DENTON (KFDX/KJTL) — The list of Grammy-nominated artists from Wichita Falls is a short one, but it includes four men who used to walk the halls of Rider, Old High, and Henrietta.
Nearly 30 years after they started in 1994, the boys in Bowling For Soup are still making music, releasing their eleventh studio album in March 2022.
KFDX Digital Reporter Josh Hoggard spoke with Bowling For Soup’s frontman, Jaret Reddick, on Thursday, October 13, 2022. They started all the way at the beginning of Bowling For Soup’s story when they were just four Wichita Falls area high school kids starting a band.
“Honestly, it was just something to do for us,” Reddick said. “Wichita Falls is a nice sized town, but there’s not a lot to do, and there’s a lot of trouble to get into, and this is the 90s.”
Reddick and his buddies, Chris Burney, Lance Morrill, and Erik Chandler are the founding members of Bowling for Soup, but they all started out in different bands.
“Chris used to run a little coffee house over on Grant Street,” Reddick said. “It was called the Refuge. He could get really great bands to come through, but he also gave local bands a place to play.”
Reddick and Morrill were in a band. Morrill also had a band with Burney and Chandler. When both bands broke up, the four remaining members of those two bands started a new one.
“Bowling for Soup started in 1994 in a little shopping center there on Beverly Drive by Stanley’s #2,” Reddick said. “July 3, 1994, we played out at Memorial Stadium at the big fireworks display thing, and that was our very first show.”
A few years later, the guys moved to Denton, signed a record deal, and decided to go for it.
“We got signed to Jive Records,” Reddick said. “And our first… First major record label album did not do all that great.”
Despite a lack of commercial success, the band’s fan base kept growing. They started touring in Texas and Oklahoma. They kept writing and playing music.
And then, in 2002, one of their songs got picked up by a pop radio station. That song is called, “Girl All The Bad Guys Want”, Bowling For Soup’s first major hit.
“All of a sudden it was on pop radio everywhere,” Reddick said. “So in 2004, things definitely started changing. We had been in a van for nine years, then all of a sudden, we were in a tour bus, we were flying everywhere.”
That wasn’t all that changed in 2004. That’s the same year the band’s biggest hit to date was released, “1985”.
“1985 has had, I mean, it’s just… Release after release of people updating it to 1999, or 2005, or 2009,” Reddick said. “There’s two more that I know of that are coming out because I’m guesting on both of them, so that’s a really cool testament to that song, that people love it so much that they’re just like, ‘We need updated versions of this!'”
They’ve been rolling ever since, releasing their eleventh studio album just months ago. Reddick said they’re doing more now than they ever have.
“We’re doing more business now than ever,” Reddick said. “Our shows are bigger than they’ve ever been, and again I just think that’s a testament to the loyalty of the fans.”
That’s not all Reddick has been up to, though. He recently released his first solo album as Jaret Ray Reddick, called “Just Woke Up”. And, it’s not punk. It’s not even rock. It’s a country album.
“I grew up in Wichita Falls,” Reddick said. “Country is king there.”
Reddick said it was an idea he’s always had, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic really set things in motion.
“I always knew I wanted to do a country record,” Reddick said. “And so, the pandemic happened. I was just like, yeah, let’s just do it, and that’s literally how it happened. We wrote the entire album in three weeks, over text message.”
But, what makes a decorated punk rock veteran decide they want to go country?
“Country’s just always been there,” Reddick said. “A huge influence in my songwriting, Bowling for Soup, if you really break it down, songs are stories, and that’s all from country.”
Believe it or not, Reddick’s upbringing in a small Texas town played a role in the record.
“Despite some of the hate I got for the song, ‘My Hometown’, I’m glad I grew up in Wichita Falls,” Reddick said. “I draw most of my inspiration for songs and all of that from my childhood, and it was a big part of it. Ya know, playing in the marching band at Rider or playing sports at McNiel.”
They’ve come a long way since 1994, but Reddick said he’s proud of where he came from.
“I grew up listening to 99.9 KLUR every day to hear what the lunch menu was,” Reddick said. “Big Jim Russell would tell us who had the lunch of the day… That’s my childhood.”
Reddick said the other guys in Bowling for Soup have the same fond memories of Wichita Falls.
“Wichita Falls is near and dear to all of our hearts. We talk about it all the time,” Reddick said. “Everybody’s got memories of all the different practice places we had.”
Reddick said they all miss the food, and talk about local restaurants more than anything else.
“P2 and that you can drink beer in your car. Then, we get into the hamburger argument,” Reddick said. “Whether Gene’s Tasty Burger is better than Pat’s, and Pat’s is better than Ronnies, and then it’s like, where were the original red tacos? No, that’s not right!”
So, are they ever coming back to Wichita Falls?
“Man, the Wichita Falls conversation comes back up all the time,” Reddick said. “We actually just had an opportunity right before lockdown… That was gonna happen. I feel sure I’m going to come through there, at least as a country artist.”
Hoggard and Reddick’s conversation can be found in its entirety below:
Of course, Reddick couldn’t leave without answering the age-old question, exclusively on KFDX, for the first time on TV.
Are they bowling to earn soup, or are they bowling on behalf of soup?
“We are bowling to earn soup because it is what we do for a living,” Reddick said. “I imagine soup would be food, money, life. So we are bowling to earn it. However, I have made it very clear that if soup ever needs us, we will be there on its behalf.”