Room Thirteen met with Bowling for Soup members Jaret Reddick [JR] and Erik Chandler [EC] before the duo began the first night of their eagerly-anticipated UK acoustic tour.

R13: This is your first acoustic tour in the United Kingdom - are you excited about it?
JR: Yeah, absolutely! This is actually our first acoustic tour outside of Texas. We’ve done tonnes and tonnes of acoustic shows over the years outside of Texas, because we do a lot of radio shows in the States. Radio stations usually try to get you as cheap as they possibly can, so that they can offer you up as a prize to their winners, so that it makes them look amazing! Sometimes, moving all ten of us (band and crew) and all that gear is super expensive. We had hoped that the response to the UK acoustic tour would be the way it is; it’s pretty exciting for us that all the shows but two are going to sell out, and those two were moved to bigger venues.

R13: You recently mentioned the possibility of doing some busking whilst you are both over here, will you be going ahead with the idea?
JR: We might do it as a Youtube goof, but I don’t think that we’re going to do it with the intention of making any money out of it. For a couple of the shows, maybe some of the bigger ones, I think we’re going to go out and do something for the queue. We’ll go out there and see what people do - it should be fun!

R13: For this tour, you have used the website, which allows fans to vote for the songs that they would like to hear at each gig. How closely will you be sticking to the requests for each night?
JR: Well, I’ve asked for a print-out of the results and I haven’t got them yet. Actually, one of the things I wanted to do after soundcheck is bring it up and write down what was picked. We are going to try and cover everything that people voted for. It’s pretty nutty; our list of songs that we may do is about 60 right now, which is just crazy. Some of those songs we’ve never played [live] before and I’ve not even heard in 12 years. It’s gonna be interesting! For the most part, people go on the site and vote for the songs that you would expect us to play anyway; ‘Ohio’, ‘My Wena’, etc. Those are kind of a given. One of the really big ones that the street teamers always ask for is ‘Andrew’. That one is so crazy because it’s such a punk rock song that I don’t even know that it would sound good acoustically. But, we thought that about ‘My Hometown’ too, and we end up doing that one every once in a while. The best thing about being in our band is that there are no rules, especially acoustic shows.

R13: One song appearing quite frequently on the lists is ‘Friends of Mine’, which was written specifically for the rest of the band. Do you find this an emotional song to play?
JR: We haven’t really performed it a tonne, but it’s not really an emotional thing anymore. I think once we got past the initial shock, it did just become just another song to play. A few years ago, the whole band found it very emotional. They didn’t even know the song existed and what happened was, we were doing demos in this little studio in Dallas, Texas where we do a lot of stuff and I did it after they left one night. The guy that owns the studio is a really good friend of ours and so I was like, “hey man, just get on the piano and follow along to this”. That was just to do a quick demo just to get it down and we had all intentions of actually re-recording that song, but the demo was one take (piano, me on guitar and then one take on vocals). We got the demos and whilst we were in Atlanta starting to record the album, we were waiting to go into the studio and were listening through all the demos. The song came up and I was like, “oh, you guys haven’t heard this one”, it was really cool because the whole band was pretty taken aback by the existence of the song. It really is just like a true synopsis of...
EC: ... everything!
JR: You can chime in!
EC: I just did!
JR: Yeah, good job! But yeah, it’s still very much like, “hey, this is our life”. I think I should add a verse to it now that we have families and mortgages. The one song that I was very worried about on this tour was ‘Goodbye Friend’, which we are doing upon request. But that one was the one I was a little bit worried about being able to get through, because I’m not really one to cry in front of people. But we did it the other day and it was fine.

R13: You’ve mentioned recently that you’ll soon be starting on your eleventh album. Will you be seeing this as a chance to do something different?
JR: Not necessarily something different. Not that we’re just gonna throw another album out, but in this day and age where there is so much accessibility in the band, people do have a shorter attention span. We released the last record in October and by December, we were already getting, “when’s your next album coming out?” What happened to giving us a couple of years!? For this one, the timing just worked out really great. We hit the United States in the fall and winter months, and obviously last October we were in the UK and we’re here now. We’ll be back in the UK for festivals in July (and hopefully August). That being said, we know we’ll be coming back here for a headline tour in October, so why not try to have a new album out by the time we come back? That being said, we’re definitely approaching it differently, perhaps more like we did ‘Drunk Enough to Dance’. I’m gonna write this thing in a month. We’re going to record it 20 days and be less of the flavour and more of that style: two guitars, a bass and some drums... and a lot of singing!

R13: For the October tour, will you be revisiting a previous format, such as the Get Happy Tour, or will it be a brand new venture?
JR: It will definitely be something completely different. The Get Happy tours were great, but that was definitely something we had done along with Army of Freshmen. Those guys are doing their own thing now. We came over [to the UK] together so many times and we toured the US with those guys, I think, five times. It’s definitely time for them to move on and obviously for us to do something else, too, but that’s a good thing. They definitely got a fan base going on over here and they do well on their own. But we’re talking with bands literally as we speak. We’re hoping to announce the tour as early as May and I will give you a hint; the bands that are being thrown around will make this one of the better start-to-finish tours that we have done since our tour with the Bloodhound Gang, Zebrahead and Army of Freshmen. That was a tour, man!

R13: One of the summer festival dates you have coming up is the Relentless NASS festival in Bath, which you are headlining. That must be exciting?
JR: Yeah, it’s gonna be cool! That was the first one we got offered. The smaller festivals that we have done in the UK have always been a blast! We did Guilfest and we had never even heard of it, but it was so much fun. You guys just know how to do festivals over here, whether they’re big or small. We’re really bummed that we won’t be playing Download Festival. We got the offer and it was a really good offer and everything, the money was right, but for us to do it, we would have had to of moved the recording of the album to August. We try to do what’s best for the long-term.

R13: Over the past few years, you have collaborated with a variety of different songwriters. Is there anyone in particular that you would like to work with in the future?
JR: Man, there are so many songwriters that I want to work with and right now, it’s getting to the point where I wanna work outside of the Bowling for Soup writing area. For the new Bowling for Soup record, it’s pretty much just gonna be me. I think we’re gonna write a few songs with Linus of Hollywood, just because I’m gonna be with him anyway... and possibly Zac Maloy, but I’m not really going to make the rounds this time. It’s funny, because if you go back to the last few albums, the hardcore fan favourites are usually the ones I write by myself, like ‘BFFF’ from the last record. Back to the whole songwriting thing, I really want to start writing with more bands and other people. I’d love to write a song with Dave Grohl, though! I’d just like to see that whole process happen!

R13: You appeared on the song ‘Download this Song’ by MC Lars. What is your viewpoint on illegal downloads?
JR: That’s a very complicated question. Obviously, there is nothing we can do about it at this point. If people did really use it for what they say they use it for, like, “I’m gonna see if I like this, and if I like this, I’ll go buy it,” then the world would actually still be perfect, there would be no work, people wouldn’t go hungry and the weather... you guys would have sun in England! The thing that sucks is that people don’t do that. ‘A Hangover You Don’t Deserve’ sold about 1.2 million copies, I think, worldwide. If that record had come out about five years before, it would have sold about four or five million copies. Obviously, for my kids, college would be paid for. It’s a little bit hard from our standpoint and obviously there are complications for the labels, as they don’t have the manpower anymore because they don’t have the finances. So, I wish people did use it as a research tool and if it’s something you’re listening to on a regular basis, you should probably buy it. Songs are a dollar! Even college kids; you don’t need that cheeseburger. If you’ve got five dollars, you could eat at McDonalds for three bucks and have two songs left over! One of the ways that we have to adjust to that is that we have to provide more concerts and find other ways to get music out there. The thing is; albums are expensive to make. This one we are going to do super-low-key, but we’re still into multiple thousands of dollars and we need to make that back.

R13: Do you happen to have a favourite English word, phrase or saying?
JR: We actually use things interchangeably. When I’m speaking to a new English agent, I’ll actually write like English people speak, like “I’m off to get a bite right now!” instead of, “I’m gonna go get something to eat”. We start calling stores “shops” and we will say, “Hey, do you wanna go get a pint?” Do we say anything funny, Erik?
EC: That question would have been great had you asked it eight years ago! We’ve been here so much that we’ve worked your colloquialisms into our own vocabulary and it’s just part of what we say now.

R13: Finally, we quite like the number 13 around here. Am I correct in thinking that ‘Thirteen’ was your first original band composition?
JR: It is, indeed! Also, my lucky number because I won a prize at a fayre for picking the number 13 duck that floated by. So for my whole life, thirteen has been my lucky number. In reality, the first Bowling for Soup songs were the songs that we brought in from coolfork! and The Folkadots, which were our bands before. I had a song called ‘Hit’ and the Folkadots had songs like ‘Psycho’ and ‘Sofa’ that we brought in. But ‘Thirteen’ was the first song that was actually written for Bowling for Soup and was one of the only songs that Chris [Burney, guitarist] and I sat down... in fact, the ONLY song that Chris I have ever sat down and written together. And then, Chris and Erik wrote ‘Crayon’...
EC: No, he wrote Crayon. I sang it. He wrote ‘Slurpee’.
JR: That’s right. I actually think that the riff of ‘Thirteen’ was something that he borrowed from a band that was even older than The Folkadots. We did a video for the song, with all of us still having long hair! Those were the care-free years. It was interesting because we were all either going to school or had real jobs. Bowling for Soup was something that we started doing just for fun. We would work all day and then start rehearsing at about 9pm or 10pm and keep going until we couldn’t stand up any more. We rehearsed every night because we all had girls and other things that we were trying to get away from. We were definitely a big rehearsing band back in the day, but honestly, we would just laugh the whole time. Our practice studio was in this complex with three other ones and there was another band across the way, so basically it would just become this party place. Most of practices were closed, but we would let people in every once in a while. But as the room would fill up, we would be like, “hey, now we’re going to play a song with the lights off”. So, we would turn the lights off and it would be pitch black. There were no windows and no lights, not even from under the door. We would be playing a song when the lights were put back on and we would just be sitting there naked. But, we played the whole time and somehow managed to get our clothes off! The lights would come back on and girls would be like, “[imitates a horrified scream] OH MY GOD! WHAT THE FUCK!?” That would either clear a room or get people coming back every single week. I think that’s sort of where all the messing around in between songs came from. We still laugh constantly and people always ask what the secret to being in a band for sixteen years is, and it’s sort of like the whole thing with marriage; you’ve gotta be able to laugh and make each other laugh. I actually really miss Chris and Gary [Wiseman, drummer]. I didn’t miss them during the travel, because it was just so easy being the four of us. But I came into the dressing room and I just expected to see Chris there with his computer with all the sandwiches and stuff out, and Gary coming in right now having just woken up, asking where to take a shit. It’s weird being here without them.

R13: What will they be doing during this tour?
JR: Well, during the making of the last record, Gary went to school to get his real estate licence. He’s obviously still fully committed to Bowling for Soup, but the real estate place that he works at are just cool with it; they’re just like, “hey, whenever you’re here, come in. When you’re not, don’t”. When, or if, Bowling for Soup decide to take an extended break, or call it quits or whatever, I don’t see Gary as being of those guys that’s like, “I’ve gotta get in a band and play drums”. He is definitely one of those guys that would want to stay home with his wife and stuff. Chris has a lot of dart tournaments going on. So he is playing some darts, probably drinking a lot and spending a lot of time on Twitter in the wee hours.

R13: Thank you very much, Jaret!
JR: Hey man, thank you!

Bowling for Soup’s acoustic tour continues until 20th April 2010 and the full band will be returning to the United Kingdom in July. For all the latest news and tour dates, visit