Gaslight Anthem are just over a month away from the release of their second album, The '59 Sound. The New Jersey-based band has had quite an explosive year with their breakout debut Sink or Swim as well as a well-received follow-up EP Se√Īor and the Queen. The band is spending some time on the Warped Tour this summer and recently caught up with Punknews interviewer Zack Shapiro.
You guys have blown up so quickly in the past year with everybody just absolutely addicted to your sound, can you talk about that a little bit?
Brian Fallon (vocals, guitar): It's strange. I mean, all of a sudden there were kids at shows. One day there wasn‚??t and then all of a sudden there was. It seems like, I don‚??t know, it‚??s so fast. We‚??ve played Asbury Lanes a hundred times and we never had like a sold out or ticket sales and that‚??s nuts. I can‚??t really explain how it‚??s happening.
We talk about having fun a lot. Maybe that‚??s it. I don‚??t know many bands out there that just talk about having a good time. Maybe that‚??s it. I‚??m really just grateful for it.
In becoming big so quickly, have you guys had any growing pains or tough adjustments?
Alex Rosamila (guitar): Our schedule has gotten really hectic. Being homeless, that‚??s something I had to get used to, not having my own place.
BF: When we come home from tour some of the guys have to bounce between friends' couches and things like that. I think not having a place to stay and just keeping up with the schedule. I think being so quickly thrown into this wow we‚??re on tour for eight months straight. And I think that‚??s kinda been rough.
Se√Īor and the Queen featured four different sounds, why did you choose to fluctuate so much in your sound?
BF: I think it was more of a drifting between Sink or Swim and what we were going to do with The ‚??59 Sound and I was definitely feeling some kind of transition happening. I feel like that was us figuring out the transition to the next record. The first two songs were written in January and the second two were written in February and we kinda figured it out more as the last two songs sound more like the record than the first two song. I think "Elvis" was a big transition point. I think that was like "Whoa! I think we got something here."
Benny Horowitz (drums): Yeah, it was definitely trying new stuff. It was the process too, I guess. You ask us in two years, we‚??ll probably say The ‚??59 Sound was our attempt to get somewhere else.
"Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts" is a real blue-collar story, can you talk a little bit about the song‚??s background?
BF: That song is just about our friends from home, from New Brunswick and from Asbury Park and it‚??s just like the scene we have here. I actually saw a picture of our last show at [Asbury] Lanes and it‚??s a bunch of guys on the stage singing and all of us were wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans and I was just like, "Man, that‚??s cool." And the picture just represented having a good time at a show. Yeah, so that song‚??s kind of about home.
On both Sink or Swim and Senor and the Queen we hear a lot about Maria. Why did you decide to call every girl Maria?
BF: That‚??s kind of a secret. You‚??ll steal all my mojo if I tell you what that‚??s about. Nah, man that‚??s a personal thing.
The recurring themes in your music seem to center around the radio, driving and getting out of a current situation, can you talk about that?
BF: Yeah, that‚??s just what we do here. Driving and trying to get a little bit better our parents did, I guess? To not have to worry? I don‚??t know. That was the whole thing like "I‚??m gonna get in a band. I know I can‚??t be a doctor so I‚??m gonna try to leave here and make something different." I think like, "It‚??s just over that next highway" thing. You know, the answer. We‚??re searchers, wanderers.
BH: I think it‚??s what you do around here a lot of the time. It‚??s not like any real cities usually in Jersey. You do a lot of driving, a lot of listening to music.
Touching on that last question, what was your first car?
BF: My first car was a Plymouth Horizon hatchback that my mom‚??s friend gave to me. And it made it about a week, but it was awesome. That car meant freedom like that was it for me.
BH: Mine was a 1990 Ford Tempo that died. I had to take it off the road because it almost killed me a number of times.
Alex Levine (bass): ‚??93 Mazda MX3 and I almost died in that car actually.
AR: 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and drove it into the ground. It was gray with maroon interior and I literally drove it into the ground.
So what‚??s next for the Gaslight Anthem? You‚??ve done Europe and said you wanted to go back, have you thought about Japan?
BF: Yeah we‚??ve thought about Japan.
AR: Nobody‚??s though about it for us, I guess. [Laughs]
BF: Then Warped Tour, home for a few days then to Australia.
The album comes out in August, what exactly is The ‚??59 Sound
BF: That‚??s another one of those secrets. Those are the secrets of rock 'n' roll. You don‚??t ask Elvis to see his blue suede shows, ya know? You don‚??t ask Bruce where Thunder Road is. It‚??s like, whatever a better time is for you. Whatever reminds you of a better time. I look at 1959 like rock 'n' roll was just coming around and it was a simpler time, I think. There were issues back then too, but there‚??s always issues.
BH: Even in our reality, they weren‚??t our issues so we can reflect on it in a different way than people who went through it. A positive light.
What‚??s one thing you want your fans to know about the new album?
BF: We tried to just make a record that people could look back on and go "What‚??s the Gaslight Anthem sound like?" "Aw dude, this is the record." We tried to define ourselves, really, with this one.