The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem live at Alexandra Palace, London, 2014
|Origin||New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States|
|Years active||2006–2015, 2018|
The Gaslight Anthem was an American rock band from New Brunswick, New Jersey, formed in 2006. The band consists of Brian Fallon (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Alex Rosamilia (lead guitar, backing vocals), Alex Levine (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Benny Horowitz (drums, percussion).
The Gaslight Anthem released their debut album, Sink or Swim, on XOXO Records in May 2007, and their second album, The '59 Sound, on SideOneDummy Records in August 2008. The band's third album, American Slang, was released in June 2010, and their fourth, Handwritten, was released in July 2012 through Mercury Records. The lead single from Handwritten, "45", became their most successful single on the charts, and possibly their most well known to date. The band's fifth studio album, Get Hurt, was released on August 12, 2014, through Island Records. On July 29, 2015, the band announced an indefinite hiatus following their European summer tour, which concluded at Reading Festival on Sunday 30 August. The band temporarily reunited for a string of shows in 2018 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The '59 Sound, before resuming their hiatus.
Before the Gaslight Anthem
Brian Fallon was in a number of bands prior to the Gaslight Anthem, most recently This Charming Man. The band went through a number of line-up changes, to the point where the band consisted of Fallon, Mike Volpe, Benny Horowitz, and Alex Levine. At this stage, the band renamed themselves to the Gaslight Anthem, due to a change in direction. After this, Volpe left and Alex Rosamilia joined, and the current line-up of the Gaslight Anthem was formed.
The band's first gig was at The Only Game in Town in Somerville, New Jersey in early 2006.
Sink or Swim (2007–08)
The Gaslight Anthem's debut, Sink or Swim, was well received by both independent music review sites such as punknews.org, AbsolutePunk.net, and more mainstream publications such as Spin.com. In 2009, the song "I'da Called You Woody, Joe" was featured as part of the soundtrack of the video games Skate 2 and Skate It.
A 4-song EP titled Señor and the Queen was released on February 5, 2008, through Sabot Productions. A double-7" vinyl version of the EP was also released on standard black vinyl, as well as limited edition pressings on clear vinyl, red vinyl (500 copies), and white vinyl (100 copies).
The '59 Sound and breakthrough (2008–10)
The band's second album, The '59 Sound, was released on August 19, 2008, through SideOneDummy Records. The record was produced by Ted Hutt and features Hot Water Music's Chris Wollard and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dicky Barrett as guests. The album was voted the No. 1 album of 2008 by eMusic, and received a high rating from Pitchfork Media.
The first song on the album, "Great Expectations", references the character Estella from the Charles Dickens novel of the same title. In 2008, the band covered "God's Gonna Cut You Down" for the Johnny Cash tribute album All Aboard! A Tribute to Johnny Cash.
On August 6, 2008, the band made British music history becoming the first band to ever appear on the cover of Kerrang! magazine without the magazine having previously written about them. Kerrang! called them "The best new band you'll hear in 2008." In addition, the band received airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music, and embarked on a UK and European tour in November. In August 2009, The Gaslight Anthem won the 2009 Kerrang! Award for "Best International Newcomer".
In 2009, the Gaslight Anthem supported Social Distortion on their European tour and was announced as a supporting act for Bruce Springsteen at Hyde Park Calling. The band performed at Pinkpop on June 1, 2009. At the Glastonbury Festival on June 27, 2009, Springsteen joined the band on stage during their performance of "The '59 Sound." Brian Fallon later contributed to Springsteen's headlining set, performing the song "No Surrender." At London's Hard Rock Calling festival on June 28, Springsteen again joined the band to perform "The '59 Sound", and Fallon again joined Springsteen in singing "No Surrender." The Gaslight Anthem subsequently performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 7, 2009.
American Slang (2010–11)
The band's third album, titled American Slang, was released on June 14, 2010, in the UK and June 15, 2010, in the USA Kerrang! The Gaslight Anthem name new album. According to frontman Brian Fallon, the songwriting on the new album was different than on the band's previous efforts. He named the Rolling Stones, Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, and Derek and the Dominos as influences.
In addition to five UK dates, the band played at festivals including Bonnaroo Festival, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Southside Festival, Hurricane Festival, Hard Rock Calling, Rock Werchter, The Guernsey Festival of Performing Arts, A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise, Reading and Leeds Festivals and Øyafestivalen.
The Gaslight Anthem toured the UK and Europe at the end of 2010 with support from Chuck Ragan and Sharks. They performed two songs from American Slang on Episode 6, Series 37 of Later... with Jools Holland, originally broadcast in the UK on October 22, 2010.
In July 2010, Fallon said he was already working on new material for a fourth album. Subsequently, Fallon stated on his blog that the band would start writing their record in January 2011. However, prior to playing on Pinkpop in June 2011, Fallon stated that they had just started working on the new album and that it would not be released for at least a few months. In the same interview Fallon said only one song was finished so far, referring to Biloxi Parish which they performed on stage at Pinkpop 2011 as well as Rock Am Ring. Fallon stated that the band's next record would sound closer to their breakthrough record, The '59 Sound, rather than American Slang. During this time, Fallon was also working with good friend Ian Perkins on their side project, The Horrible Crowes.
On October 6, 2011, the Gaslight Anthem announced via Facebook that they had signed with Mercury Records. They stated that they were sorry to leave their friends at SideOneDummy, but felt that the change was necessary for their musical career. On October 14, 2011, the band announced that their last show before going into the studio to record their new album would be on December 9, 2011 at the Asbury Park Convention Hall.
On February 22, 2012, the band's Twitter feed announced the forthcoming album would be titled Handwritten. The album was released on July 20, 2012, in Germany, July 23 in the UK, and July 24 in the US.
On September 21, 2012, in Pensacola, Florida, the Gaslight Anthem performed Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust" live at DeLuna Fest with Eddie Vedder on vocals. On November 30, 2012, the last of three nights in a row at New York City's Terminal 5 venue, Fallon announced that they would be releasing a live DVD of the previous night's show.
Get Hurt and hiatus (2014–2017)
The band announced on July 4, 2013, via their Tumblr site, that they were "Working on new songs for a new Gaslight Anthem album in 2014." Fallon cites Pearl Jam's No Code album as an influence and inspiration for the upcoming album.
On July 29, 2013, rumors about the band’s hiatus peaked from a Tumblr post by Brian Fallon. After playing a show in New York City, he explained his frustration about audiences continually requesting Bruce Springsteen covers. “My name isn’t Bruce,” he added.
The band released a limited edition box set titled Singles Collection: 2008-2011 in June 2013. The set compiled nine of the band's 7" singles in a wooden box. In December 2013 the band released their first DVD, titled Live in London, and one month later in January 2014 they released The B-Sides, a collection of acoustic songs, live songs, and outtakes from their various singles.
On March 10, 2014, the band entered Blackbird Studios in Nashville to record their fifth album. The band stated on April 14 that they had arrived at the "last week in the studio" of recording the album.
In an interview with Rolling Stone published May 23, 2014, Fallon described the new record as "completely different than anything we had ever done before. Instead of going that extra step of just adding some organ or some background vocals, this time we actually really changed up a lot of the sounds."
On July 29, 2015, the band announced an indefinite hiatus following their European summer tour, which concluded at Reading Festival on Sunday 30 August.
On January 3, 2018 it was revealed that the band would be reuniting for Governors Ball Music Festival held on Randall's Island in New York City. The band later via their Facebook page, announced that they were reuniting for a string of shows celebrating the 10th Anniversary of The 59' Sound. Regarding the decision, Brian Fallon noted, "The big thing between us was let's just do what's fun. So if it's heavy-handed and not that cool, then let's not do it. But we all feel that this is an important record to not only us, but to the people that love it. I would not be on the phone talking about my Sleepwalkers record had it not been for The '59 Sound.".
Fallon stated, however, that the band would not be working on new material during the reunion: "I think Green Day's American Idiot is probably the best comeback or mid-career record that any band has done. So if I was sitting on American Idiot level stuff, then I might push for the, 'Hey guys, maybe we should try these songs out.' But I'm not sitting on that. I don't have a Born to Run in me." Fallon elaborated, "People will always say, ‘Why are you doing a solo record?’ And I’m like, ‘because I don’t have anything to say with Gaslight’. Those five records, that’s what you got. That’s the piece. I feel it’s a lot like The Replacements. There’s no new music because that’s all Paul Westerberg and the band has to say. When the book is over, it’s over. And I have like… four-and-a-half records I’m really proud of."
In June 2018, the band released The 59 Sound Sessions, a 10th anniversary album of 9 early versions and B sides from The '59 Sound.  They then celebrated this milestone with a tour through North America and Europe.
Description and influences
The New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica described the band as "part of a rich tradition of New Jersey punk, spanning the Misfits to the Bouncing Souls." The Gaslight Anthem's music also embraces many elements of the Jersey Shore sound. Brian Fallon's fondness for Springsteen, a significant influence on their music, is a fact celebrated by fans and critics alike. However, the band claims they never set out to sound like the New Jersey icon. Representative of such views, one critic wrote, "The Gaslight Anthem are like something out of speculative fiction: this is what pop music would be if Springsteen hadn't listened to his producer, let The Ramones record Hungry Heart, and launched the C.B.G.B.'ers into megastardom." Drummer Benny Horowitz and guitarist Alex Rosamilia stated that "We're more Bruce Springsteen appreciators. We didn't start listening to him until we joined the band. I always liked his songs when I heard them, but I wasn't a big fan until I met Brian [Fallon]."
Following the release of their third album, American Slang, Fallon himself said, "There's so much else that we look at for our sound and influences that you don't want to be notched in with one guy... There's a lot of things [Springsteen] does that I admire. We come from a lot of the same places but a lot of different places, too. But at the same time, that's a good thing to be compared to. I think it's one of those things we're gonna have to wear until it wears out." Of the Springsteen comparisons, Rosamilia added, "I think there's enough out there on the Internet about that already."
The song "I'da Called You Woody, Joe" is a tribute to Joe Strummer, who has been spoken about and referenced by lead singer Brian Fallon often. Similarly, Tom Petty is referenced in several songs, either by name or through references to particular songs of his. The band has covered Petty's "American Girl" and "Refugee" live. As a bonus track for the deluxe version of Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem covered the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song "You Got Lucky".
- Brian Fallon – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2006–2015, 2018)
- Alex Rosamilia – lead guitar, backing vocals (2006–2015, 2018)
- Alex Levine – bass guitar, backing vocals (2006–2015, 2018)
- Benny Horowitz – drums, percussion (2006–2015, 2018)
- Ian Perkins – keyboards, additional guitar, backing vocals (2010–2015, 2018)
- Mike Volpe – lead guitar (2006)
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