After 12 incredible years, Anberlin have released their final album, Lowborn,as they prepare for their last Australian tour. Rhythm guitarist Christian McAlhaney speaks with AARON BRYANS about his time with the band and what led to their farewell tour, which stops by Metropolis Fremantle on Wednesday, September 3, with special guests, The Getaway Plan.
When Stephen Christian and Deon Rexroat became friends in high school, they were completely unaware of the international impact they would one day have.
Their musical journey officially kicked off in 2002, when they joined forces with Sean Hutson and Joseph Milligan to form Florida rock band, Anberlin.
Now, seven albums later and numerous tours under their belt, the group is putting down their instruments for their families as they look to break the endless cycles of touring.
“It’s different for me, I’m the only guy in the band who’s not married,” McAlhaney explains. “The guys who go on tour, I don’t know if people realise they’re gone sometimes 10 months of a year. There are different time zones; you might not even have cell phone service; the only way you can talk is over the internet. It’s really difficult, especially if you have families. It’s hard to be away all the time, and in this day and age if you want to be a band you have to be on the road all the time. It’s hard to find that balance.”
While the sudden announcement of the band’s demise came as a shock to the masses of fans the group has gathered over their 12 year run; the group took advantage of a chance to walk away on a high, together as friends with their endless memories in the bank.
“I joined the band seven years ago,” McAlhaney says, “but Joey and Steven have played together 16 years in high school, so to be together still and still getting along and having toured the world, starting from a small town in Florida is an achievement for me. I’ve lived out my dreams, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. The fact I’ve been able to do this for over a decade, it’s been a total blessing and I feel very lucky. And I’m going to keep playing music because it’s a wonderful part of my life.”
The band’s final release, Lowborn, has been the perfect conclusion to their journey, combining honest lyrics, in-your-face rock and slower, melodic harmonies in classic Anberlin style. Recorded hastily with separate producers to save costs, the process was unique, but effective.
“We were all in Atlanta when Nate was recording drums and then we did guitar and bass in Lakeland, Florida at a friend’s studio. Then Steven did vocals in Nashville with a few different producers and none of us were there for that. It wasn’t an ideal situation; it was just the way the recording process worked out. We were trying to do it cheap and quickly and we were self-producing. It was weird, but I think it turned out great, personally.”
With numerous side projects formally undertaken by the band members, the question on everyone’s mind is, will we see or hear music from Anberlin ever again?
“That answer will be different depending on who you’re asking,” McAlhaney reveals. “I know most of the guys want to stay in this industry in some capacity, but most of them don’t want to tour anymore. I personally am going to keep playing music. I love this life and I feel very blessed to have done what I’ve done but I don’t feel like I’m finished yet so I’m going to keep plugging away. Everyone’s kind of free to do whatever they want; it’s not the be all, end all.”