Brain Fallon wants you to know that he's not going to save rock and roll. Ruby Niemann caught up with The Gaslight Anthem frontman to discuss exactly why, and how it relates to their controversial new album Get Hurt.
Hey, thanks for talking to us today, I'm Ruby Niemann with the AU Review.
How're you going today?
Good, how're you doing?
Yeah, really good, thanks. Really excited to talk to you this is a big moment in my life. So, Get Hurt is released next week is it?
Uh, yeah, I think so. Next week the 11th? Tuesday the 11th. Or the 12th. I don't know which country it gets released on what date because some of 'em it's like Friday, some of 'em it's – I don't know. But yeah – comes out next week though!
Yeah. So, you've had a few reviews released for the album already, How has the early response been?
Oh, yeah, terrible! We got some of our worst reviews that I've ever seen in my life. I'm super proud of that actually. No, I'm serious, because I'm so relieved that for the first time no one's telling us that we're the saviours of rock and roll. I was sick of hearing that, I was like, dude we don't sell close to enough records to be the saviours of rock and roll. Like, if we're the saviours of rock and roll, with as many records as we sell, rock and roll's done. So I was pretty glad that people stopped doing that.
But no, to be serious, I think some of the press is really, really excited and they think it's a great record. I hear a lot of bold statements, you know I hear it's 'brilliant', I've read that it's the best record we've ever done, I've also read that it's the worst, most insincere record that anyone's ever heard. So what I think, actually, from all that is that somewhere in the middle is the truth. I think that it's probably a cool record that doesn't really sound like our old records, and you might like it, you might not, that's what I think.
Well, I reviewed it for this website and I thought it was a really, really solid record. I thought it was really good.
Oh cool well thank you very much, I appreciate it. I think it's a good record too, you know? Some people don't like it though. I guess that's bound to happen.
Well yeah, with every record, especially since people loved The '59 Sound so much that you just keep getting compared to that every time you release an album.
Sure, but you know like, what I would say to that is that we already put that record out, so we can't put it out again.
Well yeah, exactly. What was the process like on this record, was it different? Because it's such a different record from your other albums, what was the recording and writing process like?
Everything was completely different for this one. We kind of took everything in pieces and sort of recorded bits of it, you know, one at a time. Normally we kind of go in there and just play and then record it, so for this one, even from the writing it was all different, everything that's going on it there. It's pretty crazy.
Okay, so, this is kind of an odd question but Get Hurt is kind of a grim record, so, are you okay?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm okay! I think that like, I wrote a grim record instead of going and doing lots of drugs or going and drinking and partying and being like, a lunatic. I think that it was that record. I mean I was unquestionably pissed off, you know, like I can see that in the record and I can see that that's how I felt. But I did what I think you're supposed to do with music, it's there so you can have an outlet and you're not just going out there and you know, living that life style, you can go out and you can get angry, and that's why people gravitate towards music in the first place. It's because they're, you know, they're mad or they're frustrated and they feel misunderstood or whatever and then they channel that through the music and I think that that helps people a lot, a great deal.
Yeah, absolutely. Are we going to see anything from your other side projects anytime soon, like a record from Molly And The Zombies or anything?
Uh, no, no, I'm just gonna work on this for now. For now it's just gonna be Gaslight.
Okay. Sorry, I just really like 'Red Lights' from Molly And The Zombies.
Oh yeah, thanks.
Are there any bands that are around at the moment that you think are doing really good work?
Um, you know I'm sure there's a few but I haven't stumbled across anybody real new that I was like, this is awesome, you know. There haven't been so much, actually. I haven't been looking that hard, so I can't say that there's not any good bands, just that there's none that have crossed my path yet.
Okay. With the music videos that you've released so far they're all fairly dance-based, was there a reason that you went in that sort of direction for the videos?
Um, yeah we just wanted to put like a different element, I was tired of watching videos of people playing, you know. And I think that...videos are weird, you know, you're just, they're not something that a band...bands don't...it's not the first thing on your mind when you're making a record. When you're making a video you're just like, let's try things and you know, let's see what happens. And for these videos, I like it, I think it's cool that there's something different to look at instead of just looking at us just standing there. The dancing, I don't think was saying anything, I wasn't making a statement with it or anything, it was just like, you know, that looks cool let's do that. You know, what if we had people dancing and one of them it looks like seizures and one of them it looks like there's a skeleton dancing all over the place. I thought that was pretty cool, I like skeletons, and I like dancing.
Yeah, they were cool videos. Is there any advice you wish you'd gotten just as a person when you were younger that you would give yourself now?
Advice? Yeah sure, try to just take it all in and don't get worried about so much, that's what I would probably say. You know, just try to take it day by day. I think that's really important, just to watch what's happening on that day and don't worry about tomorrow and not five years from now and just try to take it all in as you can, and that's easier to say and to do, but it's a good goal, good advice I think.
Yeah, I would agree. Other than playing music, what do you enjoy doing, like in your spare time?
I like...mostly I like reading, watching movies, I like to paddle board, sometimes surf a little bit. I like just, you know, I'm kinda casual, I just like hanging out. I'm not really an activity guy, I don't have like a specific hobby. I like to just chill, because everything is not chilling. Everything is like, running around all the time. Everyone's like 'do you take vacations' and i'm like absolutely not. I would never take a vacation because I don't wanna leave like I'm always leaving. All I do is leave and I'm like I just wanna stay. I just wanna stand still. All I do is move, I just wanna stand still. You know, that's probably what happened in the videos. Subconsciously in the videos I was just trying to stand still. I didn't want to move, I was like we gotta put dancers in here so I don't have to move. It's terrible!
No, I get it, I can completely understand that. I mean, your job is – not vacations, obviously, but it's travelling constantly.
Yeah, constantly travelling, so you're just like, alright, just put me in a room and don't make me leave.
Do you enjoy the travelling at all though? I mean you get to see, pretty much the entire world which must be pretty interesting.
Yeah, because believe it or not it's when nobody bothers me. You know, when you can kind of go through a day when you're moving and you're on tour, you gotta be somewhere. You gotta be somewhere at 8 o'clock, you gotta be on the stage, you can't be getting phone calls and people bothering you then. You gotta just get out there and you can't be worried about whether the sink's broken on at home, you're like I gotta play this show I can't be bothered with this. So it's like a good little move to get away from there.
You sound very introverted, which is interesting for a musician, someone who is in the public eye so much. Not as an insult.
Yeah, I guess, I'm out all the time, you know, I'm running around and everybody's in public all the time and you know, people take pictures of you and you're just at home and you wanna be quiet, just quiet.
Well, you mentioned reading, what do you read? Do you have a favourite novel or anything?
Yeah, I read books. Magazines, take a look at the internet once in a while. Yeah, I mean, I read a lot of things. It depends, sometimes I read novels, sometimes I read biographies, you know I just read what everybody reads, same as everybody else, no special books. Self help books, you know, all kinds of books. Dictionary. I read the dictionary sometimes.
So, The Gaslight Anthem has been around for about ten years now, is that right?
No, eight years.
Eight years. So, how have the relationships within the band changed over that eight year period?
Um, I mean, as with anything else you kind of grow, you know. I mean you evolve as you get older. I don't know, it's the same as any other relationship, I mean brothers and sisters, that kind of thing, families. You know, it just evolves.
So, hopefully you'll be coming to Australia at some point, yeah?
Yeah, we're thinking about February at this point, I've heard February that's what I've heard.
Oh, okay cool. Looking forward to it. Thank you so much for talking to us, and I'm really looking forward to Get Hurt being released, I pre-ordered it so I'm really excited.
Me too, I pre-ordered it as well!
Get Hurt is in Australian stores now.