Brian Fallon performs in The Current studio

Brian Fallon performs "Steve McQueen" live in the studio of 89.3 The Current. (MPR/Nate Ryan)
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Brian Fallon performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Brian Fallon performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 21:08
  • Brian Fallon - Wonderful Life (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:12
  • Brian Fallon - Painkillers (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:04
  • Brian Fallon - Steve McQueen (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:14

Brian Fallon, known for his work with the Gaslight Anthem and with Horrible Crows, now has a new solo album out, Painkillers. It may seem a lot to juggle, but Fallon has a strategy for multitasking. "I have a thing where I only write one record at a time," Fallon says, "so if I'm working on a project, I only write for that project, so anything that I write is fair game. I don't try to choose, because it would be really difficult to say which one is for what band, you know? That would put a lot of anxiety in me."

After recent stops at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, followed by a show date in Milwaukee, Fallon was in the Twin Cities to play a show at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis when he stopped by The Current for an in-studio session hosted by Mac Wilson.

Fallon described his recent touring whirlwind, which came on the heels of an appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. "As soon as we finished the last song [on The Daily Show], we walked out the back door, into a van, straight to the airport, nearly missed the plane -- they were paging us and everything -- got on the plane, landed in Texas at one in the morning, woke up, played the show, went to sleep, got up at 5, flew to Milwaukee," Fallon recalls. "It was crazy."

But the craziness is worthwhile, especially given Painkillers quickly became a labor of love for Fallon and the album's producer, Butch Walker. Before work on Painkillers began, Walker asked Fallon what was needed production-wise. "I told Butch, 'Truthfully, I want to make the Jeff Lynne/Tom Petty era record. I want to record all the background vocals around the microphone, old-school, like Byrds-style harmonies that they did; I want to record everything like where there's not a lot of up-and-down strumming, don't change anything, not fancy, straight-up songs, as direct as possible.' And [Walker] goes, 'I could not want to do this record more.' Butch was in as soon as I said that."

Another of Fallon's highlight from the album Painkillers was co-writing the song, "Steve McQueen," with none other than Dan Wilson, the Minnesota-born songwriter whose résumé includes Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic and songwriting credits with the Dixie Chicks, Adele and many others.

To hear the complete in-studio session and interview, including more about Fallon's experiences at SXSW, click the audio player above.

Songs Performed


"Wonderful Life"
"Painkillers"
"Steve McQueen"
All songs from Brian Fallon's 2016 album, Painkillers, available on Island Records.

Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Lindsay Kimball
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Images by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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    Brian Fallon performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Brian Fallon 3
    Brian Fallon performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Brian Fallon 4
    Brian Fallon performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Brian Fallon 5
    Brian Fallon performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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