Jaret Reddick is currently touring the UK with the Lounge Kittens in tow, regaling us with acoustic covers of Bowling For Soup tracks. In addition, he’s detailing the background behind these songs as well as opening his heart and life story to the audience.
Wednesday’s show was something special, and we managed to have an opening-night chat with him before he went on stage…
That’s a good question. It’s a good time for this right now, for me personally. I guess it’s become a sort of therapeutic thing for me. I’m not going out there and relying on hits, I’m not going to play songs that every single person knows. It’s a different show, something I’ve always wanted to do – get into the meaning of the songs. Having had the last few years that I’ve had, there are also some things that I just want to get off my chest.
It’s a different connection with the audience and a different way to present the songs. This is just the right time.
We’re used to the acoustic tours with Erik. Are they still likely to happen?
Yeah, for sure. We’ll definitely be doing that again. This is just something a little different. This is a little less about being a Bowling For Soup show, and more about the songs and me personally.
Will you be taking questions for the audience or is it a pre-prepared set?
I’ve not pre-prepared anything. I’ve got a list of songs that I’m going to choose from – I’ve got the book from the acoustic tour, but it’s in the order that I want to go about things. I’m not saying I won’t take requests from the audience, but I want to keep it a bit less of a free-for-all. I want people to hear the songs in a different way than they’ve ever heard them before, even the songs where you think you know where they came from.
Remember we’re talking about Bowling For Soup here. So in this interview I’m acting as if there’s greater depth to these songs than you think there is… we’re a non-serious band, but there’s depth to our songs. In this environment I think you’ll see that.
I spoke to Erik on the last BFS tour and I asked him a similar question to this one. Many of your songs are about relationships, often bad ones or breakups. Have you ever been tempted to leave a real name in there as a kind of “‘F’ you”?
I’d always change the name. I don’t think I’d ever do it in a “fuck you” kind of way. I may consider a real name in an area where it was more complimentary. I know Frank Turner talks about Amy a lot. There are three or four songs where he mentions Amy so it must be real. I am never going to ask him if it’s real as I don’t want to know if it isn’t! Because I need that. When I hear those songs I want that to be her.
So no, I don’t think I would ever leave a real name in a song in that way especially now that I’m settled in my life. You know, maybe if I had got into writing from the heart sooner… So much of early Bowling For Soup is me just fucking around. I was just trying to make people laugh. I think if I’d jumped off that cliff earlier, you could have heard some real names. Older and wiser!
How have Bowling For Soup lasted so long with no line-up changes?
Communication. Knowing your role in the band but also how important everyone else is. Take my situation – it’s always my picture that’s up front and there’s my hair and whatever. If we get a big TV interview, I’m the one who gets the mic – that kind of thing. It would be easy for me to hold that over their heads and it would be easy for them to resent that, but we don’t do that. We’re the sum of our parts – everyone plays an equally instrumental role within the band. Understanding that is crucial.
Also, we actually like each other. When somebody’s having problems in their life, we’re there for them. If someone’s upset then we talk about it. So we don’t get some of those problems that other bands might have where different band members need different dressing rooms or even different buses. I don’t want to be in a situation where we can’t be in the same room. That’s stupid.
We’re also lucky. We found the people we should be making music with and that’s what we do.
It’s interesting as Gary is ten years younger than Chris so we have that ten year age span within the band. I knew Chris when we were kids, but I’m actually his brother’s age so at the time I didn’t so much know him as know of him. Erik is from a different city. We all met a couple of years before the band started at a little coffee shop that Chris was running. He had bands there all the time and we all played there, and over time we became fast friends.
This band was started 100% by accident. Me and Chris, neither of us drank but both of us got drunk one night, stayed the whole night in my studio and we started Bowling For Soup. True story! The power of alcohol!
What was the first song you wrote?
“Thirteen” which was on our first record. Chris sat and wrote that song. I took a couple of songs from my old band, and he took a couple of songs from their old band and we made them sound the way we wanted our new band to sound… and there was our first album.
Then you had than massive hit with “Stacey’s Mom”…
Yeah, right! Later on in life, our massive hit! I still wonder why we never saw any money from that…?
And your venture into dance music.
Yeah, and it comes off very well acoustically, too.
That was all Erik’s idea, the acoustic thing. The original was 100% making fun of all the pop-punk people who went that direction, and our song just happens to be better than half the shit they were doing. But it was Erik’s idea to do it acoustically and it was just brilliant.
It wasn’t smooth sailing because when we first got dropped in 2009, we had just dropped what we thought was going to be our biggest record – Sorry For Partying. Here was a big push to the ground, and there was no crowdfunding at that point. So when we made Fishin’ For Woos, it was very much on our own dime and trying to figure out how we do all of that on our own.
Crowdfunding isn’t as far-fetched as some people seem to think. Some bands and fans seem to frown on it, but those bands would still do a pre-sale. All crowd-funding is is a glorified pre-sale. You’re essentially paying for something you’re going to buy anyway, only you’re doing it eight months in advance instead of four weeks, or whatever. So now that we’ve established that it’s cool to do it, what if we now tell the consumer that they’re going to get all this extra shit for nothing because the artist now has to keep you posted as the album’s being made? Everyone gets something – the artist gets the funding they need and the fan gets more content than they could ever have bargained for.
If you told me when I was in junior high that I could watch Nikki Sixx making a Motley Crue record, and he’d update me from the studio where I could see Tommy Lee recording drums… I would have paid anything. I would have mowed that many lawns to be able to pay for that! And now this is standard practice.
So now you either make a record and that you can launch it in a short enough timespan to generate interest in a time when attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, or you make it part of the process.
If I have to point out a negative, it’s that release day isn’t a big deal any more. Release day used to be awesome. We’d all go to the record store together, see it on the shelf and buy it. Now it comes out in stages and everyone gets it at different times, so when it finally gets out to the public… the last two records, I forgot when they came out! It does take that excitement away, but I think it’s a fair trade.
Talking of albums, it’s been almost a year since Drunk Dynasty came out. Have you started work on anything else, or is there a schedule for that?
It’s something I have to start thinking about after Halloween. Our last “big thing” is around then. Things are getting more spread out these days, though. By the time Drunk Dynasty actually came out, I was doing five other things. So I’m looking back at it now and realise that we forgot to make videos for the album! So we need to go back and release a proper single with a video. That’s in the works; paying more attention to the album as we’re very proud of it.
So into next year and past the Spring dates. I doubt we’ll find ourselves on Warped again next year, so maybe Summer next year we’ll be back in the studio to work on something.
You mentioned the “other stuff”. One of those projects is with Kelly Ogden of The Dollyrots. How’s that getting on?
That’s an ongoing thing and obviously a lot of crazy shit has gone down every time we’ve planned anything. We’ve done one writing session and done six songs in three days – they’re already demoed and everything. Our plan is to do that two or three more times, and then we’ll have our record and release it. We’re taking it really seriously, it’s going to be really good. She sounds amazing and I’m super excited about it. Just me and her writing the songs. It’s going to be cool.
You can still catch Jaret on the following dates (ticket availability depending!):
- Sunday 17th – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
- Monday 18th – Wolverhampton – Slade Rooms
- Tuesday 19th – Newcastle – Riverside
- Wednesday 20th – Manchester – Gorilla
- Thursday 21st – London – Islington Assembly Hall