Bowling For Soup & Reel Big Fish
2036 University Avenue
near Downtown Berkeley BART
Berkeley, CA, 94704
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 10:00 PM
Bowling For Soup
American Pop-Punk band which originally formed in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1994. Now based in Denton, Texas.
There's a song on Bowling For Soup's 2014 Greatest Hits Album (Songs People Actually Liked: Volume 1) - "20 Years, That's A Lot Of Beers", a lighthearted autobiographical sprint through all the things the band had achieved together in their first two decades. It's a song full of fun and camaraderie, which sums up Bowling For Soup perfectly; they have always felt like your friends as well a band, and of course, they are the band you can wave to! Well, you can add a whole load more beers to that, because as the band approach their twenty fifth anniversary in the coming Summer of 2019, the world of Bowling For Soup is a very exciting place to be a part of. Natives of Denton, Texas - which may now hold the record for town or city named dropped in the most songs by any band ever thanks to "BFS," Bowling For Soup's unique brand of hooked filled pop punk music has gone all around the world and back again. Songs such as “High School Never Ends,” “Punk Rock 101,” “1985” and of course the Grammy nominated “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” resonate as much today as when they were written and are proving extremely popular in the modern streaming world.
Finding their niche back in the 1990's would be tough when the musical climate was in serious shift. "We were just the stereotypical, small town guys with nothing else to do - starting a band to keep ourselves out of trouble" recalls frontman Jaret Reddick looking back. There was certainly no trend to follow, every other band seemed to be genre jumping to try and catch "the next big thing" without knowing what "the next big thing was," leaving the members of Bowling For Soup with no option to just go out and have fun. Brought up on a heady diet of 80's John Hughes Movies, LA Hair Metal, Steve Martin comedy routines (which spawned the band's name) and hook laden punk rock, BFS hit the ground running on the simple blueprint - have a good time and pretty soon, everyone else will join in!
Bowling For Soup are a band who've moved with the times throughout a period of turbulence for the music industry. From their DIY roots, through to being on a major record label for many years (Jive Records) and onto setting up their own operation, they are a band who've found success in every way. The last decade has seen Bowling For Soup go on to form their own cottage industry, recording and releasing albums on their own terms. “We're in control of everything now. If we decide we wanna do something, we just do it - we don't need to ask anyone’s permission. It also makes you feel super proud when you do something yourself and it’s a success,” reveals Reddick. Being early adopters of fan funded music, the band have fan interaction to the next level with each project proving more and more rewarding and successful for both the band and their fan base.
The last couple of years have seen Bowling For Soup hit heights equal to when they first truly grabbed the world's attention with Drunk Enough To Dance back in the early 2000's. They returned to the UK with a bang in early 2016 with the huge "How About Another Round Tour" to wild acclaim. The success of that tour brought a new experience for the band with their first ever arena tour in the UK alongside Steel Panther in October of that year, winning rave reviews and proving without a doubt, that even on the largest of stages, a Bowling For Soup show is always intimate and always entertaining. Within days of the arena tour, the band released their most recent studio album Drunk Dynasty. The album was lauded by the fans and the music press on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean alike. If that wasn't enough for one year, they still had time to release their inaugural Acoustic live album and DVD, Acoustic In A Freakin' English Church.
Spring 2017 brought Bowling For Soup's most high profile UK festival slot when they headlined the Fireball Stage at the May bank holiday weekend triple Slam Dunk Festival. They followed this up with the announcement of the return of The Get Happy Tour to the UK for the first time in over a decade. That tour, alongside The Aquabats and Get Happy alumni Army Of Freshmen, was to become Bowling For Soup's biggest ever UK tour, culminating in the band's biggest ever headline show at London's Brixton Academy on the 17th of February 2018. That show was a magical evening that would later become their new live album and DVD (Older, Fatter, Still The Greatest Ever: Live From Brixton). Taking things back to the US for the Summer of 2018, Jaret, Gary and Chris, joined by new bassist Rob Felicetti, went back to their roots by taking part in the final cross country touring edition of the Vans Warped Tour, bringing in enormous crowds no matter what time of day they played on Warped's revolving line up. The end of 2018 saw yet another first, returning to their home-away-from-home for their first ever UK tour in the holiday season, The Almost Christmas Tour.
Plans are in the works to celebrate their 25th anniversary in true Bowling For Soup style in the great state of Texas with full details soon to be announced. After that, there's the small matter of their impending return to the UK's Reading and Leeds Festivals, having not played there since 2003. In an industry that is ever evolving, Bowling For Soup are ready for their next chapter, armed with their infectious personality, they will always be Bowling For Soup you know and love. And let's not forget, they'll always be the band that waves back!
Reel Big Fish
A ska-punk band from Huntington Beach, California
Reel Big Fish was one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-’90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. The band was distinguished by their hyperkinetic stage shows, juvenile humor, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska. The group cultivated an underground following that broke into the mainstream in summer 1997 when their single “Sell Out” became a modern rock radio and MTV favorite. Their appearance in the movie “Baseketball” as the halftime band also gained them more fans and helped the band's popularity to grow. Still fronted by original lead singer and songwriter Aaron Barrett, they continue releasing albums and touring relentlessly, playing more and more countries and bigger venues all over the world.
Reel Big Fish recorded its self-released debut album, “Everything Sucks”, in 1995. “Everything Sucks” became a word-of-mouth underground hit in ska-punk and college circles, which gave the band enough leverage to sign with the indie label Mojo Records.
The label’s president, Jay Rifkin, and former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila co-produced “Turn the Radio Off”, which marked Reel Big Fish’s first album for Mojo. “Turn the Radio Off” was unleashed in August 1996, and over the next year, the group continually toured in support of the album’s release, expanding their fan base all the while. In spring 1997, the single “Sell Out” began receiving heavy airplay from several influential modern rock stations in the U.S., which soon translated into MTV support for the song’s quirky video. By summer, the song had become a moderate modern rock hit, and the album had charted in the Top 100.
In 1998 the song “Take on Me” from the “Baseketball” motion picture soundtrack was released as the promotional single for the movie and once again found the band in regular rotation on rock radio and MTV in the USA.
The Album “Why Do They Rock So Hard” followed a year later, once again enlisting Oingo Boingo Bassist John Avila as producer. The album was not as commercially successful but is still regarded by many fans as the bands finest work. The band filmed a music video for “the Set up (You Need This)”, the only single released from this album.
The guys wound up on Jive Records in fall 2001 when their current label, Mojo, was bought by Jive’s parent label, Zomba. Reel Big Fish’s first release for Jive, a more rock-oriented record entitled “Cheer Up!”, appeared in mid-2002. This album was very successful in Europe with the video for the single “Where Have You Been” receiving heavy airplay on many music video channels.
Later that same year, RBF did a song for a Rice Krispies called “Snap, Krackle, Pop-punk” which was used in 3 separate commercials. Also that year, they recorded a cover of Toots and the Maytals “Monkey Man” for the Nickelodeon movie “The Wild Thornberrys.” The single for “Monkey Man” was also released in the UK and received heavy radio play as well as the music video being put on heavy rotation on Kerrang TV.
The band’s next album, the cynical yet catchy “We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy”, was issued in April 2005. Touring continued for the rest of the year, and Reel Big Fish happily parted ways with Jive in January 2006, having wished to be dropped from the label since the “Cheer Up!” release.
In August 2006, the group self-released a double-disc live CD (along with an accompanying DVD) titled “Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album”.
Barrett said of this album: “We finally captured the energy, excitement, and humor of our live shows that we were previously unable to create in the recording studio environment. And it all sounds really good!”
The album was very popular with RBF fans and is sometimes referred to as “the Reel Big Fish Stand-up comedy album” because of all the silly stage banter.
The band returned with some new material in February 2007, splitting an EP “Duet All Night Long” with their friends in Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer. “Monkeys for Nothin’ and the Chimps for Free” followed several months later, marking Reel Big Fish’s first full-length studio release since leaving Jive’s roster, and 2009′s “Fame, Fortune and Fornication” found the band covering songs by the likes of Poison, the Eagles, and Tom Petty.
In 2010, the band released “A Best of Us for the Rest of Us”. It included a 22 song disc of re-recorded hits and classic fan favorites as well as a bonus disc of 14 Acoustic or “SKAcoustic” versions.
2012 brought their 7th studio album, “Candy Coated Fury” (Rock Ridge Music), an inspired and infectiously catchy return to the hyperkinetic ska and biting wit of the band’s beloved early albums.
In 2014, RBF released their first Christmas Album, a six-song, digital-only album entitled “Happy Skalidays”. The album included 4 classic Christmas songs and 2 RBF originals.
With the late-2018 release of the band’s 8th studio LP, “Life Sucks...Let’s Dance” (Rock Ridge Music) Reel Big Fish are finding themselves with a new focus and a renewed sense of purpose, as well as a-- dare we say it-- happier outlook on life.
Barrett says, “We started recording the album in January 2018 and really took our time with it. Our friend and engineer David Irish just finished building his new studio “Pot of Gold” in Orange, CA, and we loved how everything sounds there. There’s just really good energy and good vibes there, plus there’s a really adorable studio kitten named Iggy Fluff there, so we may have accidentally made a positive, happy record instead of a pissed off, hateful record, oops...well, there’s a little pissed off-ness in there and some sarcastic, funny lyrics as usual! Also, I just got married so there might be a few sappy love songs on the album too! Yuck!”
He adds, “Recording the album with this line up was really fun, we all get along really well these days and everybody was excited to make a new record. Everybody had lots of great ideas and really got creative with everything and I really think it shows.
The new single “You Can’t Have All of Me,” is a danceable sing-along, catchy, hooky good old Reel Big Fish song. We didn’t reinvent the wheel... We just painted more checkers on it!"
The long-running ska heroes, fresh off a summer-long stint on the final cross-country Vans Warped Tour, and appearances at Scallywag! Fest (with Bad Religion, Pennywise, Less Than Jake and The Interrupters) and Sammy Hagar's Hightide Beach Party, remain as popular as ever, as they continue to tour non-stop, playing over 250 shows a year to thousands of loyal fans all over the world, gaining more and more underground popularity as the Ska scene continues to flourish.
Since forming in a working class suburb of Chicago in 1995, Mest have been tearing up the punk rock scene. Playing in local Chicago punk clubs, the group self-released their debut album, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ 40′z”. The band got their first real break when frontman Tony Lovato sent the band’s album to Goldfinger’s John Feldmann who helped them get signed to Maverick Records, and produced their major-label debut, “Wasting Time”, which was released in July 2000. Since then the band has released 3 more albums on Maverick — 2001’s “Destination Unknown”, 2003’s self-titled disc, and 2005’s “Photographs”– and toured the world as part of the Warped Tour.
“Mest was a band that was always known for their live show. It didn’t matter if we had 10 or 10,000 kids at the show, we always put everything we had out on stage every night,” remembers Mest singer Tony Lovato.
Tensions between the band members about the musical direction of the band, growing up, starting a family and not wanting to tour as much caused the band to break-up in 2006, and Mest announced their breakup, as well as a farewell tour entitled “So Long and Thanx for the Booze.” With the band broken up, Lovato spent the next couple of years battling the demons that had built up in his closet. Years of alcoholism and drug abuse had been quietly concealed by living on the road as a part of a traveling circus, but now Lovato was left alone with his addictions staring him in the mirror.
“When I got off the road, I was partying pretty hard and it went from recreational use to a daily thing. It got to the point where I wouldn’t leave my house for two or three days at a time, because I had such bad anxiety,” remembers Lovato. “I remember going on a binge of drugs and booze that didn’t stop for a few days. I went to take a shower and my heart just kept racing faster and faster. It was at that point that I knew if I didn’t do something to change the way I was living I would be dead. I needed to deal with a lot of the issues that I was covering up with drugs and alcohol. I needed to learn how to be a human being again and regain my life.”
After spending some time working on himself, Lovato was inspired to start writing music again. He joined up with new Guitarist Mike Longworth and new Drummer Lil Rich Gonzales. The experiences he had over the past few years had provided him for the perfect place to be creatively reborn. The end result was a series of pop-punk songs that paid tribute to Mest’s past, but pushed the band forward into a future that was wide open. Now after fine tuning the material on the road, Lovato and Mest are ready to have their fans scream the songs from the rooftops as they release their new album, “Not What You Expected.”
“As an artist you have to constantly evolve and if you don’t then you will become stagnant. It was impossible to write the same kind of record as I did in 2002, because I’m just not in the same place in my life,” said Tony. “If I were to try and write the same album, it wouldn’t be genuine and fans would be able to see right through it. This album is just the next evolution of Mest and I think it shows how we’ve progressed as musicians, and creative people.”
“Not What You Expected” is a return to the care-free days of listening to bands like Green Day, Blink-182 or Social Distortion blasting with the windows rolled down. It’s punk-rock with infectious guitar riffs and sing-along choruses that instantly transports you to another place, away from all the world’s problems. More importantly it’s a return to form for a band that has been sorely missed in music.
“When I got back out on the road playing shows, people would always come up and tell me how much of an influence Mest was on them. It is the most humbling and most flattering thing to have someone come up to you and say that you inspired them to want to go out and play music,” he said. ” Then, to have guys from bands like A Day To Remember or Escape The Fate who inspired me to start writing again tell me how I influenced them was a great feeling.”
Lovato brought the circle of inspiration back around when he asked new friend Tom Denney from a day to remember to co-write a song with him. The track is “Radio (Something To Believe)” and is an ode to all the bands that the duo grew up listening to.
“I can’t recall who was more stoked to work with whom. I would say that I was, but he would probably say he was more excited,” laughs Lovato. “It’s a really cool experience to work with someone when you have mutual respect for each other’s songwriting and records. Jeremy, from A Day To Remember, jumped in the studio to record a part for the song, which was amazing. That’s what music has always been about; supporting one other.