The Gaslight Anthem's Alex Rosamilia talks touring as band gears up for Boston
October 17, 3:35 PM - Boston Rock Music Examiner - Michael Christopher
The Gaslight Anthem need a break. These days, "a break" for one of the hottest bands to come out of Jersey since one that had "E Street" in front of it means just a handful of days to step back and catch a breath.
"I'm tired," guitarist Alex Rosamilia told Boston Examiner. "I don't know which way is up, and living on the road, in hotels, is way more comfortable for me now than staying and waking up in the same place everyday."
Hailing from New Brunswick, The Gaslight Anthem peppers Tom Petty sensibilities with histrionics that mingle The Cure and The Replacements with a Social Distortion edge.
The '59 Sound, the band's sophomore effort, is a high energy ode to the Jersey Shore and stories built on long summer nights, driving with the top down side by side girls like 'Gayle' and 'Bobbie Jean'. The sound is familiar but fresh, more polished than the 2007 debut Sink or Swim, and it has touched a nerve in music fans across the board.
"It's a really humbling kind of thing," Rosamilia said. "It's a constant barrage of just surreal moments and what-the-heck-is-happening kind of things."
"When you tell your mom you want to be in a band and you're like, 12, it's just not gonna happen, it's just straight up not going to happen. It's easier to do that or to be a professional athlete. It's like, "Good for you for trying, but you're probably going to work at a mall for the rest of your life.'"
"When it actually happens, but you spent your whole life knowing it wasn't going to happen, that you would have to end up working at the mall, you have to keep switching it off in your head like, "No you actually are doing this now.'"
Tonight, the band is playing the House of Blues in what is the biggest headlining Boston gig to date for The Gaslight Anthem.
Winding down a year that saw the band playing to its largest crowds ever, and exposing first-timers via the dozens of festivals where Gaslight ended up on the bill.
"We played pretty much all of them this summer," the guitarist somewhat jokingly said. "If you can get close to playing every festival in the world this summer, I think we might have it."
"My favorite part about the festival thing though, is I usually end up finding a lot of bands that I like that I've never heard of."
At the Coachella Festival in April, the group played on the scorchingly hot final day, one which is closed out by shoegaze heroes My Bloody Valentine and goth legends The Cure, the latter of whose sweeping and shadowy guitar sounds most heavily influences Rosamilia.
"I've been trying to rip off that sound for as long as I think I've been playing," he laughed. "I'm almost there too, I think."
That's one of the reasons the band stands out so much, because under the sometimes frenetic crash and punkish glory is Rosamilia's calm and soothing undertones. It also helps that singer Brian Fallon weaves his lyrics through the music like familiar stories told on a Saturday night in anyone's town. Couple that with fact that the band hails from the Garden State and many comparisons to another high profile homegrown talent, Bruce Springsteen, are a given.
"To be compared to somebody as iconic as him, being from New Jersey or not, I think is awesome," Rosamilia said. "And in the real sense of the word "awesome" and not the Ninja Turtles sense of the word ‘awesome.’"
But people are looking to find the next E Street Band are going to be disappointed. The music is nothing at all like it. There's a story going on, names, lots of them, and that's something that isn't really happening today in new music. To have to go back to the early works of The Boss to find an association is what's so appealing - it sets The Gaslight Anthem far apart from the rest of the pack.