In part one of my three part series of interviewing at Warped Tour, I bring to you my interview with Erik Chandler, the bassist for Bowling for Soup.
I am very fortunate and grateful for being given the opportunity to do press on Warped Tour this year. It was a great event and I had a one of a kind experience. Everything from people watching to the diverse lineup of bands, it was a really fun day for me.
I spoke with Erik about Warped Tour, Bowling for Soup memories, The Ramones, and more. Check it out!
Alex Obert: What does it mean to you to be on the twentieth anniversary of Warped Tour?
Erik Chandler: It’s really cool for us to be on the twentieth year because this is actually Bowling for Soup’s twentieth year as a band, also. It was very, very cool that Kevin asked us to come out and share our anniversaries together.
Alex Obert: What do you have planned for your set on the tour? How do you balance the setlist throughout twenty years of music?
Erik Chandler: We never, ever use a setlist. Every day is just a little bit different. Pretty much within the first week or so, your set kind of works itself out. But we’re pretty much sticking to the hits this time around because we only got thirty to thirty five minutes to play.
Alex Obert: Who have you interacted with this tour?
Erik Chandler: We’re hanging out with everybody pretty much. It’s really, really cool. It’s like punk rock Summer camp and everybody’s super cool. Hanging out with a different group every night. Warped Tour has barbecue events, a party every night, and we kind of have our own barbecue every night. And it’s a revolving door of people coming over to hang out with us, so it’s pretty awesome.
Alex Obert: What makes Warped Tour different from other festivals and tours that you have been a part of?
Erik Chandler: Warped Tour’s a bit more of a grind then most other tours. And it ‘s simply because you’re just forced to be out in the elements all day long for six weeks at a time. Traditionally, the touring schedule’s been a little more brutal than your average tour. This year hasn’t been quite as bad. The last time we were on the whole tour was in 2004 and we did fifty six shows in sixty five days and the longest run was twenty nine days in a row. That gets a little tiring.
Alex Obert: With the punk rock roots of Warped Tour, what are your thoughts on the recent news of Tommy Ramone passing away?
Erik Chandler: Man, that was very, very sad. The last original member of The Ramones is gone now. It makes me feel old, to be honest about it. And when I realized he was the last original member, it was like, “Ah, shit!” The Ramones were one of the first punk rock bands that I ever purchased back when I was a kid. It’s just kind of sad to see that all of them have gone now.
Alex Obert: How do you feel Bowling for Soup lives the spirit of The Ramones on stage and in the studio?
Erik Chandler: It’s just kind of a we don’t care what you think about us attitude. We’re having fun doing what we’re doing and we give not two shits.
Alex Obert: What was your first year on Warped Tour?
Erik Chandler: It was 2003, so it had been eleven years ago.
Alex Obert: So during that time, Drunk Enough to Dance had just been released. What was it like playing songs off of that album?
Erik Chandler: It was really scaring us because Drunk Enough to Dance had come out recently and we were releasing A Hangover You Don’t Deserve. It was weird, kind of cool-weird watching over the course of the tour people start to know the songs from the new album because it came out while we were there. So that was pretty cool.
Alex Obert: Back then, before the days of YouTube, do you also credit that to radio airplay?
Erik Chandler: That’s kind of all that there was back then. That was back in the day when you could still see videos on MTV and VH1.
Alex Obert: Do you plan to continue having YouTube as an outlet for your music videos?
Erik Chandler: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s an invaluable resource. We were just talking about it yesterday, maybe shooting some videos for a couple of older songs that we’re rerecording for our best of compilations that we’re working on right now.
Alex Obert: What led to the decision to be re-recording songs that the band previously released?
Erik Chandler: We’re re-recording simply for sound quality matters. Our first albums were literally recorded to VHS tapes. But in 1994, that was cutting-edge technology. And now with computerized recording and whatnot, you can’t get better sound quality than you get now, so we’re just going back and redoing everything.
Alex Obert: With two of your biggest hits concerned, which do you like better, Girl All The Bad Guys Want or 1985?
Erik Chandler: Can’t even take a pick. 1985 was obviously our biggest hit to date, but with Girl All The Bad Guys Want, we were nominated for a Grammy for that song. It’s two completely different circumstances surrounding two different songs. You can’t really pick between the two.
Alex Obert: Regarding the story of SR-71 and 1985, what does it mean to you that they thought you would be better for the song?
Erik Chandler: It was very cool that Mitch approached us in the studio and that also he did not freak out too much whenever we made the changes that we made. That’s awesome. We’d known each other beforehand, but through that whole process, we became really, really good friends. It’s cool.
Alex Obert: What were you like in 1985?
Erik Chandler: I was eleven, so I was a huge comic book band nerd. I was the kid at the comic book store. But I guess in the last several years that whole culture has become a little more cool and in the mainstream but back then, that was not the case. We were the super nerds and I’m totally fine with that.
Alex Obert: Being comfortable in your own skin, what’s the most important thing about not taking yourself too seriously in a band?
Erik Chandler: I enjoy what I do so much that I don’t understand the mindset behind people who are supposed to be enjoying so much, but just have these ominous overtones about it and just being angry and upset all the time. I just can’t comprehend that.
Alex Obert: Last question I’ll leave you with, what’s the best concert you ever attended as a fan?
Erik Chandler: Lollapalooza 1991. It was the first time I ever saw Jane’s Addiction. And still to this day, I’ve never seen a show that has matched that spectacle.
Alex Obert: Well I’d love to thank you so much for your time.
Erik Chandler: Right on! Thank you, man.