Brian Fallon says a No. 16 debut for "American Slang," the Gaslight Anthem's new album, on the Billboard 200 was unexpected. In fact, he says the New Jersey quartet expected more pans than praises.
"We this album we're like, 'Well, this is what we want to do,' but we didn't know if it's what other people wanted," Fallon tells Billboard.com. "We figured we'd probably get beaten up and kicked down the street by people going, 'This isn't like the last record [2008's 'The '59 Sound']. This isn't that good.' That's what they normally do, y'know? So we were just waiting for the repercussions."
As to why the reaction has been favorable, Fallon says, "I have absolutely no idea. I don't know what anyone wants out of us." Instead of worrying about that, he explains, Fallon simply followed the lead of his "secret box of influences" -- Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and Neil Young, among others, who Fallon says "just kind of went at the world full on and did things their own way. A lot of times people hated them for it, and they took a ton of backlash, but I think you can find a lot of good guidance there -- just kind of barrel through it, and you'll be OK."
Fallon can also look to fellow Garden State native Bruce Springsteen as an example, but Gaslight Anthem is already getting that comparison quite a bit on "American Slang." And Fallon views that with ambivalence.
"There's so much else that we look at for our sound and influences that you don't want to be notched in with one guy," Fallon explains. "There's a lot of things he does that I admire. We come from a lot of the same places but a lot of different places, too. But at the same time, that's a good thing to be compared to. I think it's one of those things we're gonna have to wear until it wears out." And that time might not come too soon with Fallon's guest appearance on "No Surrender" from Springsteen's new DVD, "London Calling Live in Hyde Park" -- which Fallon says he still hasn't seen.
"When I heard the DVD was coming out, I thought for sure he'd delete that -- why would he put me in his DVD, y'know?. But his lawyers called and said, 'Would it be cool to put you in the DVD?'
"It was really fun," Fallon adds. "He's a cool guy; I don't really know him, but what I know of him, he's cool. that was what we all took from it -- 'Wow, you can be that famous and still be kind of cool and normal.' "
The Gaslight Anthem is on the road in North America through Aug. 5 before starting a European festival tour on Aug. 11 in Oslo, Norway. The group will play a handful of other U.S. dates in the early fall -- including the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 9 -- before heading back to Europe.