Two and a half years after bidding farewell to the UK, Bowling For Soup were back in Sheffield for another round! With hits including ‘Emily’, ‘1985’, ‘High School Never Ends’ and ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ mixed with non-stop joking around, the band performed an incredibly memorable performance than the Steel City crowd won’t be forgetting any time soon!
I sat down with bassist Erik Chandler before the band headlined the O2 Academy to find out why they decided to come back and more about this hugely popular band.
So you’re back! The last time you played in Sheffield was October 2013 as part of the ‘farewell to the UK’ tour. But here we are two and a half years later – what made you come back?
You know, when we did the farewell tour we weren’t even certain that there would a Bowling For Soup anymore. So with that possibility, it was like lets go back and have one final blow out. But we ended up working through that little rough patch and here we are, back again!
Tonight is the seventh night of the tour. How has it been so far, any highlights?
Absolutely fantastic. Every night has been unforgettable. Every night there’s always something different, which is great because that keeps it cool for us. But I wouldn’t say there’s been any one greater than the other, it seems to be just great across the board now. I will say that Manchester is our favourite place to play in the world and very early on that it became a stand out city for us. It was like the first time we ever sold out a show on our own headline tour and so that gave us a certain attitude about it and I suppose we’ve perpetuated the idea that it’s the best place to be.
You’ve played here a number of times before, do you have any stand-out memories of Sheffield shows in the past?
I have no idea how many times we’ve been here before – plenty! And as a matter of fact I do, but to protect the extremely guilty I will not recount that! But we’ve had many, many good fun nights here.
What should the fans here this evening be expecting?
A rock and roll trainwreck!
Do you find that shows in the UK have a different vibe to those back home in America?
UK music fans are just a different kind of music fan so inevitably that turns into a different vibe. I don’t know there’s just a different kind of verver that you guys have about it and it’s hard to put our finger on it. We’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it is for years and years but we just cant quite do it. It’s just different. Apples and oranges.
Looking at setlists from the previous nights, there’s a mixture of original material and covers. Are there certain songs you enjoy playing the most?
I suppose. With us it’s cool because each tour is different, and we change the setlist up as often as possible. But it’s been and will be the same every night of this tour simply because of the amount of production going into it. The people in front of house running the lights and sound need to know exactly how things are going to go and that’s a bit different for us because we don’t normally ever use a setlist and we’re normally not certain from song to song what’s coming next. That’s good for us because it keeps us on our toes but using a setlist for this tour is really strange because we’re playing the same amount of time as we normally do but it seems to go so fast because it’s all so planned out.
Is it correct that fans helped shape the setlist on social media?
We asked for suggestions, I’ll say that! So..yes..?! (laughs) A little.
The supports for this tour are The Dollyrots, Lacey and MC Lars. Do you know them well?
Oh yeah, they’ve all been really good friends for years so we’re keeping it in the family!
So the band has been around for a remarkable 22 years now. How does it feel to have lasted that long?
It feels like we’ve really acomplished something. What that is I have no idea! But it’s great. Very few people get to say in any career that they’ve done the same thing for 22 years so I think the fact we’ve managed to stay together for that long could be our biggest accomplishment. We started this just to have fun and get free beer! So to think that this many years later I’d be sat here in Sheffield talking to you about the band was beyond the realm of possibility.
After so long, does it become harder to be motivated? Or do you enjoy it more now?
We all still really enjoy what we’re doing, definitely. So it’s not hard to be motivated. On a day-to-day basis it can get a little hard to get motivated once you’ve been out on the road for a while and you get those days where the hardest thing to do is just drag yourself up out of bed. But by the time it’s time to go on stage all that has changed and attitudes right themselves.
Do you think the band could still be going in another 22 years?
Another twenty-two years!? I hope not! There is no foreseeable end in sight but by then I’ll be in my mid-sixties. I don’t think I’ll need to be doing this at that age!
So after the UK tour comes to an end, what is next for you guys?
We’ve got some sporadic shows this Spring. And I’ve got a solo project so I’ll get home and then start playing shows four days later – no rest for me! And BFS will be back in the studio this summer. Were not exactly sure what we’ll be working on yet, we’ve got several ideas what the next project will be but we have’t narrowed it down yet.
Is there a possibility that it could be a new studio album?
Quite possibly, yeah!
Are you performing at any festivals this summer?
No festivals this summer. That’s for definite, we’ve said no to that already. But we’re discussing it for next year.
In 2014 you also released the greatest hits album ‘Songs People Actually Liked Volume 1. Should fans expect a second volume anytime soon?
We’re not certain what volume two would entail. The whole idea behind it was to do volume one as the first ten years of our career and volume two from the second ten years. But then we thought about it and the whole idea came about because we wanted to re-record our favourites and fan-favourites that didn’t necessarily turn out the way we wanted them to due to either lack of technology or lack of ours skills in the studio early on. We wanted to give them the life we wanted them to have originally and say ‘hey this is what they were suppose to sound like’. With the second half of our career, the technology and our skill was there so we thought does it really make sense to go back and re-record songs that are going to just sound exactly like they did at first? We do have some ideas for what we could do on volume two so it’s still highly plausible that it will happen, we’re just not sure when the right time to do that will be.”
Finally, after this tour should fans be expecting a return to the UK at any point?
Definitely. I’m not quite sure yet when that will be, but we will be back!
Thanks for Erik Chandler for taking the time to do the interview and to Bowling For Soup for a memorable night!
Setlist: The Bitch Song // Emily // Ohio (Come Back To Texas) // The Last Rock Show // Punk Rock 101 // Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day (Phineas and Ferb) // Turbulence // Friends o’ Mine // 1985 // I Don’t Know // All The Small Things,Basket Case,Girls & Boys,My Friends Over You,The Middle (pop punk is not dead medley) // Stacy’s Mom // Since We Broke Up // Love Ya, Love Ya, Love Ya (with The Dollyrots) // Almost // High School Never Ends // (encore) Shut Up And Smile // Girl All The Bad Guys Want //