When asked which musicians (living or dead) he would like The Gaslight Anthem to collaborate with, drummer Benny Horowitz has a fairly clear idea: “Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.”
It would be safe to say the New Jersey quartet is hardly your typical punk outfit. Brian Fallon, alex Levine, Benny horowitz and alex Rosamilia made large splashes in the us with their 2007 debut ‘sink or swim’ and have received warm welcomes from British fans after first time performances at this year’s reading and Leeds Festivals. Their recently released sophomore record ‘The ’59 sound’ blends the heart and soul of blues, the storytelling of folk and the relentless attitude of punk into an addictive mixture their idol Bruce springsteen would be proud of. “That’s a great person to be compared to,” says horowitz. “The guy is incredible.”
Tight hooks, bags of drive, marriage of genres made in heaven
Growing up in new Brunswick, an important hub for punk rock in the us and only couple of dozen miles away from The Boss’ birthplace, horowitz tilts his proverbial hat to the place that has also birthed acts such as Thursday and The Bouncing souls: “Bands are fucking good from there!” he exclaims with passion. “if you start a band from there you really gotta bring it or nobody’s going to notice you.”
it seems many are noticing The Gaslight anthem though. “That’s a lot to live up to, man!” laughs horowitz when i quiz him on what he thinks of being in a band recently declared as “the best new band you’ll hear in 2008”. The excellent reviews of ‘The ’59 sound’ certainly haven’t hindered either, even if Benny admits the band were “a little nervous about everyone hearing it.”
The Gaslight anthem is one of the nicest bands you could wish to meet, and they are is completely genuine and sincere. receiving this deserved attention has come at a cost though, and as Benny tells me about the jobs, apartments and even girlfriends that were sacrificed just to get in the van and play some gigs it serves as a reminder that being a touring band really isn’t as easy as some may think.
“This is all we have now,” he states with a grin that suggests they’ll make of it everything they can. if you’re looking for good, honest music, look no further than ‘The ’59 sound’. riddled with tales of friends, family and “just being in different places”, it’s a record that borrows as much from blues and folk as it does from rock and punk, acting as a micro-cosm for the band’s respect of traditional song writing. “You kind of understand it more when you stop thinking about flash and stop thinking about all this gratuitous shit that musicians do and you go back to these guys, where all you needed was a voice. i can listen to otis redding sing with no music all day long. That music has affected us all and we’re trying to find a way to make it ours,” stresses Benny.
This is all we have now..
Tight hooks, bags of drive and a marriage of genres made in heaven, invest a little time in this band and they will give you back so much more.
words by Graham Drummod