We all have musicians who we love, and look forward to their every move, so when reality hits and it comes time to retire, it sucks. Some musicians’ legacies go on forever, and some fade away. My hope for Anberlin is that they will never be forgotten. Anberlin has spent the last 12 years entertaining the world with their rock music and creative energy, but unfortunately it’s all coming to an end this year. Even though it was sad news to hear, it was also a perfect time to look back at everything they have accomplished since they started. We wanted to take time to appreciate everything they have given to their fans, friends, and families. You hear it everyday from musicians: “It isn’t easy doing this” and we believe them.
The thing is, we shouldn’t be upset or saddened that they are throwing in the towel. Instead, we should thank them for giving us over 7 albums to blast on shuffle. Every song, every album, every show has been worth the ride and we could not be happier for Anberlin.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with one of the members of the band, Deon Rexroat (Bass) to give us his thoughts of the farewell tour and how the band has come along since the beginning.
1. You guys have traveled around the world, sold millions, and performed in front of countless fans, describe the idea of that all just coming to an end.
Deon: If it had ended abruptly, I think I would have felt cheated, but the way we are doing it; going out with a final album and tour; it feels very full circle and appropriate. I’ll miss it for sure, but I can’t say I’m mad about the way we are wrapping up our career.
2. Every band has their own routines, how does Anberlin prepare for their performances let alone their final farewell tour?
Deon: Same way I always have; A couple shots of whisky and some stretching. I still want to go out on stage and be in that moment. I don’t want to focus on anything but that.
3. The band’s music is so different every time a new album comes out. Where does this inspiration come from and what is the secret to the band’s success.
Deon: I’m not sure I could pin point how we’ve remained successful. We have simply tried to be true to ourselves and write good songs. Maybe that’s what connects with people each album. We may sound a little different, but it’s always Anberlin.
4. If you guys could choose your favorite all time bands/musicians/artist to play with or collaborate with who would they be and why?
Deon: That’s tough. So many people have influenced me over the years. I think I would love to work with someone like Johnny Marr. He’s such a great guitar player and songwriter. It would be fun to play bass with him. And maybe I’d get to play “This Charming Man” once with him.
5. If you could choose your favorite Anberlin song of all time…what would it be?
Deon: Again, very tough to choose. Lately, I have been saying “Paperthin Hymn”. Since we have decided to end, these songs have new meanings to me and I’m reminded of the fact that Paperthin almost got cut from Friendship because it was incomplete when we first started recording that album. However, we finished it and it went on to be one of our biggest and most fan favorite songs. It’s weird how some things just come together and connect with people.
6. The new album “Lowborn”. Does that represent anything in particular to the band especially this being the final album.
Deon: I think it’s a statement on where we came from being that Joey, Stephen and I came from a very small town in Florida. The odds are against you coming from a place with no music scene and virtually no other bands, but we have released 7 albums and toured the world over these past 12 years. It’s worth mentioning I think.
7. What does everyone plan to do when it is all said and done? Please do tell!
Deon: I can’t really speak for everyone, but for me, the answer is; anything I want to do. I have focused virtually 100% of my attention on Anberlin all of these years. It’s weird and exciting to think about having the time and energy to do something else. I would love to keep playing music, so that would be my first choice.
8. You guys have had a sturdy following since the beginning- what is your farewell message to your fans?
Deon: Anberlin may be ending, but you still have A LOT of material to keep you company. 7 albums’ worth to be exact. I like to think that not only will current fans continue to listen, but maybe new fans will discover us over and over again.
Anberlin back in 2002 would say: Seems like a great idea! Those people totally want to catch me!
Anberlin 2014 would say: It hurts when people don’t catch you and you go straight to the concrete floor.
Anberlin back in 2002 would say: I don’t have a girlfriend.
Anberlin 2014 would say: I have a wife and she’s pretty great.
Anberlin back in 2002 would say: Let’s party!
Anberlin 2014 would say: Let’s party, but not embarrass ourselves.
Anberlin back in 2002 would say: There’s no time.
Anberlin 2014 would say: Family adds meaning to what we do.
Anberlin will release their final album this year (07.22.2014), followed by a farewell world tour. Here’s what you should know: ~Courtesy of Big Picture Media
• Anberlin have been a band for 12 years. The rock group formed in central Florida in 2002 and have released six innovative and sincere albums that have affected fans in deeply emotional ways. lowborn, the band’s seventh full-length, will be their last release.
• The end of Anberlin is not sad but hopeful. There is no animosity or drama, but rather a celebration of what these five musicians have achieved both in the studio and onstage. “Usually breakups happen quickly and suddenly, an implosion of sorts,” McAlhaney says. “What is unique about the end of Anberlin is that we discussed where people were at in their lives, what that meant for the band, and then made plans for the end on our own terms.”
• Lowborn reflects true artistic freedom for the band, who felt liberated from any sort of expectation or pressure. “I wanted to enjoy the creative process one more time, with no restrictions, no one breathing down my neck for a single,” Christian says. “Just unadulterated creative freedom.”
• The musicians started collecting new material at the end of last year. The idea was not to crank out as many songs as possible but to actually focus on crafting solidly good ideas that melded each musician’s individual tastes and influences. “We were really honest with each, probably more so than in the past,” Young says. “You have to come to a point where, with different opinions, there’s no right or wrong. There was a fearlessness which was really freeing and exciting for all of us. To just not have to think about anything else except what’s the best thing for the song.”
• Instead of recording the album together, the musicians did their parts with separate producers they each selected. Young recorded drums with Matt Goldman in Atlanta and later went with Rexroat, McAlhaney and Milligan to Lakeland, FL to work with Copeland’s Aaron Marsh. Christian recorded vocals with the band’s longtime collaborator Aaron Sprinkle in Franklin, TN.
• Some of the album’s lyrics address the band’s end and history. “I know there are going to be a lot of questions as to why we decided to break up and I explain it all in the song ‘Atonement,’” Christian says. “And I want to make sure that the our fans and friends know that we will always remember them, and the moments spent with them were some of the greatest of my entire life. I tried to convey that in the song ‘Harbinger.’” Another track, “Stranger Ways,” first appeared in demo form in the band’s farewell video earlier this year.
• This album brings Anberlin full circle as lowborn will be released on Tooth & Nail, the first record label to which Anberlin was signed. The group’s 2003 debut, Blueprints for the Black Market, and their two subsequent releases, came out via the label. “I remember feeling the excitement of pulling into the city of Seattle to record our first record, into the great unknown of whatever the future might hold,” Christian says. “Now I feel the excitement of the great unknown that the future holds, both experiences are life changing.”
• Each musician has plans for the future after Anberlin, some concrete and some vague, some musical and some not. Those plans, in various ways, will be revealed in the coming months. For everyone, this is a celebration of what has been achieved rather than the mourning of a loss. “This is the end of an era of my life,” Rexroat says. “A long and great era. It also means a new beginning. It’s overwhelming to think about filling all my time with something new, but it’s also exciting.”