The Gaslight Anthem Interview

April 6, 2009 by  


If at first you don?t succeed, try, try again, must have been etched on the walls of The Gaslight Anthem?s basement practice room. After struggling to find success with their aptly titled debut album Sink or Swim, which only saw an initial five hundred copies released, it?s been a tough battle for the New Brunswick boys to make it to where they are today. Still relatively unknown in America, they?ve started to rapidly gain success in England, with their follow up album The 59? Sound. With the album now featuring heavily on the UK’s airwaves and a summer support slot with boyhood hero Bruce Springsteen, they?ve come a long way from their basement in Brunswick.

Before they played their biggest headline show to date, we caught up with them to see how they was feeling. ?Me and Brian are like huge British punk rock fanatics? explains Alex.??To play here at Hammersmith is unbelievable.? Not only do they have a penchant for British music, they also love playing in front of British crowds ?I love everything about England, just the way people respond to music here ? they actually know what they?re fucking talking about.? This love has been reciprocated by British audiences, resulting in faster success than in the U.S. ?We toured for like three years straight in America, playing Webster Hall was like 1,500 and that sold out, so that?s our biggest previous show . The first album was kind of under the radar, and one of our friends just put it out and nobody expected anything.?

Comparisons to Bruce Springsteen are unavoidable and TGA are by no means embarrassed by the comparison ?He directly influences Brian the most, probably more than anyone else. You kind of have to be if you?re from New Jersey.? However, their New Jersey Influences don?t stop there, ?My favourite band is probably The Bouncing Souls, and you know the band, Saves The Day, they were a really big influence on us when we were young, we could talk all day about New Jersey bands.? However, it wasn?t just New Jersey Hardcore bands that were to shape their sound, as guitarist Alex Rosamilia explains ?The Cure, The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine , mostly English bands, I looked at my albums the other day, just out of curiosity, and over half the stuff is from England.?

The band initially took a while to make it out of the starting blocks and ended up becoming the combined effort of two previous bands, which had failed to get it together ?Benny and I were in another band,? explains Alex Rosamilla. ?After that, a mutual friend of ours used to be in a band with Brian and asked if we were doing anything? So Benny joined them and they did one tour with another guitar player and when they got back, Benny said things are not working out with the other guitar player and do I want to try out? I said ?sure it?s fine? and the next day Brian called me and said ?do you wanna be in the band?? sure, so I said yeah. ?

After that, they blended effortlessly and were soon making music together. ?I remember I went up to his parents house, and me and Brian sat in the basement playing and it wasn?t like trying anything out, we basically jammed for like an hour, just me and Brian, then that was the end of it.? Their song witting process hasn?t changed much from those early jamming sessions, reveals Alex ?Everybody does their own part, Brian will come to us with like a skeleton and basically plays it over and over again and we just add our parts to it.?

With their growing success The Gaslight Anthem are obviously keen to capitalise on the current surge of interest in the band. As well as festival appearances and further single releases they?re looking forward to getting back into the studio for their third album ?Hopefully next winter, maybe January we?ll try and get back in the studio.? Already they?re writing songs for the album and practising them ?We work on stuff during sound checks, we?ve got about five or six we?re working on.? And it truly can’t some soon enough.