Josh Wilson: Exclusive Interview on His Heart Attack Scare and His New Record, Carry Me.
A huge thanks to Josh Wilson, out on tour with Third Day, for taking some time out of his busy schedule to do an interview today. He has a humble heart and great spirit and it was a fun interview to do.
How is the Third Day tour going for you?
"Those guys are great. It's just been so fun hanging out with them and Colton. We are about a month in and going through May so it's about a third over."
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What have you learned from being on tour with a veteran band like Third Day?
"One thing I've learned is that they are the real deal. You kinda hope that they are gonna be awesome when you meet them, and they are, and I think that is part of the reason they have hung around so long. They are just so down to earth and nice and like I said they have great music, but I think its more then that. You have to have a love for people and the Lord and what you do. I hope to learn more from them as the tour goes on and I hope to learn how to grow a beard like Mac Powell someday."
How has the connection between bands been on tour?
"They (Third Day) do a great job of being really inclusive. They have their own bus and I'm on a bus with Colton, but they will text us and say "Hey we are going to lunch or we are going to the movies" which is something they don't have to do, they have been very intentional. We have a road pastor and do church together on Sundays where we get together and talk and just hang out, it's been great."
Did you know Colton Dixon before this tour?
"Actually I met him the first night we got on the bus. He's a super nice guy and it's been great to hang out with him. He's very talented, we are both video game nerds."
Are you playing with a full band on The Miracle tour or is it just you and a guitar?
"Just me and the guitar. I play first, 20 minutes, just me and the guitar. It's kinda cool to get the different variety of sounds throughout the night."
I saw the "Harlem Shake" video you guys did. How would you rate your dance moves in the vid?
"I'd say on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd say I was at least an 11 (laughs). Mostly because I was wearing a penguin suit. I was the penguin at the beginning of the dance. It's funny because I can't dance I can't dance at all, but I can wallow around like a penguin with the best of them."
So (I saw on twitter) pre-sales started yesterday for new album, Carry Me, which is slated for release April 9th. I know you've released a lot of records independently, including EPs, would this be your 4th full length record with your label?
"If you count my Christmas record, it's 4 1/2 (laughs)."
Your song "Carry Me" actually came from you struggling with panic attack and thinking you were having a heart attack?
"Yea, I had been kinda dizzy for a 2 or 3 days and eventually it felt like I was gonna pass out. My chest and left arm started throbbing and hurting, all the signs of a heart attack, I was having trouble breathing. I went to the emergency room and they said I had just had a massive panic attack. It kinda kept happening, the next night, the next day. It got to the point where I had to cancel shows. It's pretty debilitating, but it's been really cool to see how God has used this in my life to see how much I need him, to see how little control I have over my life. God is in control and I'm not, and thats ok. So He has been very faithful to carry me so thats why I wrote this song. It's been my prayer and its been a prayer that God has certainly answered time and time again. I'm not completely over it and I don't know if I ever will be, but I'm learning to trust God in the middle of it."
It says you cancelled performances because of this. were you afraid you would not be able to perform again?
"Yea, at first. You know, when it was the worst of it, I thought I can't do music anymore. I can't even get on an airplane, it was hard for me to leave the house and go out. It's really hard to explain but I'm so grateful that playing shows again and I'm able to fly. I've only had a few panic attacks in the last few months and they have been fairly mild, so it's gotten a lot better. But yea, when it all started I didn't really know, I mean the very first time I thought I was dying. So to be alive I'm so grateful and to know that I can continue to do what God has called me to do, even when it's difficult, even when I'm feeling anxious and just pray for God's peace to carry me through, with whatever I'm going through."
Did you have a past of having panic attacks or did that just come out of nowhere?
"The panic attacks just came out of nowhere. I've struggled with a fairly decent amount of anxiety, I think everybody does, people worry about things, but it's never manifest itself in such a physiological way to where my body is doing things that don't feel emotional, don't feel physcological, they feel like 'oh my gosh, my heart is going to explode'. So yea, it was a first for me. I'm hoping someday I can look back on this time and say that it's long gone but I'm learning that, like I said, it's easy to say that 'Jesus is all I need' but in this moment, Jesus is all that I have, it's like 'Ok, I get it.' God really is in control and I need to submit to that."
What's your favorite song on the new record and most different song from a fans perspective on new record?
"I think my favorite song either is "Carry Me" or "I See God in You" which is a song about people being made in the image of God and seeing God's goodness even in times that you might not think you would. My friend Lily, who is a neighbor of mine, is about 94, about to turn 95, has been a widow for almost 40 years but loves the Lord with all her heart. She's got a bible thats just tattered, she's read through it every year since 1968. Someone who has been alone for so long, you can imagine they might get bitter, but she is just excited to see her husband again whenever she goes. The 2nd verse is about a little down syndrome boy I met before a show who was very meek and quiet but was just very special, you could tell he was a special kid. When the show started, he started dancing like crazy in the front and it got me choked up. I thought, 'man, I see God in this kid, this kid is royalty'. The 3rd verse talks about the fact that sometimes I feel like I'm too far gone, that I can't be forgiven, but the truth is that God can make all things new, He can redeem any situation and that gives me hope. So yea, "I See Good in You" is probably my favorite song.
As far as sound goes, I think the opening track is a little different. It's called "Pushing Back the Dark". There are a lot of electronic beats and synthetic sounds on this record that I haven't utilized before, so thats something different for people to listen to."
What was it like working with producer, Matt Bronleewe (Plumb, Jars of Clay and Chris Tomlin) on Carry Me?
"Matt is just so talented. I worked with him on my last record, See You, and I knew I wanted to work with him again. He and I kind of dreamed up what this record would be. I wanted to pursue some new sounds and be a little more adventerous on this record. He was on board from the very beginning and at times would push me to say, 'we can do this sound' and i would think it's gonna be too different, but he said it would work. He had a really good idea of what the finished result would be. He's worked on so many records that he kinda knows how all the pieces are going to fit together. So it was a good lesson in trust and trusting his talent, which wasn't hard to do because I know he's so good, but he challenged me to try new things and play new instruments I hadn't before. Yea, it was a lot of fun."
I watched your "It is Well' instrumental video and your "Amazing Grace" arrangement with the loop pedal and as a guitar player myself, thought they were very impressive. What would you consider your guitar main instrument?
"Yea, guitar is my main, I played piano first, I enjoy playing percussion and different string instruments but guitar is my main instrument."
How long have you been playing guitar?
"17 or 18 years, give or take"
Do you use alternate tunings in your music or just doing the instrumentals?
"I pretty much just use alternate tunings in my instrumental stuff. Thats kinda how I learned a bunch of finger style guitar was with alternate tunings. I actually took classical lessons for awhile, so I'm classically trained. Yea, I like trying different things, sometimes when you are doing alternate tunings you can come up with a song you wouldn't have been able to otherwise."
Which bands got you into trying out alternate tunings?
"Well you know what, Jars of Clay "Flood" is a pretty awesome alternate tuning song. Almost all Goo Goo Dolls songs seem to be in alternate tunings it seems like ("All their good ones at least!" I chime in). So yea, not a lot of bands do it, but the ones that do kinda have a more unique sound."
If you could co-write or perform a song with 1 Christian artist and 1 secular Artist, who would you choose?
"Christian I would say Jon Foreman. I just love his writing. Everything he does, Switchfoot, Fiction Family, his solo stuff, I just think it's all brilliant. Secular, I'd say, John Mayer. What a songwriter and guitarist and vocalist, and he just fascinates me. So those are two of my favorite singer/songwiters."
Both very good choices. Ok last question, a non musical one. As a Christian married musicians, what's your advice to other guys away from their wives on the road a lot and how do you keep everything strong?
"Well we certainly try to communicate as much as possible but a couple things that a good friend told us that are very helpful. One is to read a book together, doesn't matter what it is, could be fiction or non-fiction, but just read a book together and at the end of the day it gives you something to talk about together. It gives you something to talk about, the truth is there are different things happening in your mind and thats what you need to talk about.
The other thing, our friend Allen Andrews is who told us this, he said, "Ask the other what happened in your heart today that I wouldn't know about unless you told me?" I think thats good for any couple whether you travel or not because you can get into a routine and you can say the same ole same ole. But thats not true, you have thought about things, there are things that have happened in your heart that you can share that will bring you close together. So those are 2 pieces of advice that we have been grateful for."
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