This interview was originally broadcast on Leeds Student Radio in November 2012, and conducted just before Bowling For Soup performed at O2 Academy Leeds as part of their One Big Happy Tour.
Bowling For Soup are back in the UK for their 30th UK tour. I caught up with the band’s bassist Erik Chandler to find out what it’s like being a pop punk titan, what the guys drink when they’re in the UK, and if they’re still preoccupied with 1985!
Nathan: I believe this is your 30th UK tour with Bowling For Soup, I take it you guys like this country?
Erik: This country’s been very special to us, and very intricate in helping us to have a career for this long, so we’re very much appreciative of the UK fans and the country in general, because it’s helped our longevity. It’s very special to our hearts.
Nathan: You’ve been going for about 17 years now, so what’s the secret to your success and in staying together for so long?
Erik: We actually like each other! And we still enjoy what we do, I mean the fact that we still get along is the biggest part of it all, we unfortunately have tonnes of friends in bands that don’t get along with each other and that saddens us a little bit, but these are my best friends in the entire world. I do have a side project that I do with a couple of other people, but this is my favourite thing in the world to do, playing with these guys is just so natural and it feels so good every night when we go on stage.
Nathan: You’ve done a collaboration album with the Dolly Rots and with Patent Pending, who are supporting you tonight, so can you tell me how that came about?
Erik: We did a split 7” with the Dolly Rots last year, and we covered each other’s songs, so when we put this tour together, it was like “hey, let’s do something similar to that!” And since we own our own record label now, it’s easy to do that sort of thing. The response has been fantastic to the album so far, so we’re really happy about it.
“These are my best friends in the entire world. I do have a side project that I do with a couple of other people, but this is my favourite thing in the world to do, playing with these guys is just so natural and it feels so good every night when we go on stage.”
Nathan: Bowling For Soup were at the forefront of pop punk along with a few other bands for years and frequently hit the charts, what are your thoughts on today’s chart music and how it’s changed?
Erik: I listen to music from 1984 to like 1998, but there are some bands that have come out recently that I really enjoy. I love Phoenix, and fun. is an amazing band, the Features are an amazing group. Melodic, poppy with a little bit of an edge on it, that’s the kind of stuff I listen to. My mainstays are the Replacements and Elvis Costello, it’s poppy but a little bit to the left of the mainstream, but those bands are really fucking great, I love them.
Nathan: Do you take any inspiration from the music you listen to when it comes to writing?
Erik: The older influences I take when I’m writing my own music. With Bowling For Soup, Jared writes most of the music. For the most part, when I write my own music, it’s very much centred in a time maybe 15 or 20 years ago.
Nathan: You guys all wrote and performed the Phineas and Ferb theme tune for Disney Channel a few years ago. Have you noticed any changes to your fanbase and the people who come to your shows?
Erik: The thing about being around for as long as we have is that I don’t know that that necessarily has brought a new fanbase to us. Rather, it has allowed people that have been seeing us for years and years who now have kids to introduce their children to us through that sort of thing. We have families coming to shows now. It’s grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, six and seven year old kids that are coming out.
It gets a little weird sometimes, because we’re not exactly a family friendly band, but we can be and we will be, it’s just that sometimes you’re standing on stage and we’re just talking back and forth with each other, and all of a sudden here comes a blowjob joke, you look down and there’s a seven year old kid right in front of you, and you’re like “didn’t mean to do that in front of you, sorry!”
“[Phineas and Ferb] has allowed people that have been seeing us for years and years who now have kids to introduce their children to us through that sort of thing. We have families coming to shows now. It gets a little weird… sometimes you’re standing on stage and we’re just talking back and forth with each other, and all of a sudden here comes a blowjob joke, you look down and there’s a seven year old kid right in front of you, and you’re like ‘didn’t mean to do that in front of you, sorry!'”
Nathan: You’re at the FUEL afterparty tonight [FUEL is a Leeds alternative/rock club night], are you planning on keeping up with the British drinkers?
Erik: I have a feeling we’re going to outrun them! [laughs]
Nathan: Is that a challenge?
Erik: Quite possibly! [laughs] Actually Jared and I just, this is drink number one right here, so I’m [takes a swig] trying to get it down as quickly as possible!
Nathan: What do you drink when you’re in England, do you have any specific traditions?
Erik: We have a signature drink; it’s called the ‘Delicious Gary’. It’s vodka, Sprite Zero, a splash of cranberry and a squeeze of lime. It’s pretty sweet; I don’t normally drink that kind of drink. I like darker beers, but that’s what we drink while we’re here, and we’ve kind of made it a thing.
Nathan: What are your plans for the future?
Erik: After this tour we’re gonna go home, we’re gonna take the rest of the year off. We’re in discussions for a new album for next year, possibly a covers album for next summer. We’ve got a tiny run in the States in March, but other than that we’re gonna go home and take some time off. It’s been a full year, we’ve been pretty busy, so we’ll take a well-deserved break.