THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM

A New Kind Of Hurt

Back in 2012, The Gaslight Anthem released their fourth LP, Hand­writ­ten. Not only was it the New Jer­sey band’s fourth record in just five years, Hand­writ­ten also brought in higher sales fig­ures than any of its pre­de­ces­sors. After hit­ting the top ten in eight coun­tries, the band set off on a mas­sive global tour encom­pass­ing larger venues than they’d ever seen before.

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of Hand­writ­ten, it seemed likely The Gaslight Anthem would choose one of two options: cap­i­talise on their enhanced pro­file by churn­ing out another record of a sim­i­lar nature or take some time off to reassess before pro­ceed­ing any fur­ther. How­ever, nei­ther option cap­tured their gaze. Instead, The Gaslight Anthem returned this August, boast­ing a revised styl­is­tic out­look on album five Get Hurt.
“We’ve kind of been in that cycle since we started this band,” says The Gaslight Anthem gui­tarist Alex Rosa­milia. “We put out our first record, toured on it for a few years and then wrote another record, toured on it for two years, and wrote another record and toured on it. With this record, instead of play­ing the safe option we went pretty far out.”

 

In the past, The Gaslight Anthem have been accused of work­ing within imme­di­ately dis­cernible and lim­ited styl­is­tic con­fines. Get Hurt does just about every­thing it can to upend this view. Right from album opener ‘Stay Vicious’, it’s clear things are going to be dif­fer­ent this time around. “That was an extremely con­scious effort,” Rosa­milia says. “That’s why we made it the first song on the record. We wanted to show peo­ple that we were on our way to some­thing dif­fer­ent or to say ‘what we’ve been doing, we’re not going to really attempt to do any more.’”
In con­trast to the band’s trade­mark heart­land punk rock sound, ‘Stay Vicious’ is a chunky riff-rocker, which resem­bles the likes of Pearl Jam and Stone Tem­ple Pilots. From here, the record pro­ceeds to adopt a vari­ety of pre­vi­ously unseen guises.
“It’s part of the band that’s always kind of been there,” says Rosa­milia, “but it’s some­thing that we never really did. We didn’t think that we would… not be allowed to do it, but that we’d be able to pull it off.”
Get Hurt is still unmis­tak­ably The Gaslight Anthem. Brian Fallon’s earnestly deliv­ered, rugged lead vocals sit front and cen­tre, backed up by Rosamilia’s inquis­i­tive lead gui­tar work. “The way that our per­son­al­i­ties come out through our instru­ments – it sounds like Gaslight because it’s our per­son­al­i­ties,” Rosa­milia says. “There’s things I do on gui­tar, there’s stuff that Benny does on drums, Alex on bass, Brian with the lyrics and so on. Those things are not con­sciously there, that’s just the way that we are. Sorry to use the extremely clichéd phrase, but we ‘go with the flow’, as it were.”

 

Speak­ing of going with the flow, since form­ing in New Brunswick, New Jer­sey in 2006, The Gaslight Anthem haven’t taken any sig­nif­i­cant period of rest. It’s rather unusual for con­tem­po­rary bands with major label deals to pro­duce five albums in seven years. But heed­ing to con­ven­tion sim­ply isn’t how The Gaslight Anthem roll.
“We’re con­stantly writ­ing new stuff, and work­ing on stuff,” says Rosa­milia. “You have to be fresh all the time. It’s really easy to get stag­nant if you’re not try­ing to bet­ter your­self and write new stuff. I’m not say­ing that every­thing we write gets used. Some stuff we write is absolute garbage [laughs], we put it away and we don’t ever hear it again.”
In order to hang on to their promi­nent posi­tion, the band’s quest to con­tin­u­ally get bet­ter, must go hand in hand with mak­ing music that appeals to their mass lis­ten­er­ship. Evi­dently, The Gaslight Anthem haven’t run into any major dilem­mas in this respect, but Rosa­milia says it’s not some­thing that plays on his mind dur­ing album con­struc­tion.
“I never read reviews, I don’t read the opin­ions of fans and stuff. I’m here to put out music that I write. If it does well that’s fan­tas­tic and that’s what I want, but if it doesn’t then that’s every­body else’s opinion.”

 

The gui­tarist mightn’t be par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about sat­is­fy­ing a com­mer­cial cri­te­rion, but he is left to the mercy of one extremely harsh critic.
“I go through like a three month period of self loathing between fin­ish­ing the record and when the record comes out,” he reveals. “Think­ing ‘every­thing I did is mis­er­able, I shouldn’t even be a musi­cian,’ every time we put out a record.”
Con­sid­er­ing this habit­ual onset of crip­pling self-deprecation, it’s a won­der Rosamilia’s per­se­vered as far as he has. Unfazed, he con­tends that this atti­tude is cru­cial for mak­ing artis­tic progress.
“If you weren’t a per­fec­tion­ist, that’s where you can become stale. When you think every­thing you do is going to be fan­tas­tic, you’re not going to try as hard. You have to con­stantly be doing some­thing that you feel uncom­fort­able with, because that’s what makes you a bet­ter musi­cian.
“If you spend your time only doing the sim­plest things or the things that are easy to you, what you’re doing is even­tu­ally going to get worse because you’re going to start doing it almost out of mus­cle mem­ory. I think that’s truly impor­tant, when you’re cre­at­ing some­thing. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yeah?”

 

The Gaslight Anthem will be back in Aus­tralia for a string of shows in Jan­u­ary and Feb­ru­ary 2015. For more infor­ma­tion visit www.thegaslightanthem.com.

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