Friday, June 14, 2024

Bowling for Soup’s Jaret Reddick – Youthful Stupidity

Formed in 1994 in Wichita Falls, Texas, the American rock ensemble Bowling for Soup features Jaret Reddick on lead vocals and guitar, Chris Burney playing guitar with additional backing vocals, Gary Wiseman behind the drums, and Rob Felicetti handling bass guitar duties as well as contributing backing vocals. Renowned for their hit tracks like ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want,’ a rendition of SR-71’s ‘1985,’ alongside ‘Almost’ and ‘High School Never Ends,’ they have carved out a niche in mainstream music. Additionally, Bowling for Soup gained recognition for lending their musical talents to create the opening tune of Disney Channel’s animated series Phineas and Ferb.

We caught up with Bowling for Soup’s frontman, Jaret Reddick, to talk about comedy in music, generational gaps, and all sorts of other topics ahead of their set at Download 2024.

RAMzine: This is Lamestream Lydia, we’re here talking to Jarret Reddick from Bowling for Soup, bowling on behalf of Soup if I remember my lore correctly. How are you doing? 

Jaret: I’m doing great, thanks for having me.

Jaret Reddick | Photo by Chris James Ryan

RAMzine: There have been a lot of places to catch you in England this year, you just did the tour with Less Than Jake, which we were there for. Which was a wonderful time and my first time seeing you guys. 

Jaret: Awesome man, we had a great time. Anytime you put our two bands in the same building it’s gonna be a great time and that tour couldn’t have gone any better. So I’m glad you caught one. 

RAMzine: The big one we are looking forward to is that you’re going to be back here (in the UK) for Download Festival! 

Jaret: We are indeed! We’re very excited to be back at Download for the first time in about ten years. It’s been a minute!

RAMzine: You’ll have a lot of people who were there from back then coming back with their kids which has to be a weird sight?

Jaret: Yeah, we’ve been together for thirty years so it’s kinda something we see. Bringing the next generations to shows has been happening all along the way so we’re in our third and fourth generations in some cases. People bringing their sons and their daughters and their sons… We’re very lucky in that we have a very loyal fanbase so that does seem to be a recurring thing. 

“Youthful stupidity is a good name for an album” 

RAMzine: It’s hard to say this without it seeming like an insult but you still have that youthfulness. “Youthful stupidity” is what I called it in the article.

Jaret: I don’t take offence to that, that’s sort of what we do. We found our groove pretty early in starting the band and realised that’s who we were and what we did and I think there was a time in pop punk where all of us were kinda like that; and some people went in other directions and made amazing music. For us, I don’t really know that anyone needed a political record from Bowling for Soup. I don’t know that anyone all of a sudden needed us to have an opinion on a bunch of stuff and all of a sudden try and have substance to everything. We’re a band that you go to for a good time, whether it’s putting us on in the car or when you’re exercising or at dinner or wherever it is, if you’re coming to a show we’re there to make you smile and make you have a better day. That became our identity really quickly and so I take that as a compliment. Youthful stupidity is a good name for an album. 

RAMzine: Coming 2025…

(Everybody laughs).

RAMzine: So, would you consider yourself a comedy act or just an act that has comedy in it? You take the joke seriously in constructing it but some people are not really into being called a comedy act.

Jaret: Yeah, I don’t mind it. I think we’re a band that does comedy. The songs are certainly structured but everything else we’re doing on stage is ad lib, I’m sure some stuff gets recycled if it works but really we’ve never been one to rehearse our banter because we would find that boring. I certainly understand bands choose to do that in making it to where everything goes off without a hitch and you’re up there and you do your show and you do it perfect. For me, it’s more about the blunders that make the show interesting and fun for us, it’s somebody stumbling over their words or penning themselves into a corner on a topic and then feeling the wrath of the other guys. I think that’s just part of who we are. I would think we’d be just as much of a comedy act as would Blink 182 or The Barenaked Ladies. Probably more of a band that also does comedy, NOFX, that kind of thing. When streaming became a thing, when the original iTunes first came out I remember you’d have to be all these genres and you’d have to put a subgenre or whatever. Just put comedy, why not? I think if one of our subgenres was comedy it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. 

Bowling For Soup | Photo by Chris James Ryan

RAMzine: It’s funny that you talk about subgenres because it’s a very musical thing, it’s not something you usually connect to comedy. I wouldn’t even know how to quantify a comedy genre. 

Jaret: I guess you can do it though, like there’s prop comedy and observational comedy and there’s the storytellers, Kevin Hart does a lot of that, he tells stories. There’s the guys that are like Mitch Hedberg or Steve Wright that do one liners, so I think you could probably figure out a pretty easy way to put subgenres in comedy. Oh and there’s musical comedy, there’s guys that stand up and make funny songs, Adam Sandler does a lot of that. So yeah, I certainly wouldn’t mind being classified as a funny artist, I think the problem with it is if you considered us a comic act then we’d be putting ourselves up for a review of our jokes and to me, that gets away from why we’re all there. We really are there to play songs but comedy is just a bonus but certainly for some people, it’s the reason they come to see our band. 

RAMzine: To be honest, I didn’t know much about what you were like live. I just knew about you from your music videos. Even from growing up, I didn’t have a lot of the references, I just knew you were the guy with the hat who got beat up by clowns.

(Jaret laughs).

RAMzine: I was like “who are those guys?” and then I grew up and listened to music.

Jaret: It’s funny because you were young enough not to get the references, I was just a guy in a hat and there were clowns. At the time, when we made that, it was Fred Durst getting beat up by Slipknot but I can certainly understand you’re a younger guy and you haven’t watched those videos. That’s funny, I’ve never heard it put like that, that’s really good. 

RAMzine: That’s also a good point about writing reference humour, if the joke stands on its own then you don’t need the reference but the reference makes it a lot more colourful. 

Jaret: 100%, I think that’s a good point. If you’re just thinking about the ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’ video and you don’t know that I’m spoofing an actual video from Staind, you certainly know that I’m spoofing one of those types of bands and the jokes all still work. Because I’m sitting on a toilet, that’s funny and it’s funny because they’re always in pain and they look like they’re in pain and he’s having a painful poop. But if you get the context you know that we’re making fun of the Staind video that was all over MTV at the time. You couldn’t get away from it which is why we chose that video and makes it that much more funny. 

Great point, when the bits stand on their own like in the ‘Almost’ video for example, we’re making fun of or perhaps paying tribute to Old School, the movie. When we’re doing all the things like the fencing and the soccer and all that stuff. That video stands on its own because it’s just funny but if you get the fact that we’re spoofing Old School, that’s just a bonus. 

RAMzine: I haven’t seen many of your very new music videos, do you have a different approach to it now? Thanks to the internet, all bits of information are available to you at all times so if you’re harping on something that’s happening right now, the joke just gets beaten to the ground. 

Jaret: Man, another fantastic point and you’re so right. It’s hard to make a TikTok these days, my wife is quite a bit younger than me and she’s pretty aware of trends and things on TikTok – I am gonna answer your question – but to me, it starts out at this level of how fast things happen. Someone will send me something and say “You should do this trend and you should do this video” but people were doing that four weeks ago and they’re gonna think you’re way behind and I’m like “Four weeks!?”. But you’re so right, all that does get beaten into the ground, I guess for us, the last several videos have just been something that stands alone. We did our ‘Killin’ ‘Em With Kindness’ video which features the character Super Rob, which we have a comic book about, that’s our bass player. We have ‘Getting Old Sucks But Everybody’s Doing It,’ that one was us as puppets and then we had ‘I Wanna Be Brad Pitt’ which we took literally about just this dude who wants to be Brad Pitt. Yeah, you can’t really do that whole thing, honestly, we’d sort of done that anyway. I feel like we’d done a couple of spoof videos in a row and it was getting a little bit tired so we tried to stay away from that since those videos but every once in a while, I could see that it might creep back in because we are a nostalgic band topically. We talk about movies and things like that but yeah, new material-wise, we have to do things that stand alone because it does still take a while to get things out into the world and quite frankly, that’s a detriment to you if you’re trying to do something that’s in the news right now. 

RAMzine: You’ve been a pop-punk act since the inception of pop punk, a lot of people would argue that you’re one of the more important acts in the genre, including myself. How are you feeling dragging out all these younger acts like the Vandoliers who we saw on the tour?

RAMzine: We’ve always been fans of music and we’re fans of our friends that make music so honestly, it’s never been about taking out another pop punk band or taking out another pop punk band that we think is gonna break. It’s about taking out who we think is gonna make the night great like the Vandoliers. We were like “look, it’s us and Less Than Jake, they’re the kings of ska punk and we’ve obviously been around in the pop-punk world for a long time. We’ve sort of got those two things covered, let’s do something different and let’s take the Vandoliers.” You see them on the road with Flogging Molly and it makes a bit more sense and I’ve always tried to do that. Keep things where there’s a largeness to what we’re doing and not everything sounds the same on the night because I think that could get boring quickly. As far as up-and-coming pop punk acts, I love watching it happen. It’s super cool to me that we all kinda started doing this in the 90s and then it popularised in the early 2000s and then had its dip and now it’s back and nostalgic and all of us that have been around a long time are touring on albums that are 20-25 years old and doing 30-40 year tours. It’s cool that there are still people out there that are kids flying the flag and creating new music and coming in under that umbrella so yeah, I really just love when somebody really means it, when it seems natural and it’s not forced and I think fans ween that out pretty quick. 

RAMzine: There’s the 20-year cycle of people finding music from 20 years ago and because there’s so much out there to elaborate on, it’s becoming really unique and different from where it started. 

Jaret: I agree, you have a lot of the younger bands are bands that heard this music in the car with their parents and it’s not unlike when I was a kid and all of a sudden all these bands came out that were more of that 70s rock n roll or even the wave before pop punk with bands like The Strokes and bands that sounded like that. That was probably around a 20-year gap, late 70s stuff that they were throwing back to. Pretty interesting how it all comes down but yeah, I think you have nostalgia kick in and you’re 15 listening to somebody and you’re listening to them every day, you sort of get into your life in your 20s and you still sort of listen to them every once in a while but at the same time it’s like “I’m also doing this and now I’m getting a job and now I’ve got kids”. 20 years later, you’re 35 and you’ve kinda got your life at least sort of going in the direction it’s gonna go and the band’s celebrating a 20-year birthday and your like “Hey man, this is an important part of my life. I’m gonna go celebrate that”. I think that’s a big part of it too. 

RAMzine: There are kids getting younger finding that too. I was a little past it when Phineas and Ferb came out which threw me off when I saw you. I was like “wait, I know this one!”

(Jaret laughs).

Jaret: And you didn’t really know that was us? 

RAMzine: I didn’t, it kind blew my brain a little bit. 

Jaret: It’s funny to watch the audience because, frankly, most people coming to see us know. The majority of those coming to see our band follow us on social media and follow our career. Again, I’m not saying everybody which is interesting because there’s Dale [journalist name Lamestream Lydia], in the audience and you’re like “well, I know this band” and I start singing this song and you’re like “this sounds awfully familiar” and you’re like “is that them!?”. Then you can see people talking to each other around being like “they actually do that song” so yeah, it’s a bit mixed but I’ve probably said this because I’m in and out of that bit but sometimes I’ll say “this is our biggest hit” and it kinda is. It’s definitely the biggest song we do. 

RAMzine: It was a great time and I’m very much looking forward to seeing you back on stage at Download. This is gonna be my first time ever going to Download so if there’s any advice you wanna issue to me or anyone else going for the first time… 

Jaret: Everybody hydrate, use the loo as early in the morning as you can and like I said, hydrate because beer doesn’t really count. Drink some water and make sure you’re taking care of yourself and have a freaking great time. You don’t get lists of bands like it, Download really does know how to do it having that list of bands every day. It’s an awesome experience. 

RAMzine: You’re on the Saturday, I believe.

Jaret: We are on Saturday, I think that’s right. 

RAMzine: Cool, that was a good guess.

(Jaret laughs).

RAMzine: Totally meant to do that. 

Jaret: Good job! 

RAMzine: Anything else you wanna add? 

Jaret: Nah, I’m good. Just everybody check out Bowling for Soup tour dates, we might have some more coming pretty soon there in the UK. I’m just very grateful to be doing this as long as we have and still having opportunities to come over there and play shows for you guys so we’ll see you at Download! 

RAMzine: We love you Jaret! 

Jaret: Love you man, really awesome interview, thank you brother! 

Lamestream Lydia
Lamestream Lydia
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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