Bowling For Soup
In the pre-Watergate early '70's, folks in Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Milwaukee, L.A., NY, St. Louis and other cities tuned to Bowling For Dollars. It was a franchised game show. Each market featured a local host and local contestants. The concept was brutally simple - even for television. The more pins a contestant knocked down the more money they earned. As in regular bowling the big score came when contestants rolled strikes.
Hardly riveting television, the game show was an easy target. Case in point, comedian Steve Martin's "Bowling For Sh*t" routine appeared on his '78 album, "Wild And Crazy Guy."
In the bit Bowling For Sh*t was the name of a fictitious Rock group. The name resonated with a newly formed Wichita Falls group. So following in the tradition of Toad The Wet Sprocket (a line originally from a Monty Python skit), the Texas band took their name from a comedy routine and became Bowling For Sh*t. But figuring that name would inhibit advertising and promotional opportunities (no sh*t!) they became Bowling For Soup. A lot safer but still odd - in an attention grabbing way.
Bowling For Soup relocated to Denton, TX, home of indie label FFROE. There they released two albums, "Rock On Honorable Ones," and "Tell Me When To Whoa!!!" Morril decided to leave and was replaced by Gary Wiseman, formerly of Gary & The Wisemen. Had to see that coming.
The two albums did well enough to interest Jive Records. Bowling For Soup made their major label debut with "Let's Do It For Johnny" in '00. The set was largely re-recordings of previous material but did feature new tracks.
Like The Ramones, Bowling For Soup laced their post-Punk with a barbed sense of humor. However, a cover of Bryan Adams' fond ode to oral sex, "Summer Of '69," was a bit much to swallow.
'02 saw the release of "Drunk Enough To Dance," notable for the Grammy nominated song (Best Pop Performance by a Group or Duo) "Girl All the Bad Guys Want." They lost to No Doubt's "Hey Baby."
Two years later, Bowling For Soup unfurled their most popular effort, "A Hangover You Don't Deserve." The single "1985" may have stalled at #23 on the U.S. pop chart but it did better than any previous single.
Bowling For Soup usually wrote their own songs but "1985" was actually composed by SR-71's Mitch Allan. He didn't think it was a SR-71 type song. Since the two bands were friends, he passed it to Reddick. Nice guy.
Two other singles from "Hangover", "Almost" and "Ohio ("Come Back To Texas"), didn't come close to equaling "1985's" chart 'success'.
Bowling For Soup contributed a cover of Sam The Sham & The Pharaoh's mid-60's gem "Li'l Red Riding Hood" to the '05 film Cursed. Just as New Found Glory issued "From The Screen To Your Stereo" in '00, "Bowling For Soup Goes To The Movies," was an '05 compilation of covers and songs recorded for soundtracks. Also, Reddick and Burney made several appearances on VH1's I Love the '90s: Part Deux.
The group returned in '06 with "The Great Burrito Extortion Case" which coincided with their Get Happy Tour (named after a song from "Hangover") of the U.S. and U.K. A U.K. tour DVD premiered at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival and was issued in '08.
Bowling For Soup had another unique claim to fame in that they played the opening theme for the Disney Channel cartoon Phineas and Ferb. Disney - a cartoon - how great is that?
Are Bowling For Soup serious? Well, yes and no. They are a proficient band with shallow (by design) perceptions. That's their appeal. Nothing serious please.
"Hangover You Don't Deserve" is the best place to start. Not only does it contain the irresistible "1985" but there is "Almost," a song about almost doing things and "Ohio (Come Back To Texas)" which advances the positives of life in the Lone Star state.
"Drunk Enough To Dance" has "Girl All The Bad Guys Want," a simple song of lust and "The Last Rock Show." "The Great Burrito Extortion Case" features The Ramones flavored "High School Never Ends" and the parenthetically vicious "Val Kilmer."
"Bowling For Soup Goes To The Movies" is an excellent novelty album. Good for a few listens or to play for friends before the jokes get old. But give them credit for turning the Gilligan's Island Theme into a real song with a killer riff.