I don’t even know what I mean by that exactly, but I know what normal isn’t—designer outfits, fireworks, crazy gimmicks. I don’t know how to relate to that. I want to make rock and roll. I want to make something honest.” Such sentiments make sense coming from a guy who, as a child, used his first communion money to buy Motley Crue’s Shout At The Devil on cassette.
On his new record, Strange Stains, Berwanger manages to balance what have always been his primary influences—the spirit and ethos of classic rock with the kind of pop sensibility and knack for hummable melody that made The Anniversary such a great band back in their heyday. Tracks like “Time Traveler” and “I Can Feel the Moon” rank among some of Berwanger’s loveliest (and catchiest) tunes, while “Baby Loses Her Mind” is the kind of sing-along jam that wouldn’t have been out of place on a classic FM radio playlist. For the recording of Strange Stains, Berwanger joined forces with old pal (and original drummer for The Anniversary) Michael Hutcherson, who brought not only brought the rhythm to the record, but a wonderful familiarity as well. “Josh and I met in 1996 while playing in local Kansas City pop punk bands,” recalls Hutcherson, “I am honored to be making music with Josh again. For all that’s changed in our lives over the years, we’ve still got a symbiotic musical relationship.
No questions, no egos, just rock and roll. “ The new record—which also features additional playing from The Breeders’ Jim Macpherson—speaks not only to Berwanger’s tenacity as a musician, but also to his sense of humor as well. Even though his musical path has been strewn with a few left turns (and a couple of cliffs), he has always retained his ability to turn lemons into sweet, sweet lemonade. Regarding the origins of Strange Stains, he has this to say: “I started dating a girl and she said the only way she would continue to date me was if I got a job in corporate America that involved sitting in a cubicle.
I said a quick ‘Fuck No’ and instantly started writing this new album.” Berwanger’s songs are born out of love, heartbreak, fear and frustration. They sound as big and open and honest as a Kansas skyline and speak to the struggle, unique to someone trying to slug it out in the music business for most of their adult life. Berwanger is, any many ways, a visceral statement about what it means to keep doing what you love—even when it feels like you are doing so against all odds.”It’s an honest and truly sincere rock and roll record,” he says. “It’s a record that speaks about love, heartbreak, idiots, and continuing to pursue what you love to do, no matter how hard that shit is.”-T.Cole Rachel Read more on Last.fm.
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