Thirteen years. That’s how long it had been since the beloved Lawrence, Kansas band The Anniversary played their last show.
The quintet came crashing into the emo scene in 1997 with the support of the The Get Up Kids. Over the next several years, they released a series of EPs leading up to their first official record, Designing a Nervous Breakdown. When Your Majesty debuted in 2002, just two years later, the Anniversary’s sound had changed quite a bit— it was still synthy and piano-driven, but the Anniversary did something that few bands in their scene were doing back then. They borrowed from rock, reggae, and even blues to create a record that significantly diverged from its predecessor.
When LIKEYOUSAID sat down with frontman Josh Berwanger for a Riot Fest interview during the Anniversary’s 2016 reunion tour, we talked about the band’s time away, solo projects, coaching basketball, getting engaged, and what Josh thinks a new Anniversary record should sound like.
“If I had influence on where I would go on the next record, it would be ABBA meets E.L.O. with our style and influence on it,” Berwanger shares. While it’s not the answer you may expect, it’s also not the biggest surprise when it comes to a band that has adamantly forged its own path since the very beginning.
You can read the interview with Josh Berwanger of the Anniversary and watch him sing the lyrics to a popular 90s song below.
Hey! This is Lia from LIKEYOUSAID. Just for our readers at home, can you tell us what you do in your band?
Josh: I’m Josh and I sing and play guitar in the Anniversary.
You’ve been gone for 13 years. What did you do during your time away?
Josh: We broke up 13 years ago after turmoil and playing our last show in a goth club in San Antonio, the ultimate lead up to our break up, really [Laughs].
In those 13 years, I put out two records under the named The Only Children, I put out a record under my last name called Berwanger, it’s a glam pop rock project. I have an album coming out November 4th called Exorcism Rock, too! I’ll be touring that soon.
And how about in your personal life?
Josh: Well, I coached basketball for seven years and I just bought a house in Lawrence, Kansas. I also just got engaged!
Woah. Congratulations! How did you propose?
Josh: I proposed on the tour bus. Really classy. I like to direct and edit videos and I edited this video of pictures of us, wrote her a song, and put the song over the video. I’ve also been editing this new Berwanger video so I was like, “Hey, will you check this out and tell me what you think?” She’s such a good actor so she thought I wanted her to critique it. And it wasn’t the video she expected. It was the one I made for her. I got down on one knee and she said yes!
Now that the Anniversary has reformed, Vagrant Records will be reissuing Designing a Nervous Breakdown and Your Majesty in the coming year. Can we expect a new record from the Anniversary in 2017?
A new record is possible. If we do another record which we’ve been talking about, it wouldn’t be forced. We would get together, figure it out, have fun with it…
Is it important for you to stay within a certain genre on anything you do in the future?