Interview: Bowling for Soup

Earlier this year, Texan pop-punkers Bowling for Soup returned to Scotland as part of a UK-wide tour to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their Drunk Enough to Dance album. Ahead of the release of the DVD of the tour, which was recorded during the band’s show at Brixton Academy, AAA caught up with bassist Erik Chandler to find out why they decided to return to touring and what it’s like to be in one of the music industry’s most infectiously upbeat bands.

You recently returned to touring internationally, three years after announcing your farewell tour. Why did you decide now was the right time for you to come back with another Get Happy Tour?

We wanted to tour again to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our fourth studio album, Drunk Enough to Dance. During the initial Get Happy Tours, in the UK and in America, we played a lot of songs from the album and our fans have been asking us to do another tour with our old friends Army of Freshmen for years now. We reached out to ask them if they’d be interested in hitting the road with us again and everyone said that they absolutely would. Army of Freshmen are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, too, so it made sense for everyone to celebrate with a big tour.

Why did you initially decide to cut back on touring internationally?

For all of us, the whole idea behind our farewell tour wasn’t to quit touring altogether. We just needed some time to go home to Texas and figure out how to continue doing this whilst maintaining our sanity and keeping our home lives intact. For a few years, we all had to deal with some serious issues at home and we just needed to take a break to sort everything out.

When you’re not touring or preparing for a tour, how much time do you dedicate to Bowling for Soup?

My work with Bowling for Soup is quite sporadic as we’re never really off but, equally, we’re not always on. Things sometimes go quiet for a couple of weeks at a time but, generally, we’re always working on something related to the band. Everyone has other projects going on, too, but Bowling for Soup is always a priority.

We all live in the Dallas area now which makes things easier but technology has really changed the way we work. It’s so easy to throw something down and share it with everyone in a matter of minutes which is great.

Over the years, you’ve had a tremendous amount of success in the UK. Have you ever had the chance to share that with your family and friends from back home?

Occasionally we do. Back in 2003, I decided to bring my sister over to see us perform at The Reading and Leeds Festivals to celebrate her graduation from university.Jaret’s wife joined us on our most recent tour and my fiancee has also travelled to the UK to go out on the road with us. It would be really cool if I was able to bring my Mum over to see us play one day – she’s never been to the UK and was really jealous when my sister got to come and see us play to such a big crowd.

You’re set to celebrate your 24th year as band in June. What do you have planned to mark the occasion?

We’ll actually be doing the final Warped Tour in the states. We played the Warped Tour at Sea cruise in October last year which was an amazing experience so I’m really looking forward to working with them again. They’re changing the model after this year so it’s no longer going to be a travelling rock show. I think over in the UK you guys do a great job of putting on festivals as they stay in one place for a few days meaning they are less of a headache in terms of production and costs.

A few years ago, you mentioned you were working on filming a documentary about the origins of Bowling for Soup. Is a film still on the cards?

It’s kinda been shelved for now but we still talk about it regularly and would all really like to do it. I think it just comes down to the fact that the time just hasn’t been right for us to do it yet. At several points, the project has started to move forward but we haven’t quite managed to get it off the ground. I still think it’ll happen at some point.

Words: Amy Anderson

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