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- Posted on May 7th 2010 4:30PM by Jason MacNeil
But a stage isn't the only thing the band has shared with Springsteen -- critics, fans, and even the Boss himself have recognized similarities between Springsteen's work and the two albums the Gaslight Anthem have under their belt.
"There's no bad side of that [comparison]," Fallon tells Spinner. "He's paralleled his career with our career when he talks to us. For him it would be right before the 'Born to Run' period, that's where we are at right now. And he would tell us the stories about just being bombarded by Bob Dylan comparisons. They said he was pretty much a second-hand Bob Dylan. He wrote 'Born to Run' and allowed it to take its own course and now there's a huge, clear defining line between Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, but he never once renounced it because it's still the best comparison in the world.
"So Bruce Springsteen, to me, it's like a badge. The fact that he likes us is even more of a badge."
Needless to say, the band definitely felt the pressure of such comparisons before going into the studio to record their latest effort 'American Slang.'
"With 'The '59 Sound' the weird thing was we never thought anyone would listen to it," Fallon tells Spinner. "I mean, not like in this false humility sense -- we hoped people would listen to it, but we didn't really think it would reach a wide audience. With this one, after all of the pressure and panic attacks, we realized we just had to go in there and make what we wanted."
Perhaps the biggest difference between 'American Slang' and their previous record is the method Fallon and company used in composing the 10 tracks.
"I was so used to just big, open cowboy chords and strumming along, saying some words and that would be a song," he says. "With this one, I was like, 'Imagine if we could write songs that made people want to move instead of just blasting them in the face with this big thing. What if we wrote songs that people could dance to, like all these Stones songs and even the Clash.' It was a big thing about writing riffs on the record."
Out June 15, 'American Slang' packs all the intensity and urgency the band is known for, led by the solid foot-stomping title track, the ensuing Replacements-tinged nugget 'Stay Lucky' and the shimmering 'Orphans.' If there's one subtle evolution, it might be thanks to producer Ted Hutt. Fallon says Hutt -- who's produced several bands when not performing with Flogging Molly -- was adept at "pulling what's inside of your head out" and pushing the band to the limit.
Basically, each song wasn't considered done until the band and Hutt were "dancing and smiling in the room."
"[He brought] all the finesse," Fallon says of the producer. "We were an aggressive, aggressive band. Even though there are mellow tones in 'The '59 Sound,' we played it like jackhammers. We would pound these guitars and just yell and scream.
"We always said we were a soul or rhythm and blues-influenced band and Ted was like, 'Yeah, well prove it! You like the way the Stones play, prove it! Play it like that. Add your next chapter to it. Don't just sit there and wish you could play like Keith Richards. Reinvent what Keith Richards did and do it yourself.'"
As for the song 'American Slang,' Fallon says the lead single was one of the last tracks written. The singer admits he was also a bit hesitant to use that title.
"You call something American anything you better have something to back that up with," he says. "It's like an English band calling a song English something, you have a big thing to live up to. The song is kind of about my American life, about the things that have happened. They present you this American dream and it's not like this specific thing, you find out you just have to work. You don't step outside and get famous, that's not the way it goes. It's like that anywhere else in the world."
The Gaslight Anthem will rehearse for their upcoming European and North American tours at the Gibson New York showroom, home of the former Record Plant studio. Fallon says the group will be on the road for the next two years supporting the album, sprinkling in a few summer festival dates around their own headlining trek.
"If you spent too much time at festivals you'd go crazy," he says. "It's a good thing to break the monotony of playing your own shows everyday because you get to see and hang out with other bands. We're playing with Pearl Jam this year, that's going to be crazy."
Regardless of where they're playing, expect the concerts to be long ones.
"We're going to play a lot off this record but we're not going to neglect old songs," Fallon says. "We're aware of the messages people send us. Kids will say, 'Oh I wish they play that on tour.' And I'll be like, 'You know kid, we are going to play that song on tour.' It's just playing a song. It's only three minutes so why wouldn't we play it?"