Bowling For Fun

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

With upbeat, punk-pop tunes, Bowling for Soup’s music is pure fun.  The band’s guitarist, Chris Burney, describes it as “like being licked by seven puppies,” and singer Jaret Reddick described their most recent album as “the happiest collection of songs ever put on a CD.”  The music industry itself has recognized the band with a Grammy nomination in 2003 for the single “Girl All the Bad Guys Want.”  With recommendations like these, Tuesday’s show at the Catalyst Club looks set to be a good time, guaranteed.

Interestingly enough, Bowling for Soup never set out to be a Grammy-nominated band selling hundreds of thousands of CDs.  The band began quite humbly in a coffee shop in Wichita Falls, TX, in 1994.  Chris Burney ran the coffee shop while attending Midwestern State University, and was also in a band with bassist Erik Chandler.  The band played at the coffee shop in the evenings, as did drummer Gary Wiseman and singer Jaret Reddick in their own bands.  Then fate stepped in:  “It was just a case where all the bands dissolved at the same time,” said Reddick.  “I wanted to start a band that was a punk-rock Beatles.  So we all got together over a beer and worked it out.”

After putting out two self-produced CDs, the band relocated to Denton, TX, where they quickly found themselves to be a popular local act.  The band signed to a small Denton-based label and released two more albums.  The second release for this label, “Tell Me When to Whoa!” spawned a local hit single in “The Bitch Song.”  The single was picked up by several radio stations and caught the attention of Jive Records, home of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

Bowling For Soup signed to Jive, and the band’s next two CDs were big sellers with several hit singles between them, including their Grammy nomination.  “It opened a lot of doors for us,” said Reddick.  “Now we’re no longer known as the fat guys from Texas.  Now we’re the Grammy-nominated fat guys from Texas!”

The band’s third release on Jive is 2004’s “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.”  The album’s seventeen tracks include the catchy “Almost,” a song about life’s near misses, and the first single, “1985.”  The latter is, of course, a tribute to the music and culture of the 1980s.  “The eighties were really influential to me,” said Reddick, “and everyone thinks they’re outdated, but you know what? We’re outdated too.  We just disguise it well.”

Remembering the good times in the 1980s fits in well with Bowling for Soup’s manifesto – good times are exactly what this band is all about.  Says Reddick, “It was never like ‘let’s start a band and be real musicians.’  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?  If you want to be angry, this is not the album for you.  If you want to smile and have a good time and think about chicks and beer, this is your album.” 

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, January 13, 2005

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