Bowling For Soup are one of those bands; even if you don’t know who they are, the chances are you know all the words to at least one of their songs.
The punk band have been together for years, playing sold out shows across the world. In 2013 they played their farewell tour; this left many fans feeling they may never be able to see the guys play live. This all changed with their 2016 announcement that they would play a How About Another Round UK tour.
Before their sell out show at Dublin’s Academy, I caught up with bass guitarist Erik Chandler to discuss all things Bowling For Soup (and a little bit of Guinness).
Chantelle: I know you have probably answered this before but what changed your minds after your farewell tour?
Erik: “The farewell tour was not a farewell to touring altogether; it was a farewell to touring in the capacity that we had been doing it. We had so much stuff going on outside of the band so we needed a little bit of time to go and get our lives sorted out. Couple of divorces, kids being had and had it kept going we wouldn’t be here right now. We would have imploded as a band and we realised we needed to step back and take a break for a minute.”
GNI: Your music has managed to stay consistent over the years and was always recognisable as a Bowling for Soup track. Did you find it hard not going to a more generic sound that so many other bands are guilty of?
Erik: “We are just doing what we have always done and the thing we know. We are ourselves. A lot of bands have changed stylistically throughout the years but I just don’t think that’s us. We’re doing it this way because that’s what we want to do. I think people that come to see us want to see what we can do as opposed to Bowling For Soup 2.0.”
GNI: You guys have been performing with each other for years now. Is there a secret or is down to having banter?
Erik: “When you see us on stage you are watching us entertain ourselves. I think the whole point is for us to have fun and the way we see it everyone else gets to join in on the fun we’re having. It’s like we’re having a party and you guys are welcome to join in too but we’re still going to have a party.”
GNI: What is your favourite track to perform live?
Erik: “The one that we just finished playing. At each show the song we just finished playing is our favourite. I don’t think I have one in particular that I prefer to play. It is always nice to get the reaction from the big hits but that doesn’t make those songs any more special than others.”
GNI: Do you have a most embarrassing or awkward story from playing live?
Erik: “There was a show several years ago in Cleveland and for this show we were playing in a middle sized room on a stage that was decidedly smaller than what we had been used to. We hadn’t had a soundcheck that day so when we went to play that was the first time we had been on stage.
“The floor around the stage was carpeted and the top of the stage had the exact same carpet as the ground below. I did not know that there wasn’t room on the actual stage to put my bass amp so it was on the floor and I walked on and saw my beer they had set for me that’s sitting on top of my amp.
“I didn’t know this at the time so first time on the stage we came on about to play and I walked over to my beer and walked directly off the stage. For the rest of the tour on my side of the stage, whether it was necessary or not, was all lined with bright green tape and was spelled out ‘Erik this is the edge of the stage’.”
GNI: Was there a point of your career where you thought, damn we’ve made it?
Erik: “It has all been such a slow gradual progression for us and so I think there are things that were big milestones that when you look back you’re like ‘oh yeah’ but at the time you’re so caught up in the middle of it you don’t have time to process things.”
GNI: Do you have any advice for local bands that are trying to crack the industry?
Erik: “Just don’t suck, that’s the number one thing. You’ve got to play music with people that you get along with and enjoy being around. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you can’t get along with each other it’s not going to last. I’ve got plenty of friends that have had those situations and where they are set with the record deal and it’s about to happen; they go out on their first big tour ever and three weeks in they realise ‘we can’t stand each other’. Enjoy what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with and the rest of it should fall into place.”
GNI: What do you think of proper Irish Guinness compared with what you’d get at home?
Erik: “It’s great, I had my first proper Irish Guinness a long time ago. The difference between home and here was just like ‘Oh Yeah’.”
Bowling for Soup played at the Academy, Dublin on 17th October 2016. Read or gig review of the show here. Photo by Kate James.