“My goal used to be Bruce Springsteen’s career, being that famous and playing arenas. I don’t care about writing for that now. I’m just writing for me and having a good time. Now my goal is I just want to live a long time and I want to be like Wilco. I don’t know if Wilco’s ever had a top 40 hit, but they play to a lot of people and they do whatever they want. They change and they develop, I love that band’s career so God bless Jeff Tweedy.”
I recently had the chance to sit down and chat on the phone with the great Brian Fallon. The interview runs a range of topics, including the inspiration behind Fallon’s folk-heavy new solo album Painkillers (due March 11th), working with Butch Walker, the uncertain future of The Gaslight Anthem, favorite Springsteen songs, and the intriguing possibility of an Elsie: Part II.
There aren’t many people in music right now who are under more pressure than Brian Fallon. Labeled as the torchbearer of the classic rock tradition upon the release of 2008’s The ’59 Sound—the sophomore album from his Jersey-based quartet, The Gaslight Anthem—Fallon has spent the better part of his career not just having to live up to the quality of his own albums and songs, but to his idols as well. A lot of people got into Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan after hearing consistent references to each in Gaslight’s early music. In fact, Gaslight’s legacy got so entwined in the “inspired by Springsteen” narrative that fans started requesting Bruce songs at shows. Even Fallon’s side project, the Horrible Crowes, got whipped up in the Springsteen tornado, drawing at least a handful of parallels to Nebraska. Let’s be honest: figuring out a way to live up to an album as terrific as The ’59 Sound is hard enough. Doing it when everyone is comparing your stuff to albums like Born to Run and Damn the Torpedoes is just downright unfair.