5 Things I Can't Live Without: Erik Chandler, Bowling For Soup

Bowling For Soup's Erik Chandler on his life's essentials
Erik Chandler at Download in 2011 (Image credit: Christie Goodwin\/Getty)

Next month, Bowling For Soup will head to the UK’s arenas as special guests of Steel Panther. We caught up with bassist/vocalist Erik Chandler – whose debut solo album is out now – and quizzed him on the five things he couldn’t possibly live without out. He’ll probably have to leave number three at home, though. Curse you, Federal Aviation Administration, with your rules about flying dogs.

5. My backpack

“I can tell you the first thing right off the bat would be my backpack. That contains pretty much all of my back-up supplies that I need to survive in the world. It’s almost like a disaster pack and it stays constantly stocked as if I were on tour. There are all sorts of over-the-counter medications in there: cold medicines, eye-drops, pain relievers and all that stuff. It’s got back-up headphones, a charged battery pack, power bars and snacks, a replacement lighter, a spare pack of smokes and a couple of CDs in case I end up without an mp3 player – basically all kinds of life essentials for all situations that occur.”

4. Coffee

“Over the last month or so coffee has become a staple in my life. I quit drinking caffeine a little over 15 years ago and I saved it just for special occasions, but over the last few weeks I’ve kind of jumped back on the train. I think I’m on my fourth cup right now and I’ve only been up two hours. I’m starting to remember the feelings that I used to have back when I drank coffee constantly – it’s great! I’m an adult nowadays though, so I’ve got my espresso machine going on, but I’m definitely back on the sauce.”

3. My dog

“After just being on the longest vacation that I’ve been on without her, I would have to say number three would be my dog. Her name is Stella, she’s three years old, and she’s a Boston terrier whippet mix. She looks like a really small, very sturdy greyhound. She’s a bundle of energy too, which is awesome and horrible, depending on what time of the day it is. But she loves nothing more than being with daddy. I got her when she was eight weeks old, the day that I returned from the farewell UK tour. My girlfriend and I had just moved in together and she surprised me with her when I got home. It’s the cutest thing she’s ever presented me with.”

2. My friends and family

“Number two would be my friends and family, and everyone that makes it possible for me to do what I do for a living, but then at the same time have a normal kind of life. I totally wouldn’t be able to do what I do for a living without those extended people. I have a giant network of support and it’s important to have close friends and family that support you in everything that you do, and help facilitate your daily life. It’s an awesome thing to have and I’m very respectful of that because I know that things would be way more complicated without those people in my life.”

1. Music

“I can’t imagine ever living without music and just being surrounded by it in all aspects, from the frustrating business side to the glorious or non-glorious live shows. If I didn’t have that in my life then I don’t know how I would be able to define myself. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good or a bad thing, but that’s just who I am. I think I was around seven years old when I decided music was what I wanted to do for a living. My friends would all say, ‘I want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a fireman,’ but I always wanted to play music. It’s bizarre for somebody that young to even have the concept that you could possibly do that for a living, and along the way I did develop back-up plans, but the entire time in the back of my head my goal was to always do music. And I’ve spent the majority of my life attempting to make that happen without really expecting any outcome, because it’s kind of a pipe dream to think that you can actually make a real go of it. But luckily it happened for me, and as long as I’m physically able then music will be an absolute constant for the rest of my life. People come and go and friends and family pass away – that’s the way that the world works – but as long as I’m alive and able to play music then I’ll be doing it, even if that just means sitting on my couch on a Saturday afternoon and playing a couple of songs to myself. Even when I can no longer play I’ll still have my in-house nurse go and flip Pet Sounds over for the fifth time. She’ll say, ‘But you’ve heard it four times already,’ and I’ll say ‘Yeah, but I haven’t heard it enough. It’s Brian Wilson. He’s singing great and you need to listen to this and understand it.’ Music is my life.”

Erik Chandler’s solo album The Truth is out now. Bowling For Soup will tour the UK in October with Steel Panther.

Matt Stocks

DJ, presenter, writer, photographer and podcaster Matt Stocks was a presenter on Kerrang! Radio before a year’s stint on the breakfast show at Team Rock Radio, where he also hosted a punk show and a talk show called Soundtrack Apocalypse. He then moved over to television, presenting on the Sony-owned UK channel Scuzz TV for three years, whilst writing regular features and reviews for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine. He also wrote, produced and directed a feature-length documentary on Australian hard rock band Airbourne called It’s All For Rock ‘N’ Roll, and in 2017 launched his own podcast: Life in the Stocks. His first book, also called Life In The Stocks, was published in 2020. A second volume was published in April 2022.