The Horrible Crowes Story
compiled by Alexander for The
Gaslight Anthem Record
Brian introduces the project on his
blog (20 January 2011):
"What we're doing is writing songs
and making demos at the very moment. We hope to put out a full length record
sometime this year, before it gets cold again, I don't know with whom,
or when exactly it will come out. But the point is, it's coming out. We're
calling ourselves The Horrible Crowes. [...] It's the darker side of soul
music, it's slow, it slithers, and it's raw. At the same time, the melodies
and pianos are a juxtaposition to the topic material because it's eerily
soothing. I'm really proud of what's been coming out and we'll see how
it goes, but it's in the works and it's heading for an actual record. We
might do a few shows with the Crowes, maybe select cities in the US, Can,
and Europe/UK, but not major touring like Gaslight does. This is my "for
me" record, Gaslight is my baby, no mistake. I always said I never would
do a "solo" record so that's why I found a partner in crime in Ian. So
it's not going to be the acoustic Brian Fallon road show. There's organs,
pianos, even (gasp) strings!!! There's drums, everything. So don't expect
a folk record. Here's a good description, if Tom Waits, the National, the
Afghan Whigs, Bon Iver, and Nick Cave made a band with Percy Sledge that'd
be called The Horrible Crowes."
The Horrible Crowes write on their
blog (21 January 2011):
"From across the sea...
Currently we're writing new songs
across the Atlantic Ocean. Working on a surprising amount of demos, almost
ready to go."
Brian provides further details in
an interview with AMP Magazine (27 January 2011):
"We set a goal for ourselves to write
17 songs, which is a lot, so we've been cranking it out all of January,
but all we have is rough demos we did on garage band. Nothing recorded
for real though. I'd like to see the record clock in around 12 songs;
that feels right somehow. It's also really important we figure out
how to place the songs with this project, because it's slower than Gaslight
and there's not all the fast paced excitement to move it along, so it has
to be really interesting sonically and musically. You have to really
make sure it's moving along and not dragging with music like this. [...]
I think we'll play a few shows, but we won’t tour like Gaslight does, I
just don't have the time or desire to do that. The thing I love the
most about Gaslight is the live show, but the thing I love about the Crowes
is I can deliberate and create more somber sounds that you wouldn’t want
to play every night for 8 months straight. I like jumping around
and playing loud guitars, which is not the Crowes' forte."
Further details appear on the Horrible
Crowes on blog (11 February 2011):
"So it looks like we're going to
be putting out a full length this year, we'll give specifics once we figure
it out, but very soon... [...] We've got 11 [demos] done and we're going
for 17 so we can have a full length album of 12 songs, and then some stuff
for Itunes, and Record Store Day, etc. Ted Hutt is going to be at the helm
not only producing but helping out on guitars as well."
More details from the Horrible Crowes
blog (31 March 2011):
"The News... We now have what we
call a record. There's 15 songs written, of which 11 or 12 will be on the
record. As of right now we have no title for the album, but we know Mr.
Ted Hutt will be producing. We're all flying in from all over the world
to meet in my hometown in New Jersey around the last week in April to start
pre-production, and we'll actually start recording May 2nd, Lord willing.
For once I'm not flying all over the place to work. There's gonna be some
very exciting, well dressed gentlemen inside this studio."
A Facebook post added: "It looks
like you'll be hearing from us before the year turns too cold. Until the
leaves fall off, then... nevermind the wheels."
On Episode 11 of Matt and Mondo's
Punk Rock Power Hour (1 April 2011) Brian reveals that although only he
and Ian are in the band and playing guitar, there will be bass, drums,
piano, organ, violin, strings and horn. Ted Hutt will produce the
album and Sam Siegler from Rival Schools will play drums.
Brian tells The New Jersey Underground
(18 April 2011): "The Crowes is like Tom Waits and Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan,
Greg Dulli kind of stuff, it's pretty dark. It's kids music, to give
them nightmares and make girls cry."
Brian reveals on Twitter (2 May 2011):
"The Horrible Crowes are finishing pre production. Recording Wednesday."
That same day, the Horrible Crowes tweet a photo
of guitars on a 'studio' floor accompanied by the words "Fine tuning".
On Twitter Brian writes (10 May 2011):
"Organ on fire!!!! - today with the horrible crowes".
Brian posts the first of several
studio updates (10 May 2011), along with a photo:
See here for eight Studio
The Horrible Crowes write on Facebook
(23 May 2011): "Recording is now finished and Ted is back in LA to Mix!"
Brian talks to Spin
about The Horrible Crowes (26 May 2011). Here are some extracts:
"We built something very special
with Gaslight and we don't want to mess with that sound too much," Fallon
tells SPIN. "But I've always wanted to do a record where I can put strings
or organs or pianos or whatever on it. Radical is a good word to describe
the record," says Fallon, who taught himself how to play Hammond organ
and piano for some of the tracks. "It's definitely out there. There are
song structures, but it's not what you expect from me at all. Someone's
either going to get pregnant or want to steal a car listening to this record."
Fallon's new tunes could be his darkest yet, and his lyrics explore the
pain and heartbreak brought on by three intense relationships he had as
a teenager. "All these relationships I thought, 'Man, I'm going to spend
the rest of my life with this person, and then one day they just up and
leave," says Fallon, adding that one song deals with how he overcame his
depression after meeting his current wife. "I played these songs for her
and she just got to hear me totally lose my mind. It was cathartic to revisit
that past, in a weird way." Fallon and Perkins have laid down 15 tracks
— some featuring Gaslight members Alex Rosamilia and Benny Horowitz — which
will get whittled down to a dozen for the final product. The most out-there
song is titled "Go Tell Everybody," which Fallon says sounds like Cave
covering a Marvin Gaye song. Another cut, titled "Mary Ann," explores Fallon's
religious upbringing. "That song would give a kid nightmares for months,"
he says. "It's all about the end of the world."
SideOneDummy issue a press release
and a new photo (1 June 2011):
We are proud to announce the debut
album from The Horrible Crowes, Elsie, on September 6, 2011. The group-which
is composed of The Gaslight Anthem’s frontman Brian Fallon and longtime
friend Ian Perkins was conceptualized while Perkins joined Gaslight on
a worldwide tour last year and the duo wrote the songs on buses, in hotel
rooms and even a bathroom in Japan following the earthquake.
"Ian and I had a ritual where we'd
go to the back on the bus at the end of a show and play each other records,
I got him into Afghan Whigs and he got me into PJ Harvey and one day we
just thought, 'we should do something like this'," Fallon explains. In
that spirit earlier this summer the duo holed up with producer Ted Hutt
(Dropkick Murphys, Chuck Ragan) to capture these songs on tape-and the
result is something that will likely surprise even the most strident Gaslight
Anthem fans in the best way possible.
"As much as I have this fantasy
in the Gaslight Anthem of being Bruce Springsteen, I also have this fantasy
of being Tom Waits or Greg Dulli," Fallon explains when asked about the
catalyst for this project, which sees him playing keyboards and working
with drum loops and string arrangements for the first time. "These songs
are very dark; they're like hymns for lonely people," Fallon continues,
"it's really a trip through a breakdown and that dissent into madness and
The Horrible Crowes will also be
playing shows to promote the album and Fallon promises that the environment
will be a stark contrast to a typical Gaslight Anthem performance. "Our
shows are going to be smaller and they're going to take place in very intimate
venues," Fallon explains. "It's not the kind of thing where you get wasted
and listen to some music. It's more, 'I'm going to take my lady out and
watch a band play and it’s going to be quiet and then we're going to go
home and have a good evening,'" he continues.
"I'm not a different person when
I’m in this band, it's just another side of what I love," Fallon summarizes,
adding that although his Gaslight Anthem bandmates stopped by to perform
on this record, The Horrible Crowes is its own tortured and sometimes beautiful
beast. Get ready to fall in love with Fallon’s songwriting all over again.
The Horrible Crowes write on Twitter
(8 June 2011): "Record is mixed and now off to mastering!!!!! Sounds
The Horrible Crowes write on Twitter
(10 June 2011): "Record is mastered. Officially done!". They add
on Facebook: "We just got the masters back and they sound AMAZING!
Preview track coming soon!"
listing is announced (15 June 2011) and a major interview with Brian
(with a new photo) appears on the Alt Press website.
What are some of the other songs
sounding like? What else stands out to you?
The record opens up with a song
that’s only a minute and 30 seconds. It's called "Last Rites." It's just
a piano and some organ and the vocal, and a tambourine. And that's it.
It's a story—the record kind of goes through this process…it's like every
breakup you’ve ever had, where you lose your mind. I wrote about a time
in my life that I went through when I was younger. I really needed to get
this out—and it was such a weird time, I couldn't write about it through
punk rock. I just couldn't do it; it was too weird. When I was about 18
or 19, I literally went insane. I was an insane person. I just lost touch
with reality. That stuff has always been kicking around in the back
of my brain. I just called it up. I sat down at the table and had coffee
with that guy, and I haven't done that in 10 years. And we wrote a record.
But at the end of it, it resolves. The beginning song is called "Last Rites,"
and [the album] ends with a song called "I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together."
You would think that that would be like, "Aw, so romantic." But it's not,
because that's not what life is. It's horrible, horrible circumstances,
yet you still bring something good out of those horrible circumstances.
The Horrible Crowes write on Facebook
(22 June 2011): "Here is a preview of "Black Betty & The Moon" from
our new record "Elsie", which come out on September 6th."
The Horrible Crowes write on Facebook
(24 June 2011): "Thank you to everyone who's been excited for the Fall
Revival Tour in Europe! We can't wait to get over there, we all are thrilled
about it. This tour will be following the release of The Horrible Crowes
debut album "Elsie" and Ian and I will be performing songs from the Horrible
Crowes on the Revival Tour. It's going to be a great tour and the first
tour where you can hear songs from The Horrible Crowes."
WMNF radio (30 June 2011) leaks a
song from Elsie, 'Mary Ann', earning itself a stinging rebuke from
Brian Fallon on his blog (1 July 2011), which reveals much about the way
in which Elsie has been conceived as an album:
"Dear DJ... please do not put music
on the internet that you know you're not supposed to.
For once can someone have the respect
of an artist or band to let them release their creation in it's entirety
when they deem it ready? I understand people are excited, but if I was
waiting for a movie to come out, why would you want to download a chapter
of the whole? You'll miss the point and you'll miss the intent of the whole.
When a single is officially released, it's like a trailer... it's thought
over, and it represents a mood or a sum of the parts... it's a statement.
If you respect us at all and our
music, please don't download or listen to anything that's not official.
Especially not when you take an MP3 stream, hook up coaxial cable and run
it through a board and broadcast it. It sounds like garbage, and I know
Myself, Ian, and Ted certainly didn't agonize over the sound of the record
to have it played through a tin can telephone. The internet is great for
somethings... but it's taking the magic out of music. There's no surprise
and no mystery of art when people take it upon themselves to do things."
'Behold the Hurricane' is released
as the Horrible Crowes' first single on the Rolling Stone magazine
website as streaming audio (13 July 2011).
'Behold the Hurricane' is released
as a download only single on iTunes, Amazon etc. (19 July 2011).
at lenth to New
York magazine about the Horrible Crowes, the Gaslight Anthem, etc.
(25 July 2011):
NY: The Horrible
Crowes’ stuff is darker and slower than Gaslight. How come?
"I was bored.
After the last record for Gaslight Anthem, I was just bored. I still had
the desire to write, but I didn't want to write anymore rock n roll songs.
I was in this weird mood; I had just gotten this PJ Harvey record, and
this was right around the time that High Violet came out from the
National, too. So there's all these records that were slower and moodier,
and I couldn't get away from it. I wondered, If I wrote a couple songs
like this, what would it sound like? And then [Horrible Crowes bandmate]
Ian [Perkins] and I started talking and I said, 'Well, I'm gonna try and
write some songs, and then you write some bass lines and guitar lines over
them and we'll see what it sounds like.' And it ended up sounding really
for Elsie start on 26 July 2011. These include a deluxe bundle with
a limited 7'' and a poster and t-shirt designed by El Jefe.
On 26 July 2011, the Horrible Crowes
also announce a show at The Bowery Ballroom, NYC, on 8 September, and at
Troubadour, LA, on 14 September.
On his blog,
Brian gives some advice on the upcoming Horrible Crowes shows (8 August
very much to everyone who bought tickets to our New York and LA shows!
to be playing the whole record at these shows and we're working on some
very interesting covers to play for you too.
and dim lights. Wear something pretty, and boys, don't forget to shave...
See you all
On 1 September
2011 'Elsie' starts streaming on the Rolling Stone and NME websites.
hits the stores, in the UK on 5 September, in the US on 6 September.
has its full length live premiere at the Bowery Ballroom, New York City,
on 8 September 2011.
Crowes also perform the album at Troubador, LA, on 14 September 2011 and
do an instore gig at Fingerprints Music, Long Beach, CA, on 15 September
NYC and LA concert poster by El
On 20 September 2011 the Horrible
Crowes' first video, for 'Behold the Hurricane', premiers on Spinner.com.
On 23/24 September 2013 the Horrible
Crowes release Live at the Troubadour, which is available on CD/DVD
and 2 LP/DVD.