Thursday, July 29, 2010

Interview with Alex Levine, Bassist for the Gaslight Anthem

Interview with Alex Levine, Bassist for the Gaslight Anthem
This was an interview I got to do with Alex Levine, Bassist for the Gaslight Anthem before his stop in Denver. Wish the article would have run.

Me : How did the European Tour go?

Alex: It went great. We sold out every show, which is unbelievable. We played all of the academy ones which I guess are pretty much the biggest venues you can play, without I guess jumping to the big arenas and what not. We played to a sold out crowd every night and they were insane. Every night was just unbelievable, it was blowing our minds every single day. To date it was our best tour so far.

Me: Where there any surprises when you were on the road over there? You said it blew your mind.

Alex: You know just the reception that our new record has been getting and just the way people are reacting to it. Actually just so excited to see us once again, it has been about a year since we have been over there. People were just losing their minds, it was awesome.

Me: I know you guys have played Denver a number of times, what do you think of Denver? Do you notice any intricacies about playing here?

Alex: Denver…that is why I wanted to do this interview. Denver is one of my personal favorite cities in the world. I have really close friends, one of my best friends moved over there. It is just one of my favorite cities to walk around and just hang out in, go to bars there and play. People are unbelievable there. Since day one, we have had almost like a cultish following from the beginning over there, where all of the sudden people started popping up in Denver. We would play in front of 200 people in Denver and then we play in front of 10 people in Salt Lake City. That is kind of how it went. Denver from the beginning was a great place for us.

Me: Before you go on the stage are there any superstitions or rituals that you go through before you get ready to play?

Alex: Yeah there are a couple, there is one thing my drummer Benny (Horowitz) and me always say, “you can never get too warm” meaning like stretching and all of that. You get really tense before so we try stretching a lot, we take a lot of pisses that’s for sure, you know have a couple of drinks, um do a couple of push ups, you know just normal things to get loose. We do a fist pound and get ready to go.

Me: Nice. I assume things mellow out once you have been out there on the stage a little bit?

Alex: Yeah, I mean but that’s the thing. The beauty of it is that everyday once 8:30 kicks around, you get the same feeling in your stomach, the same butterflies in your stomach. I feel like that will never go away and if it does go away then I am going to pack up my bags and go home because there is really no reason for doing this then.

Me: With American Slang being out, how does it feel to have 3 albums out there?

Alex: Unbelievable because from the point of view of being a kid 10-15 years ago going into record stores and seeing certain bands, seeing some of my from favorite bands having inserts, whoever you know, the Clash. You have 4 or 5 records in there a b-side in there and now to think that we are one of those bands that has a slot in every single record store around the country or even around the world now, it’s awesome. I never thought it would get to that point.

Me: If you had to pick one song off American Slang that is your favorite song to play which one would you choose?

Alex: To play, Queen of Lower Chelsea, by far. That was a fun song for me to record. I got to really explore my personal influences on that track and that was a track that has kind of always been worked out in my head. The way that song came out, I am really proud of it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

That's Shocking!

So I went to a dinner party last night. A small affair, one of those where you only know the hosts. Suprisingly, the conversation flowed very well, with few awkward pauses and moments of silence. You know those moments where there is nothing to say so you blurt out something like, “boy it has been hot lately.”

Anyway, we are eatting dinner and somehow the topic of the shocker came up. If you do know what that is, I am not explaining it here as I do my best to keep away the weirdos. If only I could remember how the shocker came up in common table conversation, undoubtedly this would be another great story. I am sitting next to this woman and she begins sharing about how she was traumatized after a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. As she was walking down Bourbon Street she looked up just in time to catch a woman give herself the shocker to the raucous crowd below. Let’s just say this little story was enough to silence the table.

After a couple of moments of silent aw, the majority of the table was amazed, not in a negative way, that she had seen this. It was like someone had announced that they had seen a 4 leaf clover, it is a once in a life time kind of thing. I could not help but laugh as that was the only conversation of the entire evening that brought everyone together and engaged.

Whenever I receive invites to dinner parties, I always imagine a bunch of individuals sitting around a table drinking wine and actively discussing art or movies or politics or some other high brow subject. Dinner parties almost never work out this way. Last night, I was sitting around a picnic table, drinking beer and discussing the shocker. It was one of the better dinner parties I have attended.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Send out the Clown

I read an article today about a group that is trying to pressure McDonald’s into retiring Ronald McDonald. Do people not have better things to do with their time and money? Just for the record I am a total hater. Their food is garbage and I do not know how anyone who works in corporate can sleep at night knowing their cost cutting is killing people. Opinions aside, when do we stop blaming cartoon characters, celebrities and athletes for issues involving personal responsibility.

The issue is not Ronald McDonald it is that we are overweight and do not have the willpower to say no. We as Americans feel entitled to literally have our cake and eat it too. I am tired of these stories about how fast food has made us fat; we have made ourselves fat. It is as easy as saying, “no, I am not going to eat that because I deserve better.” Fast food exists because we buy it, in gobs.

Instead of wasting money on getting rid of a clown why not do something to make produce more affordable and available in the communities that need it. Get rid of the food desserts and make natural fruits and vegetables something that can be enjoyed by everyone, not simply the top 10 percent. The only real way out of this obesity epidemic is for people to decide they want to make a change. That to me is the saddest thing; we are dying at an alarming rate due to what we eat and fast food restaurant continue to thrive because we do not feel that we deserve better.

Friday, March 26, 2010


So I recently started doing some freelance writing for the major newspaper in town. Nothing big just album and show reviews. Still, I am really stoked about it and it is an awesome opportunity. It is kind of funny though because when I wrote for different music sites people did not seem to make as much of a stink. What really caught me off guard was my dad sent me a copy of a cd of one of his friend's band's. He had told the friend that I did reviews and the guy wanted me to check it out. This is a total trap. Before listening to the album I knew that this was trouble.

I listened to the album for the first time today and I could not make it through song six. I do not think I made it through a full track. The song writing was cliched to the point where I found myself singing the next word well before the lead singer did. Well now I am trapped. My biggest hope is that I am not asked what I thought. It is not very good but I still do not want to be rude to a family friend. One of my friend's suggested publishing a really scathing review, just to send a message. I am not going to do that but the musical snob side of me agrees. If I were to write a good review for this album, I could basically guarantee that I would not be allowed to review even the local childrens choir (who I am sure is quite good).

Instead I will not give a truthful opinion, I will deflect. There will be a time and place for me to tell the truth about my thoughts on the album but now is not it. I should be able to buy myself a little time. My dad does not live in the same city as me and is easily distracted by sports talk. Now my job is to think of natural transitions from music to sports. Baseball is coming and should provide me plenty of ammunition.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

Looks like the release date for the new the Gaslight Anthem’s album American Slang is June 15th. They have also put a track list and the first single American Slang on their Myspace page. Check it out. These guys are fantastic.

Gaslight Anthem Myspace

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Industrialize This

I have been reading the book "The Omnivores Dilemma." It did not hit me over the head how much that book had changed my point of view until I was in Target last night. No wonder our society is so unhealthy, soda, chips and other snacks have entire aisles dedicated to them. Try and find some fruits or vegetables and you are dealing with an area that is barely the size of a quarter of an isle. I am really sick of hearing the talking heads (not the band) go on and on about the poor food choices people are making. You go into a standard grocery store and make some reasonable choices. Since food companies are allowed to use additives that have no nutritional value when processing food, it should be no surprise that people are not getting proper nutrition.

I do not let individuals off the hook here. It is everyone's responsibility to make good choices. What do you do if you live below the poverty line and it is cheaper to buy low grade meat and additive laced snacks than it is to buy fruits and vegetables? I simply wish large food corporations would hold themselves to a higher standard. There is absolutely no reason why higher quality food cannot be produced.

-End Rant-