When Brian Fallon completed his beautiful 2020 album Local Honey – the third of his solo career – he was, in a word, fulfilled.
“I knew that it was something I had really been trying to do, for a long time,” he tells Kerrang! today, two-and-a half years on from its release. “I really wanted to make that record, and I truly, truly love that record. So when I was done with it, it felt like I had gotten to the end of the book, and it was like, ‘Okay, I’ll put that on the shelf…’”
As the singer-songwriter then moved on and started thinking about his next musical steps, those feelings of accomplishment – and also closure – remained. So much so, it drove him back to a sound that he’d not dabbled in for quite a while.
“When it came time to be like, ‘Alright, so I’m going to start writing some new songs,’ I was just sitting around feeling like I wanted to write rock songs,” Brian enthuses. “I just wanted to play loud and fast.”
Happily, he already had somewhere to do just that: New Jersey punk rock heroes The Gaslight Anthem. The band had gone on ‘indefinite hiatus’ in 2015, and played a one-off 10th anniversary tour for their brilliant second album The ’59 Sound in 2018, but in April this year they announced that they were “returning to full-time status”. So far, that consists of a massive reunion run – the UK leg of which kicks off at London’s OVO Arena Wembley this Thursday.
“It’s full-on – we brought the Pearl Jam lights!” says Brian of the tour. “If we’re gonna do it, let’s just do it! No explosions, though.”
Not even for Wembley?!
“(Laughs) I’m not really into that – I still remember when James Hatfield caught fire, and ever since then I was like, ‘Never pyro!’ I’ll leave that to Slipknot – they’re good at it. They manage to do it really well and not get burned…”
Okay, so no fire. But there is plenty more to come, with Brian also looking ahead to their long-awaited sixth album. Here, the frontman takes us inside all things Gaslight Anthem in 2022…
Your first proper show back on this reunion tour was in Berlin last Tuesday. How did you feel both before and after?!
“It was great! We were just excited. Normally I get really nervous before the shows, but I think we’re all just excited to play, especially after that long time of not playing, and being locked inside, and not being able to go anywhere for two years – that’ll really put a dampener on your day! And it’s one thing to go out and play an acoustic show or whatever, but it’s a whole different thing to play the big rock show with all the lights. We really took it to 11 with the show, because not only did we bring the band, but we’ve got a guy playing keyboard with organs and background vocals, and we’ve got these huge light things, and it’s awesome! It’s everything that you would want a rock show to be. The Gaslight Anthem has always been a rock band, and now we’re just going further into that, proving the point like, ‘Yeah, we’re a rock’n’roll band! Here we are!’”