Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon knows the New Jersey rockers will be on the road until at least October supporting Handwritten, their breakthrough album released this year. After that, it will be the perfect opportunity to start writing songs for the next record.
"I think some bands stop and they're just like, 'Oh, we made a record, time to make another record.' But you lose something in that," Fallon told Rolling Stone backstage at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Xmas in Los Angeles. "If you start writing your songs now, you've got essentially a year to get all the bullshit out of the way – like all the songs where you're like, 'That's too weird, I don't like that.'"
Fallon is definitely okay with "weird" on this next record. "We're searching for something new to do with songwriting, rather than just piecing together verses and choruses in more of a traditional sense," he said. "We're looking for some other thing – not some other genre, but something else. And it might not be the favorite of everyone, but [it] might be the 'weird' album coming up. I'm pretty sure it is." Then again, he isn't willing to call his shot just yet. "Every time I end up saying what I think it always ends up being different."
Drummer Benny Horowitz agrees that the band should branch out on their next record. "It's also part of not resting on your laurels and thinking you did something so good that you don't have to push anymore," he added. "We always think what we do is pretty good when we make it and then we get over it pretty fast and start looking for something else to be inspired by."
Fallon has found his inspiration. "I want to do the No Code record, that one," he said, mentioning Pearl Jam's fourth album. "They did these three rock records, and [then] they all of a sudden went left turn. And everybody went, 'What the hell?' Then later, five years, they went, 'This is amazing.'"
When it comes to the idea of how to evolve in sound and take risks, Pearl Jam is up there at the top of Fallon's muses. "Pearl Jam, Neil Young, those are my big two as far as, 'I don't care at all what people think, this is what I'm doing,'" he said. "It's not that they don't care about their audience – they're searching for something inside."
He also sees Pearl Jam as an influence in putting together tours, having seen them play with X, Bad Religion and Social Distortion, among others. Gaslight are adopting that model of taking out both new and old bands they admire. Next year they've got dates booked with Bouncing Souls and some with Cory Branan.
"I think the idea is to maybe take an audience that doesn't know about those bands and kind of reintroduce them," Fallon said. "And Bouncing Souls are one of them, sure."
"It's cool to put bands like that, bands that you love," on the bill, Horowitz added. "And we also feel a responsibility at this point – people have to pay pretty good money to come to our shows now, and it's important to put together bands that are fun for people to see, and good bands."
Gaslight Anthem have another refreshing reason behind their philosophy of being good to fellow artists. "We've been in a good position the last few years where we did pretty well and a lot of people want to come see our shows, so we have the liberty to do that. Maybe on our way down they'll help us out," Horowitz said. "Don't fuck with people if you're doing well – they'll smack you on the way back down."
"Gotta treat them nice, because you'll meet them again," Fallon added.