Bowling For Soup's Jaret Reddick Talks His Band's New Album, New Label and What It Was Like To Have One of His Songs Played in Space

Categories: Interviews
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Jason Janik
Bowling for Soup in a lake? Why not?
In the wake of their recent split with Jive Records, the record label home to such artists as Usher, Justin Timberlake, Cage The Elephant, and Britney Spears, Bowling For Soup could have very easily slipped into a tumultuous time of uncertainty. Instead, the band maintains that they're actually in quite a good spot at the moment. That's because, these days, they have more creative control than every before, thanks to the launch of their own label, the humorously named Crappy Records.

And, this week, the band finally took advantage of owning their own label. They just released their 11th studio album, Fishin' For Woos, their first on the new label. It's a pop-punk rock record reminiscent of the album that launched the band into fame in the first place, 2002's Drunk Enough to Dance.

Having just wrapped his band's acoustic tour of the United Kingdom to promote the new disc, BFS frontman Jaret Reddick took some time to talk with us about the band's acoustic shows, his side project People On Vacation, and how it feels to have had his music launched into space.

So you just finished an acoustic tour of the U.K.
Yeah, we did. It was something we tried for the first time last year in the U.K. It's something that we had always thought would work because we do acoustic shows in the U.S. all the time. And we've never done a full tour, so we kind of convinced some people, promoters and such that they should give us a shot last year, and it was a huge success. And we went back over this year and did it, and it was even bigger. It's a really cool way to take the songs out on the road and just put on a different kind of show for everybody.

Are you planning on doing these acoustic tours continuously?
Yeah, I think we probably will. It's not something we've talked about doing in the U.S. I think it's something we'll keep doing in the U.K. because it's catching on. I think, first of all, when people hear "Bowling for Soup acoustic tour," they're like, "What? Don't they play punk rock songs?" A lot of people wonder whether or not the songs will work. But they're all written on the acoustic guitar, so I think once they're broken down, people hear it and realize that it's a really interactive show, something where the audience is a big part of what's going on  onstage. It's a fun night out.

Your side project with Ryan Hamilton of Smile Smile, People On Vacation, opened those shows, right?
That's one of the cool things we did. We weren't going to take a support band. Last year, we didn't want to take a support band, but this year a good friend of ours, Bob Schieder, had never been to the U.K., so he said, "You know what? I'll do it." And it worked out really well. But, you know, it's sort of difficult getting someone over there and getting a bigger bus. This year, we had just decided to make it an acoustic evening with Bowling for Soup. After we had made that decision, [bass player] Erik [Chandler] had recorded a solo album, and Ryan and I had started People On Vacation. So we decided to give people a taste of the other things we were doing musically as well. We took Linus of Hollywood, who produced People On Vacation and Erik's solo record, and co-produced the new Bowling for Soup record, and it was just the four of us on stage the whole night. It was really fun, a non-stop, four-hour show.

So it's kind of like killing two birds with one stone, taking both bands on tour.
Yeah, it's cool because people are coming to hear the Bowling for Soup songs, but they're interested enough to hear what else you're doing. I don't think it would make sense for People On Vacation to open up for the full band of Bowling for Soup, but for the acoustic show, it worked amazingly.

Are you still expecting to release People On Vacation's debut album this year?
We are. We wrote and recorded 16 songs. And we knew that the new Bowling for Soup album that just came out would delay things a little bit, and the new Smile Smile album is coming out early next year, so our goal is to try to get the People On Vacation album out in the fall. That way, we can play some shows between tours. It's something we're both really excited about -- we have to reel it in sometimes. We both get a little too excited, and then we remember that we both have something going on that's our bread and butter. So then we need to refocus a little bit. It's a total blast, and he and I have definitely stumbled upon something that we area both excited about musically. It's just a blast every time we get together.

You recently started your own record label. Why did you decide to leave Jive Records?
We had been on Jive for 10 years. We always knew there would be a time that we would want to leave and go out on our own. Our fan base has been steady now for some time. It's so easy to get to them now with social media. We always knew that we would split with Jive and go out on our own, but unfortunately it happened a little sooner than we wanted. We had put a lot of work into Sorry For Partyin'. We were really excited. We thought it was the album of our career up to that point. I wish we had split with the label six months later, so that the album would have gotten a shot. Unfortunately, it didn't because of bad timing. Fortunately, we're a very self-motivating organization, so we came right back off tour and went back to the studio. I went back into my studio at home and wrote the album in three weeks, and then we recorded it in three weeks. It was good; we hadn't released a record on our own, or recorded a record in Dallas, since 1999. So it was cool to get into Val's studios here in Dallas, to be at home and record. The vibe comes across on the album that we're in a good place. We're feeling really good about it.

Are there any significant changes in the recording process, now that you're not with Jive?
No. The only thing that changed is that we have simplified a lot of stuff, because we were on our own budget. We were paying for all of the time -- we didn't have unlimited time and unlimited resources. It was one of those things where we had a window. We had May and June of last year to write and record this thing, and then we were going back on tour. So if we didn't get it done, we didn't get it done. Also, we had gotten a little experimental in the last few records, especially Sorry For Partyin' having "No Hablo Ingles" and a really cool dance song that was keyboard-based, something we'd never done before. So I think with this one we were thinking about time, money, and all of those sorts of things. And we just decided to go and make a rock album. So we focused more on guitars, bass, and drums. Critically, it's been our best response, maybe ever. It feels like we did what we were supposed to do.

So does this new album, Fishin' For Woos, hearken back to the earlier Bowling For Soup albums?
It definitely has a throwback feel to it. Most of our hardcore fans don't say that their favorite album is Drunk Enough to Dance, wchich is our 2002 album with the song "Girl All the Bad Guys Want" on it. It definitely has a similar vibe to that. But you know what? It's also different because we're better. We're better players, we're better musicians, and better writers, and that comes across on the album as well. It's got a tighter feel than Drunk Enough to Dance, but definitely it's the same sort of vibe.

Your song "Ohio (Come Back to Texas)" was played on the space shuttle, Discovery. How did you respond to that?
Man, it was the craziest thing because I had been out the night before, and I slept in. I don't really sleep in a lot because I have two kids. You're on your kids watch when you're at home -- they'll jump on your face at six in the morning. For some reason, they let me sleep in that day, and I woke up and my phone had gone nuts. My manager had called me five times. I was thinking that, "Oh no, something bad has happened." I did the smart thing and didn't call him right away. I checked my email first, and between all the forwarded emails, I kind of figured out what was going on. And when he called me, he said, "Hey man, you just got played in space!" It's pretty amazing. It's one of those things that you explain to your parents and grandparents. They sort of know what you're doing, they kind of get it, but not really. That's one of the things that you tell your grandma, "Grandma, I got played in space!" They totally get that. That one was definitely up there with what we would consider our most amazing accomplishments. And that list is long.

Now that you've been played in space, what next? Antarctica?
I guess that's the plan! We haven't played all of the continents yet, but we have been played in space. So I'm not sure if we should just move on and go to other galaxies now. I'm not sure what the plan is.

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