Fallon points at the floor of the café, a collage of album sleeves. “That’s what I feel like I am,” he says. “But also books and TV shows, people, and places I’ve been. I feel like that’s what makes me up. It just comes out. Everybody has influences, even if a lot of people pretend they don’t. I’m not about trying to be original with every new thing. I’m not like: ‘I was born fully formed with all my ideas and I didn’t get this from anybody.’”
In 2018, just as Fallon was beginning to conceptualise his next solo move, The Gaslight Anthem regrouped to tour The ’59 Sound in its entirety to celebrate the LP’s 10th birthday. The experience was enormously validating at times but it also steeled his resolve to carry on under his own steam. The run, which featured dates on the east coast of the US, as well as in the UK and Europe, stirred complicated emotions. “It was not fun,” he says, with emphasis.
Brian Fallon will release his new album, Local Honey, on March 27th through Lesser Known Records and Thirty Tigers. Today he’s debuted the new song “You Have Stolen My Heart” and pre-orders are now up. He’s also announced some new tour dates and the full track listing and artwork can be found below.
Jackson Sinnenberg, writing at Medium:
When we were doing the designs for merch I was like “I don’t care what I like. What do we think the people who come to our shows will like?” That’s what it should be! It’s not about me. I’m happy to be there, I’m not going to be phoning it in! I’m happy about giving it to them. I don’t look at it like it’s a bad thing. I’m happy there are people there to take it. Like if you asked Ian [MacKaye] the same way how he felt about Fugazi; “Whose band is Fugazi right now?” I bet Ian would say “Not mine, Not Guy’s. It’s their band.” It is! It’s their band! They’re maintaining the house, they’re trimming the garden because their memories do it. It’s become part of their lives now. So, it’s hands off for me.
I wasn’t sure which was my favorite record, but Handwritten was definitely a contender. Handwritten is one where the whole band was firing on all cylinders. We accepted our place in the world, we were playing in front of a lot of people, and there were a lot of people watching us. So we were just writing a record that was a good, fun record to listen to.
The problems we have in America right now are giant problems that are not easily fixed. But one thing I am behind is the people that are saying things about mental health and about talking. You know, you’re not a spoiled brat if you’re in a band to say “hey, my band got really famous and I’m not sure how to handle that and it’s kinda messing with my personal life and I’m developing anxiety disorders and depression. It’s not what I thought it was going to be.” You’re not being a whiny brat. What you’re doing is mismanaging your emotions. Or maybe – maybe – you have something wrong inside that it took this to come out. I probably had issues with anxiety my whole life and didn’t know it until the catalyst of the band getting huge.
He was conscious, he seems keen to say, of the expectation that weighs on an artist making their second album: “When you do a second record, you have to sort of firm up what you’re gonna do. You’ve gotta be like, ‘Am I doing this kind of music? Or am I doing this kind of music?’” He explains further: “The first record that people do, you get a little leeway. You get like, ‘Oh! He tried some weird stuff, that’s cool.’ But then with the next one they’ve expected you to figure it out.”
Everything has to line up for something to be successful, it’s not just simply whether it’s good or bad. You have to have a lot of favorable things happen in the process in order for it to actually reach a large number of people. Sometimes timing is one of those things that you can’t plan for. I’m glad we don’t have to do it again (laughs). If I had to put that out now would I be able to manage a career? I have no idea if that would work so I’m glad it did then.
Not too long ago, Brian Fallon sounded like he was broken. Get Hurt, The Gaslight Anthem’s fifth (and as-yet, last) album, sounded like a band on its last legs. Written and recorded in the wake of a grueling, never-ending tour schedule—as well as Fallon’s divorce from his first wife—Get Hurt felt like the end of something. When Fallon resurfaced on 2015’s Painkillers, his solo debut, he was retreating from the fallout of it all. “I don’t want to survive/I want a wonderful life” he sang in the first single, but the most revealing line came on the closing track: “You can’t make me whole/I have to find that on my own.” That song, and that album as a whole, were the sounds of a man whose recovery was still a work in progress.
Sleepwalkers, Fallon’s sophomore solo LP, is the natural conclusion to the trilogy that began on Get Hurt. It’s also the most wholly satisfying album of the three, blowing up an array of different influences to make the most vibrant, lively LP that Fallon has put his name on since the early Gaslight Anthem days.