In 1994 Jaret Reddick formed Bowling For Soup with his best friends and for over two decades the band have been a pillar of the pop-punk world dominating charts, sound-tracking cartoons and collecting a million memories.
Those memories tell a fucking hilarious story decorated with a spattering of shit storms and this month Reddick flew into the UK to tell us the whole thing.
Support came from The Lounge Kittens who brought their own brand of hilarity to the Brighton Concorde 2.
The three-piece, hailing from Southampton, are an absurdly talented vocal outfit who make the best set list decisions in the world.
From Slipknot covers (prefaced with an exclamation of “let’s sing some fucking Slipknot shall we?”) to a pop-punk medley, an 80s TV medley and a Download Festival 2017 medley – The Lounge Kittens are truly the queens of covers.
And they do all of that in a jazz-lounge style. It is truly remarkable and not to be missed under any circumstances. Go see them. Do a T-rexican wave with them. You will have 0 regrets.
The accurately named Heartache and Hilarity tour saw Reddick travel the UK telling us the priceless tales of where all the best BFS songs came from but also being open, honest and up front about a long fought battle with depression.
Almost immediately launching into The Bitch Song from the 1998 album Tell Me When to Whoa Jaret told the crowd that he’s often asked if it’s about one girl in particular.
“No” he answers, dubiously, “it’s about two girls.”
The idea, Jaret tells us, was that if either of the girls got pissed about the song they could just say it was about the other. Problem solved!
It will come as no surprise that this was just-the-tip of the ingenious, heart-warming almost-jesting that comes so naturally to the obviously confident frontman.
So when doctors explained to Jaret that troubling symptoms were pointing to a diagnosis of depression he found it pretty hard to accept:
“I can’t be depressed, I’m the funny one” he exclaimed “apparently that’s not how it fucking works.”
Jaret continued to talk at length about making decisions, dealing with the suicide of his friend and former manager, a divorce that he says he “did not want”, the following custody battle of his two children and the understandable weight gain that all that would bring.
His openness is not necessarily rare in the music community. Musicians are more open now then they have ever been, recognising the impact the music industry can have on individuals and feeling the need to raise awareness.
But this show was worlds apart from a few sentences in between songs on stage or a pro-active social media approach.
Jaret stood face to face with a crowd of his fans, with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a bottle of wine, and told them (with no detail spared and for nearly two hours) that it was okay to be who they were and to seek help if they were struggling with any kind of mental illness.
He talked about the loss of the likes of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornel and said that suicide and depression was a “fucking pandemic.”
He spoke candidly about personal experiences with fans who had reached out to him at hard times, and how grateful he was that they had.
It was a truly touching night of acceptance, addressing prominent issues and celebrating Bowling For Soup, in all its glory, without being a Bowling for Soup show.
And if you need any proof on that last point – Jaret didn’t play Girl all the Bad Guys Want. BFS would never dare do that.
In fact, when the full band return to the UK in February 2018 they’ll be playing Drunk Enough To Dance, the album that delivered Girl All The Bad Guys Want to us, in its entirety.
Bring it on.
This tour was a much needed unique way of addressing one of, if not THE, most pressing issues in our community. It was a courageous move done with all the brashness it needed to make the exact right impact.
SEE OUR GALLERY OF THE SHOW HERE.
BOWLING FOR SOUP WILL TOUR THE UK IN FEBRUARY 2018. BUY TICKETS HERE.