As Bowling For Soup celebrated their 15th birthday with an acoustic UK tour, I caught up with bassist Erik Chandler.
Sat backstage at Oxford’s O2 Academy, Erik Chandler cuts a figure of silence and tranquility. He seems almost too wise to only have 15 years of experience in Texan punk band Bowling For Soup. Mention of the sell-out tour him and band-mate Jaret Reddick are on, and the conversation flows.
“It’s amazing. We only put the tour on as a bit of a promotion, for fun, we never expected to sell out 14 shows,” he says, with a suprised tone, “it’s truly awesome to know we have this many dedicated fans.”
You can appreciate his surprise. After 15 years, and ten albums, Bowling For Soup will be remembered, for the most part, as the band behind Girl All The Bad Guys Want and 1985.
Not that Chandler seems to care about any legacy- for the time being he is focused on his music, always thinking about what his next song shall be about.
As the conversation moves onto his writing habits, and inspirations, we start to see a more serious side to Erik than his albums portray. Gone are the jokes, and what many would see as amusing anecdotes. Here we see a man who has been hurt, and isn’t scared to write from the heart.
“A lot of people ask us if our songs are real. They are. We’ve had a lot of fucked up stuff happen to us over the years. Our song Belgium is about a girl I loved who, as the chorus says, was half way round the world to me.”
With their most recent effort, Sorry For Partyin presenting a matured, deeper sound, the question is asked if things are perhaps starting to wind down, to come to a fitting end.
“We always said we’d do this until it wasn’t fun, and at the moment it’s proving to be more fun than ever.” He said, “ Sorry For Partyin, is an album of reflection, deviating from the usual theme of, well, sex and girls. Rest assured, our next album will be vintage BFS.”
Revealing plans to record their eleventh album in June, and with an October tour in the UK, Chandler admits that his own personal growth at times threatens to disrupt his work.
“We all have families, so touring from months on end is much harder. It’ also means I now have “office hours” where I make myself write music, because neither Jaret or I have the flexibility we once did.”
With the acoustic tour approaching it’s close, and a busy summer and autumn ahead, you would expect a period of relaxation for Erik on his return to the USA.
“It’s more a case of returning to everyday life. My wife is great. She knows I need a couple of days to unwind. I try not to take too long, after all she has been without me for the whole tour.”
As our time draws to a close, Chandler once again shows his gratitude to his fans, commenting, “It’s always nice to talk to people, but it’s even better when they don’t just ask about the hits.”
One thing is for sure- whilst the Bowling For Soup party may not be the biggest, it’s far from over. And everyone is invited.