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Anberlin
Anberlin
Background Information
Origin Winter Haven, Florida
Genre Alternative Rock
Years active 2002-present
Label(s) Universal Republic
Tooth & Nail
Associated Acts Anchor & Braille
Website http://www.anberlin.com
Members
Stephen Christian
Deon Rexroat
Joseph Milligan
Nathan Young
Christian McAlhaney
Former Members
Nathan Strayer
Joey Bruce

Anberlin is an alternative rock band from Winter Haven, Florida, United States formed in 2002. Since the beginning of 2007 their line-up has consisted of lead vocalist Stephen Christian, bassist Deon Rexroat, lead guitarist Joseph Milligan, drummer Nathan Young and rhythm guitarist Christian McAlhaney.[1] The band has released four albums and an EP in their six-year run and have sold over 400,000 albums.[2]

Anberlin spent five years signed with semi-independent record label Tooth & Nail Records and after the success of their first three studio albums, Anberlin announced their signing with major label Universal Republic Records on 16 August 2007.[3] The band's first album on a major label was released on 30 September 2008, entitled New Surrender.[4]

HistoryEdit

SaGoh 24/7Edit

Lead singer Stephen Christian met bassist Deon Rexroat while they were both in middle school, and they formed a Christian punk band called SaGoh (Servants after God's own heart) 24/7. Drummer Sean Hutson and guitarist Joseph Milligan were then added to the group.[5] The band released two albums, Servants After God's Own Heart (1999), and Then I Corrupt Youth (2001), both under Rescue Records.[6] After the albums sold only 1,300 units,[5] Hutson left the band to start a family, and Nathan Young was brought in as a replacement.[5] Christian and Milligan began working on an acoustic side project, which transmutated into Anberlin after Milligan suggested that they develop more of a rock sound.[6] Some SaGoh 24/7 songs were reworked to fit the band's new alternative rock style.

Formation and Blueprints for the Black MarketEdit

The bandmates officially created Anberlin in 2002, after being approached by Tooth & Nail Records. Barely a year after their formation, their first album as a new band was entitled Blueprints for the Black Market (2003), and was produced by Aaron Sprinkle. It failed to chart, but spurred on by the single "Readyfuels", the album proved to be sufficiently successful, selling over 60,000 units.[7] Through steady touring with other bands in their label and heavy internet promotion, Anberlin was amassing a dedicated fan base early on.

Rhythm guitarist Joey Bruce was eventually ejected from the band. According to Christian, he was "all about sex and drugs", and was going in a different direction than the rest of the band.[5] After several failed replacements, Nathan Strayer from The Mosaic took over rhythm guitar duties. Bruce is now the singer/guitarist for the band Mouse Fire.

Never Take Friendship PersonalEdit

Anberlin released their follow up to Blueprints, Never Take Friendship Personal, in early 2005, again produced by Aaron Sprinkle. Charting at #144 on the Billboard 200,[8] the album brought the band a step closer into the mainstream. NTFP was generally more well received by critics than Blueprints for the Black Market, and garnered favorable reviews. Before its release, the band promoted the album by releasing a track per week on their PureVolume and MySpace website accounts, as well as on their own website. Two singles were released from the album: "A Day Late" and "Paperthin Hymn". Both were reasonably successful on alternative rock radio, with the latter peaking at the #38 position on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.[9]

Anberlin participated in a number of compilations during this time, recording covers of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," and the song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)."

Cities and Lost SongsEdit

Anberlin's third album produced by Aaron Sprinkle was released in early 2007 under the title Cities. It sold 34,000 copies in its first week of release, debuted at #19 on the Billboard 200 chart, and, like their previous album, received fairly positive reviews from critics. Before the release of Cities, the band released Godspeed EP exclusively on iTunes in late 2006 to give a preview to the new album. In support of the album, Anberlin held their first headlining tour, supported by Bayside, Meg & Dia and Jonezetta.

In an interview about the album, Christian commented that the lyrics throughout the band's discography are progressively becoming more mature. "The first CD (Blueprints for the Black Market) was childish in the manner that it was Man vs. World in the lyrics. The second (Never Take Friendship Personal) was Man Vs. Man. Cities is more adult in the manner that it's Man Vs. Self.[10][11] Cities was the #1 most anticipated album on Jesus Freak Hideout's Most Anticipated Albums of 2007.[12]

Three to four weeks before the release of Cities, it was announced that guitarist Nathan Strayer amicably left the band to go back to The Mosaic and that Christian McAlhaney, formerly of the band Acceptance, would take over as the new guitarist.[13]

A compilation album of unreleased material, called Lost Songs, was released on 20 November 2007. It features B-sides, demos, covers, and acoustic versions of their previous songs as well as other tracks recorded at AOL Sessions.[14]

New SurrenderEdit

The band signed to Universal Republic Records on 16 August 2007, and soon after began to write material for their major-label debut, entitled New Surrender, which was released on 30 September 2008.[3] This is the band's first album to not be distributed through Tooth & Nail Records or produced by Aaron Sprinkle. The first song to be heard from the new album was tentatively titled "Bittersweet Memory" during its initial live performances; it was later renamed to "Breaking" with an acoustic remix of the song included on USB wristbands sold exclusively during the 2008 Warped Tour. On 11 July 2008, the band showcased a second new song called "Disappear" on their MySpace profile.[15] The first actual single from the album was the re-recorded "Feel Good Drag" which was set to go to radio on 18 August[16] - eventually being released on 26 August.[17]

The band booked eight weeks of recording sessions with famed producer Neal Avron (New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy) in early February 2008. Stephen Christian stated in an interview, "We're very excited about working with Neal; I think our fans are going to be pleased when they hear the final result."[18] Christian also discussed the difficulties in writing this record. "When you try to write 29 songs lyrically you find yourself topically working in circles; I only go through so much in one year, but needlessly I have dedicated myself to begin searching books, art, and friends for new directions."[19] During the recording process, the band set up a live webcam in the studio so fans could watch them record the album via the band's MySpace profile. New Surrender was placed at the number two spot on Jesus Freak Hideout's 25 Most Anticipated Albums of 2008.[20]

In the week of its release, the album sold 36,000 units, entering the Billboard 200 chart at number 13.[21] It also placed at Number Five on the Top Current Rock chart, according to a Universal Republic press release.[22]

In support of the album, the band embarked on a fall headlining U.S. tour alongside Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Straylight Run and There For Tomorrow. The band then travelled to the United Kingdom where they supported Elliot Minor and played a handful of headlining shows with Furthest Drive Home and Data.Select.Party. Kyle Flynn, formerly of the band Acceptance, joined the band while on tour doing keys, loops, acoustic guitar, and background vocals.

Future plansEdit

The band revealed that they plan to start writing the follow up to New Surrender in the summer, but the release date is likely to be mid-late 2010, as the band plan to give the new material the time and effort that it needs.[23]

Origin of nameEdit

Anberlin lead vocalist Stephen Christian has stated different origins of the band's name in various interviews, for example that he had long planned to name his first daughter Anberlin. Struggling to find a name for the band, Stephen suggested it; "We were all sitting around trying to come up with a name. None of us were married or had kids, but one day I was going to name my daughter Anberlin, so I figured we could name the band that until we thought of something better. So we chose Anberlin and no one has thought of anything better.".[24] He stated he was no longer going to use Anberlin to name his first daughter, however he said, "If I ever have a daughter and name her Anberlin, she'll think she was named after the band instead of the other way around.".[25] Christian had also stated in another interview that the band's name was created when he was thinking about cities in Europe he wanted to visit. In his mind he listed "London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin." Christian thought that "And Berlin" would be an appropriate name for a band and so when the band was looking for a name Christian suggested "And Berlin," which was then modified to "Anberlin."[26][27]

Christian has since retracted those comments admitting that when the band first started, in interviews they "would take turn making stories about how it came to be" as a joke, as he believed the actual origin of the band name wasn't interesting enough. Christian said there was a story about how his grandfather had "saved a little girl from a World War II bombing... her name was Anberlin" and that they had hit a dog, which had the name Anberlin, with the stories getting more diverse, it was decided they reveal the true origin.[28] He has said the "real" name came from the Radiohead song "Everything in Its Right Place", stating that "There are several stories that have circulated on the internet, but the actual story is when I was in college my favorite band was Radiohead; on one of their songs off the record Kid A there is a background noise on the song "Everything in Its Right Place" (about 2 minutes 31 seconds into the song). While Thom (Yorke) is singing try to say I always thought the background noise sounded like Anberlin, I always thought that Anberlin would have been a great band name and well ... it was/is."[29][30]

Further adding to the mystery, in a recent Podcast with Alternative Press Magazine (#29), it was revealed that there is actually no story behind the name Anberlin, when the band sat down to think of names, 'Anberlin' just came to lead singer Stephen, and it was decided that would be the band name until they could think of something better.[31]

Involvement with ChristianityEdit

Over the years, many fans, critics, and other members of the media have consistently characterized Anberlin as a Christian band. However, Stephen Christian stated in an interview that their faith is more complicated than a simple label: "I think we're categorized like that a lot because we're on Tooth & Nail Records, which, years ago, was known as a Christian label and never lost that reputation. I don't care who listens to our records. If it helps people in whatever circumstances they're in, that's amazing, but I definitely don't classify us as a Christian band."[24] Elsewhere, Christian has remarked, "[My faith] affects every single aspect of my life, but I'm not a preacher, I'm an entertainer."[32]

Despite these statements and others of the like, multiple sources list the band as part of the Christian rock genre, and some Anberlin song lyrics do contain religious references. Furthermore, the band appears at Christian music festivals such as Parachute Music Festival and their songs have been included on Christian rock compilation CDs[33] and DVDs.[34] They are also played on the Gospel Music Channel.[35]

Anberlin has also been repeatedly featured in Christian rock magazine HM (Hard Music, which was originally the fanzine Heaven's Metal). Christian submitted a letter to the magazine, criticizing the avowedly Christian punk band the Knights of the New Crusade for a promotional image that represented a "black mark on the face of Christianity".[36] The Knights of the New Crusade subsequently referred to Christian's letter and the ensuing HM controversy in the title track of their album, A Challenge to the Cowards of Christendom [37], which was released on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label.

Christian has also said in an interview with Lightforce radio how the band tries to "step out of the bubble" and referred to themselves as being part of Christian music. He discussed in detail what Christians should do in their lives: love and embrace others as Jesus would as well as show God's grace to others. He mentioned as well how the band Fall Out Boy said in an interview that they did not really know much about Jesus until Anberlin toured with them.[38]

In an interview with Smartpunk, drummer Nathan Young commented, "The thing is, some bands that are trying to get out of the Christian market, they get bummed out by questions about it. I don’t really mind it, because I’m a Christian, and I’m okay talking about it. With the whole term “Christian Band,” I don’t understand how a band can be Christian. We get the question, “Is Anberlin a Christian band?” and it’s like, yeah, Anberlin is — as humans".[39]

Side projectsEdit

Anchor & BrailleEdit

Main article: Anchor & Braille

Stephen Christian has formed an acoustic side project, Anchor & Braille; however, although the project was originally a joint venture with Aaron Marsh of the band Copeland, Marsh will not feature on the yet unnamed debut album, however he did produce it.[31] The project has only released a 7" vinyl thus far, however, a full-length album has been completed but has not been released due to Stephen's duties with Anberlin promoting New Surrender, and the fact that he wants to tour the Anchor & Braille material upon release. In a recent podcast with Alternative Press, Stephen Christian commented that the album is done and will hopefully be released after he has finished on the New Surrender tour.[31]

MembersEdit

Current
Former
  • Nathan Strayer – guitar, backing vocals (2004-2007)
  • Joey Bruce – guitar (2002-2003)


DiscographyEdit

Main article: Anberlin discography

Studio albumsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Anberlin To Record With Neil Avron
  2. Florida Indie Rockers Anberlin Hit Studio for Universal Republic Debut
  3. 3.0 3.1 AbsolutePunk.net
  4. Release Dates: Anberlin — New Surrender
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Anberlin -- We the Wanderers
  6. 6.0 6.1 Change the World
  7. SputnikMusic -- Anberlin Never Take Friendship Personal
  8. Artist Albums Charts History for: Anberlin
  9. Artist Singles Chart History for: Anberlin
  10. LIFE: Anberlin's "Cities" best album of 2007 so far
  11. Live with Stephen Christian and Nathan Strayer
  12. Jesus Freak Hideout's 25 Most Anticipated Albums of 2007.
  13. Kohli, Rohan.Anberlin Parts Ways With Guitarist
  14. Anberlin finds 'Lost Songs' on the road
  15. Anberlin Showcase New Song Disappear From Album New Surrender
  16. Radio date for new Anberlin single
  17. Feel Good About Helping Anberlin
  18. Anberlin Hit Studio for Universal Republic Debut
  19. Anberlin post studio update
  20. Jesus Freak Hideout's 25 Most Anticipated Albums of 2008.
  21. T.I. Debuts Big Atop Billboard 200, Hot 100
  22. Anberlin Debuts at #13 on Billboard Top 200 and #5 on Top Current Rock Chart with New Surrender
  23. TV > Interviews > Anberlin (video)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Anberlin Aren't Christian Rock, But It's OK If You Call Them That
  25. Stavrinos, Nicole. Music: Anberlin
  26. Interview With Anberlin
  27. Anberlin - Interview, Sept. 2003
  28. Anberlin interview
  29. Anberlin
  30. Anberlin
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Anberlin Podcast with Alternative Press Magazine
  32. Florida-based band Anberlin to play the Basement May 1
  33. MusicMoz -- X 2003- Experience The Alternative
  34. Amazon -- X 2007
  35. Anberlin | Christian Music - Gospel Music Channel
  36. Anberlin's Stephen Goes Off
  37. A Challenge to the Cowards of Christendom
  38. The Joy FM Radio Interview
  39. Smartpick of the Month - Anberlin

External linksEdit


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