The group's latest single, "High School Never Ends," equates the public's celebrity worship with the teenage quest to be popular. They sing:
The whole damn world is just as obsessed /The song is from their new album, "The Great Extortion Burrito Case." How they came up with the name is classic Bowling for Soup.
With who's the best dressed and who's having sex,
Who's got the money, who gets the honeys, /
Who's kinda cute and who's just a mess.
"We were sitting in a bar in Atlanta Georgia," Jaret Reddick, the band's lead singer told The ShowBuzz. "We were just about to go work on the album, the TV was on one of the news station, and the headline was 'Burrito Extortion Case.' We started talking about it, just making fun of it. It sort of turned into this running joke, and Chris Burney was like, 'We should just call the album, "The Great Burrito Extortion Case." ' "
The album artwork shows the band in and around Las Vegas, in various modes of dress.
"The whole concept of the record is of us going to Las Vegas and what happens to us," said Reddick. "So you first see us in suits in front of the Las Vegas sign and the next thing you know we're in the bathtub together naked."
The band first got together in 1994 while three of the members were attending Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. They gained national notice with they're 2002 album, "Drunk Enough To Dance," which contained their Grammy-nominated single, "Girl All The Bad Guys Want."
They followed that up with 2004's "A Hangover You Don't Deserve," which spawned the hit single "1985."
The music video for "1985" showed Bowling for Soup as a garage band imitating various '80s bands while a suburban mom recalled her glory days. It was hugely popular and is admittedly a tough act to follow.
"You sort of have to try and continue to top yourself," said Reddick. "I don't know if that's possible. That '1985' video to me is epic. It's perfect."
Reddick explained that the video for "High School Never Ends" is "us going to our high school reunion and we get into all kinds of shenanigans and hijinx."
Sometimes, though, the band's sense of fun has alienated certain reviewers who consider the band too upbeat.
"You read reviews of our stuff, and people are like 'It's bubble gum' and 'It's fun and these guys don't take anything seriously,' " said Reddick. "It's like, yeah, isn't that why we like music? Music is an escape from the cubicle, you know?"
The band answers their critics in the song "I'm Gay" — as in "happy." In the lyrics, they thumb their noses at angst-ridden punk and emo bands:
"We all sympathize with your torn apart heart and your really artistic worldly views.
It sells records when you're sad these days, it's super cool to be mad these days.
I think rock and roll is really funny when it's serious."
Bowling for Soup is currently on the road doing promotion for the album, which is out Nov. 7, and plan to go overseas on a promotional tour in January. They'll be back for a U.S. tour in the spring and summer.
In case you're wondering, the actual "burrito extortion case" involved a man who put a dead mouse in his burrito at Taco Bell in March and threatened to sue the restaurant chain. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 to 30 months in prison. The caper took place this summer in Chum's Corner, Mich.— a few miles away from where this author went to, yes, high school.
It never ends.
By Judy Faber