Gaslight Anthem Biography and Profile

gaslight anthem photo
Gaslight Anthem. Photo: Danny Clinch

Gaslight Anthem Overview:

The Gaslight Anthem are an up-and-coming New Jersey rock band whose yearning, romantic spirit gets them compared to another Garden State native, Bruce Springsteen. And while there are some thematic similarities between this quartet and the Boss, the Gaslight Anthem's punk-influenced sound helps separate their songs from his bar-band aesthetic.

Gaslight Anthem's Origins:

The Gaslight Anthem got together in 2005.

The band members -- frontman/guitarist Brian Fallon, guitarist Alex Rosamilia, bassist Alex Levine and drummer Benny Horowitz -- all grew up around New Brunswick, New Jersey, and they were all members of separate bands before deciding to form the Gaslight Anthem. Within a very short amount of time, the band were touring and signed to an indie label, XOXO.

Gaslight Anthem Decide to 'Sink or Swim':

The Gaslight Anthem released their first album, Sink or Swim, in 2007. In keeping with its title, Sink or Swim displayed an urgent, manic desperation that complemented the diamond-in-the-rough quality of the band's unvarnished songs. Fallon's vocals had a gritty earnestness, and the group's crude, potent musicianship exhibited traces of punk, indie rock and country. While it was not a sterling debut, Sink or Swim offered a sonic blueprint for what the band wanted to achieve.

Breaking Through With 'The '59 Sound':

After releasing the four-track EP Senor and the Queen, the Gaslight Anthem returned with the full-length The '59 Sound in 2008. Blessed with more time in the studio and better songs, the Gaslight Anthem started to reveal their full potential, producing a rollicking mix of youthful optimism and tight rock/punk song structures.

The Springsteen comparisons persisted, but if anything, Fallon's melodic, soulful vocals just as often called to mind Killers frontman Brandon Flowers' singing style. Regardless, The '59 Sound reflected the sound of a band whose confidence and recordmaking skill had grown exponentially.

'American Slang':

The Gaslight Anthem released their third studio album, American Slang, on June 15, 2010. The album debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 chart, their highest chart ranking at the time. Of the record lead singer Brian Fallon told Paste, "This [record] is really the one where we said, ‘All right, well, we’ve got our influences. They’ll speak naturally, but what do we have to say on our own? What does it feel like to put on our own shoes and clothes? What do we sound like, and what’s our story?’"

'Handwritten':

The band released their best record to date, Handwritten, on July 23, 2012. Boosted by the lead single, "45," the album found the quartet toughening up their sound with help from producer Brendan O'Brien. For Handwritten the band switched from independent label SideOneDummy Records to the major label Mercury Records. The album debuted at No. 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 40,000 copies in its first week of release.

'Get Hurt':

The Gaslight Anthem's fifth album Get Hurt was released August 12, 2014 by Island Records. Mike Crossey, best known for producing The Arctic Monkey's first two albums, produced and mixed the album. Get Hurt's subject matter deals with singer Brian Fallon's divorce from his wife of ten years. The album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. The singles "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "Get Hurt," and "Stay Vicious" were released in July 2014 shortly before Get Hurt was released.

Gaslight Anthem Lineup:

Brian Fallon - vocals, guitar
Benny Horowitz - drums
Alex Levine - bass
Alex Rosamilia - guitar

Essential Gaslight Anthem Songs:

"Boomboxes and Dictionaries" (Purchase/Download)
"I'da Called You Woody, Joe" (Purchase/Download)
"The '59 Sound" (Purchase/Download)
"Old White Lincoln" (Purchase/Download)
"Miles Davis & the Cool" (Purchase/Download)

Gaslight Anthem Discography:

Sink or Swim (2007) (Purchase/Download)
Senor and the Queen (EP) (2008)
The '59 Sound (2008) (Purchase/Download)
American Slang (2010) (Purchase/Download)
Handwritten (2012) (Purchase/Download)
Get Hurt (2014) (Purchase/Download)  

Gaslight Anthem Quotes:

Brian Fallon, on how the Gaslight Anthem write songs.
"We all kind of work it out. There's like the basic structures and I'll come in with a song and everybody else turns it into what it becomes … There's a lot of ideas we talk about outside of the practice room and then when we go in there, it just kind of happens. So we don't have to ever talk. It's weird." (PunkBands.com, February 26, 2008)

Brian Fallon, on the Gaslight Anthem's debt to Bruce Springsteen.
"Dude, we totally ripped Bruce off. We actually live pretty close to where he lives, and uh, every once in a while he'll show up in these random bars, and we've met him before. He's like the raddest dude in the world. He's totally normal and not weird at all." (Racket, March 2, 2008)

Brian Fallon, on the meaning behind the band's name.
"There was a club in New York in the '60s that Dylan played at and all these young folk artists and so that's where it came from. The main point was that they weren't famous and they were all sharing their ideas. So we were like, 'Gaslight, hrm, anthem, hrm.' The collective idea of that, that's us." (PunkBands.com, February 26, 2008)

Brian Fallon, asked to describe the Gaslight Anthem's "sound and vibe" in three words.
"Blue Collared Soul." (Gibson.com, March 13, 2009)

Gaslight Anthem Trivia:

  • The Gaslight Anthem song "I'da Called You Woody, Joe" is the band's salute to Joe Strummer of the Clash.
  • Sink of Swim was recorded in less than two weeks.
  • Brian Fallon lists as his influences Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan.
     

(Edited by Bob Schallau