The Last Chapter with Anberlin
Currently Anberlin is on the 2014 Vans Warped Tour. Then they will be headed on a headlining tour across the country for the very last time. It’s been 12 years and Anberlin are putting out one last album entitled Lowborn and then going their own individual ways. I caught up with lead vocalist Stephen Christian at the Vans Warped Tour in Ventura for this last interview of openness that has developed through the years. Read on…
So, you have some interesting covers. Has anyone else commented on the songs that you have covered?
No, no, I wish, you know, like nobody. Yeah, no, The Cure’s never got back to me. I’ve definitely…but I hope so. I hope someday to reach out, I would love Morrissey to call me and give me his feedback, it would be awesome.
Morrissey… one time I was in LA and he walked into a place that I was hanging out, the Cat and Fiddle which is his favorite bar, which was why I was there, and I was talking with some friends and we were talking about Morrissey’s new record and as I looked up, there he stood, and I was like, I just froze, didn’t move. And when he left, I went to his table and I saw where he was sitting and I grabbed his napkin and I still have it. I love Morrissey. I’m a fan, I’m a fan, I’m a fan. I like him.
Boys speak in rhythm, girls just are pretty. That’s not the lyric! (Editor’s Note: Foreign Language from the 1st Anberlin album)…
It’s one of those songs, you know, you can’t take back, but…
You don’t play it very often either.
No, no, we haven’t played it in many, many years. We’ve played it acoustic a few times, not on the tour, but in in-stores and stuff like that, but no, we haven’t played it in some time.
Are you really breaking up?
Absolutely. You will never, ever see me on stage with Anberlin again. I mean, there is no hard feelings, I love the guys to death. Absolutely not. For me, and I say this with the uttermost love, and no disrespect to other bands that have come back from a hiatus, but I feel like, for me personally, if I came back with Anberlin as a full-time job, that whatever I have chosen to do with my life has failed, and I don’t want to be a failure. If I go back with Anberlin full time it’s because I failed. It’s because I failed at whatever endeavor I set out to do next. And it’s just not going to happen. I’m not dispositioned like that. So I could totally see, in like ten years, us doing an acoustic show, because I would love for my future children to have heard Anberlin play together. That would be a sensational moment for me, just for them to, because I’m sure they’ll have listened to my records, but I would love for them to hear a music that I created with these guys that I spent 12 years with, travelling around the world.
A long time.
Longer than 3-4 bands combined. That would be the only way, just for fun. Just to do it. The camaraderie. We will not do full tours ever again.
Since this is your last year as a band, is there some place you can go give some time to before you end the band and donate your services again?
We are booked up between now and Christmas. We have 5 weeks off between June 1st and December 1st. I wish I had a spare moment to breath, but as of now, I don’t.
I know you help charities, and you’re faithful about it. I admire that you keep your word about it.
It’s absolutely going to be a part of my life from here on out. I will have more free time to go and be able to donate time, even if it’s on a smaller publicized scale. It still means the world to me.
You have to say goodbye to Nate, but he’s going on to Yellowcard. What do you think of that?
It’s the best, good for him. It couldn’t have happened with a better group of guys. I wish them the best. I know he’s going to be amazing. Sean is a dear, sweet friend of mine that I love like a brother. The fact that one of my brothers gets to hang out with another one of my brothers, it’s the ideal situation and is just such a joy.
You guys have never put out a Christmas record, as a Christian band I’m surprised you haven’t. Besides that, is there something else that you wanted to put out but couldn’t?
As Anberlin, no I think we’ve done exactly what we’ve wanted. We did one Christmas cover song. We just don’t feel like a full record is in order. To me, that’s a little more for a pop band. It looks like i’m most likely going to put out a praise and worship record next year myself. Your the first person I’ve ever told.
Are you serious? That’s great!
To me, that’s not Anberlin. That doesn’t fit in with what they want to do, it doesn’t fit in with what I think, it just doesn’t work. It’s something I’ve wanted to do and have talked about for years now and just in the back of my head. Finally, everything is just starting to click together. It’s an endeavor I want to pursue.
What’s your favorite Standard record?
Bridge Over Troubled Water is my favorite, which, now that I think about it will be on the record, I love that song.
Good choice. Interesting fact, is your tour going to end in Florida?
I ascertain that it will. Absolutely.
You’re going home, record label wise, I thought you should go home and play your last show in front of a home crowd and do it right.
Everything is cyclical, it only seemed apropos to not stay with Universal and go back and work with Brandon (at Tooth & Nail) one more time.
I think it’s a great thing. Last question is, when is your new record Lowborn coming out?
Lowborn comes out July 22. Pre-orders are up now on our website, iTunes, Amazon and anywhere else. It just got pushed back three weeks because of stuff out of our control.
How did the title for the last record come about?
There’s two thing we want the cover to show, or the album as a whole. The first is Lowborn, which means, the definition of lowborn is someone who is born into a socially inept family or a socio economically poor family. For us, we wanted to make a statement that we are one of the people. We’re not rock stars. There’s no chasm between us and the fans, they’ve all been friends. They’ve all meant the world to us. We’ve made every decision based on what we feel is the best for them and that includes making the record. We weren’t going to make another record. If you would have asked or had this interview in October, I would have said, “man, Vital is our last record. Thank you guys.” But, after thinking about it we felt like if we were fans, we would want one more record. One more parting word. I didn’t get to say goodbye.
Also the subliminal or the underlying theme, even to our record cover with the crossed fingers on the front or banners. That’s become our symbol, it’s because early Christians would do that symbol to find each other, especially when the early persecuted church. So it was another message, telling our fans all along, we’ve been Christian and we’re still Christians.
(Interview by Jonathan D. Wright – Photos by Jack Lue)
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