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From Steve Martin to High School Drama: Bowling for Soup celebrates life’s funny side

article by Olaya Barr
photography by Tori McCarthy

Bowling for Soup is one of the most emblematic power-pop-punk ensembles of my generation. In October 2011, the band released a three-track single which included the new single "I've Never Done Anything Like This," featuring Kay Hanley on vocals, as well as a re-recorded version of "The Bitch Song" and a cover version of the all-time favorite "Stacy's Mom". High-energy, playful, and stoked for the release of their new album, Fishin' for Woos, I was able to ask some questions to lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Jaret Reddick, as the group goes on tour.

Jaret Reddick | Bowling For Soup

It’s been more than 15 years since you guys formed a group. What’s changed since you formed?

Not much really…at least musically. We have all grown up a bit as people….had some kids, got better at playing our instruments and at songwriting. Okay, now that I think about it: everything!

I associate y’all with music about high school crushes, drunken fervors, burritos, pop culture; it’s all quite nostalgic for me. The group achieves a great balance between honest humor and subtle emotions. Are these subjects still close to your heart?

Totally! 80s music, TV and movies...All of the above.

I got to admit, I’m a sucker for “1985” and “Girl All the Bad Guys Want”. I know angsty and fun pop-punk is strongly associated with the early 2000’s; with your new album, are you aiming for a new sound, or bringing back some of that early 2000’s feel?

We were definitely reeling it back in, trying to simplify a bit. We just wanted to make a "simpler" album. Once we got there, it was hard to stick to the plan. Ha! You are always finding some gadget that makes a sound that could "change the song"...We put the gadgets down for the most part on this one.

Favorite single of BFS?

"When We Die." That said, I love them all...

A memorable hit was “High School Never Ends”...still believe it?

It is truer with every passing day...And I hear from people all the time! Literally, yesterday, a teacher told me she used the song in her lectures because of the trueness of it. Pretty cool.

Bowling For Soup

What are the band’s influences right now and favorite contemporary bands?

I like everything, especially a lot of the newer bands that came from our genre. Every Avenue and Artist Vs Poet are probably my favorite...But I also love the Avett Brothers and MGMT...I like it all, man!

Best punk band of the past, punk band of the present?

The past : The Ramones. The Present: Rise Against.

In “Dear Megan Fox” you sing a lot about reality TV and the rich, the famous, the superficial. Are there famous people you whole-heartedly admire?

Probably the normal ones that everyone else does. The ones that do their shit and go home. And use their fame for good every once in a while. Not that I feel like that has to be super public, but we all gotta give back. I respect everyone that is successful at what they do, but I, like everyone, get really confused when someone is famous for being famous...

I read that your band name derives from a Steve Martin comedy act?

Very true!- Wild and crazy guy! The reference is to an act where he is in the white suit with the rabbit ears. He is doing a bit and talking about a TV show he is working on called "Bowling for Shit"…That was gonna be our name, but you can't print that in all the newspapers in a small town! Our first show was a citywide "family" event, so we kinda had to decide then...We changed three letters and forever locked ourselves into the Bowling Alley Food Drive business!

Jaret Reddick | Bowling For Soup

Have any of the band members felt like it was time to settle down?

I think Gary and I feel that the most, because we have young kids. It gets harder to be gone, especially when you are far away and can't communicate. But we all still love what we do, we just have to plan ahead and make sure we plan on home time.

Do your kids enjoy having rocker dads?

I think they thought it was normal for the most part: "Yeah, that's my dad on the radio. Let's Tinker Toy it up!" But I think they see how big the Phineas and Ferb thing is....They deal with all of it very well.

Oh yeah, your biggest project outside Bowling for Soup has been working with Disney's Phineas and Ferb. What’s the difference between real life and cartoon life?

In cartoon life, you can eat all you want and get hit in the head with a hammer and there is zero consequence. In real life, you can not.

You guys are trapped on a desert island: you can bring ONE CD! What is it?

Descendants: Sommary

Lastly, what is THE best thing about being in a band?

Free shoes.

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