Interview With Bowling For Soup - 15th April 2010
Photo Of Bowling For SoupBen caught up with Erik Chandler from Bowling For Soup before their acoustic show in Manchester to talk about how the acoustic show idea came about, what the future holds for Bowling For Soup and so much more.

You are currently on an acoustic tour of the UK, whose idea was it to do these acoustic shows as opposed to your normal shows?
Erik Chandler: We actually do these in the States quite a lot, especially at home in Texas. We proposed the idea of just to come over and do a couple of promotional things back in 2007, but the promoters didn’t have any kind of concept of what it was that we were talking about! So then we came over on our last tour in October of last year and we sold VIP tickets, and the VIP’s got a thirty minute acoustic set before doors opened, that’s when everyone saw it and kind of got the idea. It started off with two to four shows and tickets started selling very quickly, so we were like, “well, we’ve got a lot of very interested venues, let’s just make this a full tour!”, so it kind of came about very organically. Once we got everyone on this side aware of what it is that we do it came together very quickly.

How will an acoustic show differ from a full band show, other than the obvious?
Well, they’re a lot more intimate, we’re playing in smaller venues. If you’ve ever seen a Bowling For Soup show then you’ll know there’s a tonne of crowd interaction, well there’s a lot more of it in the acoustic set. We’re playing a lot longer than we do with the full band, I’m not sure how long we have tonight because we’re going on a little bit later than we normally have, but we’ve played two hours forty five minutes on this tour whereas you only get an hour and half regularly. We’ve got a really good opener, Bob Schneider, it’s really crazy to think he’s opening for us, he’s kind of Texas music royalty right now. Austin is the live music capital of the world, so the Austin Music Awards are a really big deal in the States and he just took home twelve out of twenty catagories, so you know, it’s that kind of calibre of dude that we brought with us. He’s going over amazingly every night, everybody seems to really enjoy his stuff.

How does it differ being on tour just the two of you?
Well, there’s a lot more room! With Bob, there are only eight people out with us and normally on a UK tour there would be about sixteen people. So there are a lot more places to sit in the dressing rooms, we’re not quite as crowded! It’s weird, being about a week into it now we’re kind of starting to miss the Gary and Chris factor and the other members of our crew, it’s not just the band, but the crew were all super close.

Are acoustic tours something you’d like to do more of?
We’re having a really, really great time doing this one so far and I think we’re already talking about maybe coming back next year for something. We’re going to try and see if we can just up it a tiny bit and see what we can do to make that bit better. This is actually the longest acoustic tour we’ve ever done and the only one we’ve done outside of Texas, so this is kind of a first run for us and we’re working out the kinks as we go and it’s been going just amazing!

So when you write songs, do you write them acoustically and then develop them into full band songs?
Most of the songs start off on acoustic, so that helps with the transition of breaking them back down into acoustic songs. In fact, there are a couple of songs that we’re playing that we’ve never played outside of the studio as a band because there was just so much involved in the studio that as a four piece we couldn’t bring as much to the songs, but playing them acoustically and breaking them down that much more means that they transcend and you can play them better. So we’re doing a lot of stuff that we honestly don’t play as a band. Jaret and I worked up sixty songs that don’t include any songs from our Sorry For Partyin’ album, so we’re digging through a lot of material. We have a song book with cheat sheets, because a lot of the stuff we haven’t even touched in twelve years!

You celebrated your fifteen year anniversary last year, did you ever think you’d be in the position you are in today back then?
Absolutely not. We just wanted to play music and drink beer together, that was the thing that got us together. It’s really mind blowing for us. That was a really special time because we’d just recorded our tenth album, it was our fifteenth year as a band and at that point you start thinking about it logistically and you’re like, ‘okay, we’re gonna make it to twenty years!’, and who gets to say they’ve done anything for twenty years, let alone keep four musicians together for that long?

How have you changed in the fifteen years as a band?
We’ve got a little older, put on a little weight! I think we’re all better musicians and better song writers now. On the opposite side of that everybody’s got their home lives now, so that’s probably calmed us down just a little bit, not too much, but we’re not throwing shit over the balconies anymore. But we’ve not changed enough to say that we’re mature!

Where do you think you will be in fifteen years from now?
In fifteen years I will hopefully be back in Texas, a year ago I moved to South Carolina and hopefully in fifteen years I will be back in Texas, in Austin still doing the occasional Bowling For Soup stuff and probably working on solo stuff at that point as well.

You are often perceived as a band that don’t take themselves too seriously, is this something that annoys you?
We are very serious about not taking ourselves seriously! So that doesn’t annoy us at all. There are so many bands out there that are just so on about themselves, I can’t even describe it, I don’t know what words to use! But people just get these attitudes that they don’t deserve or even if they deserve them, they don’t need them. Most of the time when we meet bands it’s like, we’re all out here doing the same thing and everyone gets down for the common struggle, but every once in a while you come across a band who are like, “oh, we’re just us”, and you just think, ‘dude, get over it’. We did a festival last summer with REM and we got to have a word with Mike Mills and he is just really super down to earth, they’re a band that have done it all, they’re as big as you could possibly be. When they did their deal with Warner Bros, I think it was the biggest record contract ever to date at that point, to still have that love and enjoyment of what you do is awesome.

You must take yourselves with a certain degree of seriousness though, to get to where you are today?
Oh yeah, we do! But then at the same time we’re still just doing this to have fun and we’ve always said that we’re going to do it until it isn’t fun anymore, but it’s still a blast and we still love it very much. People kind of see us enjoying ourselves a bit too much for some people’s tastes and they think that that’s a bad thing, but I’m thirty five years old and I’m in a band that gets to play all over the world, I don’t have to go and sit in a little box in an office and stare at a computer screen all day long. We’re really, really lucky and we’re very happy about that – so we live it to the full extent, because we can.

What have been your highlights throughout your 15 year career?
Well, turning fifteen was definitely a highlight. Recording album number ten was a highlight. In 2003 we were nominated for a Grammy. This is kind of a small personal victory, but the Dallas Observer is a magazine that notoriously hates our band because we’re not the people with the attitudes, therefore we’re not valid music or whatever. Anyway, they’d never written a good review about any of our albums or anything like that and they have a music awards that are voted on by the readers and we won single of the year, so that was a nice little “fuck you!” to them! There are tonnes of things that happen every day, the biggest highlight I’d say for all of us is that we just get to do this, we get to hang out with our three best friends in the entire world every day and get to go make rock music every night.

Any regrets?
Not ones that I can talk about in print! No, I really don’t, I regret a few names that I don’t remember, but other than that, no not really.

You’ve said that you start work on a new album this summer, what can we expect?
We’ll be recording in June, the material is being written right now and we’ll get hardcore into the song writing when we get off this tour. It’s going really well, the last few albums we’d gotten really experimental in the studio and I think we’re going to dial that down just a bit and do it a little bit rawer, kind of back to the Drunk Enough To Dance era of Bowling For Soup. We’re going to do it quickly, cheaply and raw. We’re going to leave in the mistakes. This was a way we’d always kind of done things and as we started getting really good at recording in the studio we found all these other things that we could do, which is great and I love those albums, but we’ve done that for three albums, so we’re going to go back and do thing a little differently because we haven’t done it in a while.

You spend a lot of time away from home, what do you miss when you are on tour?
Mexican food, proper Mexican food! We don’t eat Mexican food north of Texas because it’s just not the same! You can eat it in California but that’s a different kind because they have the coastal Mexican influence and Texas has the interior influence! We were in Portland, Maine with another band from Texas called Dynamite Hack in 2000 and the guys at the venue we were playing at were like, “Oh, there’s a great Tex-Mex place right across the street!”, but we were in Portland, Maine and we all wanted Maine lobsters, but there was nowhere open. So, nineteen guys from Texas walk into a Tex-Mex joint and sit down and I don’t think one of us finished what we ordered, it just wasn’t right! Last time we were over here we went to Barburitto and that was really good, if we can find one of those in a city we will eat there. It was the guys from Zebrahead who introduced us to Barburitto, we went there for lunch and ended up going back there for dinner!

You have a dedicated fan base all over the world, but is there anywhere that you always love to go and play?
Manchester is our favourite city hands down in the whole world to play, I know that’s cliché to say in the city that we’re in! But this town has always been the best to us from the very beginning, this is always the first show on the tour to sell out and it’s always the biggest crowd. We shot our live DVD here, it was hand picked, we knew that would be the show to capture live on tape. We love this place.

Other than a new album, what does Bowling For Soup have in store for the rest of 2010?
We will be back doing a couple of festivals in the summer, we’re doing Wireless in London and NASS in Bath, which is a skateboard type music festival. We’re still waiting to hear back from a couple of others but we did get the offer to do Download this year, which was a fantastic spot and the money was good, but we’re in the studio and to come over to do just one show would take us five days altogether, that’s a whole week of recording that we could be getting done, so it just didn’t make sense this time. In October we will be back doing a full band headline tour which will be longer than this tour, we’re talking about adding about four or five dates to our regular schedule and going to some smaller markets and smaller venues and towns that don’t really get a lot of things coming through.

Interview By Ben Connell
 Band Members
Jaret Reddick
Erik Chandler
 Band Members
Bowling For Soup - Sorry For Partyin
Release Date - 12th October 2009
1. A Really Cool Dance Song
2. No Hablo Ingles
3. My Wena
4. Only Young
5. I Don't Wish You Were Dead Anymore
7. Me With No You
8. Hooray For Beer
9. America (Wake Up Amy)
10. If Only
11. I Gotchoo
12. Love Goes Boom
13. I Can't Stand LA
14. Belgium Polka
15. I Just Wanna Be Loved (Bonus Track)
16. Walk Of Shame (Bonus Track)
 Band Related Links
Bowling For Soup Myspace