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Bowling for Soup


High School Never Ends


by Jay S. Jacobs


Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 16, 2007.


Bowling for Soup came from deep in Texas, a raucous party band who loved pop, punk and metal.  The band – lead singer Jaret Reddick, guitarist Chris Burney, bassist Erik Chandler and drummer Gary Wiseman – made a specialty of funny, catchy, blistering rock and party-hearty live shows.  They struggled on the Lone Star bar scene for years of indie releases when a track called “Bitch Song” caught interest and got them signed to major label Jive.  This led to their first real national notice – garnered with the 2002 single “Girl All the Bad Boys Want,” which became a minor hit. 


However, Bowling for Soup really exploded in 2004, though, with the album A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.  They climbed the charts with the first single, “1985” – which told the hysterical-and-yet-tragic story of a former 80s metal chick that somehow ended up an unhappy soccer mom in the oughties.  The band's outcast tunes “Almost” and “Ohio (Come Back to Texas)” also caught the attention of radio and cemented their rep for funny, angsty pop-punk.  Not only that, the group’s hysterical videos made them a regular presence on what little is left of music television.


In 2005, they released a surprisingly good stopgap album of soundtrack cover versions called Bowling for Soup Goes to the Movies.  They applied their sloppy frat-boy style to such diverse tunes as Ben E. King’s “Spanish Harlem,” Modern English’s “I Melt With You,” Matthew Sweet’s “Sick of Myself,” Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” and even the theme from Gilligan’s Island.


Now, they are finally releasing an official follow-up to Hangover.  The Great Burrito Extortion Case may very well be their most diverse album yet, and was previewed by the infectious single “High School Never Ends.” 

Lead singer Jaret Reddick was nice enough to chat with us about the band's career and their latest album.


How did you originally get into music?


I always liked music, but really it was just what I heard from my parents and my older brother.  Then one day in the sixth grade, my friend played me “Crazy Train” by Ozzy [Osborne] on his walkman and I was freaked out.  I couldn’t believe what I heard.  That summer, Shout at the Devil [by Mötley Crüe] and Out of the Cellar [by Ratt] came out, as well as Metal Health [by Quiet Riot] and I was freakin’ hooked.  I was too fat for spandex, so death metal was a true blessing…


How did the band come together?


We all played at a coffee house that Chris ran – in different bands.  I loved Erik’s voice.  Chris and I started drinking beer together one day and it all sort of just happened.  It was amazing how we all clicked right off.


Your first indie release was called an EP called Tell Me When to Whoa!  You also indie released Rock on Honorable Ones!!!  How did you hook up with Jive?


We had a song called the “Bitch Song” that got on the radio after releasing four records in Dallas. We got accepted to Atlantis music festival in Atlanta.  It was a fluke.  The CD got passed to the right guy and three months later, he was in Denton TX, watching us at a sold out show.  Freakin’ weird how you work for something so long and then it just happens.  Then, you REALLY have to work!  I’ve never been as poor as I was the two years after signing with Jive.  That is the God’s honest truth…


In 2002, “Girl All the Bad Boys Want” suddenly got played all over radio and MTV, got a Grammy nomination and even was in the Britney Spears movie.  What was that like to break so big?


It was strange to have people at the shows all of a sudden… but for the most part, nothing changed.  We took it all in stride and just kept doing our thing.  It’s wacky to think about.


Then a couple of years later, you wrote “1985” with SR-71 and you exploded to a whole new level, with that single making the top 10 and then “Almost” and “Ohio” also getting a lot of airplay.


Yes.  That was a fun record to write and it did great for us.  My kids will thank me when it comes college time!


In “Ohio (Come Back to Texas),” you say “the Bush twins want you back.”  Does Texas want the Bushes (daughters, daddy, even Barney) back?


I think it’s time we all admit we like Barney.  Man, I have kids and that freakin’ guy sings some catchy ditties!  It’s funny how the “not-so-hot” Bush twin is the hot one now – but kinda confusing.  I’m not touching the daddy thing.  I’ve seen that Dixie Chicks documentary!


One of the band’s specialties is your videos.  The one for “1985” is hysterical.  I also enjoy your vids for “Almost” and “High School Never Ends.”  Who comes up with the ideas?


Not one of us in particular.  Usually me, or Chris will have an initial idea, and I will run with it with the director.  It’s a fun, grueling part of the process, but we make the most of it and just try and make it fun.


“High School Never Ends” is sort of an interesting twist on the theme of “1985” and “Ohio” – the inability to let go of the past, though in the new song it’s more enforced than self-imposed.  So in the big high school of life, are you a jock, nerd, stoner or cool kid?  Do you think people can jump cliques?


I think cliques are there for a reason, but people can break away.  I think they make a special gum for that.  “High School Never Ends” really isn’t about shaking the past or anything like that.  It’s more about how social and interactive politics and situation start to really climax in high school and never go away.  I found myself having a conversation about Britney Spears with another dad from my kid’s school this past Sunday.  As bad as I didn’t want to be in the conversation, I surprised myself with how much I knew about her.  She’s a classic example of how high school never ends!!!


What kind of “Epiphanies” have you had in making the new CD?


Dogs are no fun when they drink beer.  Mexican food is the new pizza.  Diet Dr. Pepper really does taste more like regular Dr. Pepper…


It’s funny that you can do a song called “I’m Gay” and not make it about sex at all.  Why do you think that people can get so reactionary about totally innocuous terms like that?


It’s an age old problem.  George Carlin talks about it a lot.  They are just words and people don’t give enough credit to context.  This is a great example, the word “gay” has meant happy since the beginning of the English language.  Or at least soon after the language was created…  I’m cool with words having a double meaning.  I like to throw people for a loop and then offer them a stick of gum.


You have a tendency to mention celebs in your songs – Reese Witherspoon, Joan Jett, Bon Jovi, Val Kilmer are just a few on the new album.  Why do you think people are so fascinated by them?


High school NEVER ENDS!!!  It rings true always.  Learn it… Know it… Love it!!!


“A Friendly Goodbye” really had to go out of its way to avoid cursing, were you toying with the warning-sticker people?


Ha…Toying with so many things in my head on that one…  But, I really did once have a girlfriend that got pissed if I cursed.  Dates were like dinner at Grandma’s.  I had to always consider my words.  Slip ups meant no kissy kissy!


In the album, when the songs turn to love, a lot of the relationships are in trouble or dying like in “Why Don’t I Miss You,”  “A Friendly Goodbye,” “Luckiest Loser” and “Lovesick Stomach Ache.”  As a songwriter, do you find troubled relationships more interesting than happy ones?


Yes.  Happy love songs always seem to teeter on corny or sappy.  The whole “everything’s gonna be alright” thing is so over played out…  Break-up songs are interesting because we have all had more unsuccessful tries at love than we have successful.  Thus, everyone can relate, and you can make them happy, sad, funny, true, or all of the above…


Is it a fine line to tread as a rock band with a real sense of humor?  So many others take themselves way too seriously, and yet you don’t want to be overlooked as a novelty.  Is that a line you keep in mind when recording?


No.  I think if you are sitting on the sidelines, watching us play the game, I can understand how you might see us as a novelty.  But if you actually listen, its easy to understand…  We are in this because it’s fun, but some of the songs have some real depth to them.  I don’t mind either way.  There is absolutely no way to make everyone on the planet understand what we are about.  Some people would fight our attitude like the plague because they want their music to be heavy, or angry, or meaningful, or whatever.  We are just trying to get free drinks and see a boob every once in a while. 

One thing I like about the band is that you are hard, but you aren’t afraid to have a tune.  A few years ago it was something of a sell-out for a rock band to have a melody.  Why do you think the world is so ready for more melodic rock? 

Because deep down – we all wanna sing along.   And we all do, even if not out loud.  We are all singing.  That’s the reason I stated this band.  Singalongs are fun.  Just don’t fall into the campfire… 

Nowadays musicians have so many more ways to reach out to their fans, the forum on the official site, your MySpace page.  What is it like being able to communicate with the fans like that?


It’s amazing, but overwhelming.  Everyday there is another site that is reaching out to music fans that we need to try and grasp.  It’s not easy, but it’s cool, because you can actually talk to some dude that really only likes one song, without him making a hellacious effort to find you.  Technology is your friend…


Have you ever had a sinister urge to write a “Wind Beneath My Wings” or a “Feelings” and how do you battle it?


There was a video game called SINISTAR when I was a kid.  It was fun.  I like both of those songs you mentioned.  I may make “Wind Beneath My Wings” my new official Karaoke song! 

Radio playlists are so regimented these days.  You used to be able to hear rock, pop, country and soul on the same station and that just doesn't happen anymore.  Do you think that can make it tougher for a band to find an audience? 

I think it is just forcing more and more people to the internet and to other outlets.  It’s sad really.  I liked radio when I was a kid.  Now, I listen to CNN, or a friend’s CD. 

In the end, how would you like people to see your music? 

Fun.  Real.  Conscious.  Breathtaking.  Mindbending.  Funny.  Delicious.  Purple. 

Are there any misconceptions you'd like to clear up? 

Yes.  We aren’t really fat.  We just have small heads!

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Photo Credits:
#1 © 2006. Courtesy of Jive Records. All rights reserved.
#2 © 2006. Courtesy of Jive Records. All rights reserved.
#3 © 2006. Courtesy of Jive Records. All rights reserved.
#4 © 2006. Courtesy of Jive Records. All rights reserved.
#5 © 2006. Courtesy of Jive Records. All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 16, 2007.

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Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 16, 2007.