The Gaslight Anthem
You’ve undoubtedly heard of New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem. From the groundbreaking record The 59 Sound in 2008 to last year’s release Get Hurt, this quartet has been writing deeply emotional, beautiful rock and touring the globe nonstop.
This year’s tour cycle will bring the veterans to the Pacific Northwest for a string of dates pushing Get Hurt, including Vancouver BC 3/19, Seattle’s Showbox at the Market 3/20, and Portland 3/21, all with Sammy Kay and northcote. Tickets for the Seattle date start at $25 and are available on the Showbox calendar!
Guitarist Alex Rosamilia was kind enough to fill me in on how things are on the road, the new record, and Australia’s best Italian food.
Anthony Chang: Hey Alex! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. It looks like you guys are in Baltimore right now. How’s the weather?
Alex Rosamilia: It’s a little chilly, but it’s actually a little warmer than it’s been.
AC: Solid, solid. So it turns out that I won’t be able to make your Seattle date, so I’ll be going up to Vancouver to see you guys. In the meantime, I just have a couple questions about how things are going, how you’re doing, you know, how the band’s going. I guess we’re six months into Get Hurt now, what’s the response been like?
AR: I guess it’s been pretty good. Kids have seemed into the new stuff. I haven’t noticed any kind of negative backlash because of the new record.
AC: That’s good, that’s good. I’m assuming you guys are playing two or three of the new songs at least from the new album every night?
AR: Yea, we try to mix it up and change the setlist every night to, you know, make things different. We change it up a bit but I would say we probably play four or five [of the new songs]. We play for almost two hours, so there’s room for a lot of stuff.
AC: That’s awesome. I know the theme and vibe of the album was a little different. It’s definitely familiar, but it’s hard to describe. It’s different. What was the production and writing process for Get Hurt compared to, say, Handwritten or The 59 Sound?
AR: Our producer, Mike [Crossey], is really into experimenting with stuff and trying different things. Usually we go in as a band and we play the songs, do some overdubs, and that’s kind of it. For this record, we decided to try to pick everything apart and play with other instruments and do things we wouldn’t normally think of doing on a Gaslight record. Thinking outside of the box.
AC: Very cool. As a guitarist, I’m always curious – what gear did you bring into the studio with you, in terms of guitars, amps, or effects?
AR: Let me think… What the hell did I use on the record? Let me think. Yea, I’ve got my 355, which I have on tour with me now. My ’81 Silverburst that I brought with me, and I have an SG that I actually bought in Nashville that I use a little bit. Amps are the same that I have live, an AC-30 and a Marshall, it’s like a JMP combo. I used a lot of pedals, but basically I have two pedalboards: an overdrive/fuzz pedalboard and a delay/reverb pedalboard. [Laughs] I linked the two together, plus we have some songs where we used effects that were in ProTools, so I would play my note and then the note three octaves higher with weird stuff and soundscape-y kind of things and ambient noises would come out.
AC: Word. I always love hearing about gear, so thanks for that! How’s the tour going so far?
AR: Pretty good. I mean, we just started, we’re only on the fourth show, but it’s been pretty good. Really good so far, I should say. The Scandals have been awesome, northcote‘s been really good too. It’s been a good time, good dudes. It’ll be a good tour. By the time we get out to the West Coast it’ll be… I’ll have a better opinion of it. [Laughs] As of now, it’s only been four shows in, so I can say it’s been awesome.
AC: Sounds good to me. I think I saw on your tour dates that you’ve got a pretty big year coming up. North America, Europe, a couple of big fests, how are you feeling?
AR: Yea. Good, man. I mean, yea. It’s just kind of the way it goes. You put out a record, then you gotta tour. The Summer fests are something we’ve been doing for a while now, and it’s kind of like how I spend my Summer vacation almost.
AC: Any particular dates or events you’re looking forward to?
AR: Reading/Leeds is always a good time, that’s toward the end of August. All of those European festivals are pretty cool cause we get to play with bands that we normally wouldn’t get to play with on a regular tour. Not saying I don’t love The Scandals or northcote, but, you know, I like things that don’t sound like The Gaslight too. We’ve never played with The Cure, but I think we’ve found that playing festivals is our way to go do that.
AC: That’s good, really good. I was super bummed cause last time you were playing in Seattle at the Neptune and I was just up the street and somehow didn’t know about the show until it was already over. I’m really looking forward to the Vancouver date.
AR: No worries bud. Commodore’s a cool venue, that’ll be a good show too.
AC: Yea! I’m stoked for it. I’ve never been to a show in Canada, so I think it’ll be a little different. I think I’ll be shooting, actually, so you’ll probably see me running around the photo pit.
AR: It’s not that different. It’ll be okay.
AC: Sounds good. Do you guys have any traditions on the road? I know some bands have must-eat restaurants, or must-go-to sightseeing places, or whatnot.
AR: No, not really. I guess our tradition is we have no tradition. [Laughs] I used to kinda do that stuff just with myself, like, before shows. I dunno, every day is different, you should treat it differently.
AC: That’s a great attitude. I guess one of the bigger questions is… what are some of your favorite recent tour memories, whether it’s with fans, or shows, or cities?
AR: We just got back from Australia, that’s always a good time. Okay, so yea, I ate three times at the same restaurant in 24 hours. And I only ate the same thing. Rigatoni Arrabiata. It’s like this Italian place in Melbourne, Australia, and it’s the best Italian food I’ve ever had in my entire life. There’s no seats, it’s just a bar.
AC: Oh man, standing room only.
AR: Yea, that’s definitely my fondest tour memory of recent times, but that doesn’t include shows, I should say.
AC: Totally. A good meal goes a long way, right?
AR: Yea. Especially three of ’em.
AC: Word. Last question: I know Get Hurt is a little different in sound and style, but at the core of it, it’s still Gaslight. What do you see moving forward for the band? Do you feel like the band is shifting stylistically or in process or anything like that?
AR: I think to be a good band you have to constantly be changing, if not drastically. Constantly moving one way or another. You don’t wanna keep writing the same record over and over and over again. It becomes stale, so I dunno, we’ll see what happens. It usually depends on where we are and what we’ve done on the tour cycle. Usually we’re all on a point where there’s a certain type of music we’re into or something, and that’s kind of what triggers the next one.
AC: Yea, like experience, happenings. Well, that’s all I’ve got, Alex. Thanks, and see you in Vancouver!