Thursday, July 2, 2009

Interview With Josh Rosenthal

I have been blessed with many good friendships over the years. A surprising number of these good friends include people named Josh. Josh Holder, Josh Shetter, Josh Hamilton (ok I don't really know Josh Hamilton). Among this list is Lubbock born singer/songwriter Josh Rosenthal. Josh is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Josh is a great musician, clog dancer, and friend.

He recently asked me to send him a short list of questions answer for a series of interviews he is posting on his blog. I have the interview listed below, or you can follow the link to his blog to read it there with his picture waving above it.


Of all the people I stay in touch with regularly, Jeff Howard (and maybe Zak) have been in the picture the longest.  Jeff has done a lot to give me hope as a performing songwriter/entertainer/blah blah blah.  When he lived in Richardson, Texas he let me play for the youth group of which was in charge.  Now he’s in Denver doing what he does best at New Life Evangelical Free Church.  At my request, Jeff sent over a few questions.
Who/what are your biggest influences when it comes to songwriting? Also, be sure to use the words “banana”, “marsupial”, and “license plate” in your answer.
My number one influence is a group named “March of the Marsupials”.  They were a group of program guys at a Young Life camp I played at in Colorado.  Ghoti Hook’s album “Banana Man” also changed my life in a really anticlimactic way.  I considered getting a vanity license plate that said GO T HOOK.  It was that good.
My other influences are Paul Simon, John Mayer, Grey’s Anatomy, So You Think You Can Dance, Salt Lake City sunsets, interaction between generations.
You have had a series of songs that you played live for awhile that never made it to a recording such as “prize fighter” and “trip the light fantastic”, what was your reason for abandoning these songs or will they end up on another recording in the future?

I can’t believe you remember those songs.  I vaguely remember “trip the light fantastic” but “prize fighter” is buried too deep.  When a song doesn’t resonate with me, I figure it doesn’t resonate with anybody so I get rid of it.  If I can’t believe what I’m singing, how can you?  If people are not identifying with my lyrics, then most likely I’ll never hear or see them again.  I think those songs never really attached themselves to my overarching message.
What was the worst date that you have ever been on?

The time you, Zak White and I watched Spice World.  Your mom walked in and really made it awkward for everyone involved.
When we were younger we got together and watched “Spice World” at my house, are you proud of this or are you embarrassed that I brought it up?

Proud/embarrassed.  Proud that I’ve seen a movie that so heavily influenced our culture and my decision-making abilities.  Embarrassed that I had to watch it with you.
There has been a slight backlash to your song “Gotta Get Out” from people in Lubbock. Do you think the backlash was a lack of understanding of the song or jealousy because you got out and they are still there?

Steering clear of that one.
Speaking of Lubbock, which is known for it’s fine eating establishments, what is your favorite restaurant in Lubbock?

I miss Rosa’s most of all.  There’s nothing Tex-Mex in Salt Lake City.  Too bad.
You have a reputation for being a brutally honest songwriter, do you ever feel the temptation to write songs that are not based on truth or your experiences?

Yeah.  Those songs usually don’t last very long.  Like the one’s above, they hinged more on a cool lyric than on a universal emotion or struggle.  Honest songs are the best because more than likely I’m not alone in my struggle.  A lot of people can identify with the way I hurt or the way I celebrate.
What is the best song ever and why?

Good question.  To answer that, I’ll consult iTunes to see the long I’ve listened to the most…
…Looks like it’s “Restless” by Alison Krauss.  26 times in the past few months.  I’ve put that song on repeat because I love the melody and background vocals.  Bigger than that, I love the concept of restlessness.  We all feel it, but only Alison Krauss can sing about it like that.

Thanks for reading the interview and be sure to check out Josh's new albums which will be released periodically throughout the year!

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