges. "Man, 'almost' is really hard to say a bunch of times over and over."
Bowling For Soup moves away from pop punk toward pop rock
Jarett Reddick is pondering what he might be able to take from NBC Studios. He is waiting in a dressing room at "The Tonight Show," a couple of hours before his band Bowling for Soup is to perform.
"This is the biggest TV audience we've ever had, so we're excited," the frontman and guitarist says, reached Monday afternoon.
So it makes sense that a token should be gotten, to remind him of this monumental occasion. He hasn't seen couch guest David Spade - the comedian is yet to arrive - but he has seen "the animal lady" and her arctic fox, so the celebrity elbow-brushing has begun. And someone has been sent for beer (a mysterious "they"). But what to steal?
A water glass with Jay Leno lip marks on it is suggested, but Reddick dismisses the idea as creepy.
"That's getting too weird, like the time our hotel room got broken into in Florida, in Corpus Christi, and (guitarist) Chris' underwear was stolen," he says.
Even though Reddick says he's relaxed - I don't get nervous, he says - watching the minutes pass before getting on stage must, at the least, be surreal. Just three nights earlier, one of his heroes performed in that very space.
"I worshiped Tommy Lee because of his drumming," says Reddick, who drummed as a teen and loved everything by Mötley Crüe (even "Theatre of Pain"). "I always equate the metal of the '80s with the rap of today. They all had the bling bling, the cars and the clothes... . Back then, to me it all seemed so real."
Reddick did come away with some dirt that he's excited about: "Apparently Vince Neil said the f-word, and it went out live to the West Coast."
Bowling for Soup was much cleaner when it performed "1985," the first single off "A Hangover You Don't Deserve," the band's third album for Jive Records.
It is the four-piece's super-polished follow-up to "To Drunk to Dance" (sensing a theme here?), the 2002 record that offered the Grammy-nominated "Girl All the Bad Guys Want." That song was written by Reddick and Butch Walker (formerly of Marvelous 3), and the 2004 outing finds Walker co-writing, along with Mitch Allan (SR-71) and others.
"A Hangover" was much more spontaneous, Reddick says, because of its relatively quick turnaround time.
On past records, I'd be writing for a long time. With 'Drunk Enough to Dance,' I had written that in the back of a van over the course of a year. And with this album, I had nothing to start with, and I did that on purpose. I started with no material," Reddick says.
Since "Girl All the Bad Guys Want" had been Bowling for Soup's biggest song to date, an increased number of collaborations made sense to Reddick and Jive.
The album finds the band moving away from pop punk more toward pop rock. This may seem like a splitting of generic hairs, but it's shrewd and timely that BFS is expanding its sound. No genre is the favored child for long, and pop punk seems to have topped out with Good Charlotte, Simple Plan and - the cherry on top - Green Day, who are poised to sweep the Grammys.
Reddick would prefer you to just call it a rock band, mostly because he's tired of being lumped in with Green Day and Blink-182. Not that there's anything wrong with them (some of my best friends are pop punkers ...), "but it's not really fair... . We're kind of silly, they're kind of silly, it's just that we're a different kind of silly."
Blink-182, for instance, might not consider lifting cue cards from "The Tonight Show." Although if those work out, Reddick has a Plan B: "maybe an arctic fox."
Bowling For Soup rolls into fame with fun music, ‘Gilligan’ charm
When Bowling for Soup were invited to record the theme song for the TBS reality TV show “Gilligan's Island,” singer Jaret Reddick says he thought it was a joke. But he quickly found out it wasn't.
“They had pretty much decided that they were going to use us from the start,’’ Reddick says of the network. “It was exciting for us because that was my brother's favorite TV show as a kid and I had pretty much grown up watching it myself and drooling over Ginger and Mary Ann.’’
Aside from the show, Reddick says that the band — who were nominated for a Grammy in 2003 for best performance pop by a duo or group for their power pop-punk singalong “Girl All the Bad Guys Want” — have been staying busy performing at radio station holiday shows where they've shared the stage with a diverse array of artists.
“We were always the go-to guys because we pretty much go with everything and we can always adapt to our environment,’’ Reddick says. “So sometimes opening up for LL Cool J isn't the worst thing in the world for us.’’
The group is also in the middle of a headlining tour in support of their latest album, “A Hangover You Don't Deserve.” As on their previous releases, the band peppers their new songs with amusing lyrics. The single, “1985,” reflects on the spandex-wearing, hair-metal ’80s era.
“1985 was adolescence for us,’’ Reddick says. “Those were the movies we were into. That was the music we were into. If you hang around Bowling for Soup long enough, you start to think you're in a John Hughes movie because that's how we all talk. That time shaped us.’’
Reddick says comedy has always been a part of the band's performance.
“When we started out 10 and a half years ago, we played as a cover band and a rock band,’’ he says. “When we would play for four hours (as a cover band), sometimes so we would play our own music, too ... We really weren't that great of musicians so we started doing magic tricks and jokes and anything really that would just pass the time.’’