Once in a blue moon, there are rare reunions of bands that have inflicted their charismatic touch into our veins that come with great joy and eagerness of a new musical atmosphere. Seattle rock band, Acceptance, have got their juices flowing again and have hit their dedicated fanbase with a glorious blast of anticipation on the brink of their highly anticipated early 2017 release, ‘Colliding By Design’. I caught up with guitarist, Christian McAlhaney to discuss the reunion, plans for 2017, the new album, tattoos and more.
Fans of Acceptance have been anticipating and eager for a comeback for years. Tell us why and how you guys decided to bring to life an Acceptance reunion at this time.
I honestly think the answer is in your question. I believe that the perceived anticipation and eagerness from our fans was the catalyst in our reformation. I also believe time and maturity played their role. But why would a band reform if nobody gave a damn about it? It was almost like a debt we felt to our fans, old and new alike, that we owed it to them to start playing and creating again.
Your new single, “Diagrams of a Simple Man”, is another example of how Acceptance has always dove into life tensions, which requires a lot of honesty. What life experiences have led you guys to this style of songwriting and musical delivery?
Each guy in the band could answer this question differently. I think life is tough, more for some than others, but life in general ain’t easy. I think every member of this band has gone through unimaginable personal hardships as well as the most wonderful things that life has to offer. I think our job as musicians is to pull from this spectrum of emotion and deliver something relatable and inspiring.
What role do you perceive music and the arts have in contributing to growth and transformation in human beings?
I mean, that is a very broad question. The arts in general deal with expression. These expressions are usually rooted in emotion. I believe that there is an interconnectivity between all things. I believe that whatever inspirations the artist took, beauty, joy, sadness etc. can be felt by the observer or listener. There is really nothing new under the sun. Whatever you may be going through, positive or negative, has most likely already happened to thousands of people thousands of time. I think there is a comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that joy, beauty, suffering, and sadness are not exclusive to your life.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the artists that brought them to life.
One of my favorite pieces is still the very first tattoo, which was done by Joe Who at Pierced Hearts in Seattle, Washington. I have scripture in hebrew fully around my left upper arm. There is a part in the new testament (Mark 12:30-31) where Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is and he basically quotes two verses from the old testament (Deut 6:4-5 and Lev 19:18)…I have those verses in entirety. I’ve been going to Joe for almost 15 years now and he’s done the majority of my tattoos.
I’ve also been lucky to find some amazing artists in the Tampa Bay area. Chelsea Rhea at Amulet Tattoo did a beautiful Irish Brigade harp on my left ribs/torso. Nick Stegall at Red Letter Tattoo in Tampa recently gave me a killer mom heart and anchor on my neck… which my mom loves.
If you were to compare your upcoming studio album release ‘Colliding By Design’ to a movie or combination of movies, what would be the cinematic equivalent?
Inception. I think it’s beautiful and entertaining but at the same time dense and might take you a while to fully grasp.
Any 2017 tour plans or festival appearances for Acceptance in the works that you can fill us in about?
I’m sure we’ll have some things up our sleeve around the record release. After that we are heading to Australia for the first time with our good friends in Taking Back Sunday. We’re still piecing together 2017.
Are there are particular movements or social campaigns that Acceptance is drawn to today?
I personally support Greenpeace, The Human Rights Campaign, and sponsor children through Plan International.
Acceptance recorded ‘Colliding By Design’ with producer Aaron Sprinkle, whom you’ve collaborated with as a member of Anberlin, Christian. Tell us the impact of the cyclic nature and how Aaron was an essential element in the recording process.
Aaron Sprinkle is a phenomenal producer, amazing song writer, and a great friend. He was absolutely essential in defining our sound starting with Backlines to Battlefields and culminating with Colliding By Design. When we ultimately decided to start writing and recording new music Sprinkle was always our first and only option. He is absolutely the 6th member of this band and an integral part of our sound. He’s also a great kisser.
Did you spend time with family during the holidays?
I was in WA rehearsing with Acceptance a few weeks ago and was able to spend some qt with my family up there. We just played a couple shows in NY and NJ this last weekend. It was my fiancés birthday so we stayed in the city for a couple extra days and got frostbite, the gift that keeps on giving. We’re taking it easy and spending time with my fiancés mom down here in FL.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for fans of Acceptance?!
We honestly just can’t thank you guys enough. It was your continued passion for our music that sparked this whole thing. We’re back together and having a blast. We hope to see you all at some point and can’t wait for you to hear the new music.