Brian Fallon Speaks in Anthems
How a tattooed Christian from New Jersey took the world by storm.
BY: Stephen Russ
When I was a kid it was just me and my mom, and my mom took me to a very small church in New Jersey, in I think it’s Belmont, which is kind of a dumpy town. It was a small wooden church with maybe thirty people. They would play all the really, really old hymns. You would go in there and there wasn’t anything contemporary or modern about it. There were no drums, just a big ole organ and that’s it. Actually it wasn’t a big organ, it was just a ratty old tiny organ. You know, it almost looked like an AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] center, you know what I mean? Like something that someone had rented out rather than something someone had established. It was pretty, and that’s kind of where I grew up, and that’s the first memory I have from being raised in a church. Then all throughout my life that was what we did on Sunday, we just went to church. You know when you do your 15 or 16 year old soul searching, all the infinite wisdom that you have at 16 and 15, you question things and you wonder. I just ended up believing it, but I couldn’t just take my parent’s word, I had to figure it out for myself. But rather than go and shoot a bunch of drugs or anything like that, I was like this is something that I actually want to know about, whether it is or it’s not true. I found it to be true, and I’ve followed it the rest of my life.
How do you go about practicing that now with the extremely busy schedule that the band has?
I think it’s about making time. That’s something that to me is more important than everything that I have to do. My band is my job, and it just happens to be that my job got to be my passion, but it’s like if you’re with your family and have a child, that’s your most important priority. It’s all about your priorities, and I can’t say I always do this, but my priority is definitely with my faith and God. I don’t think that all of this other stuff would have happened had it not been for God, because honestly I don’t understand what makes my songs better than anyone else’s and I don’t know why people like them, and I don’t even know why they come to me. It’s that whole verse “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things be added unto you,” I just really took that to heart and that’s what I believe. So when I go about my day on tour, the guys leave me alone, they don’t bother me about it. I’ve got my Bible and usually I start out the day like that, cup of coffee and read a little Scripture and then go to sound check or an interview or whatever. The other guys, in the beginning when we first started they looked at me like “what are you doing?” you know, “what are you doing with that?” and I’m like “nothing just reading my Bible” and they’re like “alright” (laughing) and now they just think it’s funny. Not in like a making fun of way, they are like “oh there’s old preacher Fallon in the corner” you know?
So what led you to making secular music?
That was a big fight, actually, within myself when I was 18 because I felt like I should. I was raised in the church so automatically I’m supposed to be in a Christian band or a praise band and I kept thinking “well these are the songs I should be writing but how come I can’t write those kinds of songs?” I would talk to people because I just felt like those were the rules and that’s what you were supposed to do, until I realized that that’s a calling. As if you were a pastor or a missionary or whatever, there are callings in life and I think that to write religious music and Christian music, to write what’s considered Christian music I think that’s a special kind of calling. I don’t think you can just say “hey I believe in Jesus I’m gonna go write Christian songs.” It just doesn’t work like that. I think that for me it was more about, I just gotta go do my thing and I’m going to write about what I know about and I’m not going to use any cuss words and if anybody asks me what I believe then I’m going to tell them. And that’s it. It’s kinda worked out pretty good.