Bowling For Soup

By Andy

The BFS live show is rapidly gaining notoriety as being full of gags and general silliness. But is it all scripted chaos? “From an improvisational standpoint, we really don’t have a setlist,” says Chris, “we just go up there and do a show, y’know? That’s the thing, we’re all into spontaneity. I think if we did the same show all the time we’d probably beat each other over the head with a bat. It keeps it fun, keeps it fresh, so every night we go up there and do a different show.” It’s probably fair to say that their success is due to their appeal to the younger and more impressionable members of society which contrasts with their current state in the US and Chris expands on this. “Over in the States, kids don’t really come out to shows very often. There’s a small number of kids that do, but here they have more freedom; they can take a train to a show. In the US, if you’re a 14 or 15 year old kid, your mum and dad aren’t going to let you go to the show; especially for a band like us who are known for dropping their pants!”

Touring is something BFS do a lot, and are quick to dispel the myth that they were an overnight success bred by MTV. “We kept coming over here and playing different venues. The first time we came over and played Reading and Leeds, the second time we did a tour with Uncle Brian of small, 100/200 capacity venues. If you keep coming back and building, then the people that saw you there will tell a few friends. We’ve built what we have over here.” The accusation that they visit the UK so much due to his love for Elizabeth Hurley remains unanswered however (Along with Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, who are his top three ‘Harem Girls’). It would be fair to say that it’s not all screaming kids and doughnuts though. With a solemnity that belied his usually jovial exterior he said, “more than anything, I have to have a little bit of time alone, just sitting and relaxing sometimes. You just forget to take time out sometimes.” Hardly the talk of someone whom I expected to be full of jokes and pranks. It would appear that BFS don’t let their detractors affect them or their performances with accusations of selling out. “People just don’t understand.” relates the guitarist, with vitriol in his eyes. “They have to come and see my house, see what selling out looks like. I live with five other guys; my house has mice and rats…it’s not the best place in the world! I’m not complaining, but nobody’s selling out here.”

Many have claimed that BFS are a simplistic band, and that they are good for comedic purposes only. While it is true to say that they are indeed a funny group of people, the subject of whether or not they take themselves seriously brought out an honest, down to earth attitude that many may find surprising. “We all know that we’re pretty good at what we do. We all know we can go out there and give people a good show, show them something they’re never seen before – fat guys jumping around. But at the same time we all know that this could be over tomorrow.” He’s well aware that the lifespan of such a band may be limited, and admits that “when it’s our time to quit and be old farts we’ll do that.” Typecasting is brushed aside with a gesture of disdain: “You can’t worry about those kind of things. We just keep doing what we do. If people want to bracket us then that’s their issue, we’ll just keep playing.”

Theirs is the glossy side of punk rock, away from the politicised works of their tourbuddies Capdown, but BFS have never had any kind of political stance, preferring to stick with what they know. On the subject of whether or not they should speak out regarding certain issues, Chris became particularly vocal. “What’s right and wrong differs for everybody. To say that musicians are smarter than everyone is ridiculous. I think that when it comes to an issue, you should find out yourself what’s going on. Too many people are quick to listen to the opinion of someone they think they respect just because they do something. Like athletes – who the fuck are they? Find out yourself! There’s all kinds of information available.” he asserts, going on to say that “I don’t want to see war but I want to see something done. I wouldn’t want to live in a country next to him [Saddam Hussein].”

BFS do not conform to all expectations, in that from a band who caters for such a young audience, there comes a maturity and eloquence that many of their contemporaries would be advised to follow. Are they simply bland, throw-away pop punk, or is there another layer to this group of Texans? The answer isn’t clearly defined, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to argue with a man who, if locked in a bubble would listen to Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ on repeat for all eternity. Scary stuff.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]