Almost a year after our FUGAZI Special with CHAMBERLAIN, and after having released their latest studio album “Red Weather” in 2020 via Arctic Rodeo Recordings, we’re pleased to give you our fresh interview with the band, who sat down with us to touch on the new limited anniversary edition of 1995’s “Fate’s Got a Driver” on vinyl, share some memoirs from the old days and discuss their plans for the future.
“There are certain records that change your life as a music fan forever. For us at Arctic Rodeo, one of these records is and always will be Fate’s Got A Driver.” – comments the label.
“When Split Lip released this in 1995, we knew right away it was going to turn the punk/hardcore scene upside down. The re-release of Fate’s Got A Driver in 1996 underlined the new direction of the band, from now on called Chamberlain”
“Fate’s Got A Driver was inarguably the record that set Chamberlain on its ever-winding path, and where we found our collective voice while still incredibly young”, guitarist Adam Rubenstein says. “I still remember so much youthful naivety — driving through the night to arrive and seeking inspiration from the gravesite of James Dean, David straining his voice so hard that his arms went numb, all of us cackling kids being kicked out of the control room more than once. We were balancing school, different lives, and always on the cusp of calling it quits. It’s miraculous we mustered these 8 songs that have somehow stood the test of time.”
“We’re thrilled to see it finally back in print”, Rubenstein continues. “Listening back still summons these fond recollections, and we’re honored that after 25 years it also invokes joyful memories for so many others.”
The 25th anniversary edition of Fate’s Got A Driver is now available as a limited edition LP on colored wax, including 4 bonus tracks and coming with a 16 page booklet, all housed in an embossed gatefold jacket with a die-cut front. 200 copies are pressed on red/black/white marbled vinyl and are exclusively available from Arctic Rodeo only. 300 copies are pressed on clear/blue/white marbled vinyl. 500 copies are pressed on yellow/orange/red marbled vinyl.
You kicked off the FGAD’s 25th Anniversary with the Re-Ignition charity compilation in late 2021. How was the outcome of this project?
It’s still available via our Bandcamp page, and so far we’ve raised over $2K for a wonderful mental health awareness and suicide prevention organization called Sounds of Saving. We’ve been moved that so many artists we admire and respect (Dashboard Confessional, Tim McIlrath, Brian Fallon, Adam Lazzara, Arlo McKinley, Richie Birkenhead, Nathan Gray, Touch The Clouds, The Watson Twins, Carl Broemel & Russ Pollard) were able to contribute such flattering interpretations of our songs from Fate’s.
What else do you have planned to celebrate the 25 years of Fate’s Got A Driver?
We collected a mountain of old photos and even some footage from that era. We plan on rolling some more of that out in coming weeks. Also, this Spring we played some songs from the album we don’t normally perform. Hopefully soon there will be repeat performances of those ones live.
2019 saw you guys return to Europe for the first time since 1996 with a string of live gigs. How do you remember that comeback?
Personally, a return to Europe was one of my main goals when we started to become more active again, and the return trip was everything I’d hoped it would be. Germany especially was so welcoming. It was great to trade stories with old friends and make new ones along the way. To sell out our show in Berlin some 20+ years later is something we’ll never forget.
Can we count on more European shows in the coming months?
We’d love to do that, although we’re probably looking at 2023 at this juncture. We crowd-sourced our new album Red Weather just as the pandemic was hitting, and about half of our supporters were from Europe. So it would be meaningful to finally play some of those newer songs overseas.
Back to the mid 90s, can you share a little backstory to how the album was conceived?
I’m not quite sure. We’d evolved quickly from Split Lip’s more metal/hardcore influenced For the Love of the Wounded — and were itching to get back to the studio to unveil what we viewed as more nuanced new material. Doghouse booked us time in Detroit, and we just banged out the songs over a couple days. Back then we played all the songs live and rehearsed them to death, so we didn’t spend a lot of time tinkering, and maybe that’s because we were young and barely understood how to record in a real studio environment.
Creative wise, what pushed you back then? What helped you find the balance between all the elements in your style?
Most folks say this about the songs of their late teenage years – but it truly felt like ours was an especially exciting time in music. So many ambitious and interesting records were coming out of both the underground and the mainstream. The Seattle boom was probably to thank for creating a worldwide renaissance for Rock, and for individuality. When writing and recording Fate’s we agreed pretty easily, because we all liked so many of the same records coming out. It wasn’t til the Moon My Saddle that there was any creative friction. In our college years we all started hanging out in different circles, and diversifying our interests and likes. It made compromise much more difficult.
Given the whole digital rollercoaster and the evolution of the music biz, how do you compare your early days to the current era? How has it changed the band?
Playing in a band, let alone a punk band, wasn’t particularly a hip thing to be doing in our early years. And it was hard work for independent bands to get heard. It all happened for us mostly through touring and word of moth. When things started to evolve in the digital universe, it seemed overnight everyone was in a band and the playing field got pretty crowded. It still feels that way. Putting out a new record in 2020 felt amazing because we didn’t need a million resources and a physical rolodex full of influencers to promote a record anymore. But at the same time, I think we now tamper our expectations a little bit just by the sheer amount of music uploading to DSPs daily, and by the number digital platforms in which to focus on.
Tell me about it :)
What are you working on now?
We’re taking one of our typical pauses after a few shows on the East Coast this Spring. We live in different corners of the country so it’s always a heavy lift to get us all in the same city. I’m honestly not sure what’s next, but I certainly have ideas. We’re in constant communication, and song snippets do get passed around in our text thread pretty frequently, so one never knows what might be next!