I sat down with Jaret and Eric from Bowling For Soup at The K West Hotel in Shepherds Bush last week. Bowling For Soup, a band from Texas, finally returned on a full UK tour, playing old hits for their beloved fans.
Can you tell me how you first met?
J- Chris used to run a coffee shop, well a shop with a coffee pot in there but what it was really like a teen centre, a place where people could go and hang out and stay out of trouble and then over a course of a couple of years it became an all-ages music venue. Chris ran that and booked bands, we basically met there but I had known Chris growing up! When I first started putting the band together, I had asked Eric to be in it because I wanted both of us to be lead singers and he was like “We could be the punk rock beetles” and Eric was like “that’s cool but let’s just not put Chris in the band”. I had been doing so many bands with him, I was in bands with these dudes for the last three years and I wanted to do something with different people and the guy we had in mind decided to go off to college and Chris and I ended up at a rehearsal one day, we were messing around and Eric was like this is great and it was, the first time we all got together, we knew it was something special and it was, we knew that something cool was happening.
Can you describe your music and how do you think it evolved over the years?
E- It started out as what we considered, actually it’s tough to put our finger on it because we were chasing something that we had not really heard before, we are from Texas but we sounded like we were from California, nobody sounded like us. It was really hard putting us on bills because we were the only band pretty much in Texas doing that so we were put on bills with SKA bands, super hard punk rock and we just didn’t fit in. We had some trouble finding our element but we took our influences from people like The Ramones and then rock bands like Cheap Trick, we were really not funny at first, it didn’t really start to be funny until we started doing our second album and that’s when the lyrics started to turn. That’s when it became the direction of my voice in lead singing and it started to shape around that and that’s when we found ourselves. It takes a while to develop your personality as a band as well, even beyond the music, the show portion started to take shape where we were becoming more comfortable with each other on stage and knowing what to do.
You’ve been a band over 20 years what’s been your proudest moment?
J- that’s a tough one because there is so many, I mean the Grammy nomination was really awesome! We’ve toured the world many times; I think hitting the 20 -year mark was really special as not a lot of bands get to be together for 20 years.
Do you write songs together or as individuals?
J- That really evolved over the years, Eric and I would bring in songs, We wrote a few back in the day and now it’s more like I bring them in but I do some cover acts with some other writers! The writing aspect is completely different now, technology has made it like that, we use to have to get together and write the songs, somebody might have some input here but now I can make demos in my house that sound better than our first album and so it’s not necessary as everybody gets to do their own parts but I think we have a really good formula.
Looking back to when you first started is there anything you would change?
J- Absolutely not because I wouldn’t want to change where I am now, I have one regret is when high School never ends was a single, I let them pull that from Radio and move to when we die too early and if somehow I had just thrown a fit, I think that song would have been a huge hit as it’s our second most popular song and it did not do great as the plug got pulled on it but that said We like where we are in our life now, we like where our band is and to be honest if anything had gone any differently we wouldn’t be sitting here!
Out of all the gigs you have played is there any that stand out?
E- There is several that stand out, Download 2007 and Download 2014. There have actually been some really good ones like when we played our first Reading and Leeds Festival, we played on a side stage and nobody knew who we were, that actually was our first time playing in this country and we decided to have a walk round to check stuff out and a girl came up to us and was like “Oh My God you’re from Bowling for Soup” and I was like how the hell do you know who I am as that doesn’t make any sense and then it was like that for the rest of the day and by the time we were on stage we couldn’t see the end of the people, it was pretty crazy.
You have played lots of festivals is there one that’s your favourite?
J- I think Download festival, its kind of the best we have played I mean it’s hard to beat that just simply for the sheer numbers of the people who attend and all the different kind of music.
Who has the worst habits in the band
E- Yes Chris, he is a savage but we love him for it and no one else is allowed to talk about his bad habits.
Your bring out a live DVD of Brixton, will we see a lot of your old music and is there going to be any surprises
J- Yes lots of surprises, lots of old music for a lot of people it will be the album that really introduced them to our band in this country and for a lot of people it will be an album that’s older than them but our set is amazing and there a lot of stuff going on, it’s a special tour that’s for sure.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
J- we have a couple of tours in the United States coming up; we are also going to South Africa in March! We are touring Texas in April and we are also doing warped tour as it’s the final one in the states and hopefully some new music but that remains to be seen what that would be.