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Friday, July 17, 2015

Spencer Chamblerlain Talks Underøath Reunion Backstage at Sleepwave's Show

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 12:14 PM

click to enlarge KRISTINA BAKREVSKI
  • Kristina Bakrevski
From Autumn To Ashes
Hawthorne Heights
Extinction A.D.
July 16, 2015

When From Autumn To Ashes fell off its own reunion tour to acquire some shiny new government-issued ankle bling, the remaining bands did their best to keep the tour (and San Francisco show) alive. With nine shows down and 10 left to go, allegations of unlicensed plant growth caught up with Francis Mark, singer of the reformed hardcore band.

In the band's hey-day, From Autumn To Ashes was most known for “Cherry Kiss” and its paradoxically named epic, “Short Stories With Tragic Endings.” But although FATA’s reunion hype was a story cut short, none of the supporting acts were ready to let the news be the tour’s tragic ending.

Sleepwave, Spencer Chamberlain’s (formerly Underøath) brain-child, and one of three bands booked to support FATA’s reunion tour, rallied with Hawthorne Heights and Extinction A.D. last night at Slim's to keep the tour driving forward, despite the small turnout.

The artists’ collective's resilience and devotion to fans even caught some staff off guard, causing a detrimental error in promotion. Contributing to the challenges already faced, the San Francisco stop was briefly cancelled, but just long enough to trigger numerous ticket refunds, causing critical cutbacks in attendance.
click to enlarge KRISTINA BAKREVSKI
  • Kristina Bakrevski
Chamberlain shrugged at the worst-case result of ticket sales, “Fuck it. Band practice, right?” Though, once on stage, Sleepwave gave more than a mere rehearsal to the thin turnout. Slim’s peeled back the projector screen and Sleepwave carved into “The Wolf” to kick off its set.

“San Francisco! 5, 15, 50, 5,000 [people]… it doesn’t matter to us. We’re here for you!” the former Underøath vocalist said, apologizing for the messy state of the tour. Then Steve Bowman (guitar) and Jack Burns (guitar, keys, ex-Oceana) dug in and struck metal with “Repeat Routine.”

Chamberlain guided San Francisco through Sleepwave’s debut full-length, Broken Compass, in his own rearranged fashion to land last on his most personally pronounced, “Hold Up My Head.” He finished the set with his head nearly inside the floor monitor, reverberating the heart he pours into the song back into his soul. 

It was clear "Spee," as his bandmates call him, was passionate about not letting fans down, offering a performance that would have made any longtime Underøath follower proud. Post-show, many of the latecomers who missed Sleepwave were overheard fan-girling outside over his attendance, “Spencer from Underøath is here?!?!” and then seen zipping back inside in hopes for a meet-and-greet.

The same can’t exactly be said about the interim headliners Hawthorne Heights. While a handful of dedicated scenesters thrashed about, reciting all their favorite lyrics from 2008, the band seemed to just be going through the motions. Unlike the charged Sleepwave set that preceded them that had Chamberlain dripping in post-set sweat, the HH crew might have taken the “band practice” memo a little too seriously. Perhaps the commotion of cancellations and an extra-slim crowd at Slim’s took a toll on the band's impetus — after all, this is a band that used to sell out multiple shows nationwide to large, dedicated audiences. Whatever the case may be, the tour suffered a noticeable blow, but... the show must go on.

After show we chatted briefly with Chamberlain to get his thoughts about the tour. 

What has this tour been like with FATA out? Have you had many shows like this, with such low turnout?
Chamberlain: Not many. Remember this was a cancelled show, and when we asked to get it put back on, it was super last minute. We were basically in Colorado when this happened, so we agreed we’re stickin’ with it.

Is there a possibility [From Autumn To Ashes] knew about the situation before the tour?
I think they knew and didn’t tell us. His email was, “this was supposed to hold off until after the tour.” But it’s so dumb to me, because I feel like weed is on the verge of being legal everywhere.

With the reunion sentiment still pinned to this tour, it is too tempting not to ask about the idea of Underøath getting back together down the road. Is that in the cards?
Maybe. We’ll see. Next year is the 10-year anniversary of Define The Great Line. Me and Aaron [Gillespie - currently playing drums for Paramore] coordinated our tours with our managers so Paramore is off while Sleepwave is off, just in case. If I can make it work, I’ll make it work ... If they do it, they’ll probably get fired from their full-time jobs and they have kids to feed. So at this point, it’s a big fat baby.

Were family obligations also part of the original Underøath breakup? What did they say about it?
‘You don’t have kids. You don’t know what its like to be away from your kids,’ ’You can keep going with the name, Underøath, since you were the band.’ They offered. But fans don’t believe in that shit. ... I was the last man standing, they all quit on me. And by the end I felt like I was dragging everyone along. And leading up to it, they all knew [the band was done] and were afraid to tell me because they knew I’d be upset.

Is that where “Hold Up My Head” comes from?
Yeah, a little bit. And there was a lot of that in Broken Compass.

Were you with Epitaph from the beginning [of Sleepwave]?
We were unsigned up until the album release. I picked Epitaph and I made a mistake.

What makes you say that?
They just don’t care.
click to enlarge KRISTINA BAKREVSKI
  • Kristina Bakrevski
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