Playing a few segments of the 2017 Vans Warped Tour, music industry veterans Bowling For Soup took to Journeys Left Foot stage to provide entertainment for the attendees. Luckily, at the Dallas, Texas stop on this year's tour, I was able to sit down with bassist (and Texas native) Erik Chandler to talk about their time in the industry, most recent work, and the success of the band.
Xochitl Hansen: We’ll jump straight in! You all recently released your newest album Drunk Dynasty. With such a jammed packed discography, what makes Drunk Dynasty stick out in comparison to Bowling For Soups other work?
Erik Chandler: The thing that sticks out to me is that this many years in we haven't run out of songs. It’s odd and the thing about playing a tour like Warped Tour, were not playing one song off the new album because you get a 25 minute set and so people have come to more or less hear some songs that they know well. We just had two luxurious 30 minute sets at the last two shows and it was like “Whoa, that's a one whole other song right there!
XH: It definitely makes a difference!
EC: But as far as sticking out were still 23 years in doing the same we did when we started and it's like we never tried to reinvent the wheel and I know that song writings changed a bit over the years just cause we got better at it. And things have changed because we got better in the studio, so the sound might be a little bit different. But it’s like I said, it’s like AC/DC comes out with a new album, you know exactly what it’s going to sound like and if you like AC/DC then you should go pick it up, cause that’s what an AC/DC albums going to sound like.
XH: I’m a big fan of AC/DC, but more into the Bon Scott era of things. Definitely, I can understand what you mean. That being said, with Drunk Dynasty was the writing and recording process different compared to other albums?
EC: Yeah, cause it was really really really fast this time. The intention behind this album was to do an EP and we were going to do an extended EP, like seven songs. We booked a week in the studio knowing that we would use every minute of that time and after day three we are recording all the songs that we were going to do and it was like ‘well, crap what are we going to do with the rest of our time we have this studio booked for.’ The next day it was like why doesn't everyone show up in the morning and we'll see what else we can do for this.Then Jaret comes in and goes “I've got three more songs, this is what we're going to do and I got three more in the works that I’ll finish tonight. Let’s do this today and we'll work on the rest of them here and let's release it as a full album and for everyone that's pre ordered it they still get to receive the album at the EP price. The pre order time period was still going on, so then we announce “Hey, this is going to be a full length album now, you pre order it you're going to get the full length album for the price of the EP. That was cool for us, you don't often run into situations that are that fortuitous where you get to say that we can do this for the fans. We're just lucky to be in the position and have the kind of fans who are into doing that. Cause immediately those pre order numbers started through the roof!
XH: On top of it, you all have many years together and in the industry. Would contribute that to getting a seven song record done so fast?
EC: You know doing it this long and the fact that we still really enjoy working together we honed the way we do things in the studio to a very fine point. I know we work differently than a lot of bands do when we record, but the way we do it for us is just so fast now.
XH: You all are in tune, so it makes sense.
EC: The last few albums we kind of changed how we look at going into the studio cause we don't really need that much time, but then again we don't want to schedule too little time and is what we used to end up in the past, it's like “we got two days left and we got to finish all this stuff” or “ holy crap we got to get to work”
XH: You guys always pull together and make killer albums each time, props for that.
EC: Thank you!
XH: 23 years you said, what’s the secret to staying sane with each other? Most bands tend to fizzle out and being together for that long, that takes skill.
EC:It’s just having fun with what we're doing and there had been a couple of different points where we definitely had to take some time off. The most recent one that was just a couple of years ago, we weren't exactly sure what the fate exactly of what the band was going to be and whether we were going to come back from it or not. Then the first show back we ended up on a really quick run in the pacific northwest and it was the four of us, our tour manager, and a guitar tech.
XH: And on that note too, how do you guys know where to take a break? To be able to step aside and focus on maybe other endeavors or family?
EC: That pretty much at this point works itself out, because for example our tour in the UK coming up in February which will be, it's still crazy to say this, our biggest headlining tour over there yet to date. Things still get bigger and bigger but we've been planning that tour for two years. So we plan really really far ahead so we kind of know where we're going and we don't go out for as long as we used to anymore. It's more like a week and a half, ten days, go home for a couple of weeks, another ten days, go home for a couple of weeks.
XH: Few more quick questions for you today. Texas. Given you all are from Texas, do you all hold any significance in being able to play Warped Tour and bigger shows in general in your home state?
EC: For me, especially considering the fact I live about two miles from here [Starplex Pavilion], it means I get to go home and take a shower after we play and see my dog! But no, it’s always cool to do Warped Tour in your home town because it’s a different kind of vibe then playing a venue show.
XH: Understood! Hometown pride and then on top of it Texas pride too!
EC: Oh yeah!
XH: And then the final question of the day, other than the touring in the future, you mentioned, what’s next for Bowling For Soup?
EC: Basically for the full band the next thing is the Warped Rewind at sea, so we'll be doing the cruise in October and then we have a one off show in August. Then from there it will be back to Europe in February and that’s what we're looking at right now!
A big thanks to Erik for speaking with me! Next time Bowling For Soup comes to a place near you, make sure you don’t miss them!