Speaking with Overdrive, Erik opens about the band’s decision to keep on going, their highly successful crowdfunding project and their reasons for staying away from any political or religious commentary.
Tickets for Bowling for Soup with special guests Lacey and The Bottom Line are on sale now from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and Sound Cellar on Dublin’s Nassau Street, priced at €28.00 (inc booking fee). This is an over 14’s show with 18+ years having access to the balcony bar for alcohol.
OD – Bowling for Soup are back in Ireland! We thought that you guys would not be coming back over to this part of the world again anytime soon, what was the deciding factor as I know the Steel Panther tour is something that would be a little hard to turn down?
ERIK – When we did our farewell tour over in Europe, we never actually said it was our final ever selection of European shows. We were saying farewell to the way we were touring in that part of the world. There were several years when we were doing up to three different tours in the UK in one year, so basically we decided that we were beginning to “feel our age” and needed to ease back on things a little. It didn’t make sense to us on a personal basis to leave America for 2/3 weeks at a time several times a year and so we decided to take a little bit of a break and when we come back we’ll do a scaled down tour in slightly larger venues. We wanted to accommodate as many people as possible and not do 24 shows in a row and instead, do 12 but to the same amount of people.
When we found out about the Steel Panther offer, (which was last February when we were on tour in the UK), we got back to them with our response and waited with baited breath, to see if they agreed to a few stipulations that we required and they were totally cool. So this provided the perfect opportunity for us to make the trip over to Ireland. We seem to play the UK so many times but we just don’t make it over to Ireland enough as it’s just more of a financial roadblock if anything. I’m not sure if most people know about the logistics of getting an entire touring party from one country to another with all of our great and any stage production that we may happen to be using. It’s a costly and complicated process at best.
OD – It seems kind of crazy to think that the band is pushing 22 years! Did you honestly ever think that things would still be happening this far down the line?
ERIK – We started this as a way to have fun. There was nothing more than just the idea of getting together, hanging our and playing music. There were no big ideas of having a career and striving for success. It was really more of a “let’s get some beers and crank some tunes for fun”. As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty much the way we are today! There’s no way we would have imagined that this would have been still happening 22 years later (laughing).
OD – There have been so many different genres of music that have come and gone over the last twenty years or so, was a point where you were genuinely worried about the shift in musical tastes?
ERIK – I don’t’ wanna say exactly yes to that! There has been a couple of times where we thought it might be time to slow things down a little and go out gracefully rather than trying to hang on to an idea of something of an idea that was happening years ago and playing back in bars and making a mockery of things that we have already achieved. I think maybe twice we have considered that option and on both occasions, something has occurred to make us realise that there’s more gas in the tank. The idea has always been, “let’s not beat the dead horse” if you know what I mean. It’s been a slow climb to get to where we are and we’ve now been riding this one wave that has taken us over the last decade or so and we are just so grateful that we can still go out on the road and do this for a living.
OD – The forthcoming album Drunk Dynasty will be the band’s 11th studio album and a special one indeed as it was funded by pledge crowdfunding campaign which I believe reached its target in just 9 days! Were you just blown away by how quick you managed to achieve the target?
ERIK – Yes absolutely! We were just talking about that a few day’s ago. That’s another element about our reason to carry on. There are clearly people out there who want us to keep going as that crowdfunding project just proved it. It’s great to know that we have such a loyal fanbase that cares about the bands future. We were just blown away by the response from that and are still coming to terms with the overwhelming success we achieved in such a short amount of time.
OD – Going forward, do you believe that the crowd funding is something that you will use again?
ERIK – Yeah for sure! When the whole crowdfunding thing was really becoming popular about 6/7 years ago. I was a little sceptical and remember having a conversation with Jaret (Reddick – vocals / guitar) about it and was like “this band is doing it and asking for people to pay for it before it’s even recorded!” and he actually said “I think that’s where the future of releasing records is going”. It seemed so alien at the time and almost radical in terms of releasing an album to the world but here we are doing it and it’s worked better than any of us could have possibly imagined.
OD – When you realise that the album was funded by the fans themselves, does that add to any pressure when writing / recording, as it’s a direct link between band and fan rather than the band – label – fans?
ERIK – I wouldn’t say there was a different feeling when we were putting the album together. Back when we were with a major label, we always did exactly what we wanted to do and there were times when the label was insisting on making changes and we just stood tall and were like “no.. this is the album, it’s finished”!
The crowdfunding process has definitely made things much less stressful from the studio side of things as we are in complete control of everything now. Fans are now getting a more unrestricted view of what Bowling for Soup is really all about. We don’t have any interference from any label “big-wigs” anymore, who were telling us what to do and when to do it. We are putting out music that we care about and our fans care about, which just makes the whole process so liberating.
It has to be said also, the power of the internet provides us with a direct platform with our fans and they can check in with what we are doing in the studio and be part of the whole experience, which is just awesome. Back in the day, when I was younger, I used to sit around and buy the magazines and that was pretty much the only way of finding out what was happening with your favourite band. Times have changed so much and it’s just really great to be a young music fan. They don’t know how good they have it (laughing).
OD – You are out on the road with Steel Panther, I’m sure that’s nothing but a series of laughs, do you have a history with those guys?
ERIK – It’s more of an acquaintance type friendship which is pretty common in this industry. We have never done any shows with them and for years we have been saying (from both sides) that it would be amazing to do some shows together. This will be the first time that Bowling for Soup and Steel Panther will be touring together, so it’s gonna be wild! We did some stuff with them way back when they were called Metal Shop in the Viper Room in L.A and then they moved to the Key Club on Monday night’s and became Metal Skool and then they became Steel Panther.
We saw them for the very first time back in the Viper Room when they were Metal Shop and I thought it was the most genius thing I had ever seen. Shortly after that, we met them and got on well with all the guys in the band. I’ve seen them a bunch of times at the Key Club when we were in L.A and actually Jaret as been on stage with them a few times doing some covers. That’s when the whole “we should play shows together” idea originated from, so you can see that this has been in the works for a long time and is only finally coming to fruition now.
OD – Never afraid to poke fun at other bands and awkward social situations, have you contemplated using the current American political situation as a source of inspiration for any upcoming music or videos?
ERIK – We do our very best to stay clear from any political commentary because we don’t see that as our place to get involved. I realise that we have created this platform that would be easy for us to get involved but the truth is that we don’t all necessarily see eye to eye on some things and politics is one of those things (laughing). The best thing for us as a band is to steer clear from that topic and make sure that nothing gets said in a public forum that might upset anyone in the band. Our deal is that we are just here to entertain and make people happy. If we started talking politics and people begin to pick sides, then things start to get divided and that’s not what we’re here to do. Bowling for Soup is here to provide the daily distraction and give you a smile during your daily life. I don’t even know if we are all on the same exact page, politically as we just tend to stay away from that kind of stuff and just concentrate on doing what we do best.
OD – Finally, you make it back to Ireland on October 17th, have you had the experience of enjoying the Irish hospitality and if so, do you have any memories that you would like to share?
ERIK – The very first time I was in Dublin, I had my first Guinness and to be honest does not taste anything like it does in the States. I would say that this was about 12 years ago and I remember the guy that was behind the counter of the bar saw my face and came around and led me to the front door and pointed to the Guinness brewery and said “that’s the back of the brewery right there and this keg just came in this morning”! That is a memory I will always associate with Dublin and will never forget. I can’t wait to get back there again.
OD – Finally, Bowling for Soup will be taking to the stage in Dublin’s Academy on October 17th. For anyone that has yet to check out the show, how would you best describe it?
ERIK – Well, if you don’t go to see us play live, then you’re just being stupid! (laughing) No, seriously, we like to call ourselves a ‘Rock n’ Roll trainwreck’ and approach each show as if we’re hosting a party that everyone is invited to! We get up on stage and just have as much fun as we can. On that show in Dublin, we have our good friends Lacey joining us, who are a fantastic live band and are really beginning to make a name for themselves.
© OVERDRIVE 2016