Posted by: will | July 4, 2007

Band Interview – The Gaslight Anthem…

Happy 4th of July!

The Gaslight Anthem are one of the more exciting bands I have come across this year. The band’s recently released debut album, Sink Or Swim, is damn good. I will have a tough time keeping it out of the SAL Top Ten of 2007 at the end of the year. Check out my review of Sink Or Swim here. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Fallon was kind enough to field some questions from SAL recently. The band is about to hit the road and never look back. You can check out their tour dates and some tunes at their Myspace page here.

Talk about how The Gaslight Anthem originally came together and the road you guys have traveled to get to your first release, Sink Or Swim.

We all came together out of the breakup of my last band, we all felt something had been missing in all our situations and we all wanted to get something together that everyone was stoked on and we wanted to take it as far as we could by touring and just having a good time. We had a rough time at first, we were on this label and they dropped us, and we basically started from zero, and we all decided hey man, last chance, sink or swim, and that’s where the title came from, Benny and I were talking one night and he just coined the phrase and it summed up our situation perfectly. So we wrote a bunch of songs they way we felt they should be according to that state of mind we were in, no producers, no outside ears, and we gave it to Jason from XOXO Records, who was the only one who believed in us when we were down and out, so we said, hey dude, let’s do this together. Put this thing out, we’ll tour our faces off, and if it sinks, well, we did our best and we’re satisfied, if it doesn’t well, rad.

I hear such a wide range of influences on the album and I can see the band appealing to a wide range of listeners as well. Yet, it all seems so natural when listening to Sink Or Swim. Talk about the band’s diversity.

The diversity is the heart of the sound of for us. I come from blues, soul, rock, and folk stuff, Benny is into a lot of hardcore, post punk, etc, Alex Rosamilia’s favorite band is the Cure, and Alex Levine loves the gritty post punk and metal. But we all delve into each others interests too, and we all are super into classic rock, all the big 70’s bands, Led Zeppelin, The Who, stuff like that. So it’s real easy, each guy just puts his own spin on it and we give it a kiss and send it into the live set. ha. Nobody gets stifled musically here.

While I definitely would not describe you guys as a folk/punk band the folk influence on your songwriting and storytelling lyrical style is certainly there. Talk about that.

I come from a lot of folk music, my mother was in a folk group when she was in college, and she taught me a lot about that kind of music, and the main thing is the story, you gotta tell it right and true. People don’t like to be talked at, I try to tell them something about my life each time, like the songs start and that’s an invitation to the table, like hey, put your feet up, grab some coffee, lend me your ear for a minute. I’m gonna tell you something and maybe you felt the same way and maybe we can figure out some secrets together.

There seems to be a constant theme in the band’s songs of being downtrodden but still hopeful. Where do you think that comes from?

I think we’re a pretty positive band, we try to look on the bright side. We have a great group of friends, and we pick each other up, it’s the way we know. Spare your fellow man a dime, you know? Plus, nobody likes a downer, the party just goes straight down that way and then nobody invites you back. Who wants that?

I saw Tim Barry of Avail perform solo earlier this year and he said something that I think will always stick with me. He stated the feeling his music puts out was what counted…not necessarily how it sounded. I get that same kind of ideal from The Gaslight Anthem. Thoughts?

You know it’s funny, I got so shook for so long about if everything sounded like us or if we had a “sound”, until I realized it has very little to do with chords and melody. You can’t fake it, everybody knows it when you do. You just gotta accept your influences and put your own spin on it and play what feels right. That’s it. You have to feel right in your own skin, musically.

“Red at Night” borrows the musical arrangement from Billy Bragg’s “Way Over Yonder” and you exchange your lyrics in place of his. What brought about that idea?

“Red At Night” is a tribute to the work Billy Bragg and Wilco did for Woody Guthrie, I’m a big Woody fan, and I remember Bob Dylan used to do all these traditional songs with his own spin on it, so I figured, I’m gonna pay homage to these dudes and put my own story over it. So I rewrote the lyrics, added some chords, took out some chords, but tried to keep it as close as possible without stealing the whole thing and covering the song, but still making it obvious as to where it came from. I wanted to take a stab at the old tradition of folk singers hearing each others songs and doing them their own way and molding them according to their own story. I want people to know where we’re coming from sometimes, maybe turn somebody on to something they didn’t know existed. But really it’s pure tribute to what I feel are my musical forefathers.

The Gaslight Anthem just got tapped to open for Against Me!…how did that happen? I imagine it will be a big step for the band.

Against Me, yea man, wow. We played a show back in February that Vice held in New York, it was a secret show, and we got to play with Against Me, and Tom told me after the show that he liked us and we should do more shows or a tour together, and I was like, “yea man sounds good.” I think I almost fainted, but I tried to keep it together. It might have been cause I loaned him a guitar chord that night, that might have been the deciding factor, I mean that’s a pretty nice thing to do, loan a brother a patch cable. A few weeks ago our booking agent called me while I was in a supermarket with my wife buying some ice cream and told us Against Me wanted to take us on tour. I ate ALL the ice cream that night, it was a celebration! Also, I’m going to allow myself 15 minutes to run around a scream like a girl one day on the tour. I think they should permit me that. It’s only right. I mean it’s crazy we’ve been listening to them forever and to have them ask us on tour is really a dream come true, plus Two Gallants are gonna be there, and that band rules with a mighty fist of rock and roll.

You guys seem to be getting a lot of hype and growing in popularity pretty fast. Does that worry you or does it have any effect on how the band goes about it’s business?

Well, now we take vitamins and call home more often. Other than that we try not to pay attention and have a good time. We’re all just really grateful and very excited with each step.

Any last words?

“Nobody Touches Chris Farren.”



  1. […] The Gaslight Anthem Interview […]

  2. […] ascension of The Gaslight Anthem has astounded everybody (including the band) but it certainly is well-deserved. If Sink Or Swim didn’t convince you maybe four more great […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: