LOS ANGELES – For years, a standard critique of the beloved New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem was to label them “Bruce Springsteen” copycats. Now they’ve launched a tune with the Boss.
“History Books,” the title monitor from the band’s first album in 9 years, is big-hearted freeway rock, made ascendent by frontman Brian Fallon and Springsteen’s tremulous harmonies.
“There’s a definitely a little wink in there,” Fallon tells The Associated Press about the song and his band’s long-held comparisons to the Boss, which once escalated to the point where he wrote to his fans, “My name isn’t Bruce.”
“Some folks sort of wrote us off. It is like ‘Now write this off,’” he says. “We’ve got the approval of the guy! What are you going to say? You can’t say anything!”
If there is an intersection where Green Day, Social Distortion, and the Replacements’ varied kinds of melodic punk meets Springsteen, it’s present in The Gaslight Anthem. The sound landed them a fiercely loyal fanbase from their beginnings in 2006 up till 2015, when the band launched into a seven-year hiatus. It was briefly interrupted in 2018, when The Gaslight Anthem obtained again collectively to play just a few reveals celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their retro rock album, “The ‘59 Sound,” a fan favorite.
But the break resumed until 2022, when the band felt they had something to say.
“We didn’t want to make a record that felt sub-heart,” Fallon explains in his personal vernacular. Taking time aside allowed them to work by way of considerations of being “the old guys playing the circuit” and turn out to be higher musicians within the course of.
Fallon, who has established a friendship with his idol over the years, connected with Springsteen during the hiatus. “The E Street Band took a big break, too,” Fallon says, so he went to the Boss last year with a request for guidance. “It was going to seek the guy on the hill for wisdom, but really, it was Federici’s Pizza in Freehold (New Jersey). But some mythical work was done at that table. We brought the band back together.”
After they headed residence, Springsteen texted, “Hey, why do not you write us a duet? I am going to come sing with you.’”
“I never would’ve had the guts to ask him that,” Fallon says, evaluating their relationship to “being friends with Batman.”
Fallon wrote the tune by himself; Springsteen did not present notes. He was on tour on the time, so he recorded the tune in Dublin, Eire over just a few days off. Fallon speaks in regards to the collaboration in disbelief. “It’s really cool to have one of my top three heroes singing on a song I wrote at my desk in my house. It’s insane,” he laughs.
He describes the tune as “unusual” for The Gaslight Anthem, as a result of is it “not a friendly song,” impressed by a lesson he realized in remedy: “The only people who have a problem with boundary setting is the people who are breaking them.”
“I imagine that’s something (Springsteen) can relate to, with his level of fame,” he explains.
The Gaslight Anthem’s sixth full-length album, “History Books,” will likely be launched October 27 on Wealthy Mahogany Recordings by way of Thirty Tigers.
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