I'd like to think we have more in us, and even broader spaces to cover in the future." Joseph Milligan
Anberlin – Media Smart Operators
Through the series of changes that brought Anberlin into the alternative rock spotlight the core members of the band have kept their faith and continue to make a difference in the lives of individuals they interact with. Considered an alternative rock and a Christian group at the same time are due to the positive messages in the lyrics of their songs.
Stephen Christian and Deon Rexroat were high school students in Winter Haven, Florida when they formed the punk band SaGoh 24/7. Sean Hutson and Joseph Milligan were members of the band when they released two Christian punk rock albums between 1999 and 2001. Shortly after the release of the second album SaGoh ceased to be. Milligan, Christian and Rexroat along with Nathan Young and Joey Bruce started up Anberlin in 2002. Stephen Christian and Joseph Milligan worked as songwriters as well as singers and musicians, writing the music and lyrics for most of the Anberlin’s albums. Through the posting of free music downloads on PureVolume the group received widespread recognition and signed with Tooth & Nail Records the same year is was founded.
Early years in music…
Readyfuels was the single that spurred their first album Blueprints for the Black Market, released in 2003, to sell over 60,000 units. Through extensive internet activity and almost constant touring with other Tooth & Nail bands Anberlin built up a loyal fan base in a short period of time. The band had to expel rhythm guitarist Joey Bruce in 2003 as a result of his pursuit of the drugs and sex rock star lifestyle. Nathan Strayer joined the group in 2004 and stayed with the band until 2007.
Never Take Friendship Personal put the five young men on the Billboard 200 charts at #144 after they strategically released one track each week on PureVolume and MySpace pages before the album was released in early 2005. The single from this album, Paperthin Hymn, peaked at #38 on Hot Modern Tracks.
Marketing for their upcoming album began with the release of Godspeed EP through iTunes and touring as the headliners with Jonezetta and Bayside, Meg & Dia as supporting bands. Early in 2007 Cities was released, sold 34,000 units in the first 7 days and placed #19 on Billboard 200. Christian was quoted as stating each of Anberlin’s CD’s has become more mature with Cities being the most adult in that the lyrics address issues involving Man vs. Self.
Two major changes occurred in late 2007. First was the amicable departure of Nathan Strayer who was replaced with guitarist Christian McAlhaney. The second change being the ending of their long standing partnership with Tooth and Nail Records. Lost Songs, released November 20, 2007, was the last authorized Anberlin album released on that label.
Universal Republic Records signed Anberlin on August 16, 2007 and released the bands fourth album, New Surrender, on September 30, 2008. Using MySpace and USB wristbands to distribute Disappear and Breaking prior to the album’s release helped put their fourth album at #13 on Billboard 2000 when it was released. Using a live webcam that allowed their fans to view the recording of the album was another way the group solidified their popularity.
Moving to the majors
Stephen Christian has revealed that their next album is expected to ready for release in September 2010.
Touring went international for Anberlin in 2008 with a United Kingdom tour followed with an Australian tour headlining with The Academy Is in August of 2009. Although the group does not classify themselves as a Christian band the media continues to list them as a Christian Rock band and their three Universal Republic albums have progressively rated higher on the Top Christian Albums chart.
Did you know that...
- ...Anberlin: The Anthology is an unendorsed album released by Tooth & Nail Records in November 2009.
- ...the soundtrack for TV show 90210 is A Perfect Tourniquet from the New Surrender album.
- ...Christian says all the stories about the origins of the band’s name in early interviews were total fabrications.