Gaslight Anthem: 'There's This Natural Inclination For Us to Always Move Forward'

The Gaslight Anthem Readies First Major-Label Debut

Gaslight Anthem's fourth album, "Handwritten," has been out for less than seven months, but the New Jersey group is already getting itchy for some new material.

"We have a fairly short attention span," Benny Horowitz tells Billboard. "We don't rest our laurels on the record we just did. Every time you start touring on a record, it's been done five months before it even came out, so we wrote those songs a long time ago and have been playing them a lot. There's just this natural inclination for us to always move forward and think about what's next. That record is over; we can enjoy touring it, but there's nothing else we can work on for that record, so we just keep thinking about what's next."

Gaslight Anthem released one new song, "Halloween," as part of its end-of-year fan club 7-inch, and Horowitz says there are a couple others that the group started during its holiday break. He expects the road, and particularly sound checks, to be fertile territory for adding to the pile.

"Once we're a week into the tour we usually just start writing songs because we've been playing the 'Handwritten' stuff live so much," he explains. "We have plenty of time to sound check, so it's a great time to start to get some (new) stuff going."

Horowitz and his mates are hardly tired of "Handwritten," however. The set netted Gaslight Anthem its best chart showing ever, with a No. 3 debut on the Billboard 200.

"That's just crazy," Horowitz says. "Honestly, even four years ago if you told me that was going to happen I would have told you to go f*** yourself. Y'know, when I was a kid my mom, who's an old rock 'n' roll collector, had this old copy of the Billboard chart and at No. 1 is 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' by Queen, and it's signed by Freddie Mercury. It's just this great piece of memorabilia. But it got me thinking about how wild it might be if, like 25 years from now, on somebody's wall is the Billboard chart that has our album at No.3. It might never happen, but it's so cool to think about."

Horowitz, meanwhile, co-wrote and co-directed a video for the title track, collaborating with regular Gaslight Anthem go-to Kevin Slack.

"Through the course of writing the video we decided it would be cool to make a short film out of it, which was really cool," Horowitz says. "I'm, like, an amateur writer and cinephile, but I've never done anything like that before. So I was super stressed-out by the whole thing -- I'm just the drummer in a band, y'know? But it was a unique opportunity to have an idea and run with it. I don't have an presumptions that I'm great at this or even really know what the f*** I'm doing, but I'm enjoying it, and I think there's more coming, maybe even a feature (film)."

For the near future, however, Horowitz will be spending more time on the drum stool than in the director's chair. Gaslight Anthem, which wrapped up its current North American tour on March 9, will now travel to Europe through early April, returning to play the Coachaella Valley Music & Arts Festival and some other U.S. dates before then heading to Australia in May, and then back to Europe.


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