BAND: Matt Davis | INTERVIEWER: Bryce Cooley | DATE: August 31st, 2011
Bryce: So Matt, for those who don't know you, who are you and why am I interviewing you?
Matt: My name's Matt Davis. I have successfully posted one devotional on Christcore (weak sauce on my part) and I used to play in the band Showbread for about seven years.
Bryce: What did you bring to the table in Showbread; what was your role?
Matt: Ahh...I was the "lead" guitar player, but since I am no slash, I will just say I was a guitar player in Showbread. I also drove the van most of the time.
Bryce: Yeah you did; I remember tagging along a couple of times. GT's... GT's... (That's my hip way of saying Good Times).
Matt: We used to say GT's all the time. Speakin my language. Yeah, you were there from the beginning! A majority of the stories I tell usually involve you in some way.
Bryce: Correct me if I'm wrong, but you were with Showbread from the beginning, right, when they were some rap-rock hybrid? Or did you come in later in the game?
Matt: I did come in later. Actually, I met Showbread when I was in a pop-punk band called Johnny Angel. We all opened up for Squad Five-o, and basically they said, "Your band is awesome," and I said, "Your band is awesome," and then bugged them about letting me in. In fact, I gave them a hard time because they asked Mike to join before me, even though I was in a band already.
Bryce: Ha, shamed. What were those next seven years like as Showbread progressed in sound and mission?
Matt: They were great. We were always a band who wanted to tour and meet people and hopefully spread the love of Jesus. From a business perspective it might not have been a "success," although we did have a modicum of successes and experiences that will last my lifetime, but I think at the end of the day God blessed (and is blessing) the ministry and probably more than anything used it to grow the guys that were in it.
Matt: I mean, stylistically, it was so much fun. We never wanted to make the same record twice, so every record was way different but still Showbread, which hurt us businesswise in a lot of ways. But when else in your life are you going to be paid to go into a studio and make music. Why make the same record over and over?
Bryce: That's very true. Though I was not always on board with all the changes, I always respected you guys for constantly evolving. It will be great to show this music to your kids and let them hear the diversity in it. If I can overspiritualize for a sec, it's diversity that points to a diverse creative God.
Matt: Absolutely, and I don't think you can overspiritualize. I mean, He brought seven of us together, so as people grow, they change and learn, and tastes change. Multiply that by seven.... Creativity is from the Creator. I mean, look, I wasnt ALWAYS 100% into EVERYTHING that we did, but the way I look at it is that if everyone was 85% happy, that's a success when you have seven dudes.
Bryce: For sure. Guys can be stubborn!
Matt: It's true. I think we fought more during the creation of records than any other time.
Bryce: I realize this may be a loaded question and may need some follow up, but what happened? You don't drop out of a seven-year effective ministry without some prayer and thought. At least one would assume.
Matt: Ha! Actually, it's a good question, and I think I'm totally ready to answer it at this point. The truth is, "You're right; you dont," and most of this answer if from looking back.
I honestly think about the time right before/right around "age of reptiles." God was calling me to leave Showbread, pursue Him more deeply, and return to school to be a pastor.
However, I also kind of feel now, looking back, that more often than not when God is calling you to something, He is also calling you away from something, as in "If you stay, it probably will not go well for you."
So I stayed....
I think there was a lot of pride and puffed-upness and entitlement that started to seep into my life. I don't know if it was all from the rock star gig, but honestly our job was to make people think we're awesome. So it can't help but encourage pride. However, I think in a lot of ways I disconnected from God on a really basic level and let sin into my life.
I wasn't doing drugs or anything, but I was making decisions that weren't holy, one of which was staying in the band. I mean, God used it, even now, but at the time I was getting older and hadn't finished school, and I think those ideas were being twisted by Satan in my mind and were confusing me. And since I was sort of disconnect from Jesus, I was confused and made bad decisions and stayed in Showbread longer than I should have.
Plus I had been a bad leader in the sense that everything was in my name: van, bank account, I booked tours, dealt with money, etc. I think the prideful part of me really wondered what would happen if I left, so I stayed. Well then we all went to Ecuador, and I really loved it and I felt like returning. But I also think it was an excuse to leave. Even though I really loved it and return to do missions work many times down there, I also think (hindsight) leaving the band was hard. But I think God was leading me into the desert. I think God pulled me out of Showbread to stop detracting from His glory and for my own benefit.
I kept falling on this verse from Hosea 2, where it basically says, "I will lead you into the desert and there you will go from calling me Lord to calling me husband," and that was so profound to me because it reestablished my relationship with Him. And even though He led me into a desert time in my life, He was in the desert waiting for me and was going to use the desert for my benefit and His glory, and now I'm in school to be a pastor.
Bryce: It's great to hear that God has brought you to this place, albeit kicking and screaming at first. How was this news taken by your bandmates and friends after such a long time?
Matt: I think they kind of expected it actually. I dunno.... The aftermath was probably the more bummer part, but I think the initial statement wasn't too much of a surprise. John left only a few weeks (or months) before I did, so I guess they decided not to say anything when I left.
Bryce: What aftermath?
Matt: Just separating, and the way they handled things and the way I handled things.... All is well now, but it was kind of a rocky deal. It can be hard to leave after seven years, so I think there was just a lot everyone needed to deal with.
Bryce: Would you care to elaborate?
Matt: It was twofold. For instance, I handled all of the booking, money, everything really. So getting all of that sorted out was kind of tough...and questioning some of the decisions I had made versus what had really happened. And I'm not saying every decision i made was on the up and up, but I tried to be pretty legitimate with everything. But then there were also things like when I left the band, they didn't announce it, which at the time I was fine with because John had just left and everyone assumed we were breaking up. But looking back, it's kind of like, dang, seven years? Nothing?
Later on Ivory and I went down to see them play in Jacksonville on the Anorexia Nervosa Tour, and they invited Ivory up to sing on a song but not me to play guitar. He did a guest vocal spot on that song, so I get it, but still.... That stung. But like I said, I feel like I did some things that weren't that cool and (in my book) so did they. But it was a good learning experience for all of us because we talked it out and worked it out and everyone's cool and happy now.
Bryce: That's good to hear. Breakups of any kind can be very difficult. It is great that you learned from it. Where are you now?
Matt: I'm in Knoxville, TN, at Johnson University (formerly Johnson Bible College).
Bryce: Do you feel like your previous experience in Showbread prepared you at all for what is to come??
Matt: Yes. I definitely learned a ton about myself if nothing else: who I want to be, who I don't want to be. I've experienced a lot of people and culture, and it makes me excited for what I feel God is calling me to in the future.
Bryce: What is it that God is calling you to? Where, God willing, do you see yourself in five years?
Matt: Well, I am in school studying preaching and church leadership because, ultimately, I feel like God is calling me to preach and teach His word. My friend and I have talked about doing a church plant, but I'm also hoping to some day get planted at a church and preach there til it's time to go home (as in dead).
Bryce: Ha! Thanks for clearing that up. It's awesome to see how God weaves things together so intricately. Thank you for taking the time to share this with me.
Matt: Dude, it was awesome. Thanks for "listening."
I think there was a lot of pride and puffed-upness and entitlement that started to seep into my life. I don't know if it was all from the rock star gig, but honestly our job was to make people think we're awesome - Matt
I am in school studying preaching and church leadership because, ultimately, I feel like God is calling me to preach and teach His word. - Matt