Interview: Josh Newton (Shiner)

Interviews / August 8, 2012

We recently had a chance to speak with Josh Newton (With Knives, Every Time I Die), who along with Allen Epley, Paul Malinowski and Jason Gerken, are reuniting as Shiner, playing four shows later this month, beginning in New York on Saturday. Along with the performances (their first since 2003), the band has also pressed “The Egg,” their 2001 full length album, onto vinyl for the first time. You can see the tour dates, along with information on the pressing of “The Egg,” here.

When crafting the set-list for your upcoming shows, do you plan to draw pretty equally from each album. Or is it more a concentration on your later material?

It’s likely to be mostly from “The Egg,” but we’ll play several songs from every record. Making a set list after all this time isn’t an easy task.

And now that you guys have all played or are playing in different bands — which all employ slightly different styles — has it been difficult to get back into this band’s particular mindset?

Not at all. Despite us having gone off in different directions, it was pretty easy for me to go back to what and how I did certain things. I think out of all of us, Jason has it the hardest. Guitar and bass is just wiggling fingers. Drums are far more athletic.

Are there any specific tracks that you guys are really excited about experiencing with your fans again?

I’m looking forward to the title track [Of “The Egg] and “Spook the Herd” in particular. That said, I’m just looking forward to doing this at all.

Speaking of your fans, when scanning over your Facebook page, you see people who are planning to fly halfway across the country to see you guys. What’s it been like to see that kind of response?

It’s insane. We absolutely appreciate it. The fact that people are coming at all is mind-blowing and adding that they’re coming from so far away really means the world to us.

When you called it quits about 10 years ago, did you think that the impact you made was great enough to bring about that type of dedication?

Not at all. Playing to 10-15 people in random cities is still quite fresh in my memory. Ha!

And of course, part of the excitement is that people will finally get “The Egg” on vinyl. How did the idea for a vinyl pressing originally come about?

I’d had a conversation with a friend about how “The Egg” was the most “album” like CD I’d ever done. Since Joe Trohman (With Knives, Fall Out Boy) and I had just begun Son Of Man, it seemed to be the perfect outlet to do so. Coincidentally, other members of the band were having the same types of conversations.

When you guys first released the album, were there any discussions concerning a vinyl pressing? You had pressed 7″ singles and EPs, but was it just not a viable format for a full length at that time?

I can’t recall any. Maybe it was released when records were truly bottoming out. [Because] “Splay”, the first Shiner full length (1995) was released on vinyl.

And it looks like you’ve already got some copies of the record on hand. How does the finished product look and have you noticed a sound quality difference?

It looks and sounds awesome. It was remastered specifically for this release. It’s quite different sonically. Upon first listen, I’d thought it had been remixed.

Who was the most excited to finally get the album pressed onto vinyl? Or in other words, who’s the biggest vinyl nerd in the band?

In truth, probably my SOM partner, Joe Trohman. Then, me.

Let’s say the pressing is a big success, which I believe it will be. Are there any thoughts about delving deeper into your discography for some more pressings?

Perhaps. I think it’d be kind of cool to do a box set with all of the records, including b sides, demos, all that jazz.

With the different bands that have been reuniting, each one seems to have a different reason. Some do it for the love of the fans and because they yearn to return to that material. Some don’t mind stating that they’re doing it for the money. So I guess the question is: Why now for Shiner?

I don’t know how it happened, but it seems to be the year for bands to be doing so. I missed playing these songs and hanging out with this mix of people. I’ve been playing bass for so long in other bands and I’m ready to pick up the guitar again. We weren’t/aren’t really big enough for it to be a huge cash grab, so it’s really about the music for us.

And finally, I’m sure all the fans want to know exactly what the future holds. Do you see this as a one-off kinda thing?

I’d be gobsmacked to find us delving any further into it than this. If you’re a fan, I’d say come out because this will be it.

Thanks to Josh for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us!

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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