INTERVIEW: 6 Questions with Bowling For Soup’s Lead Singer & Songwriter Jaret Reddick

Jaret - Bowling for Soup
Remember the 1990s? Yeah, I don't remember a whole lot either. However, I do know I was living in Nocona, Texas, a small town 40something miles from Wichita Falls. As a teen, my friends and I would head over to WF and hang out at Sikes Senter Mall to watch movies, play in the arcade, buy graphic tees at Gadzooks, and check out the latest Airwalks and chain wallets at Journeys. WF was only a slightly closer drive than Denton, thus it was our weekend getaway from Small Town USA. I moved to Denton in 1999 for college (which is where BFS claims as their homebase).

I knew even in the mid-90s I grew up in the same area as some of the members of Bowling For Soup. In high school, I was in a rock band called Rhymes With Orange. We changed our original name from Smoothie, and played several gigs in the north Texas area from 1995 - 2000ish. My brother, Aaron Lemons, used to take bass lessons starting in around 1994 up at McCarty Music from Dee Kinnett, who played in a band called Big Loo. I learned to play from him.

In 1997, we were excited to see we were on the same lineup as BFS for a benefit show. It was in Wichita Falls in the middle of a field on a scorching July or August day. We performed. Bowling For Soup didn't. I didn't blame them. I vividly remember stopping off at St. Elmo's coffee shop in Henrietta, Texas, on the way home that day, reminiscing and celebrating with my bandmates over mochas. I later discovered St. Elmo's was where my paternal grandfather met my grandmother in the 1940s, as she served as a barista.

Now, 20 years later after that concert in 1997, Bowling For Soup has tons of hits nationwide, and I'm a corporate drone that sits behind a computer. However, as a side gig I get to ask heroes of my youth questions, eat a lot of fine foods at restaurant openings, and check out festivals. It's not the rock star life, but it ain't bad!

Lead singer of Bowling For Soup, Jaret Reddick, graciously agreed to answer some of my burning questions I had for him.

ILID: What was it like growing up in WF? What did you do for fun?

Jaret: It’s funny. I don’t look back on it as being a bad place to grow up. I mean, it was safe, for the most part. We rode our bikes all day everyday as kids. Built forts out in the woods where Walmart and Sam's would later build on Kell Blvd. The kids in my neighborhood were the kids I went to school with, played sports with, and would go on to graduate with. I don’t feel like that happens that much these days.

ILID: Please describe your punk music philosophy and/or ideology. How has it evolved over the years?

Jaret: Well, I was really a “metal kid.” Metal music was so sectioned off as a genre once I bfs - whole bandbecame a teenager. Not to mention it was really difficult to play! When I heard The Descendants and The Ramones, everything changed for me! I am a fun person. I like laughing. And I like making other people laugh. So when I realized there was a kind of music where you could play fast, sing melodically, wear whatever the hell you wanted and literally sing about anything and everything, I was hooked. So as far as a “punk” ideology, I would just say it is all about the energy. The attitude - I don’t really subscribe to the “I don’t care about anything” thing. The attitude is more of a freedom. I just talk about whatever the hell I want and make it sound amazing.

The evolution as far as BFS goes is just a fine tuning. When we started in Wichita Falls, we didn’t sound like anyone or anything people could relate to in that town. We literally couldn’t pay people to come to our shows! We had a few good ones, but not many. Once we really started giving it a go and fine tuning the writing and our playing, it just naturally evolved. Songs have more than four chords now. And I don’t mind a metal scream here or there.

ILID: You've maintained great hair for at least two decades. What are your go-to spike up gels?

Jaret: Ha! I have changed as my hair has changed. I am lucky…it just naturally looks insane…I didn’t condition my hair for 15 years. I just started conditioning again recently and I use dry shampoo even when it is clean for texture. Then I use this powder stuff called Puff Me. It is basically like putting talcum powder in your hair. But it works really well!

ILID: What do you like most about being a rock star? Fame? An outlet and expression?

Jaret: The outlet for expression is a big one. Especially as of late, having just experienced anxiety and depression over the last few years. Being able to communicate with people with similar issues has been rewarding and therapeutic. But yeah, in general, just getting to talk about what is going on with myself in songs is pretty damn therapeutic as well! Live shows are the best though. Making people laugh and watching them lose their sh*t when we play a certain song will NEVER get old!!!

ILID: Other than BFS's absolute biggest hits ("Girl All the Bad Guys Want", "1985", "Almost", and "High School Never Ends"), what are your top three favorite BFS songs?

Jaret: I love “Friends of Mine.” I wrote it about the boys several years ago and surprised them with that one. I really like “Catalyst” off the new album. We are about to make a video for it. I don’t ever fool myself into thinking we will have another “hit,” but I do hope people find it out there. I guess lastly I would have to say “Last Call Casualty.” That song has remained one of my favorites for many years!

ILID: When not on tour, where do you like to hang out in Denton, Dallas, or Fort Worth?

Jaret: I am in Denton some. Honestly, I am probably in The Colony the most. My friend Ian has a place called Lava Cantina out there. There is music 7 days a week. The vibe is amazing, especially for a big venue. My wife and I like to go to happy hour at Rock & Brews out there as well. And of course, there is Top Golf! We go to Dallas a couple times a month. But I honestly don’t get to Ft Worth enough! I say it every time I go!

Bowling For Soup will be performing an all-ages show at at Gas Monkey Live on Sunday, October 22nd. For more details go to SkateOrDieFest.com.

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