By SHERIDAN CYR
Bowling for Soup fans young and old poured into downtown Southington by the busload on Saturday night to see the American rock band take over the mainstage. Cheers from the audience bellowed through the streets, phone screens fixated on the musicians, and virtually everyone sang along while the band banged out their most popular hits.
“It’s still fun,” said Jaret Reddick, guitarist and lead singer. “That was always our rule. When it wasn’t fun, we were going to stop.”
The band has been pushing out pop-punk jams since 1994. Some of their most popular hits include “1985,” “Girl All the Bad Guys Want,” “High School Never Ends,” “Punk Rock 101,” “Almost,” and “Ohio.”
“The fact that people still show up to see us play is really what keeps us going,” Reddick said. “We still have a good time, we’re still really close, and we still like hanging out and making music. We came in to town early just to hang out and have a good time. And, we don’t really know what else to do with ourselves.”
Reddick said back in 2013, the band took a short break, and it was “one of the best things we ever did.”
“We came back guns a ’blazing and full forced, and we just got excited again,” said the singer.
Three of the original members are still with the band: Reddick, lead guitarist Chris Burney, and drummer Gary Wiseman. Bass guitarist Erik Chandler has made his own path, but all members are still on good terms and even helped Chandler along the way. Bowling for Soup now includes Rob Felicetti, bassist from Patent Pending.
“Rob has added a really cool energy to the band,” Reddick said.
Bowling for Soup earned the public spotlight with a Grammy nomination in 2003, which was more than a boost of confidence.
“We had started just kind of thinking, like, ‘Ok, we’re going to be one of those bands that does well overseas but not as much in our own country,’” Reddick said. “Then, that nomination happened, and people started paying attention to us. It was a whirlwind of a few years at that point.”
After the nomination, “Girl All the Bad Guys Want” became a hit, then “Punk Rock 101” from the album “Drunk Enough to Dance” followed closely behind. “Almost,” “1985” and “Ohio” all became hits off of their next album, “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.”
The band came back from a tour in the United Kingdom in February for some U.S. shows before Reddick returned to the U.K. alone for his solo “Heartache & Hilarity Tour Too.” They played in Southington, and will have a few more U.S. shows before returning to the U.K. in November.
“We’ll be going back to the U.K., the full band, to play the markets we didn’t play last February. Then, I think it’ll be time to start thinking about studio stuff,” Reddick said. It may be new content, or it may be a second greatest hits album. Right now, they’re trying to feel out what fans are looking for.
For the band that has toured the whole world over the course of 25 years, coming to Southington was still an exciting event.
“This is awesome. I actually texted my wife right when I got up on the stage for sound check and was like, ‘man, we should’ve done more research, and you should’ve come to this,’” said Reddick. “This is the kind of stuff we do with our family. She would be having the best time right now. This town is beautiful and everyone seems really happy.”
To follow along with Bowling for Soup updates, visit their website, www.bowlingforsoup.com or check their Facebook page.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.