Burn Out Brighter: Anberlin On Their Final Tour
by Kris Kielich
Anberlin is one of those bands that you had to pay attention to. Starting in 2002 in Florida, every record the five piece alt-punk band released showed mastery in the art of writing great, hooky songs with an emotional message. With every record, the band continued to mature and their sphere of influence in the rock world deepened, until their song “Feel Good Drag” hit number 1 on the alternative charts. Not one to rest on their success, the band quickly evolved, and their sound continued to mature. Now, the band has decided to end their career on a high note, after a career of innovation and progression. They’ve released one last record, Lowborn, this summer and have embarked on what will be their last tour as a band. I recently had the chance to correspond with bassist Deon Rexroat to talk about their final tour, the final album, and what their legacy of work as Anberlin means to them and the fans.
Artvoice: It’s been a long journey for you guys from 2002 to now. What are your emotions surrounding your final album and final tour: Happiness? Sadness? Hope? Maybe all of these emotions?
Deon Rexroat: There are a lot of different emotions. So much happiness that we’ve had the career we’ve had and that our fans have been with us, in force, up to the end. There is also that sadness that something I have loved doing for 12 years is coming to an end. I think it’s always hard to say goodbye.
AV: When recording this last album, you all split yourself up to record parts separately. Do you think that was a way of pouring as much of yourselves as individuals into your recording and show in one ultimate form what you each bring to Anberlin, while still finally coming together as a band?
DR: We were actually together the whole time even though we’re worked out of three separate studios. We simply chose to work with three different friends/engineers who knew us best and could get what we wanted. It was our last time making an album, so I don’t think it would have felt right if we didn’t do that together one final time.
AV: For this final tour, can fans of you guys who have both been there from the beginning and fans who are relatively new to your music expect to hear a “best of Anberlin” set that explores your whole career, or are you focusing on the new material from your record?
DR: We are definitely paying homage to our whole career. The way I see it, if I was going to see my favorite band’s farewell tour, I’d want to hear more of the songs I had loved for years, not just new songs that I heard for the first time last month.
AV: Being the final tour of your career, how has the response been from fans? What are your thoughts on the shows you’ve played so far? Has the relationship on stage between you and your fans been any different due to the fact that they know this might be the last time they see you play?
DR: The shows have been much more emotional considering the circumstances, but every night has been incredible. I think there is a deeper connection this time because it’s the final tour, so the fans have really been giving it their all right along with us.
AV: Is there one particular song or moment that you look forward to every night during this tour when you play?
DR: I look forward to those points in the set when I can hear the crowd’s voices over our amps and drums. It’s an incredible feeling to have people sing your songs so loudly right back to you.
AV: This is probably a hard question, but if you were to pick any track off of any album that to you sums up all you’ve accomplished both personally and professionally, and gives a sense of what the band is all about on an emotional level, what would that track be and why?
DR: Lately, I’ve been feeling that from “Time and Confusion” because Stephen wrote it at a point when we realized we were actually doing this thing for a living. It’s about us all touring and playing shows and how that is just an amazing life to live, so to be here 10 years after that song was written still doing that, it rings very true.
AV: So, to you, what’s the legacy of Anberlin? How do you want your fans, or anyone who’s listened to your music, to remember you? How do you think you guys will remember your career?
DR: I think our legacy will be our music. It has affected so many and I hope those people always remember us as a good point in their life because I think I will always look back on this career and the music we made together with love for what I did with those 12 years of my life.
Catch Anberlin at the Phoenix Concert Hall in Toronto on Tuesday, November 18. Tickets are $25 (thephoenixconcerttheatre.com)