By Michael Cerio
What exactly is an “indefinite hiatus”?
After eight years of rising from New Jersey to international success, that was the official term associated with Brian Fallon and The Gaslight Anthem when they hit the brakes last July.
“It’s a press word” explains Fallon with a shrug outside Electric Factory in Philadelphia. “Indefinite hiatus isn’t a word that a band uses, they just say we’re taking a break, see ya.”
After the expansive and personal Get Hurt was released by the band in 2014, Fallon remembers that they wondered “what now?”. Rather than proceed half-hearted, they collectively decided it was time for a break. “Better to not put out a record if you don’t have a good idea” says Fallon. “I think that people should do that more often. Don’t be afraid to just not do anything. It’s ok.”
After five albums built on sincerity and heart-on-the-sleeve shout-a-long earnestness, it makes perfect sense for The Gaslight Anthem to press pause until inspiration hits – to do anything else would be antithetical to what has made the band such a success. Thankfully, it’s a situation that’s become much more digestible to fans with the emergence of a new solo effort from band leader Brian Fallon.
Painkillers is the solo debut for Fallon, out March 11th. This week he started a tour to support the album, which kicked off Tuesday night at Electric Factory.
“About a month after, I thought about it and I was like, what am I gonna do? Am I just gonna do nothing?” Fallon remembers before the Factory show. “Then I thought, well I’ve always wanted to make this kind of record so I might as well do it now. Then I spoke to the guys about it and they were all cool about it.”
“I don’t think it’s a wildly surprising record to people who know my music. I think that it’s something that people would understand and go, ‘hey it sounds like Brian’. I don’t think you’re going to be wildly shocked” he laughs. “People say like, ‘oh I think this should have been a Gaslight record’. I go yeah but, I don’t.”
“I know my band better than the people who make their opinion known, because I’m in the band – and I know that my band would not have played this record the way that it is” Fallon stresses. “So no it couldn’t have been the next Gaslight Anthem record and that is absolutely true.”
Out on his own for the first time, Brian Fallon doesn’t feel the pressure on his solo excursion. In fact, it’s just the opposite. “The band has got like a big thing behind it and a big following, and the records seem to be very big. But this one, I don’t have crazy expectations or anything like that. I just want to put it out and see how it does” he explains. “I think that it’s more just relaxed as far as my expectations on it.”
“Just roll it out and see what happens. I don’t think about it that much.”
Painkillers is out everywhere on March 11th. To hear more from Brian Fallon, check out the full interview below or watch the video here.