Bowling for Soup Bassist Erik Chandler talks the Foo Fighters, feeling homesick, and finding the time to walk…
Firstly, it’s great to have you back in the UK! What have you guys been doing since the Autumn you were last here?
Thanks, it’s good to be back. Well, we toured the US all through December, January, February, March, and had eleven days off, then went on tour again. It was a really long time to be on the road – those eleven days we just spent at home, detoxing you know? It had been a pretty crazy few months. We got kind of homesick.
Is that homesickness something you have always felt, or is it something that has developed as you have matured?
(laughs) Matured? I don’t think I’ve matured…
Well, I didn’t want to use the phrase ‘grown older’…
(laughs) No, it’s true. As we’ve all got older there is more at home to miss. We have wives, families, stuff that we didn’t have when we first started out. We just want to go home now I think, we’re tired!
So is that what is planned after this? Home?
Yeah pretty much, but not for long. We’ll be writing new material all through June, which we are hoping will be out in time for an October tour. We’ve had some label issues, but I think we have sorted them now. Other than that, we have a few festivals lined up, a few we aren’t sure whether we are going to, but we’ll see.
Obviously festivals are a pretty big thing for the British, what with Reading, Glastonbury etc. As almost festival veterans, what has been your favourite?
Well, our first shows were at Reading and Leeds, which are legendary festivals. It was packed, especially for our first ones ever. There is also the main stage at Download, we played to something like 80,000 people, which is just stupid! There was another time, at Reading and Leeds, where my wife and sister came, that was pretty special.
And if you could appear at any of these festivals, supporting any act, who would you chose?
Well, anyone really. I think first off it would be Green Day – they have been pretty inspirational for me personally. My songwriting, and my career more generally have been influenced by them, they are legends. Then probably Foo Fighters, ‘cuz who doesn’t like the Foo Fighters, and then Bowling For Soup (laughs)
And looking back to the present, what was the inspiration behind this acoustic tour?
It was something we were already doing a lot of over in the US – we do several a year in Texas, where me and Jaret go to radio stations and play acoustically. For them, it makes sense, it’s much cheaper to have two guys and two guitars, than four guys, amps, drums and the rest of it.
Me and Jaret are cheaper! So from there, from the different dynamic that comes from it just being the two of us, we decided to do a whole tour – we did one in the US in 2007, and then one in 2009, and then over here now.
How is it playing without the other two, without Chris and Gary?
It’s different. I think people don’t know what to expect from a BFS acoustic tour, but I think it works. But from a personal perspective, I’ve missed those guys. It’s really weird just travelling around with Jaret – we don’t even really have a crew, and it has been quite lonely this time around.
So, leading such a busy lifestyle, it must be difficult to feel settled at any point – is there anything you do to get over that?
With this tour, it has been making an effort to actually get up, to get out of bed. In the past, we haven’t even seen daylight, let alone the towns we have played – we’ll finish a show, stay up all night, sleep all day, wake up for another show in a different place without having seen any of it. I mean, there isn’t always the opportunity to go out and see things, but I have made an effort just to get up and walk to see what I can find. There was this one tour where we spent almost every night just getting drunk when we’d finish a show, sleeping it off, and doing it all again then next day, we didn’t want to do that this time.
And lastly, what are you listening to at the moment? Anything you want to recommend to our readers?
There’s a group that are getting big over in the US, The Features. Have you guys heard of them? They’re an indie-rock group – they’re pretty good. I’m going through phases though, I’m a big fan of Wilko at the moment, and of Phoenix. Vampire Weekend are also cool. But anything with a good beat.