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An interview with Josh Kemble of Dogwood
Interview by: Joel Cuthbert of Indie Vision Music

Everyone’s favorite So-Cal Punk band Dogwood, with 8 albums, a live disc and a greatest hits under thier belts, they continue to bring that punk-rock spirit, and convictions of steal. Josh Kemble was nice enough to answer some questions on the past present and future Dogwood.

Joel IVM: You guys had almost disappeared from the national music scene, what have you guys been up to?

Josh Kemble: We took a break from touring, when my daughter Eden was born. We had always been playing and writing songs though. Now we’ve been playing more, and my cousin Russell is going to join us back on the drumset.

Joel IVM: Tell us a bit of the history of the band, and explain the name of your band.

Josh Kemble: We started in 1994, they had already started writing songs, then asked me to sing with them and it just worked out real nice. The name came from a legend of the cross, based on the shape and colors of the dogwood flower. Check into that flower and the legend sometime, it’s a fun little story.

Joel IVM: You guys have gone through a lot of band changes over the years what has kept you together as a whole? What has been the pro’s & con’s of such a varying line-up?

Josh Kemble: Yes we have, thanks for keeping up with that. What keeps us together is the want and need to have too much fun and rock out whenever possible. Anyone can do it, but it takes a special someone to be in dogwood. The pro’s are: playing concerts anywhere possible. The con’s: eating at truck stops, or not eating anything.

Joel IVM: In the past Sean was doing the writing and on the last album it was split between Josh and Daniel, who is doing most of the writing now?

Josh Kemble: It mainly is Danny’s ideas, he’ll mostly have a song finished, and then he’ll show us at practice and send me mp3’s of it so I can get a feel for it to write words to. Now with Russell back, I hope all four of us will contribute to the awesome.

Joel IVM: You guys announced work on a new record? Any details on that?

Josh Kemble: Not yet, we are just writing, recording loosely, and we would like to do an EP either on our own label or if anyone wants to put it out, we’re game for that.

Joel IVM: You guys have progressed a lot over the years. The sound of the last songs on “Reverse Then Forward Again” were really great, will the new album be along the same lines?

Josh Kemble: I hope so, but we really love the old school sound as well. We love hardcore (if it’s good) and soul and rap. Anything good and melodious and rocking. There will always be heart in the lyrics and hopefully deep meaning, not just superficially but really down down in the music and beats.

Joel IVM: You released most of your records through Tooth And Nail, your MySpace page says you are currently label-free. Are you currently looking for a new label? How was your experience with Tooth And Nail? What would be the dream record label for you guys to work with?

Josh Kemble: Not really looking yet, it would be great to be on a label that loves us, respects us, and lets us do what we want. We like a few labels that share our mindset, and there are pros and cons of each label as well. Hopefully someone would just love to push it worldwide, but there have also been interests in labels on separate continents, which could be fun…

Joel IVM: Do you have any touring planed in support of the new Record? Any bands you’d like to tour with?

Josh Kemble: No full-on tours planned right now, but you never know- it would be great to tour with Kanye West and/or Tenacious D. we had lots of fun with the bands we’ve toured with, it would be cool to always go on tour with the same bands, for the most part.

Joel IVM: You’ve recently been doing a lot of work for various non-profit organizations, what inspired you to get involved with them? You’ve also been very vocal politically as of late, has this entered into your music as well?

Josh Kemble: That just comes naturally from our personalities. We’ve always tried to get heard, and get smaller voices heard. Yeah, there’s been a lot of fodder for us to talk about regarding issues that are close to home and heart. It’s a good time to be punk.

Joel IVM: I’ve read a couple interviews with you guys and you tend to be pretty light-hearted, this is a contrast to some of the themes touched on in your music, does the music work as a way of helping you express your struggles in life?

Josh Kemble: Definitely on both of those. Well asked questions!

Joel IVM: How has your faith played a part in your band? Since you’ve been together so long how have you grown spiritually as a band?

Josh Kemble: Well, when we keep members for more than a year, yes. Faith is a part of any music group. It takes a lot of faith to tour and play for strangers. Hope Faith and Love are not just Christian things. Or girl’s names.

Joel IVM: Is it hard to grow spiritually when you are on the road, away from a home church, not having time for yourself to read the bible and grow in your relationship with God?

Josh Kemble: Yes, it can be, but it can also bring you closer. You gotta either bring your own bible on the road or steal a few from hotels. Thanks gideons. I think growing is a choice. Do it or don’t.

Joel IVM: Since you guys have been mostly playing local lately, what is your opinion on the ‘christian music scene’ of late?

Josh Kemble: There isn’t one. I mean churches are doing shows, but the crowds are non specific, I’m speaking on behalf of the hardcore and punk shows only.

Joel IVM: What do you see in the future for Dogwood?

Josh Kemble: Rocking hard. Writing a great record. Passing the torch to a new generation of great punk bands.

Joel IVM: What bands have you guys been listening to lately?

Josh Kemble: Rise Against, Good Riddance, Kanye West, The Blackout Pact, Paint it Black, Public Enemy, The new thursday album is great, the new taking back sunday is pretty good, Man Alive, Much the Same, A Wilhelm Scream, Bad Religion, Lagwagon, Bear vs Shark, Bad Astronaut, Stevie Wonder, Controlling the Famous, Hank Williams III, Denison Witmer, Fugazi, Quicksand, Hatebreed, He Is Legend, to name a few.

Joel IVM: Any final words, remarks, shout-outs, prayer requests?

Josh Kemble: See if this works for you: Gardez sur le keepin dessus, séjour outre des drogues, ne donnez pas jamais vers le haut n’importe ce que, la finition ce que vous avez commencé, nous sera au Canada en août, le combat dur pour ce que vous croyez dedans, disent les personnes que vous aimez que vous les aimiez.

… what he said!
Here’s my rough translation:

Stay on the path, stay off the drugs, never give more importance then you need to, on the the thing which you have started, we will be in Canada in August, fight for what you believe in, and tell the people you love, that you love them.

I’ll edit that when my french dogwood friends read this and help me out!

Check it out:
Website (not supposed to be active… but yeah)

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