Bowling for Soup Plays in Pittsburgh
By Maggie McCauley | Photograph from Will Bolton
Get ready to be humming “1985” for the next few days because Bowling For Soup is coming to town! We caught up with lead singer Jaret Reddick to talk about the band’s new album, their current tour, and his Pittsburgh roots before the show April 3 at the Rex Theater.
WHIRL: Congrats on the new album, Drunk Dynasty! How did it come to be?
Jaret Reddick: Well, we’re pretty psyched about it. When we went in to do this record, it was supposed to be just an EP. We got in, things were going so well, and it became a full album. We simplified things a bit from the last records. We really just wanted to make it more of the straight up, Bowling For Soup, pop-punk record, and we managed to do that. I’m super excited about it! It’s two guitars, a bass, and drums with lots of singing, which is where we started 23 years ago.
WHIRL: Twenty-three years? That’s a long time! How has your music evolved over the years?
JR: I mean, we’re better. (laughs) Music and singing wise, we’ve gotten better. Songwriting wise, much better. We definitely figured out who we were within the first couple of years and really didn’t strive to change that. Our evolution was more about becoming better and staying true to what people would expect from Bowling For Soup. As a lot of our peers might have been becoming more serious or completely changing everything, we pretty much stayed the same and fine-tuned it. Where we are now, we’re pretty seasoned. We’re still having a lot of fun! We always said we wouldn’t do it anymore when it wasn’t fun — it’s just still fun.
WHIRL: What’s different about this tour from past tours?
JR: One thing that’s different is that our support bands aren’t really guys that we know. We’re bringing on Runaway Kids and Direct Hit, who we don’t really know, so I’m excited to meet them. The other aspect is that there just isn’t a lot of pressure for us, not that that’s a good thing or a bad thing, we’re just so lucky that we can pretty much count on people showing up to the shows. Musically and fun wise, it’s going to be more of what you would expect. If you’ve seen us before, and then you’ve seen us again, you know that you never see the same show twice. We don’t use a set list, we don’t write our jokes — whatever happens, happens. We’re up there having just as much fun as the audience is. It’s like hanging out with your friends, except we’re just super talented friends.
WHIRL: Have you made a tour stop in Pittsburgh before?
JR: We have. In fact, Pittsburgh is my homeland. It’s where my dad is from and all of his family. Where Heinz Field is now, they used to live there. I am a huge Steelers fan! I fly in for one home game every year. It’s a tradition that I do with my wife and some friends of mine.
WHIRL: Do you have any favorite spots in the city?
JR: We went to this place Downtown that only serves meatballs. (Emporio!) Holy crap! Best thing I’ve ever had.
WHIRL: Who are your musical influences?
JR: We all grew up listening to things that our parents listened to. Everyone already had a very good grasp on harmony before we even picked up instruments. I listened to The Eagles, Willie Nelson, and my parents sing in the car. The music that they listened to has a lot of storytelling, and that’s where I got my storytelling style of songwriting from. Chris and I are a little older than the other guys, so we grew up listening to Mötley Crüe and things like that once we decided to stop listening to what our parents did. We’re pretty diverse in what we like and where we came from, but we’re all just huge fans of music.
WHIRL: It’s such an interesting blend of artist and genres!
JR: It’s important, too. If you were to get onto any of our phones to see what music we have, it would probably blow your mind. There’s literally everything!
WHIRL: Anything surprising?
JR: You would probably be surprised by the amount of gangster rap and how country we are. Everybody’s got their own thing. I’m a huge Elton John fan.
WHIRL: Where do you see Bowling For Soup in the next few years?
JR: We’ve slowed down touring, but this year, we’ll focus on making some more music. Right now, we’re focusing on the tour and promotion of Drunk Dynasty. We released an acoustic live album last year, which was cool. There’s some cool projects we’ve been wanting to do for years, that we can focus on now, too. We never had time because we were always on the road, but some new surprises will be coming soon.
Catch Jaret Reddick with Bowling For Soup April 3 at the Rex Theater. For tickets and more information, visit rextheater.com.