With two brand new records just released, Solid State Records rock act Showbread is back in full
swing making music for the masses while touring across the country. JFH's Scott Fryberger caught up with Showbread front
man Josh Dies to discuss the dual album Anorexia and Nervosa, Dies' first solo project,
his book, and more...
This interview took place on: 6/11/08.
Jesus freak Hideout (Scott Fryberger): First of all, great show tonight. I love the new show that you guys have put together. What was it that inspired you to write the two albums in the way that you did, with the stories and everything?
Josh: I think it was like this, Scott... Usually after you finish one thing, it makes you not wanna do anything
like that anymore. So the first record was all over the place and so we said, "Let's do something that's more structured and
really simple the second time." So we did the simple thing [with Age Of Reptiles], and then it was like "Now we should do
something that's really complicated." So I just started praying for ideas for something that would be really really deep,
you know, but also very rich and have a very specific message. And I prayed and prayed and got these ideas about these two
sisters, and the story and the concept started snowballing from that.
JFH (Scott): Anorexia and Nervosa - Do the names have any sort of deeper meaning?
Josh: They do. I'm trying to think of where it started, actually. My wife is actually obsessed and interested
in reading about eating disorders. She has lots of memoirs and stuff about the eating disorders. She reads a lot about it.
She finds it very interesting. During that time, I was kinda reading over her shoulder about stuff like that, and I think there
was a Webster's definition of what anorexia-nervosa is and it was something like persistent refusal to eat, and so it made me
think of the two sisters that I was writing about, like in the spiritual sense. They had very purposeful "I'm gonna do it my way"'s.
One of them was like "My way is this" and the other was "My way is that." And they both refused to do anything outside of it, so
it's kinda like a spiritual self-starvation.
JFH (Scott): So you came up with the storyline and the music at the same time then?
Josh: No actually, I wrote the story, kinda outlined it. The story is really old. Like, probably a year
before a single note was written, the story was almost finished. I wrote the whole story and then kinda mapped it out,
and did a whole lot of talking about what it would sound like and all that stuff. And then well after that, everyone read the
story and got really into it and understood it really well, and then we started talking about what it would sound like.
And then I started writing for it and I would bring it to the other band members and they'd be like "Let's try this, let's try that."
So the story was always the reference point for all the writing, even up to the studio. Like, "Well, let's try putting this guitar
here, but does that go with the story?" Everything just bounced off the story. The story was numero uno.
JFH (Scott Fryberger): Is that why you left the lyrics out of the CD booklet?
Josh: Well, we left them out for two reasons. One is just simply that it probably wouldn't have fit.
It was hard enough to get the label to let us do this whole thing, and then we have this long story. Cause it looks really long at
first, on paper. And they're like "This is never gonna fit in a book," and we're like "We can make it fit, we'll do whatever we
have to do." So we cut out things like that. The other thing is that it's kinda distracting from the story itself, even though
they're about the story. We didn't wanna put thank-you's and stuff that would take you out of the element of the story.
Like "Here's this story that you're reading, and by the way, thanks Mom and Dad. Blah blah blah." So we just left out the lyrics,
we can put that stuff online, and
that way the only thing that you're getting is, "Here's what it is" and then read it and you're done.
JFH (Scott): Now you guys always do things in your own way.
You're gonna do things how you want, if it means you're gonna be strange or outcasts, you're gonna do it anyways.
And you've gotten a lot of scrutiny because of it. How do you guys deal with that?
Josh: Um... that's a good question actually.
JFH (Scott): See? I knew it.
Josh: Good job. Well, we deal with it in one of two ways, Scott. On one hand, to a certain degree,
I really like our band, musically. I mean, I know it's nothing we're doing, it's just that God lets us write the music we
wanna write, and I really enjoy it. You know, we get to play whatever we wanna play. So, criticism comes in these weird ways.
Some kids are like "I just don't like it," and that's fine, you know? Then there are other kids who say "This is how you did it
wrong." Like "You should've done this, you should've done that." It's sometimes frustrating, cause you wanna just say, "Then go
make your own record! Then you can do whatever you want. We did exactly what we wanted to do, and we did it exactly the way
it was supposed to be. You had nothing to do with it, so you can't tell us whether or not it was correct or incorrect. You can
tell us you don't like it, and that's fine, I don't care about that." But, I mean that's just how it is with music.
People are really into being able to say whether or not they approve of something. So you just kinda have to believe that in the
end, we did what we were supposed to do, and I am 100% satisfied with it, and we did what God wanted us to do. And He's gonna
do with it what He wants to do regardless. And people say it doesn't sound like whatever hardcore band, and whatever.
JFH (Scott): One of your biggest influences, and I hear it a lot on your solo album,
is Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor, that kinda stuff. Who else do you listen to?
Josh: I really like The Flaming Lips, and I really like Genesis and Phil Collins. Those are like my three
favorites. And those are the ones I probably listened to a lot for inspiration when writing stuff like that. And bands like
Weezer and Nirvana and stuff like that. But I kinda turned into my dad a lot faster than I thought I would, in the sense that
if it's not a band I listened to in high school, I don't like it. Like I don't think I like anything new, unless it's like
those bands making something new. But music isn't really my thing. I like movies and books and stuff like that. But you know,
the other guys come talk to me and I'm like "Who, what? What band are we playing with? Never heard of them. Nine Inch Nails? Cool."
JFH (Scott): *laughs* Yeah, you're all about that. Speaking of, when it comes to
your solo album, besides God and Nine Inch Nails as your biggest influences...
Josh: That sounds funny.
JFH (Scott): ...What else inspired you to want to make your own music?
And also, what does the title of your solo album, The Aesthetics of Violence, mean?
Josh: Well, actually, it's not very special. Just that when I was writing the stuff for Anorexia and
Nervosa, a lot of it was coming out kinda industrial-ish, sounding like Rob Zombie or Nine Inch Nails and stuff like that.
And I didn't think it was appropriate for Showbread to be like straight-up industrial. You know, I thought the hints of it here
and there were really cool. But I thought it would be cool to do just a straight-up industrial record so I started doing the
throw-away songs from Anorexia and Nervosa, and then I ended up writing [The Aesthetics of Violence].
The Aesthetics of Violence is like a theme that some of the songs kinda had, like talking about violence in the Bible.
Uh, scriptural violence? I was reading a lot of the Old Testament at the time. (Scott: Yeah, there's a lot of that in there.)
Very violent. And I was reading a lot - and I'm not crazy - about violence in our culture today, and about a lot of the different
crazies we've had, and a lot of the violent people, and thinking about the idea that there are people out there that say when you
read a lot about serial killers or crazy people that a lot of violent things happen. Like "Oh man, what has the world come to?
It's gotten so bad." But this kinda stuff has been happening since the very beginning, you know, like the story of Cain and Abel.
They didn't have movies or anything to corrupt them. You know, sometimes people are just evil, and bad things happen, and
there's violence in the world. So I wrote a couple songs around that idea, and that's where the title and stuff came from.
JFH (Scott): Good Old Testament stuff.
Josh: Yep, Old Testament, it's really cool. Sometimes hard to understand, sometimes very wordy,
and lots of names. But the stories are very good.
JFH (Scott): I've actually been reading out of Job lately. Very good stuff.
What are your favorite books of the Bible?
Josh: Job's awesome. Um...well I really like all the Epistles that Paul wrote.
The cop-out would be to say the Gospels, but I probably do like them too. You get to read about the Man Himself,
Jesus, and the stuff that He actually said. Even though, you know, you get to read more of what He said in Revelation and some
of the other New Testament books, but to read about where He actually went and what He actually did, I just love that.
I love that to death. So probably the Gospels, then after that... Paul is so awesome, and you know he's just really straight up,
and all his letters are very up front. He talks about salvation and God, and just lots of really good stuff, and like 1
Corinthians and stuff. So I'm a sucker for the New Testament but I do like the Old Testament. Job is an awesome book, and I
started reading the Bible all the way through, reading the Old Testament books and the stories, and it's so applicable and so
purposeful. Even like the stories you read in Sunday school and stuff like that, you take home such a deep meaning when you
really get into it. The Bible is good, the only thing that I have to say is that Leviticus is a hard book to get through.
A lot of rules in Leviticus that aren't necessarily applicable to us directly anymore. So Leviticus is a challenge.
Leviticus is my least favorite book of the Bible. *laughs*
JFH (Scott): That was my next question, actually. Least favorite book of the Bible. Do you read a lot of other books?
Josh: Yeah I love to read.
JFH (Scott): What kinda stuff do you read?
Josh: I like weird fiction. I like Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis, those kinda...
(Scott: Remind me to look up how to spell those later.) Yeah
*laughs*. And I like good novels. I'll read just about anything. I like to read.
JFH (Scott): There's one book that came out last year called The Spinal Cord Perception. Have you read that one?
Josh: I have read it. Very underwhelming. It was a big letdown. *laughter* You know, all guts and no glory.
(Scott: Yeah I heard it was terrible.) Yes, and lots of misspelled words. Just don't waste your time.
JFH (Scott): But if anyone wants to get it, it's available where?
Josh: Right now, it's available nowhere. The only place that it is every available...sorry, there's two places.
One is on our table on tour when we have it in stock. And the other is on the book's MySpace page. And the only reason that it
goes in and out of stock is that I do it all myself. I order the books, and then I put them out myself, and there's a lot of work,
and then I get busy with a lot of other stuff. But they will be back online, so stop asking me! It will be back online,
look at the dang MySpace page, which is myspace.com/joshuastephenporter,
and it will tell you when it's going back in stock, and it will have the thing you can click on to buy,
put your credit card number in or whatever. And I'm actually working on a new book, so look for updates on that too.
It won't be any good, but it'll be there.
JFH (Scott): Working on a new book, you've got a solo project, new music with Showbread,
and you even got married in November, but do you ever have any free time?
Josh: I do have lots of free time. *yells to his wife* Hey Abi! What do I do when I'm supposed to be
working on stuff? Like if I should be writing or working on the Showbread DVD, what do I do instead?
(Abi: Watch movies, read comic books...) Watch movies or read comic books. So that's what I do in my free time.
But I like free time, and doing stuff that enables me to be closer to God, and to be able to love things that He has done
through me. And He uses me, you know? Cause I mean, I'm not anything special, so there should be no reason that no one wants to
hear a CD I made, or a book I wrote. And God uses it to better me and someone else's life. It's definitely not me for sure.
I'm extremely thankful for that. I'm a happy guy!
JFH (Scott): Good. Keep being happy, cause that makes everybody else happy.
Josh: I hope so.
JFH (Scott): Do you have any plans for another tour soon?
Josh: Yes. Now that we've finished the record and put them out and all that stuff, we want to get back in the
swing of being on the road all the time. Before the records, Showbread was pretty much on tour about 8 months of the year.
And then we took time off for the marriage, but now we're back and we're already planning to stay out till the end of this year.
And we're writing another record right now.
JFH (Scott): Oh wow. Is it gonna be another story project kinda thing,
like something unusual? Or is it gonna be another "Hey, we just wanna rock out this time" kinda thing?
Josh: Um...I cannot say. I will say this though - God has taken the band so many places, there's been lots
of member changes and stuff like that. And He's just kinda rearranged the band, and put everything where He wants it to be and
every single record has been a special spiritual thing for the band, especially the last one. And as soon as,
well probably before the records came out, we were already talking about this next one. It's got a name and everything.
So we're just excited to be able to serve the Lord and that He likes to let us be able to make music.
JFH (Scott): Well I'll be looking forward to the new one for sure. Any last words for us?
Josh: My last words are that I would like to dedicate my interview to the late Steve Rogers,
Captain America, and that I would like everyone to know that his memory will live on in my heart forever.
Showbread's latest albums, Anorexia and Nervosa, are available now everywhere that music is sold.