Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon returns to the UK next month in support of his debut solo album Painkillers – we caught up with him to chat about the record, playing live and being stand-in for Bruce Springsteen.
An undoubted highlight of album releases in Indie/Rock circles this year, one of the most remarkable things about Brian Fallon’s debut solo album Painkillers is how loose and free it sounds. “I just wanted to take it back to how it started and I did that and found a lot of freedom in that idea,” Fallon tells us when we catch up with him ahead of his UK tour.
It’s also something that famed producer Butch Walker (he’s worked with Taylor Swift and Frank Turner among others) helped bring to the fore. “I just play and hope I get it right, and Butch thought that was a good thing,” Fallon highlights. “He was encouraging me to wing things off the cuff, which was very strange for me. I’m used to coming and singing one song 10 times, and this time I don’t even know if I sang one song more than three times.
“Some of them, like Smoke, are even demos, but we were struggling what to with the rhythm and the drums because it needed something; I left the studio one day, came back in the morning, and Butch had stomped and clapped all over his studio the entire morning. And that’s what on the record.”
Fallon is also famed for some truly memorable live shows, in particular the sheer happiness he brings to the stage when performing.
“I watch a lot of bands and they’re seem angry or looked depressed or something. People nowadays, at least in America, are very opposed to acts or people being foolish or joyful, like you’re not allowed to be goofy, but I think that’s ok. People should be allowed to smile, no one has to be in the cool posse all the time, that’s too hard to do, and I really wanna have fun.”
For this record Fallon tries gets in on the vibe of Jeff Lynne-era Tom Petty, Travelling Wilbury and those artists that were just goofing around in the studio until they had something that made them smile. “That’s we’ve done [with Painkillers],” Fallon tells us.
Lovin’ the Boss
He also made the headlines recently when Bruce Springsteen was asked in an interview who he would like to stand in for him if he could never play a show, and he picked Fallon; something which clearly meant a lot to him. “Having Bruce say if he couldn’t make it to a show that I’d fill in for him, that’s pretty cool,” he told us. “‘OK man, I’ll definitely fill in for you’. I’m ready, I wanna do it, I wanna sing with all those guys, I love that stuff.
“To have a guy like that, who could pick literally anyone in the world, just to even have my name as the first one that came to his mind, that’s insane. I didn’t even believe it when I first saw it on Twitter, but then I went and listened to it, I just thought, this is insane, how did he say that?”
Brian Fallon & The Crowes tour the UK this November. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.co.uk.