UTG Interviews Brian From Gaslight Anthem!

 

Our staff can’t get enough of the SideOneDummy band, Gaslight Anthem. Fresh from Europe, vocalist Brian Fallon met with us for an interview at Harvest of Hope on Saturday.

 

[UTG] Billy: Myself, Lee and Hogan are here with vocalist and guitarist of Gaslight Athem, Brian Fallon. How are you enjoying the festival thus far?

Brian of Gaslight Anthem: I’ve been here a hour and half and we just got in from England and it’s nice to be warm.

[UTG]: When are you guys playing this weekend?

Brian: About 8:45 tonight.

[UTG]: What was name of the European tour?

Brian: No name, we’re just on tour permanently. That should be the name of it – “On Tour Permanently”

[UTG]: What other bands were with Gaslight Anthem?

Brian: Polar Bear Club from New York. We did all of Europe for the last 5 weeks and just got back this morning. Now where doing HOH, going home, then going back on tour in 7 days.

[UTG] Lee: What was the reaction overseas?

Brian: Overseas for us is ridiculous – we play venues that are just huge and there are so many kids that are so excited and for us, it’s awesome. We have not done a proper headlining tour in the states since this records been out and now we have to find out what the reaction is here.

[UTG]: So the kids over there are more excited versus our kids?

Brian: The kids are less guarded on what they like and what they don’t like. They’re excited about anything.

[UTG] Hogan: You were on tour with Alkaline Trio this past Fall – how was that?

Brian: Alkaline Trio is actually one of the nicest bands I’ve met in my life. They’re really down to earth, and they hang out every day. We spent the entire tour with them and Thrice and the Rise Against guys too – everyone was really nice on that tour. They didn’t make us feel like the little opening band.

[UTG] Lee: So, Gaslight has kind of an Americana edge and being over seas, how do they react to a band that is distinctly American?

Brian: They go crazy about it, and they think we are the most traditional band ever. They’re like, thats American rock and roll, which is awesome for us and we get to represent our country and represent something that we’ve been influenced by since we were little kids.

[UTG]: What musical influences come together to make your sound?

Brian: Our drummer is into early 90’s hardcore, and I’m more into the folk stuff and like Tom Waits, and Alex’s favorite band is The Cure. The other Alex is into Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike, it all comes together.

[UTG] Lee: I have a guitar geek question for you. You are on a telecaster the other guitar player is on a SG. How do you make that sound work?

Brian: It’s funny because that just changed. I was on my Telecaster and an old tweedy amp that I built and he was on Fender Deluxes on a SG. He broke his SG and got a Jazzmaster and I switched to Les Paul Juniors. When we started I took my influences of blues musicians and traditional country music and rock n roll. Springsteen played a Telecaster so I played a Telecaster. I started to think, does this fit my band or is it what I like because my heros played it? It came to where I was like I have to play for me and not who I’m emulating and it was an epiphany moment. A friend of mine had a Junior and I was like I really like this. The AC30’s were for when I was playing at huge venues. As you get to a refined venue, you need a thicker guitar and it might work for Waits, Springsteen and Tom Petty but not for us. Who would have thought that I would play a Junior through an AC30? It’s going to be interesting what the next record sounds like.

[UTG] Lee: Which is more exploratory for you – recording or touring?

Brian: Touring definitely. With recording you can make anything sound like anything, and you can layer four or five guitars on a Telecaster with a compressor. On tour and live is where you figure out where you’re made of.

[UTG]: Do you have any tour stories?

Brian: I got a tooth pulled in Germany. It got infected and I got an abscess and it was horrible. They pulled it out with no Novocain at 8:30 at night and we played at 11. It’s one of those things you don’t want to happen on tour. They were good about it and did it for free. I hadn’t been sleeping for two nights and it was a relief to have it out.

[UTG] Hogan: I saw you guys last February in Gainesville, Florida with The Loved Ones. You played with such heart and soul – coming back from Europe isn’t going to change that, is it?

Brian: No actually playing with The Loved Ones you can’t just stand there, and you have to hold your own. Now we’re playing in front of The National, and if we’re opening for you we are going to make you earn it. It’s like the old Henry Rollins thing – go big or go home. I read his books and I think he is so awesome. I just want to hear that dude talk and I love his perspective on things.

[UTG]: If you weren’t touring, what would your day job be?

Brian: I’d be building guitars or a carpenter. I don’t want to get in the music business but maybe produce bands. There are a lot of bands out there and once you play for so long and you find out your mistakes, and I’d be like, I’m going to save you thousands of dollars and five years of time. That kind of information is priceless.

[UTG] Lee: Was there anyone like that for you who was an unsung mentor?

Brian: There was this guitar tech Ian who was from England and he taught us about two things – guitar sounds and soccer. He was always like “Les Paul, Gibson…”, and finally I was like okay fine I will try one out and I have him to thank for it.

[UTG]: What are your final words for our readers?

Brian: I’m stoked on Henry Rollins thing- go big or go home, and if you lose a tooth during it, at least you have great stories to tell. Nine to five life will always be there for you and I encourage people to do whatever you want to do. 

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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