American Football, alongside their label Polyvinyl Records and Atiba Jefferson, Chris Strong, and Open House Contemporary, have bought The American Football House. The band and label wrote on Twitter:
Last fall we received word that 704 W High Street in Urbana might be sold soon. Shortly thereafter American Football, Polyvinyl, Chris Strong, Atiba Jefferson, and Open House Contemporary made a pact: we'd all buy the house together before developers could demolish it and build a condo.
Today, with sincere joy, we are excited to share that we have collectively purchased The American Football House in an effort to preserve its place and legacy within the community that built it.
Here's to keeping this landmark alive for many more years to come.
And there's a lengthier statement on Polyvinyl's website:
Polyvinyl Records has partnered with American Football, Atiba Jefferson, Chris Strong, and Open House Contemporary, to officially purchase 704 W. High Street - aka the "American Football House," located in our label hometown of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
Built in 1893, the home has become a historical monument to not only the band, but every fan who's listened to their era-defining debut that established its quaint facade as iconic midwest imagery. When we heard in the fall of 2022 that the house was for sale, we made a pact with our friends to protect the house from developers and likely demolition. A few days ago, we held true to this promise and formally signed the closing papers, preserving both the space and its unique legacy within the community that shaped its existence.
In the nearly 25 years since American Football's release of LP1, this white clapboard house has become "one of music's biggest monuments" (VICE) receiving visitors from across the world on their emo pilgrimage - it’s appropriately designated a “place of worship” on Google Maps. Sitting across the street from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, it has hosted decades of house parties and punk shows all around the property - from a halfpipe in the backyard to the back porch to the basement. In 2020, it was the official "venue" for Nether Meant, one of the first virtual concerts hosted in Minecraft during COVID, bringing fans together at a time when they simply couldn't be.
When American Football reunited in 2016, their long-awaited LP2 cover donned the house's interior staircase and invited fans inside by revisiting breakout track "Never Meant" with an official music video shot within its hallowed walls. The song's jangly opening riff is as recognizable as the house itself having been meme'd into infamy. Besides being a literal home to its many tenants throughout the years, The American Football House has come to represent a nostalgic dream of possibility and the beauty of the beginning. We could not let that dream go.
Amazing. Listen to our recent podcast with Mike & Nate Kinsella for more on American Football (and their new project LIES).