This summer has seen the beginning of a giant farewell tour for one of rock’s most well-respected bands. No, not Motley Crue- we’re talking about Anberlin.
Formed in Florida in 2002, the band’s 12 year career has seen them tour all around the world, hitting virtually every major festival in Christian and mainstream music and garnering one of the most dedicated fanbases in all of music.
With their seventh and final album set for release on July 22, Anberlin hit the road for a trek they’ve become very familiar with over the course of their career, the Vans Warped Tour.
The month-and-a-half long tour is the perfect way to kick off their final tour. With four of the five original members and having never taken an extended break, Anberlin are one of a select few bands to have done what they have for as long as they have.
With their final record, Lowburn, having just released, Anberlin’s final leg is well underway and bassist Deon Rexroat sat down with The Front Row Report at a recent stop on the Vans Warped Tour to talk about the band’s farewell tour and final studio release.
“This album is our statement about ‘this is where we are at this very point in our career’ where we’re still Anberlin but we’re ending,” explains Rexroat. “For fans I think it’s probably the most honest statement-driven album we’ve put out to-date. Because it is our last one there’s a lot of things you wanna say and do, knowing it’s the last one. We got bogged down a little trying to fit too much in when we first started writing it but I think it’s a pretty big statement that this is us at the end of our career, knowing our time has come. “
Having been around for 12 years, Anberlin have one of the largest, most dedicated fanbases in all of rock. Their music has touched the lives of many fans and, in some cases saved the lives of many fans. With such a diverse fanbase and a devoted one at that, the band did feel a sense of pressure to deliver on their final release, Lowburn, but that pressure quickly disintegrated.
“Yeah, I think there were a lot of ideas at first about what we wanted the sound to be versus what the album should be so there was a lot of pressure there, you know ‘we need to write these types of songs; we want to cater to old fans, we don’t want to alienate new fans,’ elaborates Rexroat. “Once we got through that and realized we just needed to make the album at this time and that made things a lot easier and took a lot of the pressure off.”
Every member of Anberlin has plans for where their careers will take them after their farewell trek ends at the tail end of 2014. As far as Rexroat, he’s just excited to see what he can do after the band says their final goodbyes.
“I’ve spent 12 years and counting devoting my time and love and energy to one project. I’ve never done a side project outside of Anberlin and I’ve never ventured outside of it,” says Rexroat. “It was always my dream achieved but I didn’t do much outside of that so it’s actually pretty exciting to think that I can put 100% of my focus on whatever I want now.”
Is there anything Anberlin could have accomplished that they didn’t get the chance to? Are there any stones unturned? Of course, every band and artist has those goals they want to meet, says Rexroat- if they achieve it all, why do what they do?
“For us I don’t know if we could have ever achieved everything we wanted to achieve. I don’t think guys like Paul McCartney and Bono have even achieved everything they’ve ever wanted to achieve otherwise they would have stopped [doing this by now],” explains Rexroat. “As a musician, every album, every concert is a completely different experience so there’s never any amount of achievement you can feel satisfied with but I think we got to a place where we’ve achieved so much over 12 years that we were comfortable with saying that it’s time for us to move on and we accept that and acknowledge that.”
So when it’s all said and done, when the final note has been played, the last crowd has gone home and the tour busses depart for the last time, what will be the legacy of Anberlin?
“Just the fact that we were able to do this for 12 years and put out seven albums and one B-Side album; It’s pretty incredible considering there was a time when I didn’t know if we’d be putting out a second album and we were just lucky enough that people liked the first one enough they wanted us to release a second one and that’s…I’m fine with that,” says Rexroat, “I mean not many bands are together as long as we’ve been together and had the career that we’ve had so it feels really good.
“We’ve done this 12 years nonstop, we’ve jammed a lot into these 12 years and we’ve done a lot of hard work and a lot of love into what we do and I think that will always come through to people in the music we’re leaving behind.”