Pop-punk just won’t go away. Masquerading the ups and downs of life in toilet humour, bouncy riffs and silly music videos just seems to be people’s preferred method of handling the everyday atrocities of life. “Sometimes there’s a mood for everything and sometimes you have a bad day,” states BOWLING FOR SOUP guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Jaret Reddick“and sometimes a BOWLING FOR SOUP song is exactly what you need to pull you out of that.” The Texan pop punk legends have just released their 11th studio album, Pop Drunk Snot Breadand in their almost three-decade-long career have sold a magnitude of records, crossed multiple borders, and made many fans across generations, as well as being nominated for a Grammy,
One of the most admirable traits of pop-punk is it’s ability to not take life too seriously. In the self-aware track Greatest Of All Time off the new record, the lyric ‘we drank a beer on every continent but one’ refers to the band having yet to play Antarctica. “Wouldn’t it be funny if it wasn’t Antarctica though? Imagine if it was every continent but America,” laughs Jaret, ,METALLICA played Antarctica and I feel like you’ve got to be bigger than METALLICA to make it work. Although, some of the crazy locations we’ve played have been thanks to the military, and I guess as long as you’re on a boat in Antarctica’s waters, it counts. Maybe it will happen, never say never.”
The new record also features two tracks about well known celebrities – actor Brad Pitt and professional wrestler Alexa Bliss, “I’d like to write about THE BEATLES one day.” Jaret admits when asked if he’d had the desire to pen a song about any other famous characters. “I was always a John Lennon guy, but recently I’ve switched to Paul McCartney, I’ve addressed that in a song before, but I’d like to expand on that journey. There’s got to be a song in that somewhere, about moving from one beetle to the next.”
What makes this record different to every other one though, is that BOWLING FOR SOUP have found that sweet spot between fun and seriousness. Where some record’s featured too many heavy subjects that lacked the band’s signature punchlines, tracks like Best We Can and Wouldn’t Change A Thing explore unrealistic relationship expectations and reflects on the way we perceive love and success. “Relationships are hard and I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. There’s a lyric in that song, ‘all the aggravation was based on expectations that you and I could never live up to,’ and as long as we’re happy, we’ll make it,” explains Jaret, Hindsight is a wonderful tool, and “it’s unlikely you’ll be with the same person your whole life, and that’s not a bad thing. People change and things get different. In the world that my grandparents grew up in, you got married and you stayed with that person no matter what. But there’s so much unhappiness when you live your life like that. We should always be able to have a restart.”
Being a touring musician, romantic relationships are that a little bit harder than most and divorces are a common occurrence. “I had to take a look at my own behaviors and that’s not an easy thing to do. Unfortunately in the world we live in, especially when you’re highly successful, we’re not held accountable for a lot of things. Then one day you just wake up and realize ‘I’m a terrible fucking person.’ The good thing about me and my bandmates is that we stayed away from drugs, one of us would have probably ended up dead otherwise.”
As a proud Texan, one thing Jaret‘s first solo country record, Just Woke Up, gave to him that pop punk couldn’t, was to take those more soul-baring and exposed songs and give them a welcoming home. “It’s very important to me that you’re smiling when you’re listening to us. If we do bring you to tears it’s for different reasons other than me telling you about my hardships. With the country record, I get to write about things without that net.” Jaret dived so far into the deep end that he’d ended up writing about things that nobody else knew about him. “The best thing about it was that I couldn’t hide behind being funny like I do with BOWLING FOR SOUP, Whereas on the country album, the first thing I said to myself was, ‘you can’t make this a comedy record, otherwise, you’re just gonna be a novelty.’ It’s basically a 45-minute journal entry for me.”
It’s no secret that the music industry has a problem with tackling mental health struggles. Being active with Foundation 45 and on the board of directors for Punk Rock Saves Lives, Jaret reassures that “I think everybody should go to therapy at some point. 2013 was a motherfucker for me. Anxiety and depression showed their ugly heads, and I had no idea if I was going to get through it. I still go to therapy. I talked to my doctor and it took me over two years to get the medication right. Everybody needs to understand, if you’re reading this, it’s not a magic pill. Sometimes you try something and it works for two weeks, and then it doesn’t. The reason I’m an advocate for it is because I’m on the other side of it. I’m just doing what I can, and most of the time that’s just me just telling my story.”
Pop Drunk Snot Bread is out now via Brando/Que-So Records.
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