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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Berwanger - Exorcism Rock

Doghouse Records recently released "Exorcism Rock", the sophomore full length of Josh Berwanger. Hailing for Kansas, the man knows how to write perfect power pop gems that stick in your head for days and his new album, recorded in 7 straight days and produced by Doug Boehm, is brilliant from start to finish and highly recommanded!

Here is Josh Berwanger in his own words:

1) For those who don't know you, What can you tell about yourself? You Were in other bands previously, and then you choose a solo career: had you the feeling these bands were going nowhere fast or did you want a radical change? 

I was in a band called The Anniversary that formed in 1998. We signed to Vagrant Records and put out two albums in 2000 and 2003. We toured Europe twice as well as countless tours in the States. We toured with Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices, Get Up Kids, Mars Volta, Superdrag, Cheap Trick and many other cool bands. We ended up imploding and going our separate ways. 

After The Anniversary broke up I started a band called The Only Children. We put out two albums called Change Of Living and Keeper Of Youth in 2004 and 2007. After touring on the Keeper Of Youth album I was burned out and hung up the guitar for a while. I wanted as far away from playing music as possible and of all things I started coaching High School basketball. 

After some years of coaching I started picking up the guitar here and there and slowly began writing songs that would eventually turn into the Strange Stains album. I guess you can't escape from what you love. Since Strange Stains came out I've been touring and have put out 2 7"s and an e.p. called Demonios and am now touring on Exorcism Rock.

2) When I listen to Your debut full length "Strange Stains" it seems to me you had much in common with 70' bands like The Paley Brothers or the Dwight Twilley Band. But in 2 years time, the sound has become more powerful and fierce. Do you agree and can you comment on this evolution?

When writing Strange Stains I had taken a long break from making an album and I wanted to make a fun sounding record very much like the Paley Brothers. To be honest I recorded most of it in my basement with the intent of it never coming out. I was just making it for me.

Yes, I agree in the sound changing up a bit. I am always trying to evolve as an artist and I never want to put out two of the same sounding albums. I am almost done with the 3rd album and it has a different sound and feel than these first two. 

3) About the new record "Exorcism Rock", is this the record of the big break through?

We'll see. It would be nice. 

4) can you explain the choice of the title and the very intriguing artwork? 

Charles Wilkin is the artist who did the cover. The name of the piece is "The Waiting" and for those who haven't seen the cover it has a woman looking into a skull on it. To be honest I'm not really into skulls on album covers since it is something that is done so much, but the piece as a whole really represented and spoke to me and I felt represented the sound and lyrics of the album, which is mainly about a walk in the park.

5) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does this music still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

I still listen to the music I listened to as a kid and as a teenager and am constantly looking for to find out about new albums both old and new. As a kid I got really into Alice Cooper, Guns N' Roses, Ozzy and I have always loved those bands. As a younger teenager I started getting a lot more into bands like The Doors, Gram Parsons, Davy Graham, Beatles, Dinosaur Jr., Ramones, and was really starting to explore the local Kansas City and Lawrence music scene with bands like Vitreous Humor, The Breakups, Butterglory, Micronots, The Embarrassment. 

3 bands from my youth that still influence me would be Bob Dylan, Beatles, and Rolling Stones. Pretty obvious, but they are the best.

6) The rant at the end of "Oh Bis!", is this a true story or total bullshit? Anyway, it's quite funny. 

Ha! Totally a true story. The funniest part about it is not so much the guy messing up and calling my friend a "bis" instead of a "bitch" but calling him a dipstick.

7) What can concert goers expect at a Josh Berwanger gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs? Do you still play "Back of my hand"- that I personally consider as one of the best covers ever.

I love The Jags! Thank you. We haven't been doing any covers live. Ricky and I play covers when we are just playing guitars and messing around like ELO or some Ozzy stuff, sometimes "Crazy Horses" by the Osmonds. Our live shows as of late have been very Exorcism Rock heavy. Concert goers can except a pretty rocking set with not much time in-between songs.

8) Does Kansas (the state, not the band!*;) Clin d’œil) have a long history of rock bands, that goes way back to the 60'or 70's?

My favorite band to come out of Kansas/KC area is a band called The Leopards, they had two amazing records called Kansas City Slickers and Magic Still Exists. Kansas City Slickers is in my top 10 records. I think to get a really a good sense of the music from KS, KC, and a few of the other states that surround the Midwest is to go and buy the Titan Records box set the Numero Group put out. It is absolutely amazing!

9) Are you guys coming over to Europe soon?

We would absolutely love to and it is a goal for us to do this. We just don't know how to do that right now. We don't have any contacts over there. 

10) Anything you wanna say to the viewers of this blog? 

Thanks for taking some time from your day to read this and I hope you get a chance to listen to some of our music. Please feel free to message me and say hi and we hope to play for you one day. Thanks!

Purchase it HERE:

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