Interview: Bowling For Soup’s Jaret Reddick

Back in February, Bowling For Soup came to town with their Get Happy tour (which we reviewed back at the time). We snagged frontman Jaret for a chat, and with the announcement that he’s back soon for more solo dates, what better time to unveil his answers to our questions about life, love and snogging famous rock stars…

Jaret Reddick / BFS (c) Gavin Lowrey

Your hair looks lovely. Is that the colour for today or for the tour?

That’s the colour for the tour. I have no control over it. My wife does my hair. We did it over two days this time. It was all blonde at first and I really liked it, but when she put the red in I thought it was kind of cool. It’s like fireworks, it’s random!

Well, people can’t see that so I’ll get a picture at the end! Because he still has some!

Yeah, I do!

The tour… Big Happy first kicked off in 2006/7. Does it feel that long ago?

Noooo. It’s strange to me that Drunk Enough to Dance is 15 years old, it’s crazy that we’ve been together 24 years in June, Get Happy being 11 years ago. It all goes by so fast.

So whose idea was it to go back to the Get Happy label?

It was my idea. I approached Army of Freshmen about it. We’d talked about doing this a few years ago but it all made sense right now, both the Get Happy thing and doing the whole Drunk Enough To Dance album. It lined up perfectly with their 20th anniversary. Then being able to add the Aquabats who’ve not been over here in… five or eight years? They’re such a happy band. We’ve never toured with them before so they were the perfect addition to this one.

You’re one of those bands who always brings a support that you need to go and see.

I’m like that with all shows, even local shows in my hometown. I always make sure that the support bands are ones that people should see. And I don’t mind being one-upped. If the support band kicks our ass, that’s fine. It makes for a better show.

I know, like you and Patent Pending… so close as to who’s the best!

Yeah, they’ve got a lot of energy. We’re just funnier!

And older. Like me!

We call them our little brothers. We’re proud of all their accomplishments.

So, Drunk Enough to Dance is 15 or 16 years old now…

2002 is when we recorded it, so it was 15 years old last year, but “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” didn’t really hit until 2003. It was always going to be the focus of the tour before we added the Get Happy thing. Then we realised it was Army of Freshmen’s 20th birthday so we thought we’d put together a Get Happy tour with them. We almost caught the 10-year on that one, but not quite!

The album has 17-20 tracks on depending on which version you have. Are you doing the 17 or 20 in the show?

We’re doing nineteen! The UK and Japanese versions has one track extra on each, but we re-released it with “Star Song”, “Punk Rock 101” and “I Ran…”. I’ll let you put it together and work out which one we’re not doing.

Obviously you’ll skip “Punk Rock 101” as we’ve all heard it so many times before.


Are there any of those tracks that you’ve never played live before?

So many… maybe five. We had put out four albums on our own, then our first major label release was Let’s Do It For Johnny! There was no time for us to play it all, plus we were still a support band in a lot of areas with a 35-40 minute set. Tonight is the first night of the run, so I’m going to explain to the audience that if we mess up it’s their fault for not being as attentive as they should be.

Were there any tracks in rehearsal that made you think “this is hard, I wish we hadn’t decided to do this”?

There’s a few of them! And it’s not that they’re difficult to play, it’s just trying to remember how they all end. Sometimes how a song ends changes even from when we worked it out as a band to the time we recorded it. It was our first time to ever work with an outside producer – we worked with Butch Walker on that record and he changed how some of the songs ended. We had a couple of songs that fade out and nobody does that any more! I think somebody should bring it back. Most bands don’t modulate any more either, so there are no key changes. Those are two interesting tricks that everybody used to use on albums a few years ago, and we’ve got them both on this record.

Do you have a favourite off the album?

I’m glad you asked me that – no, I am – because I would always have said “Life After Lisa” until we went back and revisited this and “Where To Begin” is such a great song. I remember exactly where I was when I wrote it, what I was doing… my ex-wife was in the room, watching a television show and I just had to go into the second bedroom in our apartment (I didn’t have a studio back them) and write this song that’s in my head. Looking back it’s my favourite Bowling For Soup ballad and we’ve got some good ones.

I’ve asked you and Eric similar questions before, but a lot of your songs have lyrics in that reflect things that actually happened to you. For instance there was a Lisa (with a different name) and so on. I was listening to “And I Think You Like Me Too” the other day and I have to ask… which one of you bastards cut in the line as Six Flags?

[laughs] Yeah! Um… I believe all of us have done it at one time or another, but that was when we were much younger.

In another line you state that “between the two of us we kissed half of Motley Crüe”. So which one of you four has kissed a member of The Crüe?

I have. I’ve kissed Tommy Lee. No tongues! Just a simple kiss on the cheek. It was during a hug situation and I just puckered up and kissed him on the face. He’s one of the reasons I’m into music. He’s my favourite drummer and one of the reasons I wanted to play the drums. That’s why I started a band. I still think he’s the best rock drummer ever. He’s so fun to watch, his technique is so great. He hits the drums so hard, all of his licks are tasteful… If you don’t at least put him in a top ten of rock n’ roll drummers, you’re crazy.

Are the acoustic tours likely to make a comeback?

I’m going to do another solo and then possibly an acoustic after that. I’m doing another round of Heartache and Hilarity. Then Erik and I may be back for an acoustic tour. I’m waiting for Erik to really push his solo stuff. I don’t want to take away from that. His last album was really good and I want to push him towards that. He’s so talented and such an amazing songwriter. He just needs that kick to the ass every once in a while.

How’s the project with Kelly of the Dollyrots coming?

We’re halfway done writing. We’ve done two writing trips so far, multiple days. We’re trying to write around twenty songs and we have eleven so far. We’ll put them all out in one form or another, but for the album we’ll aim for 10-12 songs. I was just texting her before soundcheck to try and arrange our next meeting. They’re touring in March, we’re touring in April; they have two kids, I have three… It’s a bit of a juggle to get on the same page, but I think we’ll have it out by the fall – mid-November.

No plans on doing a video for every song as they’ve done with their recent album?

I wish! I don’t think we have the time, but anything we can do to put something visually together for some of the songs. She has such a charisma that we need to do as many videos as we can manage.

You just released a video for “Catalyst”…

I’m shooting all my own stuff now. I went and bought the car in the video that very morning, drove it across Dallas. We drove it to that yard, recorded the girls with it, let them beat crap out of it and then we squashed it. To be fair it needed a new transmission and that would cost more than the car was worth. It was just sitting in this guy’s driveway rusting anyway.

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Catch Jaret live on the following dates in September – hopefully more to be added!

  • 15th – Birmingham, O2 Institute 2
  • 16th – Liverpool, Arts Club
  • 17th – Sheffield, The Plug
  • 18th – Cardiff, The Globe
  • 19th – London, Dingwalls
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