Even before the words “Anchors for Reality” leave his lips, Randall Erno has to hold back a smile. Simple mentions of the band, which was originally formed in 2004 as an acoustic duo made up of Erno and his lifelong best friend Alex Grubaugh, still brings back a wave of good memories for Erno. Along with drummer Scott Mariner, Anchors quickly established a sound that is laden with pop choruses and post-hardcore/emo influences. Back before marriage, kids and mortgages, the trio spent years touring to and from Petoskey, Michigan, on a quest to immortalize their tiny, frozen hometown and the people they met along the way. It’s obvious that Anchors holds a place near and dear to Erno’s heart – one that even his wife and son can’t penetrate. And now, the boys are setting sail again, bringing with them the inspiration that only nine years spent at home can stockpile.
“After nearly ten years of trying to pursue other projects and raise families, we all just started to realize that with the limited creative free time we had, we wanted to spend it together,” says Mariner. Erno, Grubaugh, and Mariner all admit that their creative energy hasn’t been allowed a true outlet since Anchors disbanded. Without that outlet, the nostalgia can become too much to bear.
Proud fathers and husbands all, the members of Anchors for Reality have each fought their own urges to head back out on the road in the decade since deciding the band should take an indefinite hiatus. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, each has been able to put time and energy into raising their families while working on solo or collaborative non-touring projects from the comfort of their own homes. Grubaugh credits his time with Anchors for the success of his projects This Twilight City and Apparitions, while Erno continued his musical legacy with I-Phonic, Costellar, The Dissension and MEGASkyfish.
The live energy, work ethic, and sincere songwriting that caught the eye of producer Matt Malpass (Rookie of the Year, Copeland, Lydia) – who recorded the band’s debut album “Honesty” in 2006 – remains an Anchors trademark. The trio is ready to apply the lessons they’ve learned independently during the second half of their lives to this fresh streak of creativity. Grubaugh and Erno still reminisce about time spent washing dishes at the country club in between Anchors tours, which naturally led Erno to pursue additional experience in music production. Now, armed with a Bachelor’s degree in business, artist management firm and his fledgling Level Up Studios in Grand Rapids, Erno is ready to get behind his bass again.
The rejuvenated Anchors for Reality has announced a handful of Michigan shows in the spring and is currently writing and recording their sophomore full length album, “Genuine,” which is slated for a late 2017 release from Level Up Studios.
“Genuine is going to feature sequels of sorts to ‘Honesty,’ both lyrically and musically. It’s like finding the last piece to a puzzle you started building a decade ago, only to realize that piece also connects to an entirely new puzzle,” laughs Grubaugh.
The trio is stoked to announce the addition of fellow acclaimed singer/songwriter Dan Campbell of TubedebuT to the lineup, who is contributing guitars and vocals to “Genuine.” Fresh off of his whirlwind “In Circles” full-length album release of 13 songs in 13 weeks, Costellar’s Danny Vail will be co-producing the new Anchors album. Originally a fan of Anchors who credits the band with starting him down the path of music production, Vail’s inclusion in this project brings his musical journey full circle.
Written By: Erin Bernhard