Coachella You've heard all the rumors, seen all of the fake hand bills, and…
In House With Gaslight Anthem: Brian Fallon on Honesty, 'Handwritten' and Not Wanting to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Hero
- Posted on Aug 2nd 2012 5:00PM by Dan Reilly
Gino DePinto, AOL
In the meantime, Fallon isn't letting the fatigue get the better of him. Turning on the charisma that's made him such a beloved frontman, he perks up when talking about Handwritten, which was inspired by a poem a friend wrote for him in ink.
"That spoke to me in a way that I'd never been spoken to, and it wasn't somebody I knew that well," Fallon says. "I took that and said, 'What if a band did that?' because sincerity is the name of the game for us. Some people have a talent for writing songs that do well, but we're not that band. We have to rely on sincerity or else we don't have anything."
While Brian's older songs used lyrics cribbed from Springsteen and Petty -- to name a few -- he insists that the sentiment was still as sincere as his new material. "There was a lot of stuff that was masked, a lot of characters and locations we used to avert your eyes," the singer shares. "I really like everything we did. They're just pictures of times in your life. The new one has less of the hiding."
"Being honest with yourself is a very difficult thing," he admits. "It's not easy to let yourself be who you are -- it's the most difficult hinge in the world. The easiest thing is to emulate some so you have a protection, a shield. In your mind, you can be like, 'It's not me doing it. It's that guy.'"
"Like Rick Ross?" I ask, referring to the rapper and former prison guard's kingpin persona. "I don't even know who that is, but sure," Fallon honestly replies.
After filling him in on Rick's schtick, we talk about the decision to have the other members of Gaslight Anthem -- guitarist Alex Rosamilia, bassist Alex Levine and drummer Benny Horowitz -- contribute to the songwriting. "I said, 'Look, you guys gotta do this. I'm not doing this by myself anymore.' Because it's not the Brian Fallon show. I want to be in a band. I have no desire to release a solo record. I don't want to be anyone's hero."
No matter what he wants, Fallon is a rock hero for many Gaslight fans. "I don't think that I'm so great that I should be blabbering my mouth any more than I do. I'm the worst person to be a front man because I just don't get it, the cockiness or the lifting up of people, the pedestals. I don't understand. Why would you lift up a musician? They don't know anything. In all seriousness too, they're lucky.
"It used to be like, 'Oh, people like us. This is awesome.' And now it's like, "Whoa, what are you doing? We're not your heroes. We're not the President. We don't command any respect. Kind of the same boat as you guys."
"We're not curing cancer," I respond.
"No, absolutely not," he says. "I'm not foolish to know that that's the way it is. Sometimes you just have to play along, but that's what I think."
And though he swore off cribbing lyrics for Handwritten, Fallon explains his motivations with the words of one of his idols. "Bob Dylan, quote of the century: 'I'm trying to be me, whoever that is.' That's Bob Dylan for you. I don't do this for anybody else. I do it for me. So far, so good."
Watch Gaslight Anthem's "Handwritten" Video