There is very gringo things that come to mind at this moment, like hot dog, baseball, truck fights in a stadium and maybe also the rock. certain type of rock which can be defined as a direct expression transforming simple narrative lyrics into the classic structure of guitars, bass, drums and a lead singer.
This would be true if we go back to origin of rockthat according to the Rolling Stones themselves underlies the deep memphis blues. But precisely as the British appear on the scene, then I am not so sure that rock is a product originally from the United States but it is a product that they have been able to transform and sometimes improve in the lands of the hamburger.
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His new album, History Booksis very different from the previous ones, as if seeking a new definition of the group
And I thought this precisely when I was talking to Benny Horowitz, founding drummer from the band The Gaslight Anthemand which summarizes very well how the initial idea of Little Richards for a generation that perhaps no longer even knows who this Richards is.
Benny welcomed me from his home in the peaceful New Jersey and my first question was whether the fact of living and pursuing his career in that American state had any influence on him.
“It’s interesting because it’s not just a geographical factor, since where I grew up I’m half an hour away. NY and 45 minutes from Philadelphiaand if you decide to form a band and start playing in bars you are in a five-hour radius along the entire West Coastincluding Washington, Boston, Baltimore and a number of cities that are a strong possible market. But if you are somewhere else, let’s say Colorado, you have to travel more than a day and a half to find any medium-sized city, and that is a factor when you want to play live music and develop a band. And then there is the cultural issue, since New Jersey It is one of the oldest states and its cities have a long cultural legacy, so it is an advantage to be in this environment where a lot of young people play thanks to the support of their parents who support them. they buy guitars and they let them play in the basement and They promote that they play in high school or university. All of this helps you grow and decide your career,” she says.
When you were young I imagine you had the opportunity to listen to many types of music and bands that you were able to absorb as influences, but what about other cultures? And can you hear the difference between a band from the East and a band from Los Angeles?
The opportunity to be in the cultural center helps you assimilate many cultures but what you mention about the characteristic sound of a band like The Angels you can hear the difference, that specific sound especially vocal because of the accents that come from different cities. But we all share and influence each other together and now thanks to the era of Internet can jump all geographical barriers and share the same feeling, the same idea about what you are experiencing at the moment as a young person and as a musician.
And on stage, can you differentiate audiences from other states or countries?
I think I can understand your question but in terms of the people you play with, because you focus in the same direction as band and you try to achieve sound; that definitely helps when you face the public and create a joint but multicultural communication at the same time, and also between several generations and family nucleiIn the end, a concert is a complete exercise in social interaction.
I listened to your new album, History Booksand I found it very different from the previous ones, it seems to me like a new definition of the group.
I completely agree with you on the terms of creation and complete a sound different from the othersbut keep as The Gaslight Anthem was the main task for this latest production. The wisdom of growing up is realizing that you can’t write a song the same way now as you did when you were 25 years. When we started I was more passionate about my influences, more connected to what was happening then, I drank a lot of soda and exercised little. and it happens like everything that now with time you realize other things that are worthwhile and then you start to diet, to take care of yourself and that rebounds on the band and on how the music transforms with you, along with the sound . I think it is not a unilateral matter, because your audience also changes and with it their interests in what they want to hear. History Books It is an honest attempt at that development that I do not know if it is growth for the better, but only a transformation over time.
The wisdom of growing up is realizing that you can’t write a song the same way now as you did when you were 25.
As a drummer, have you changed over that time? Do you have a faster time now?
Very interesting that you ask! As a drummer I have always tried to discover what the song needs, I am not selfish and impose my sound or my idea but I listen to the guitar, the bass and the lyrics and then I decide what needs to be a better composition. When I was young I listened to punk and that gave a certain speed and musical aggression to my performances and I found it attractive because it filled my need for emotion at that moment.
When I was on stage I played frantically and at the end I felt terribly tired but happy with what I had achieved. Now I don’t want to feel like this, I want to feel good about myself and the band because we did our best., not the fastest or the most aggressive, but the best for our sound. Now I’m less fast but not less aggressive, but more integrated as a drummer.
After five albums and nine years of experience, the band produces an album as an effort to continue its legacy, perhaps linked to the oldest New York punk, but giving it a new breath.
Do you think this album is more mature?
Mmh… I don’t think it’s more mature, because we maintain a constant spirit sense of humor and play like children when we make music. You can feel different albums in your career how you perceive the people in your life change when you grow up… it’s the same, you can feel it and realize the differences. Because Over time you get old and so the recordsIf you are lucky and honest you can raise awareness of that reality and you have the opportunity to learn or deny it to nourish your own life and career and look forward with optimism and not as something negative.
And then the pandemic came and changed us all
It’s true. And more people with survival instinct and defense mechanisms do not really think with this passage of time, and the pandemic brought us so close to death that many do not sensitize that wisdom of getting old… It is a trait that perhaps a generation will have to deal with because It is something that is within us and we have to process it in the best way.
Over time you become old, like records, and if you are lucky and honest you can sensitize that reality and learn to see forward with optimism and not as something negative.
After five albums and nine years of experience, The Gaslight Anthem produces History Books as an effort to continue his legacy linked to the oldest New York punk, but giving new breath to a long career that includes an artistic relationship with Bruce Springsteen, who appears vocally precisely in this new production.
Speaking of the album, how was working with Peter Katis for History Books?
It was fantastic! We had already worked with him before, he already knew us and it was a positive thing to work on disk with the. we had some songs and we went to his study and we show them with a certain perspective of creating a bigger and more open sound by knowing their previous productions with other groups. And we tested and realized that we could take advantage of several previous factors such as some details instrumental and a certain sense of warmth and honesty that give it a great touch.
It’s a great listen because of what we believed in it when we were making this disk without explaining much and gave us his best instincts for the final product. Furthermore, the studio was three hours away by car and for some of us it meant a trip with the family and a few days of work but surrounded by home environments, much better than if we had gone to an old and decrepit castle in Scotland or something similar.
My favorite song was “Little Fires.” Can you tell me a little about it and tell me how you got involved as a drummer?
The most interesting thing about that song, and recently it was a tema on Instagramit’s about him dramatic change of time and people believe that it is something without planning, something fortuitous, which sounds funny, since of course it was something we wanted to do.
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When you’re young you try by all means to keep time throughout the song when you record it and in “Little Fires” At first we thought that we had to be fast but it didn’t fit with the text of the lyrics and so we made it with a fast part and a slow part, just for the fact of doing something very own but also that it turned out to be somewhat random when producing it and giving us realize that we had the courage to do it even if it sounded out of place.
Some things may be very gringo and will never stop having that image for outsiders, thus a certain type of rock is impregnated in a sound that wants to be as powerful as the guitar of Scotty Moore or the screams of Mick jaggerbut wearing proud punk clothes… That’s the sound of The Gaslight Anthem and in the end I was very happy that his personality is so clear and simple but not bland, like this talk with Ben Horowitz, whom I thanked for his time and hospitality since New Jersey.