This past Saturday, a bunch of 30 and 40 "somethings" got to go back in time a little bit at the 30th, and final, FallsFest. The last headliner to play at that event was Bowling For Soup. They started their journey in Wichita Falls 21 years ago to the day. We sat down and talked to the three original members about their journey as "Hometown Hitmakers".
"It's been a very strange and weird ride to be honest with you," said Chris Burney. "I mean not of us really expected any of it. We didn't plan any of this, or any of that. It just kind of happened."
"It just started as an idea to have some fun and 3 months later, we were recording our first album," said Jaret Reddick.
Bowling For Soup lead singer Jaret Reddick, guitarist Chris Burney and bassist Erik Chandler were all there the day the band played its first notes. Drummer Gary Wiseman, also of Wichita Falls, started keeping the beat 4 years later. Burney told us that he and Reddick got together for something to do on the weekends.
"Both of us had graduated from college, and it was kind of time to like get a real job you know? We were like, what are we going to do? Let's just have fun on the weekends and all that," said Burney. "That's how we pretty much started. Just to have a little fun on the weekends and get some free beer every once in a while."
11 studio albums, a Grammy nomination and countless tours later, the journey came full circle back to where it all started from a practice place off Beverly Drive in 1994, to the final FallsFest last Saturday.
"I was here at the first one (FallsFest) so to be here actually playing, headlining the last one. To be the last band ever to go on stage at FallsFest is a really, really cool thing for all of us. We've been talking about it for a quite a little while," said Erik Chandler.
When Bowling For Soup started 21 years ago, it was a bunch of 20 "somethings" making music and having fun. As the years have gone by, things have changed.
"It's amazing how the recoup time has gone up dramatically," said Chandler. "You hit 40 and it's not like being 24 and being able to bounce back."
"We're so lucky. We get to make music and everybody gets to spend time with their families now. We don't miss the birthday parties. We do miss the funerals, though, because you can't time that out. You can't schedule it. They got to figure that out, said Reddick.
The band played to thousands of excited fans Saturday night. There were new fans and old fans. All seemed to enjoy their "Hometown Hitmakers". We asked Reddick when was it that he knew that this combo of musicians had something special.
"About 2 years in, we played a really big show. It was the first time we had played to a sold out crowd, about 4,000 people. It wasn't our show, of course. We were drawing about 4 people at the time. But, some of these 4,000 people had heard some of our songs because they sang them. It was that night that I sort of called the guys together, and I said, 'I actually do think we're on to something'. So we'll see. I never expected to be sitting here 21 years later with a bunch of hits and being able to still do this and call it my job. That's just crazy," said Reddick.
If you are not a big Bowling For Soup fan, you might recognize their music in other places. Parents with younger kids just might like to know that the theme song "Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day" from Disney's "Phineas and Ferb" is also theirs.