Gig Review :: The Gaslight Anthem – Academy 1, Manchester – 24/06/10

We had the greatest expectations…

It was an up and down day really for the Gaslight gig. After seeing a band play as hard as Hot Water Music just days before, it’d be hard for any band to impress me. This wasn’t helped by the exchange Ian and I had with Brian Fallon pre-gig either. All that aside, I’d been told to expect a good show from the New Jersey boys and that’s what we got – a good show. Nothing amazing, but it was far from bad.

Now I don’t want people thinking I’m hating on the band, the music they make is really good and they showed that on stage at Manchester’s Academy 1. A place I’ve not seen that packed in quite some time. The crowd was ready and the band were definitely up for it. The thing is, something was missing. There wasn’t that spark that’s needed to take over a room. There was no energy to the performance. Musically the band were great, but they seemed static throughout. Not to say that they’re lazy, but Brian barely moved throughout the whole set and even had a bit of a moan about his setlist.

Speaking of the setlist, it was great. There was something for everyone in there and, honestly, it was everything a Gaslight fan would want. A good mix of songs from each of their albums, and a lot of them too. There was even a cover of The Who classic ‘Baba O’Reilly’ in there for the older members of the audience. The highlights came in the form of ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Boxer’ and ‘The Spirit Of Jazz’. Three great songs played really well. However, the band seemed fairly sloppy for the most part. Then again, when compared to Chuck Ragan and Co., that seems inevitable.

Overall the show was good and I’d definitely recommend that you go and see them live. However their live show is just that – a show. I couldn’t really call this a performance def. They played ok and the crowd loved it, but I know, and I think they know, they can do better. They’re back touring the UK in October.

Album Review :: The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

Have we got our album of the year already?

Virtually unknown up until a few years ago, New Jersey natives The Gaslight Anthem have become one of the premiere bands in the world today. Their sophomore release, The ’59 Sound, was one of the best albums of 2008 and now the boys are back and they’ve brought another fantastic record with them.

American Slang is definitely a step forward for the four-piece, who’ve gone from strength to strength with each release, and is bound to be one of the albums of 2010.

The album opens with the title track and, from the off, you can hear how the band has progressed since their previous release. American Slang is definitely showcasing a more mature Gaslight, and a band more in tune with their influences.

There’s more a hint of The Clash on this record, something that’s certainly not a bad thing. Brian Fallon had equated Gaslight’s progression with that of the British punk band in the past and, despite appearing somewhat arrogant, he’s not wrong. London Calling showcased The Clash at their best after a good second release. Could this be an omen?

As Clash-laced as this album may be, there’s also a distinct R&B/Soul influence too. On tracks like ‘The Diamond Church Street Choir’ this becomes immediately apparent. It’s a nice change in pace, and that track in particular quickly became one of my favourites.

All this talk of influences aside, American Slang is a fantastic album that bridges the generic gap. Whatever you’re into, there’s something for you here. It’s a definite progression for the band and one of the finest albums of 2010.

Stand up and take notice.

Interview :: Chris Farren – Fake Problems

“LOST LOST LOST” – Christopher Farren (2010)

<3

As some of you might have noticed, in our past few interviews we’ve been giving mention to a band called Fake Problems quite a bit. More specifically, we’ve been calling out the band’s lead singer, Chris Farren. This isn’t due to any spite or ill will on our part. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that we like Chris and the music he and his band make a whole lot. Sit tight people, there’s a story behind this one. Then again, isn’t there always?

It all started back in October of last year. Frank Turner was back on tour and, being the big Turner fans we are, we went to watch him in Manchester. As expected, we had a bit to drink. A fair bit of alcohol was consumed pre-gig and we continued until Frank left the stage at about 11pm. We happened upon Chris and co at the merch booth and so the drunken ramblings began – drunken ramblings being our forte. From there, we spoke to the guys in Wolverhampton 3 days later and now Chris has become our Facebook friend and somewhat of a muse for us when it comes to interview questions. We might slag him off, but it’s all in jest. We thought it might be time to let him get his own back, so we organised an interview. On our third attempt in three days, we finally pulled it off.

Through the powers of the internet (you’ve gotta love Skype) we were able to talk to Chris and ask him a load of stuff that’s not to do with music, some stuff about music and even perform a duet.

I think it’s safe to say, we love you Chris Farren <3

Disclaimer: If it sounds like a bullshit, jokey question. It probably is.


Ian Critchley: Are you ready Mr. Farren?

Chris Farren: Yes. Completely ready?

Anthony Barlow: Where the hell have you been? We want to know.

CF: Yeah…I was writing a song actually.

AB: Was it about us?

CF: Yes.

IC: *laughs*

AB: Oh, that’s brilliant. I can’t wait.

CF: You’re gonna love it.

AB: It doesn’t include any LOST references, does it?

CF: Yeah. It’s kinda LOST, if it was the three of us.

AB: Brilliant.

AB & IC: *laughs*

IC: Is this actually recording now?

AB: Yeah, this is recording.

IC: Oh right, great,

AB: Anything you do or say…

IC: May be given in evidence. We best get on with the questions then. Right, to the disappointment of many you’ve canceled your 2010 UK tour. Do you think the LOST finale is a good enough reason to cancel a tour?

CF: Well y’know. We can’t be just willy nilly walking around playing shows when the world as we know it could potentially be ending. Y’know, I don’t even think the LOST finale is going to air when we we were supposed to be there so that’s a little flawed accusation that you guy’s are throwing out there.

AB: Are you calling us out now? You do realise, by doing this, you’re also calling out a certain Mr. Turner?

CF: Well ok, I read the interview and you guys baited that. He was like ‘ok, I don’t know what the fuck you guys are talking about, but whatever’

AB: He did it in exactly that voice as well

CF: Yeah ok *stereotypical English accent* ‘Oh ‘ello, I don’t know…’

AB & IC: *laughs*

CF: That’s my best English accent

AB: Yeah, ok we kinda did bait it. You would’ve missed a fair bit of LOST if you’d have come to the UK. So we were kinda right.

CF: That’s true, so yeah you are kinda right.

IC: Has it been rescheduled, the tour, or has it been caneled?

CF: Well it’s officially canceled, but we’re definitely gonna come back. It’s not like we’re sworn off the UK. We just need to figure out when it’s gonna work out the best for everybody.

AB: Do you reckon it’s gonna be any time in 2010?

CF: If it’s in 2010, I would say we’ll probably be supporting another band. It’s a secret, a huge band.

AB: Can you not tell us who that secret, huge band is?

CF: Secret.

AB: Not even off the record?

CF: Nope, because I don’t trust you. I just can’t do it.

AB: We’re impossible to trust, obviously.

IC: I was speaking to someone about the band and they said you were “like a punked-up version of The Eels”. How’d you feel about that comparison?

CF: That’s cool. It’s pretty good, I like that. Have you guys seen that Eels documentary, where that guy looks for his dad or he talks about his dad? What’s his balls from the Eels, his dad is like a chemist or something. He was like a famous physicist and he invented some crazy idea and the whole thing is about the guy from The Eels dicking around.

AB: It sounds brilliant, I can’t wait to see this.

CF: It’s good. I’m not really selling it that well, but it’s good.

AB: Can we expect any documentaries about you and/or Fake Problems dicking around?

CF: I guess only unauthorised biographies and documentaries. I mean, people are just pounding down our door for stuff like that all the time.

IC: We’ll make it!

AB: Yeah, can we option the movie rights to ‘Dicking Around With Fake Problems’?

CF: Yeah. Perfect.

AB: Oh, it’ll be good. We’ll get Tom Gabel to play you.

CF: Perfect. He’ll totally do it. You know why? Because we look alike and we sound alike. Right?

AB: Definitely. There were comparisons made In Manchester, by me when I was very drunk.

CF: I’ve heard.

AB: You were there, I was speaking to you.

CF: *laughs*

AB: Anyway, if you do come back to the UK It’s not you I want to see. It’s John Berna.

CF: Yeah. I just saw John Berna last night.

AB: Did you? I’m jealous.

CF: He was fun. He was fucking fun.

IC: Barlow’s got a man crush on him.

AB: I kinda have. I tried to ask him for words of wisdom in Wolverhampton. Couldn’t get him.

CF: Yeah, we were at the bar last night, or the ‘pub’ as you would call it, and he came out of a bathroom and some guy held the door for him and said “There you go, Conor Oberst”. I don’t know if you know what Conor Oberst looks like and what John Berna looks like, but they don’t look anything alike.

IC: No, they don’t.

AB: Not at all.

CF: That was funny. We had a chuckle about that one.

IC: Do you still want to cover the LOST theme song?

CF: Yeah. I could give you a sample right now. Pretty good, huh?

AB & IC: *laughs*

CF: Oh, and the end theme song.

AB & IC: *laughs*

IC: Just start and finish the new album with them two.

AB: We’ve got it recorded, I’ll just send you the MP3, it’ll be alright.

CF: Actually, Derek had an idea where we, since people don’t really buy records any more, y’know because of downloading

AB: They just steal them

CF: They just steal them. Which is cool, I do it too. I do it all the time. I just did it yesterday, I’m actually doing it right now whilst I’m talking to you.

IC: We’ll buy your albums, don’t worry.

CF: Thank you.

IC: I bought one of your vinyl’s in Manchester, to give to a fit girl.

CF: Nice.

AB: You signed it as well and she seemed pretty happy with it.

IC: I didn’t get laid.

CF: How did that work out?

IC: Not very well, she had a boyfriend. Ah, well.

CF: Well I’m sure they’re enjoying it, the record, together.

IC: *laughs*

CF: I don’t even remember what I was talking about. Oh, Derek had an idea where we sell ad space in the record. So we give little commercials for products between songs in the actual records. So, you might hear some little jingles between songs on the next record. We’ll see how it works out.

AB: If you were to do that, who would you pick?

CF: McDonalds, Pepsi, Coke, Burger King. Maybe a movie that’s coming out. Iron Man 3.

AB: The thing is, that wouldn’t really work in the long run.

CF: In the long run, you’re right. It’s all about instant gratification these days.

IC: What’s the new album called? Has it got a name yet?

CF: I’m just wondering if I should tell you.

IC: Tell us or die!

CF: Alright , I think we’re gonna call it Real Ghosts Caught On Tape.

IC: That’s not from that YouTube video where they’re having a fight with a quilt on their head is it?

CF: It’s from a bunch of different YouTube videos.

AB: Are you really gonna call it Real Ghosts Caught On Tape?

CF: I think so.

AB: I like it.

IC: That’s a wicked name, yeah.

AB: Can you mention us in the liner notes?

CF: Erm…yes. You might not be able to read it, it might be a code people have to decipher. It’ll work out.

IC: The thought will be there.

CF: Yeah, for sure. Hey, if you guys wanna buy some ad space on the record, let me know.

AB & IC: *laughs*

AB: We must mention that the reason this interview isn’t being done face-to-face is that you have placed restraining orders on us.

CF: Oh yeah, of course.

AB: You know, what with all the Facebook slagging we do. Do you enjoy that?

CF: Oh yeah. I really like any attention I can get, so…

AB: When’s the new album coming out? We need to know.

CF: Well we’re gonna record it in May and June. Which would probably put it out in September. Worst case scenario, would be November.

AB: So we can expect it two weeks before the release date on the Pirate Bay then?

CF: Yes. Hopefully, two weeks. The way things are going things are leaking three months in advance.

AB: Yeah, the new Against Me! album got that treatment. Going back to Tom Gabel.

CF: And Gaslight.

AB: Oh yeah, Gaslight leaked. Is that what you’re downloading now?

CF: No, I already downloaded it. It’s really good. It’s really freaking good. Not to encourage anyone to download illegally, but it’s freaking awesome.

IC: Sweet. I’ve got, kind of, a serious question…

CF: Oh, no.

IC: …On It’s Great To Be Alive, there seems to be a lot of references to heaven and hell and all that kinda stuff. Are you religious at all?

CF: No. Not at all. I was raised with religion, but you kinda smarten up after a little bit.

AB: Yeah, you realise God’s not real and Jesus was a carpenter.

CF: Yeah, if even.

IC: He might’ve been a good carpenter though, you don’t know. You might want to worship him if you needed a good table.

AB: Who would you rather have make you a table. Jesus or Chuck Ragan?

CF: Chuck Ragan.

IC: Yeah, definitely.

AB: We talked to him for a bit, about building houses a few weeks ago.

CF: He’s awesome too.

IC: Who do you think would win in a fight between Chuck Ragan, Henry Rollins and a shark?

CF: A shark?

IC: Yeah

CF: Umm…Chuck Ragan

AB: Any reason?

CF: He’s just so nice, y’know. He’d be able to talk everybody out of it, even the shark.

AB: So he’d just calm Rollins down…

IC: And put the shark back in the ocean, I guess.

CF: *laughs* Yeah. Wait, are they in water or are they out of water?

IC: I suppose they’d have to be in water, otherwise the shark would die. They’d have limited movement in the water though.

CF: It’s hard to fight in water.

IC: Yeah, they’d have to find a way around it, so it was equal.

CF: Maybe, in space?

IC: Yeah

AB: It’d be like the whale on the moon in South Park.

IC: Who came up with idea for the Diamond Rings video?

CF: We came up with the idea that we wanted blacklight stuff. Josh, the ex-drummer of Look Mexico, came up with all the storyline. Well Josh and a couple of other guys, he has a music video team or whatever and they came up with the concept and everything.

AB: So that’d be Josh Mikel.

CF: Yes sir. Shark guts. What is it? Shark barf. Shark guts. He’s an artist, he does art.

AB: That’s who Frank Turner was impersonating in your tour video, isn’t it?

CF: Yes. Exactly.

AB: Quite awesomely. I’ve never heard Josh Mikel speak, but I bet it’s exactly like that.

CF: *laughs* It’s pretty much like that, but it’s not so nasally.

AB: Going back to the wonderful topic of violence, who would you like to fight more than anyone else in the world?

CF: Oh god.

AB: See we think we know.

IC: It’s us, isn’t it?

CF: No. You guys. No, I’m not a fighter. I can’t think of that many people that I’d really beat up or could beat up *laughs*

AB: Crazy Arm think they could take you.

CF: *laughs*

IC: Yeah, they said that. A lot of UK people, it’s a lot more mouth than action.

CF: There was a guy, I forget his name, yeah I lost it. There was a guy when we were on the Frank Turner tour in the UK. He tweeted something about us and I saw it and it made me mad. It was mean. When I found the tweet we were still at the show and I ran around shouting his name, looking for him. We went up on stage with Frank at the end of every show, to do Photosynthesis and I wrote his name on my chest and I lifted my shirt up. Phil Singer, his name is Phil Singer.

IC: Find him on Facebook and insult him loads!

CF: Yeah, that works. He was there doing press or something, for some magazine or crap.

IC: Did you kick his ass?

CF: No, and I wouldn’t have. I’d have just made him feel bad.

AB: People like that annoy me a lot.

CF: I don’t understand people who just feel like they have to be mean.

AB: I know. We got ten minutes, drunk, in a corridor with Brendan Kelly the other week and I forgot to ask your question. We did actually question him in the pub afterwards and he does want to party with you, he also thinks he could fight you.

CF: Nice. Did you say he does or does not want to party with me?

IC: He does.

CF: So he wants to party with me and then he’s gonna end up fighting me?

IC: He must be a violent drunk.

AB: He was a really nice drunk.

CF: He’s a really nice guy. Smart as hell too.

AB: Do you enjoy kitten huffing?

CF: Kitten huffing?

IC: Yeah, I sent a link to you on Facebook. It’s basically snorting kittens. Using them as drugs, basically.

CF: I didn’t see that. It sounds great though. I love kittens, that’s for sure.

AB: We’ve seen the amazing Facebook pictures.

CF: Yeah. I don’t even have an iPhone, but that’s an app for the iPhone called Cat Paint. It’s awesome. I had Casey, who has an iPhone, take a picture of me and then put cats on me.

AB: *laughs* here’s one for you, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen on Chatroulette?

CF: Umm….not a dick. Maybe any time I don’t see a penis, I think it’s weird.

AB: Yeah, I tried to use it once and was bombarded.

CF: Yeah, that’s all there is really. It’s just dick roulette. Nob roulette, that’s what you guys call them isn’t it? Nobs.

AB: Have you ever seen anything normal on there then?

CF: Hmm…let me think. Well, we were all hanging out on there, there was four of us, and we came across four other people who looked like they were doing exactly the same thing we were doing, so I think that was pretty normal.

AB: An alternate reality?

CF: Yeah, a flash sideways.

IC: They were in a band called Pake Froblems.

AB: False Conundrums

CF: *laughs* Yep.

AB: I was trying to figure out all the ones we saw whilst you were on tour with Frank.

CF: Different takes on Fake Problems? Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of them.

IC: It’s Frank’s tour manager that does that, doesn’t he?

CF: Yeah, he does that.

IC: Sits there, messing about with people’s names.

AB: Have you ever thought about doing a Ben Folds, play live via Chatroulette?

CF: Yeah, but I don’t think that many people would be very interested in that *laughs*

IC: SideOneDummy have been adding songs to the ‘Rock Band’ videogame. Do you think that you’ll be on it any time soon?

CF: Yeah, definitely. I mean, our friends, Look Mexico just got on there. So I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. We haven’t really campaigned for it, but we’ve been so busy writing the record we haven’t really worried about stuff like that. There will definitely be a time when we go full gear back into getting our name into everything we can.

AB: Well we can get Fake Problems’ name in and around Manchester.

IC: Yeah, we’ll just take a pen and write your MySpace address down on walls in huge letters.

CF: Yeah, just write it or you could walk around with an iPod and headphones and be like ‘wanna hear something?’

AB & IC: *laughs*

CF: That’s what a lot of bands do at Warped Tour, I found out. They go around, trying to sell their CDs, with an iPod with a record on it and go ‘you wanna hear this?’ and then all these 15 year old girls listen to it and go ‘oh my god’. So that’s pretty cool, I guess.

IC: Yeah, it seems like a good way to do it.

AB: Aren’t you playing the Warped Tour this year?

CF: Yep, the whole thing.

AB: Cool. [Alkaline] Trio are playing as well aren’t they?

CF: Yep, there’s a couple of good bands playing. A lot of bad ones…

AB: Go on, name some of the bad ones

CF: Oh man. Oh man. What if I just name the good ones?

IC: No. We’re trying to get you in trouble.

CF: Yeah, I know you are.

AB: That’s actually part of the job description.

CF: Hey, Everclear’s playing. That’s cool. “Father of mine..”. Remember that band, from the 90’s?

IC: I don’t think I’ve ever heard them.

CF: Did you guys have ‘the 90’s’ in the UK?

IC: We had a, kind of, 90’s dance thing and it was pretty terrible.

AB: We also has Oasis

IC: Yeah, Oasis. That wasn’t good.

CF: Oasis, you’ve still got them.

AB: No we haven’t, they’ve split up.

IC: Yeah. Thank fuck.

CF: Bring Me The Horizon, have you heard of them?

IC: Yeah, they’re terrible.

CF: They look…funny.

IC: *laughs* They’re such a terrible band. I went to a club onnce and the singer was there. I thought it was someone that just looked like him and I was gonna go over and say: “you look like that dickhead, from that band” and it turns out it was him. I was gutted.

CF: Did you say it?

IC: No, I wish I did though. I didn’t think it was actually him.

CF: I’m just gonna look through these pictures and tell you who, I think, look the funniest. You Me At Six, you’ve heard of them, huh?

IC: Yeah, I’ve heard of them.

CF: They’re from there. You know, they don’t look that funny. I just brought them up because you have something in common. The Swellers, they’re cool. Have you heard of them?

AB & IC: No.

CF: They are a band. Flatliners, have you heard of them?

IC: Yeah, I’ve heard of them.

CF: Dillinger Escape Plan? They’re cool.

IC: Yeah. Didn’t you support Dillinger?

CF: Yeah, we did a whole tour with them and Thursday. It was awesome

IC:  You, Dillinger and Thursday? That seems like a really weird mixture.

CF: It was very strange. So there you go.

AB & IC *laughs*

CF: What do you guys make of Ska? It’s a bit silly isn’t it?

IC: I like some ska. RX Bandits are good, but they’re not really ‘ska’ any more.

CF: They’re not really a ska band are they? They’re kinda like a prog rock band, I’ve heard.

IC: They kinda…grew up a bit.

CF: I’ve never heard them, but I’ve heard a lot about them.

IC: They’re a good band.

This went on for some time and much fun was had by all. However, to save your sanity, we’ll skip ahead a bit.

CF: Is this really condusive to the interview, me just listing off all of these funny looking bands? *laughs*

AB: We’ll make it look cool.

We continued for some time more…

CF: Attack Attack. That’s a band. That’s a funny band, right?

AB: We saw them

IC: Oh yeah, they were at that Go:Audio gig. It was such a bad gig.

CF: Go:Audio? Oh, Go:Audio.

IC: It’s like 14-year old girl music.

CF: Sounds great.

AB: Why were we there?

And now we can get back to something a little more interesting…

IC: There was that video on YouTube, I can’t remember what the company was, but there’s an acoustic version of ‘Heart BPM’ and you’re wearing, like, a tank top.

AB: Issue Oriented.

CF: I’m not wearing a tank top. It’s kinda like a blue sweater-vest. It’s called a sweater-vest.

IC: I learnt how to play that song from that video all by myself, are you proud of me?

CF: Yep. Even the extremely intricate intro? *laughs*

IC: Yeah, well that was the hard bit.

CF: That’s fucking sweet.

IC: It’s the only song I’ve ever just worked out how to play on my own.

CF: Yeah man.

IC: I’m gonna cover it and get famous off it. We should both play it…

You can hear Chris & Ian’s duet here. However, the recording doesn’t do it justice.

CF: Wow. That was awesome.

IC: *laughs* That was really good, I liked that. That’s proper just made my week.

CF: Skype jam sesh for ya.

IC: I’m gonna go up to girls now and say ‘I played guitar with Chris Farren over the internet’. I won’t even say it was over the internet.

CF: I can’t believe how there’s no delay. Skype, huh?

AB: Yeah. Introducing you to new technologies. How do you feel about Frank Turner’s mum thinking you were gay?

CF: Yeah, what’s the deal with that? I guess…Maybe I dress kinda gay. I don’t know. I’ve got to take a step back from myself and re-examine my choices I’ve made. I don’t know, oh well. You know what, it adds a little bit to the band, if people think I’m gay, so that’s cool.

AB: I have to admit, I thought the white skinny jeans you were wearing at the Manchester show made you look kinda gay.

Told you they were white!

CF: *sighs* They weren’t white, they were tan.

AB: I’m sorry, but they were white.

IC: *laughs* ‘It’s not a pink t-shirt, it’s salmon’

CF: *laughs*

IC: It’s fucking pink, dude.

CF: Whatever

IC: On your Facebook, it says you’re in a relationship. Are you taller than your girlfriend?

CF: Yes. Slightly.

IC: You are. That doesn’t help me.

CF: I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t, no way.

AB: That’s actually a question we asked Brendan Kelly about Tom Gabel, if he’s taller than Heather.

IC: Apparently, the guy’s really tall. I didn’t think he was.

CF: He’s really fucking tall.

IC: I didn’t think he was. I thought he was really short.

CF: No way, Jose. Do you guys say ‘No way, Jose’?

AB: We can do. We could bring it back.

IC: Not regularly, but I have done.

CF: Great.

IC: Do you think that the smoke cloud from the Icelandic volcano could actually be the smoke moster?

CF: That’s the first thing I thought, actually, when I heard about it. The world and JJ Abrams have, somehow, lined up together to make the LOST finale something really special.

IC: It’s not just a show anymore.

CF: It’s actually going to be the apocalypse.

AB: Oh god. Oh yeah, if you were Bono for a day, would you do us all a favor and shoot yourself in the face?

CF: No, I would transfer a lot of money to myself, as me, and then maybe…hmm. I wouldn’t shoot myself, sorry. You’d have to keep it going with Bono, but I’d do some really embarrassing things on his behalf.

AB: Is it even possible to be more embarrassing than Bono already is?

CF: Oh man, you’re right. I don’t know. Actually, the secret band that I was talking about is U2.

IC: *laughs*

CF: Yeah, we’re U2’s backing band.

AB: Oh no, that means I have to buy U2 tickets.

IC: They’re supporting you.

CF: Yeah, exactly. They’re trying to get back to their roots.

AB & IC: *laughs*

AB: Why are the rest of the band not in this interview?

CF: Because they’re not here, I guess. That’s the flat out truth of it. I think Sean’s here, but I think he would think it was weird that I was doing this so I’m gonna keep it to myself.

IC: Are you like the ‘nerd’ of the band?

CF: Yeah, definitely. Well…Derek’s somewhere out there too.

AB: Derek won’t add us on Facebook

IC: Yeah, it’s not so much that he won’t, he just hasn’t.

AB: I think he’s seen all the stuff we’ve sent you Chris and he’s like ‘Fuck that’.

CF: *laughs*

AB: Oh yeah, here’s one. How tricky of a dick is the music business?

CF: It’s a pretty tricky dick, to be honest. I won’t go into specifics, but it’s a tricky dick sometimes. Everything’s cool, but things can be annoying.

AB: Is there anything you’d like us to ask you about?

CF: No. I can’t think of anything. Y’see, that’s not my job. Is it?

All: *laughs*

AB: Technically, that would be my job. I just thought that maybe you’d want to promote something

CF: Fake Problems.

AB: Fair enough. How about this then, recommend us some music. Recommend the world some music.

CF: See, everything I like right now is not out yet and it would be…

IC: Promoting illegal downloading.

CF: Not responsible of me to promote the things I want to promote.

AB: Well, being a music industry person, surely it wouldn’t be looked down upon if, say, you recommended us Frank Turner’s new album.

CF: He has a new record coming out?

AB: No but, if he did and it was coming out next week and you told us about it, people wouldn’t be too bothered would they?

CF: If he had a new record coming out, and I was the only person that knew about it, I don’t think that would be a good thing for him.

IC: Not very good promotion.

AB: Frank Turner’s personal mix tape to Chris Farren.

CF: That would be cool.

IC: It’d be really nice though, if he wrote an album just for you.

AB: I think he should do that. Would you not want ‘Chris’ Song’, no? It’d be along the same lines as ‘Dan’s Song’

CF: That’d be cool. I was there when he wrote ‘Dan’s Song’. How about that, guys?

IC: Really?

CF: Yep. I was in the freaking room with him.

IC: *laughs* A slice of musical history, right there.

CF: He recorded a demo of it on his laptop. In front of my freaking face. It was awesome. And you know that else, he didn’t have a harmonica. No, he did have a harmonica, but it was in the wrong key and, somehow, he recorded the harmonica solo and changed the key it was in on his computer.

IC: Good ol’ ProTools.

CF: Yeah, I want that.

AB: Awesome. This interview feels quite awkward, why is that?

IC: I think it’s because it’s not face-to-face. It’s impersonal. At least it’s not over email. Finally, we have a reader question for you. This comes from Ellie.

CF: A reader of what, your Facebook page? *laughs*

IC: No, she’s a reader of the website.

AB: Well she’s obviously a reader of Facebook, because of the question

IC: Good point. Ellie Asks: “Why did you agree to do an interview with two people who are constantly slagging you off?”

CF: Oh, because…hmm. Because I feel like you guys are not really hostily slagging me off so.. *laughs*. You know what? Even if you were, i’d have probably done it anyway. Like I said, I really like attention.

AB: Well you know we love you really *laughs*

IC: I’ll draw a picture for you. I don’t know what of but… I’ll draw it of a kitten.

AB: Is that kitten being huffed?

IC: Yeah, it’s a kitten being smoked.

CF: What do you guys think of Australian accents? How much do you feel it’s different from your own? Like a lot different? See, I equate it to how we look at the Canadian accent.

IC: I think that’s a big difference though.

CF: You think that’s a big difference?

IC: American and Canadian, yeah I can tell the difference.

CF: Yeah, there’s definitely some serious Canadians out there.

AB: Are there any jovial Canadians out there?

CF: They’re all jovial. They’re all really nice.

IC: Are we on to Canadian racism now?

CF: No, actually, I think it’s a stereotype, but Canadians are really freaking nice. Except, one time, we got heckled because I wore a shirt that said ‘Canada Eh?’ on it. I guess I said some derogatory things about Canadians. I just thought that they were really nice. They didn’t take kindly to that.

IC: What’s this about you getting arrested on a strip club roof?

CF: Not a strip club, it was a strip mall. Like a bunch of different shops.

IC: Oh right, I read that one totally wrong *laughs*

AB: I think it would’ve made a more interesting story, had it been a strip club.

CF: Yeah, it would’ve been. But, yeah we were just on a roof and the people below us thought it was bad that we were on the roof, so they called the cops and we got arrested.

AB: You got sent to anger management, didn’t you?

CF: Yeah, which doesn’t make any sense.

AB: Well you must’ve been angry if you were up on that roof.

CF: *laughs*

IC: That’s just like where angry people hang out.

CF: Yeah

AB: If you’re angry, get on a roof. At least we’ll know then.

CF: *laughs*

AB: Have you ever had any mishaps in the UK? I was reading about a turkey flying through the windscreen of your van. Then I found a video on YouTube of said turkey.

CF: Yeah, that was crazy. Nothing like that ever happened to us in the UK though.

AB: Did you experience any of the nightlife when you were last in Manchester, Chris?

CF: Manchester. What was Manchester? That was the one where I met you guys, right?

AB: Yeah, we were very drunk.

CF: Yeah, you were drunk. Y’know, I can’t tell you. I don’t know, I have no idea. Every night is an adventure in it’s own way, but I could’ve gone out and had a crazy night, but that could’ve been somewhere else. When I’m in the UK, I really have no idea where I am most of the time.

AB: When we’re out in Manchester, we rarely know where we are.

IC: Yeah Barlow, but that’s from being too drunk.

Hey look, it's John Berna!

CF: The only reason I know I went to a crazy party in Newcastle, is because there’s pictures of me with a huge Newcastle beer and I’m pouring it over my face. I think it’s on my Facebook.

AB: Well, I’m gonna find it, and I’m gonna use it. Just to illustrate the point that you’re a crazy mo-fo.

CF: Party animal.

AB: We were meant to be pre-drinking with you yesterday. We were like ‘yeah, we’ll do the interview before we go out, have a beer and talk to Chris Farren for a bit and it just didn’t happen.

CF: Yeah, I screwed you guys.

AB: Royally

CF: Sorry

IC: It’s ok though

CF: You know what? I just completely forgot. I looked at the clock and it was four o’clock and I was like ‘oh crap’.

AB: Fair enough, I think we’re about done.

CF: 43 minutes in.

IC: It won’t look like 43 minutes. We’ll make it look presentable.

CF: I think you can leave out the bit where I listed off all the bands on the Warped Tour.

AB: I’ll just keep in the ones you said you hated.

CF: Yep

IC: And them we’ll email them and give them your house address, so they can come and find you.

CF: They don’t need to come to my house, I’m gonna be on tour with them for three months.

IC: Oh yeah *laughs*

AB: If we do hear reports that you’re dead, it wasn’t out fault. Ok?

CF: Yeah, just look for Bring Me The Horizon.

IC: Oh no, you could totally kick their arses.

CF: You think so?

IC: Yeah, those guys spend too much time doing their hair to be tough.

CF: That’s funny.

AB: Right, thank you very much Mr. Farren for taking this 40-odd minutes out of your day.

CF: No thank you guys. Thank you for your interest in me.

AB: We’ll always be interested in you, Chris.

CF: Well i’ll see you on the internet.


Our thanks go out to Chris for enduring that chat with us. What a good sport he is. We urge you all to go and buy some Fake Problems’ stuff right now from here. Do it!

The Gaslight Anthem – Making Of ‘American Slang’ Pt. 1

Brian Fallon talks ‘American Slang’

The Gaslight Anthem are one of the most exciting bands to emerge in the past few years. Their sophomore album The 59 Sound was one of the most critically acclaimed records of 2008 and now the boys from New Jersey are gearing up for the release of American Slang.

In the video below, singer/guitarist Brian Fallon discusses how the band and their music have grown and changed since the last release and gives his opinion on why people should be taking notice of his band’s latest work.



The Gaslight Anthem | MySpace Music Videos

Interview :: Chuck Ragan

Seriously, this interview doesn’t deserve to be on a music website. We’re off to work for Woodsmith Magazine!

Ian & Chuck

He might be best known for being a part of Hot Water Music, but Chuck Ragan is a man of many talents. He’s bringing his brand of Floridian country music to the UK in support of Frank Turner and, some might say, he’s outdoing the Winchestrian troubadour…just a little.


Ian Critchley: Because of Hot Water Music, I got into a lot of stuff. Charles Bukowski and Mark Twain just to name two. Is there anything, be it music literature or film that you’d like to recommend to the readers?

Chuck Ragan: Well, you named off a lot of categories there *laughs*. Theroux, he’s a brilliant author. That would definitely be a top choice. What else did you ask for? Music? What have I been listening to lately? There’s an incredible band called The Low Anthem, that’s fantastic. They’re from Rhode Island in the States. There’s another band I’ve just been starting to get into that’s pretty brilliant as well. The Devil Makes Three. Man honestly, since my wife and I have been doing the Revival Tour, I feel like the influx of music around our house has just quadrupled, because not only are we getting a lot of submissions from people who want to play it, but it’s kind of just the way the networking has come together it’s been so much easier to just find incredible music out there. It’s just constant around our house, but yeah those two are fantastic for sure.

IC: There’s this tour, then there’s the Hot Water Music tour is there ever gonna be a Rumbleseat tour or is that as the album implies?

CR: Is Dead. Yeah, but right now I’m writing a record with Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem and we’re planning. He may, most likely, do the Revival Tour in the States early in 2011 and our goal is to bring it over here to Europe and to the UK. I hope he could be on it. We’d love to play shows for the record and tour on the record as far as I know, but I don’t know how much or the extend of it all. Gaslight is putting out a new record in June, so they’re gonna be pretty busy.

IC: How did it come about, this new project?

CR: I just called him up and said “Hey, you wanna write some tunes?” *laughs*.

IC: What kind of stuff is it gonna be?

CR: Well, mostly it’s gonna be all acoustic and maybe along the lines of Gold Country, the last record. We’re recording it in the same studio and producing it ourselves. The songs are really relaxed and just a lot of fun. We’ve been sending them back and forth to each other for a little bit. We have ideas for some real good friends, and really talented artists, that we want to bring in and see what kinda sounds we get. Who knows, man? I just couldn’t be more excited about it.

Anthony Barlow: Just to go back for a second, you’re taking the Revival Tour to Australia this year aren’t you?

CR: Yeah, we are. In April. We’re gonna have Frank Turner on that one, Tim Barry from Avail and Ben Nichols from Lucero.

IC: It’s great. I really hope it does come over to the UK, because it’s basically like all my favorite artists in one place.

CR: You wouldn’t believe it too, the show’s so different from probably any show you’ve seen. It’s just non-stop music. It goes for three, three and a half hours, sometimes four hours long. It actually stays interesting all the way through, so it’s a good time.

AB: You’ve been doing a lot of charity work too?

CR: Not enough man, never enough. At the end of this tour I’m doing a Haiti relief benefit

IC: Is that the one with Jonah Matranga?

CR: Yeah, yeah. In Los Angeles, but we’re kind of in the works of trying to do a lot more with the Revival Tour. On the past two Revival Tour’s we’ve done little things like we bought a guitar and had a guitar raffle and all the proceeds went to an organization called Musicares. Years ago, I cut my hand really badly.

IC: Yeah, was it on a wine glass? I remember reading about that somewhere.

CR: Yeah, it was a broken glass. I was at a point where I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to use my hand again, but Musicares was an organization who we found. Man, they just really stepped up to the plate for us and helped out, along with my mother-in-law, with helping make the ends meet whilst I wasn’t able to work. I do two things to make a living, I play music or I do carpentry work and both I need my hands.

IC: That was actually one of our questions, we weren’t actually sure that you were a carpenter. I’d read it before, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve got a quote from you down here. I’m not quite sure whether I just made it up, or dreamt it, but there was something you said that went along the lines of: ‘There’s something amazing about writing a great song and playing it to a crowd, but there’s also something great about crafting a great piece of pine”. Words to that effect.

CR: *laughs* Yeah, I’m definitely not the best carpenter out there at all. I started working with wood when I was a young kid, building skateboard ramps with my brother and over the years, being in a band, it was always tough to hold down any secure job with any company. I’ve always been some kind of independent worker. We’re musicians, we do all kinds of stuff. Working from restaurants, to garbage, all different kinds of construction and I got into construction at a young age and just really kind of got interested in building and carpentry work from there. Once a family took me in when I was going through a tough time. He was just a brilliant, fine wood worker. I lived above their cabinet shop and I helped him build his home. At that point I’d only built a couple of homes before, but helped him build his home. We worked on it for about three years and did it the old school way. Most of the wood we milled ourselves. It was mostly, in those days, a lot of hand drives rather than using pneumatic tools. It’s just a once in a lifetime experience. People don’t build homes like that anymore, because it’s not cost efficient unless you want that look.

IC: It’s a lot more personal isn’t it

CR: Oh yeah, but after meeting him and building that home I got really into just, simple, fine wood working. Doors, windows. Like making custom doors and custom windows and that’s kinda how I made most of my living, doing carpentry work. Wood floors whatever, crown molding…

IC: Surely there’s a big contrast between your carpentry work and playing on stage?

CR: Yeah, but in all honesty, I’ve always had just as much passion and that’s probably what I was getting at with that…whatever I said *laughs*. I’ve always had just as much passion working with wood as I have writing a song, because to me they’re kinda one and the same. Whether I’m building for myself or I’ve been hired on to do a contracted job or whatnot. When you look at a space or whatever and you have to design something. That’s what I love about that kind of work, is doing design build stuff. When I sit down with someone, it’s like “ok, what do you want? How do you want to use it? What kind of material?” and you basically create this idea and then you source materials and then you materialize that idea and then you utilize that idea. To me, that’s the same as sitting down as sitting down with an inspiration for a song and writing a story, kind of mapping it out, coming up with parts and then writing that song, putting it together, going into a studio, putting it on tape, having that record materialized and then holding that and utilizing that, playing it.

IC: Is that why you self-produced Gold Country?

CR: Yeah, a little more fulfilling, but a lot of reason is for years all the sessions I’ve done have had a very strict time frame, budget, everything and it was like ‘go, go, go, go’. There was a lot of stress. It was just kinda chaotic and sometimes that’s good, because it kinda puts a fire under you and you just go right at it and whatever happens, happens. That’s great, but I just wanted to do a record that was more raw, stripped down and just kind of relax more doing it. Having control of the budget and the time frame, I was kind of able to space it out and go into the studio and just truly want to be there every time I was there working on it.

IC: How do you feel the response has been towards it?

CR: Oh, it’s been brilliant. I could never ask for more. Everything I’ve ever done, I feel like I’m just completely blessed to even be sitting here talking with you guys.

AB & IC: *laughs*

IC: That’s a bit…

CR: I mean, I’m just being honest with you. I mean, to have these opportunities. I never dreamed this as a young kid at all. I had no idea. Y’know, I just wanted to learn how to play some chords. Man, to me, I fulfilled everything that I’d ever dreamed a long, long time ago and I just feel like everything that has happened and everything that’s happening is just another blessing along the way and I don’t take it for granted.

IC: Do you feel playing solo is a more personal thing then and the full band thing is more, not fun, but more rowdy, if you know what I mean? A ‘guys in a band’ kind of thing?

CR: Yeah, yeah definitely. I mean, I’ve been bringing along some great musicians with me, doing my solo stuff and, definitely, a lot of the songs a lot more personal. A lot of that just comes from the writing. Not that they weren’t personal in Hot Water Music, it was just the fact that we wrote more all together. We would write individually, but we were also a collective. One person would bring a song in and we would just rip it apart and put it back together, where four of us would agree. There’s a lot of great things about that and then, at the same time, there’s pro’s and cons to both. Playing wise, I love it both. Even the acoustic stuff, it’s high energy, but my acoustic guitars are a lot lighter than old Les Paul’s, easier on the back.

IC: You’ve had your own custom guitar made haven’t you?

CR: Yeah, yeah.

IC: Was that exciting for you?

CR: Yeah *laughs*

IC: Does it make you feel like a true rock star?

CR: *laughs* I don’t know how it made me feel. I opened it up and I was pretty, like, “do I deserve this?”. It made me want to take more guitar lessons, to be honest. Yeah, that was a huge honor, a huge honor. Eastman has been very kind to us and have been very supportive of the Revival Tour. We had them donate the guitars that we raffled off for Musicares and also the Society Of Singers. Yeah, that was pretty insane. The first time I opened that up and saw it, wow.

IC: Well, we’re pretty much out of questions. Thank you

AB: Yeah, thanks a lot.

CR: Thanks so much for making it out.


Thanks a lot to Chuck and everyone who helped make this happen. However, I think there was one obvious question, what with all that carpentry talk, that we think was missing – “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”. Then again, Chuck’s a big guy, we wouldn’t want to piss him off, would we.