“I missed the Eighties,” Jack Antonoff told us backstage before his band Bleachers’ gig at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, “because I wasn’t really conscious” (he was born in 1984). So the Nineties became the defining musical experience of his youth. “[It was] a great time, because you’d walk down the street and [music] would be a common conversation amongst people. They’d all be talking about Smashing Pumpkins, or Nirvana,” he said. The rise of rap-metal splintered the scene, but Antonoff has always longed for that common bond that brought music fans from all walks of life together. “I just wanted to write from a perspective of not being apologetic about anything sounding mainstream,” he explained.
With Bleachers, Antonoff has actually melded the sounds of the Eighties with the ethos of the Nineties — bringing together synth-rock and the big-tent philosophy. And having grown up playing in punk bands but also spinning Springsteen, he now realizes the commonality between the two: “Now that I look back, I think they have a similar energy. That it’s all about the crowd.”
Both with his other band fun. and Bleachers, Antonoff is a live powerhouse, so Rolling Stone filmed the band’s Cosmopolitan set and we’re bringing you the best clips today. Watch “I Wanna Get Better” above, plus “Like a River Runs” and “Shadow” below. And keep watching — our interviews with Antonoff cover everything from his love of Yaz (he big-ups “anything you could dance to or weep to”) to his ideal supergroup (Jack White on drums, Tom Waits on guitar and Paul McCartney on bass) to the wackiest calls he’s gotten on the Bleachers Hotline (“We’ve gotten some heavy breathing”).
“Like a River Runs”
Interview: Antonoff on the Nineties and His Dream Supergroup
Interview: Antonoff on the Bleachers Hotline