Bowling for Soup has its origins in Wichita Falls, Texas, where Jaret Reddick (born March 6, 1972) and other members of the band grew up. Reddick and guitarist Chris Burney (born May 25, 1969) knew each other in high school (they met in 1986), and as students in the 1980s, they grew up on the commercially successful heavy metal music of bands such as Quiet Riot, RATT, and Mötley Crüe, but were also influenced by the faster punk rock of the Ramones and later Green Day. Burney’s family owned a Wichita Falls coffeehouse “The Refuge” with a music stage and played there with his first band “The Persecuted”, where he and Reddick met bassist Erik Chandler (born December 22, 1974) and drummer Gary Wiseman (born January 6, 1979) in the early 1990s (although Wiseman did not join the band until 1998).
Burney and Chandler soon formed the Folkadots, while Wiseman formed Gary & the Wiseman. Burney and Chandler, along with Morrill, also formed the band Slaw. Around this time, Reddick formed the band Terminal Seasons. Not too long after, Jaret Reddick and Lance Morrill formed coolfork!, which Chris Burney later joined. The band was in full swing by 1993, playing such venues as the Refuge. A few months later, after forming a band called Rubberneck, the group took the name Bowling for Soup (inspired by Bowling for Dollars) in 1994, and the band was officially formed in Wichita Falls on June 4, 1994 by Jaret Reddick (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Burney (guitar, backing vocals), Erik Chandler (bass, backing vocals, acoustic guitar), and Lance Morrill (drums, percussion, backing vocals). Morrill left the band in 1998 (on good terms) and was replaced by friend Gary Wiseman of Gary and the Wisemen. The band’s name was derived from a comedy act by Steve Martin.