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Bowling for Soup's pop-punk sound caters to the nostalgic set

click to enlarge Twenty bucks says the guy in the Converse did it.
  • Twenty bucks says the guy in the Converse did it.

Considering that Bowling for Soup's latest press kit includes a photo of the band members wearing wedding dresses with tennis shoes it may be hard to believe they have even a strand of dignity.

Yes, the Texas outfit has made a living behind zany album titles, such as that of its most recent effort, The Great Burrito Extortion Case, and shamelessly radio-friendly pop-punk anthems. (They're responsible for the hokey "1985.") But previously, the guys had seemed to have drawn the line with their getups.

And that was a hard-earned lesson. When nominated for a Grammy for the 2002 hit "Girl All The Bad Guys Want," the band decided to attend the awards ceremony in the same powder-blue tuxedos they wore on the cover for the song's album, Drunk Enough to Dance. And, just like that, in the eyes of their label, Jive Records, Bowling for Soup became "the guys in the blue tuxedos" much to the chagrin of the band.

"We sent them photographs of those [tuxedos] being set on fire at one point," bassist Erik Chandler says. "We were certain not to wear those anymore."

Just as the Barenaked Ladies made '90s alt-rock fun, there's a sense that Bowling for Soup has taken the baton with a kooky, playful and good-natured soccer-mom pop-punk vibe. The band's almost practiced nonchalance has, quite simply, worked, ever since it formed in 1994.

When asked about the current single, "High School Never Ends" which sounds a bit like a continuation of "1985," which name-checked all things "I Love the '80s" with impunity Chandler downplays any talk of formula or preconceived expectations.

"It's not like we say, "OK, what's going to be the next big pop song? Let's write that now,'" he explains.

Still, Chandler can't talk enough about the foursome's next single, "When We Die," which he says is a departure from the group's poppy ways. It's definitely another walk down memory lane for Bowling for Soup's fans only this time, it's a power ballad. To put it in hair metal terms: The group hopes it has stumbled upon its own "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

"It's something we've never done before," Chandler says. "We're going to pad the shock of people listening and saying, "That doesn't sound anything like Bowling for Soup.'"

Fans can expect to hear the track when Bowling for Soup returns to Colorado Springs. It's a return Chandler says the band is eagerly anticipating. Last year, Chandler and singer-guitarist Jaret Reddick played a special radio station show at a car dealership. It was something he says he'll never forget.

"We had never played in Colorado Springs before, and it was a really, really cool experience," Chandler said. "Parents kept their kids out of school and there were probably 150 people there at a car dealership at noon during the school year."

And that was when the Bowling for Soup members knew they had officially made it to the big time.

Laughs Chandler: "Oh yeah."

scene@csindy.com

Bowling for Soup with Melee, Over It and Quietdrive

The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $15; visit ticketweb.com.

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