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. The band has released four albums and an EP in their six-year run and have sold over 400,000 albums.
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 August 16, 2007. The band's first album on a major label was released on September 30, 2008, entitled New Surrender.
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. 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.
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)."
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.
One day 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.
A compilation album of unreleased material, called Lost Songs, was released on November 20, 2007. It features B-sides, demos, covers, and acoustic versions of their previous songs as well as other tracks recorded at AOL Sessions.
The band signed to Universal Republic Records on August 16, 2007, and soon after began to write material for their major-label debut, entitled New Surrender, which was released on September 30, 2008. 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 July 11, 2008, the band showcased a second new song called "Disappear" on their MySpace profile. The first actual single from the album is the re-recorded "Feel Good Drag" which was set to go to radio on August 11 - it can also be heard on Channel 21 "Alt Nation" of Sirius radio.
The band booked eight weeks of recording sessions with famed producer Neal Avron (New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy) in early February of 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. 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. 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.
In the week of its release, the album sold 36,000 units, entering the Billboard 200 chart at number 13. It also placed at Number Five on the Top Current Rock chart, according to a Universal Republic press release.
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 will then travel to United Kingdom where they will support Elliot Minor and play a handful of headlining shows with Furthest Drive Home and Data.Select.Party. Kyle Flynn, formerly of the band Acceptance, will be accompanying the band while on tour doing keys, loops, acoustic guitar, and background vocals.
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.". 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.. 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.
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. 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.
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 contain religious references. Furthermore, their songs have been included on Christian rock compilation CDs and DVDs. They are also played on the Gospel Music Channel.
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.
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".
|Blueprints for the Black Market||Never Take Friendship Personal||Cities||New Surrender|
|Stephen Christian||Lead Vocals|
|Joseph Milligan||Lead Guitar|
|Joey Bruce||Rhythm Guitar|
|Nathan Strayer||Rhythm Guitar|
|Christian McAlhaney||Rhythm Guitar|
|Deon Rexroat||Bass Guitar|