My piece on Gaslight Anthem . . .
New Brunswick, New Jersey’s most recent musical gem is Gaslight Anthem. The four-piece just hit the road with The Loved Ones and their first stop was Washington, D.C.’s Black Cat. Brain Fallon, vocals/ guitar, expressed that he was pumped about this tour, This is going to be the good hang out tour with our friends. It’s going to be really cool. The Loved Ones are from the same area, we all have the same friends, so it’s just going to be like taking the home show out on the road. . . You normally don’t go on the road with people you know. It’s going to be awesome,” he said. Gaslight opened for The Loved Ones, but attendees might agree that they stole the show with their energy and fun, impossible-to-classify sound. In addition to one seemingly out-of-place stage dive at the Black Cat show, their live show usually makes for “a lot of singing along, a lot of beer spilled, and a lot of hugging,” Brian said, expressing that he doesn’t quite understand why their music induces hugs amongst the crowd.
Gaslight Anthem is able to pull fans from all sorts of musical genres, and the band members themselves have varying music tastes. Brian names Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springstein, The Clash, and The Rolling Stones as some of his favorite artists. Brian mentioned that his band mates, bassist Alex Levine, drummer Benny Horowitz and guitarist Alex Rosamila, all appreciate different artists – from Otis Redding to The Cure to Hot Water Music. With all members appreciating different musical styles, Brian said it was really simple to mix the styles together and stick with the sound that they created. Brian explained what a practice would be like, “We all got in the room and we said, ‘you play what you want to play, I’m gonna play what I wanna play,’ and so on . . . my song would sound like a country song . . .Alex would play something that sounded like The Cure…the other Alex would play something that sounded like Hot Water Music…Benny would play huge drums. We recorded it and played it back and we’re like, ‘that’s what we sound like'” Brain loves the chemistry between himself and the other band members while creating music together, “it was so easy, no one tells each other what to play. I don’t think any of us could do it without the others in the band. Literally, it just comes together,” he said. Brian understands when a song is officially a Gaslight Anthem song because of the feel the song creates. When practicing, “there’s a certain feel to songs when we know it’s ours. There’s something to it that I can’t even describe. Sometimes you can’t even explain what you did or how you did it. It’s almost like waiting for lighting to strike. Sometimes you’ll strum the same chords over and over again and they aren’t right and one time it is right,” he said.
Their sound appeals to a lot of people but Brian is still a little clueless as to where their growing fan base comes from, “I’ve been waiting for the bomb to drop. It’s like, ‘what’s going on? Why are these people so into us?'” he said.
So far they’ve only got one full length album, Sink or Swim, under their belt, but a four song EP, The Senor and the Queen, was recently released. Brian was pleased with the final product of that EP, “We’re pysched about it. I think it came out really good . . . it was just really fun to write and fun to record” he said. As far as its sound, “We kind of just refined what we were doing a little bit more, we got a better grasp on it . . . there’s more of a light-hearted feeling to this record but it’s got more of a soul influence to it too. It’s a love story really, as cheesy as it sounds,” he said. Cheesy or not, most of Brain’s lyrics on Sink or Swim are romantic. “I have this grandiose, romantic way of writing lyrics,” Brian said. He tends to take a literal approach to writing lyrics, admitting, “Sometimes you don’t have anything clever to say you so you just write what you did. Straight forward lyrics are usually the best,” he said.
Brian wants to make a career out of music. “I think we want to be one of those bands who will be around for 25 years. Like Tom petty and the Heartbreakers,” he said. He explained that he doesn’t want to be a superstar or have Gaslight Anthem action figures made, but “we want to be a consistent band and maybe we can pay for our kids to go to school or something,” he said.