The Anniversary were an American indie rock band. They formed in Lawrence, KS in 1997 when Josh Berwanger, James David, Christian Jankowski, Adrianne Verhoeven and Justin Roelofs solidified a line up that had been in flux for a year. After two years of playing shows across with the Midwest with bands like The Get Up Kids, Braid (band) and Superchunk, The Anniversary signed to Vagrant Records.
Originally perceived as a poppy, keyboard-driven emo band with the release of their debut album Designing a Nervous Breakdown in 2000, they outgrew their roots and developed a stronger, classic rock influenced sound with the release of a split CD with Superdrag in 2001 and their second full length, 2002’s Your Majesty. After touring heavily throughout 2002 and 2003, The Anniversary began demo-ing tracks for what would be their third full length. But four years of constant touring and personal strains within the group led to the band’s demise in early 2004.
Four and a half years after their break up, Devil on our Side – a compilation of b-sides and unreleased tracks – was released by Vagrant Records. A companion documentary is expected in late 2008.
Featuring Justin and Josh on guitar and vocals, Adrianne on keyboard and vocals, Jim on bass and Janko on drums, The Anniversary developed and refined their signature sound – sentimental guy/girl vocals, complimented by dueling guitar lines, with synth pop overlays and catchier than hell choruses – with heavy touring throughout the Midwest in 1997-1999. In January 1998 six songs were recorded at Kingsize Studios in Chicago. In October of that year six more songs were recorded for a debut EP on Lawrence-based Urinine Records. But when The Get Up Kids approached them in the spring of 1999 with a deal to record a full-length album on their new Heroes & Villains imprint on Vagrant Records, The Anniversary couldn't refuse.
During ten days in July 1999 The Anniversary returned to Kingsize to record their debut full length, Designing a Nervous Breakdown. Later that July, at Red House Studios in Eudora, Kansas two more songs were recorded, one of which appeared in November 1999 on a split 7" with The Get Up Kids to precede the debut and help to build a national fan base.
Designing a Nervous Breakdown was released on January 20, 2000 and The Anniversary soon after departed on their first national tour with The Get Up Kids on January 26. Touring relentlessly throughout 2000 and 2001, the band still found time to break away and record new songs. In March 2000 The Anniversary returned to Red House Studios to record a song later released on a split 7” with Hot Rod Circuit. In August three more songs were recorded at Red House – one released on the Another Year on the Streets Vagrant sampler, and two that were featured in the January 2001 Sub Pop Singles Club.
As they continued to tour and write new songs they gradually developed a more mature, classic rock influenced sound. In June 2001 The Anniversary recorded their second full-length album, Your Majesty, at Sonora Records in Los Feliz, California. Your Majesty marked a departure for the band, leaving the poppy, catchy melodies behind in favor of a more intelligent, intricate and polished riff-driven classic rock sound.
Originally slated for a September 2001 release, the album was delayed because of a legal matter between Vagrant Records and their distributor. During this time, The Anniversary recorded three new songs in September 2001 for a split CD with Superdrag, the first in a series of split releases from Vagrant bands. The Superdrag split was released on November 13, 2002 to coincide with a national tour together, and Your Majesty followed shortly thereafter on January 22, 2002.
In between tours, a few tracks were demoed in Rob Pope’s basement in the fall of 2002. However, rather than re-signing a new contract, Vagrant Records dropped The Anniversary in early 2003 because of personal tensions with the label and other bands on the roster. But picking up right where they left off, through extensive touring with the likes of Cheap Trick and Guided By Voices, The Anniversary continued to develop their live sound as shows incorporated new songs and re-visited and re-worked past crowd favorites, transforming them into a psychedelic jam loaded with classic rock riffs and gutter rock swagger.
During the spring and summer of 2003 the band began producing demos for songs intended for their third full-length album. This time around, The Anniversary continued to explore their songwriting prowess as they incorporated elements of reggae, blues, and even country. Before embarking on an October-November tour, they headed to Hideaway Studios in Sedalia, CO to record two tracks for the album. However, tensions within the band had been growing for some time, and The Anniversary played what would become their final show in San Antonio, TX on November 23, 2003.
The band officially broke up in January 2004, and posted the following message on their website on February 6:
Due to a number of reasons, The Anniversary has broken up. This may take some of you by surprise, but it was a long time coming. We'll be selling stuff online a little longer so buy it up now because their collector's items. Thank you all for your support in our efforts to make the music world a better place. We just weren't prepared for it. Please feel free to check out this website www.theholyghosts.com. It's another project that Josh, Jim, myself, Casey from Hot Rod Circuit, and T.K. Webb are working on. Justin is working on some solo stuff right now. Here's a link to some of his new songs, click. Those of you on the e-mail list will receive updates from The Holy Ghosts from now on. Take care all and pleasant thoughts. Questions or comments may be addressed to email@example.com.
Peace out, Janko
(*Note that The Holy Ghosts changed their name to The Only Children soon after this message was posted.)
And on February 9 the following email was sent out to The Anniversary email list:
I regret to announce that THE ANNIVERSARY has officially broken up. We've made large strides in the music world, but we weren't prepared for all the changes in our lives. We'd like to thank everyone for their support at our shows and of course the purchasing of our merchandise.
There is another band that has started up due to the downfall of The Anniversary. "Josh Berwanger & THE HOLY GHOSTS" features Josh, James, and Christian from The Anniversary. The band also features Casey from Hot Rod Circuit, T.K Webb a solo performer originally from Lawrence, KS but now residing in NY and Heide Gluck of the Pieces and Some Girls. Please check the website for updates and pictures at www.theholyghosts.com.
As for the other members... Justin is currently working on a solo release that is yet to be titled. Adrianne has joined up with the former members of another KC band "the Gadjits". They are currently working on a project yet to be named. Please check back at a later date for more information.
Thanks again everyone for everything.
Peace out, The Anniversary
Nearly four years after these farewell messages were sent, a new blog was posted on The Anniversary’s MySpace page January 1, 2008 – the first official communication from the band during that span of time:
Happy New Year to you all! Hope that 2008 is great one for ya! As far as The Anniversary is concerned, 2008 will be a doozie. We are releasing a NEW ALBUM this year that will include our un-released songs. We are also releasing a DVD featuring "live" performances and behind-the-scenes of us just hanging out.
If you guys could help out and send any photos that you might have including who took the picture to firstname.lastname@example.org We are gathering up as many as we can for the insert of the DVD and the CD artwork. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. Forward this on to your friends. And let's get the word out! Perhaps a re-union show, too? Who knows.
Peace out, Janko
Devil on Our Side, a double disc compilation of unreleased songs, b-sides and rarities, was released by Vagrant Records on June 24, 2008. A follow up, companion DVD is tentatively scheduled for release at the end of 2008 by Blue Collar Press. A reunion tour or show is unlikely at this point.
|1998||The Anniversary/Proudentall Split||Split EP||Paper Brigade Records|
|1998||Central Standard Time/Vasil + Bluey||Split EP||Vagrant Records|
|2000||Fall Tour EP||EP||Vagrant Records|
|2000||Designing a Nervous Breakdown||Album||Vagrant Records|
|2001||Sub Pop Singles Club||EP||Sub Pop|
|2001||The Anniversary/Superdrag Split||Split EP||Vagrant Records|
|2002||Your Majesty||Album||Vagrant Records|
|2002||The Anniversary/Hot Rod Circuit Split||Split EP||Vagrant Records|
|2003||100 Ships||Single||Devil in the Woods Magazine|
|2008||Devil On Our Side: B-Sides & Rarities||Compilation||Vagrant Records|
|Year||Album||Songs Featured||Record Label|
|2000||It Certainly Was a Grand Piano||"Low Tide and Hospital Bed"||Abominable Records|
|2000||Another Year on the Streets||"D in Detroit" and "I Believe That the End of the Reign of Terror is Soon Near"||Vagrant|
|2000||No-Fi Trash||"Hold Me Tonight"||Floppy Cow Records|
|2008||Vagrant Records Sampler||"To Never Die Young"||Vagrant|
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