It’s probably both ironic and oddly fitting that what began in 1997 as a contemporary Christian cover act became one of the strangest and most unique bands you’ve never heard of. Showbread was founded by two brothers in southeast Georgia on the premise that it would be fun to have a band that could play at their local church services. When the Southern Baptists they had grown up with recoiled at the notion of loud rock music in their sanctuary, the teenage band members found themselves with no home base and decided it was time to take their art (and their faith) more seriously.
Loads of punk rock influence, thousands of shows, dozens of trips around the country, performances on several continents and thirteen years later Showbread is perhaps one of the last remaining bands with a truly rebellious, uncompromising punk rock spirit. Underground bands who violate mainstream music law are a dime a dozen, but Showbread constantly violates both mainstream music law and underground music law and they do so emphatically. Their notoriously relentless refusal to appease fans and critics has time and time again cost them significant fandom and critical acceptance. Stranger still is the fact that Showbread does all this with complete foreknowledge and even celebrates the outcome. They have become a sort of musical Andy Kaufman.
Signed to independent giant Tooth And Nail records in 2004, Showbread released their label debut No Sir Nihilism Is Not Practical—an unflinchingly chaotic spasm of an album—to instant fan adoration. How did Showbread celebrate their newfound popularity? By purposefully destroying it with their sophomore release Age Of Reptiles; a deliberate antithesis of the previous record… You know, the one that won them their fan base. What does a band with severely divided listeners do after venturing from the outlandishly abstract to the world of pop rock? They release a double disc concept record called Anorexia Nervosa that requires the listener to simultaneously read along with a short story as the music acts as a sort of literary soundtrack, said music being a ruthless take on gothic industrial, of course. Now a fixture of cult fandom and largely dismissed by critics, Showbread fulfilled it’s contract with Tooth And Nail records with the swan song to the first wave of their creative endeavors: The Fear Of God.
In 2010 Showbread continued to step further away from the ordinary by leaving their record label to partner with non-profit organization Come&Live! with intentions to give away their sixth album Who Can Know It?—their biggest (and best) musical departure to date—and the supporting tour both as free gifts. When asked why in the world Showbread has done all these strange things they respond by crediting their actions to the same force that motivated the formation of their band: Their belief in Jesus.
Love them or hate them, one cannot deny that Showbread have refused to compromise their agenda: to pursue art on their own terms as dictated by their beliefs, even at the expense of success. If more bands pursued this ideology the world of music would be a strange (and better) place indeed.