Rock Band Anberlin Talks to Rocking God’s House…
And Bids Farewell!
12 years is a long time for any band to keep the creative juices growing. Bands come and go, and most end in some kind of catastrophic falling out as a group — usually an implosion from years of wear and tear or from different personalities and creative directions. Also, just being plain tired of spending so much time looking at the same people will take its toll.
Anberlin, however, is going out with class on their own terms — a collective decision between the members. They’ve made peace with the journey that they’ve taken together, and they’re headed out with a bang on The Vans Warped Tour that ends on August 3 in Denver, Colorado. This will be followed by a string of shows, appropriately titled The Final Tour, with select dates all over the world that will end on November 26th where it all started: Orlando, Fla.
On July 22nd, they will release their final album Lowborn. This album will bring the band full circle, as it will be released by Tooth and Nail, the first record label that released the band’s music. One interesting spin on this record is that the band did not record it together. They all did their parts with separate producers of their choice. Drums were recorded in Atlanta with Matt Goldman and later combined with bass and guitar in Lakeland, Florida with Copeland’s Aaron Marsh. Vocals were recorded in Franklin, TN (my hometown) with the band’s long-time collaborator Aaron Sprinkle.
Anberlin has been a wonderful band to listen to throughout the years, and I wish them a fond farewell with a true sense of gratitude and respect. Their high-energy rock has always struck me with its sincerity and emotional power. And, with the truly one-of-a-kind voice of Stephen Christian and the powerful musicianship of Deon Rexroat, Joseph Milligan, Nathan Young, and Christian McAlhaney, this band has never produced music I did not enjoy.
To Anberlin: thanks my friends, may God bless your endeavors in whatever road you take.
Bass player Deon Rexroat is one of the band’s founding members. He has been a part of the original group since members of former punk band SaGoh 24/7 went on to form Anberlin. In my final interview with Deon, I had the chance to discuss their new (and last) album, the elements of faith in the band, and their long-term plans after Anberlin disbands.
What are the plans after the breakup? Are members of Anberlin in current projects?
The plan is to do anything we want to (haha). We’ve all been involved in various other projects throughout these past 12 years. However, the majority of the focus has always been Anberlin, obviously, so ending the band will afford us the time to follow our passions whether it be in music or not. I personally will try to continue playing music. It’s what I love, and I can’t imagine just stopping.
I know Stephen lives in Nashville. Do any other members reside in middle Tennessee, and are you excited about your up coming performance in Music City?
Stephen is currently the only member living in Nashville, but we have had a very long history with the city dating back to before Anberlin. Some of our oldest friends who have helped us from the beginning reside there, so it’s always felt like a second home, which always makes it exciting to come back and play.
Lowborn has interesting cover art. Who came up with the concept, and why is that the title of the last album?
The concept was a collaboration of our drummer, Nathan, and our long-time friend and artist Jordan Butcher who has designed four of our past seven album covers. The title is a slight reference to our beginnings in a small town in Florida. Being a band in a city where there are virtually no other bands or places to play can be tough. Going from being small town kids to being an international touring act, it’s like breaking the mold and changing your lot in life.
Why did the band choose to record the album in separate places with separate producers?
We played our first show with Aaron Marsh’s band Copeland. We did our first demos with Matt Goldman, and we did our first records with Aaron Sprinkle. This album is supposed to represent who we are now as well as who we have always been, so working with the people that knew us best seemed like the most logical thing to do.
How long has the band had a relationship with Aaron Sprinkle in Franklin, Tennessee?
We’ve been working with Aaron on and off since 2002. He’s produced four of our albums in addition to the work he did on Lowborn. He’s family at this point.
I am aware that Anberlin is not considered a Christian band, but has Christian members within the group, is this true?
Yes. We’ve never identified the band as such because, to us, Christianity is for people, not musical projects. We’ve always just tried to write good, positive music without a strict agenda concerning our personal beliefs and faith. Some people, Christian and non-Christian alike, have had problems with that as if they need it to be cut and dry so they can put us in a corner.
Is this farewell tour goodbye for good or just goodbye for now?
It feels like goodbye for good, but I have no idea what is down the road. That’s part of the excitement of this time in our lives. We are free to do whatever we want and follow any path we choose. If those paths merge again a few years down the road, so be it.