The Gaslight Anthem this week (Tuesday, February 19) attended the premiere of Every Word Handwritten at the Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.
Co-written by the band’s drummer Benny Horowitz and Kevin Slack, who also directed the 15-minute short, the film details the narrative of a piece of vinyl from its conception to its eventual fate as a bruised and battered offering in a used record store’s bargain bin, and impact that it has on the people, spanning generations, whose lives it becomes a part of.
Talking exclusively to NME.COM, Horowitz, who also produced the film, said: “It’s not just about the sanctity of a record album, although I do believe in that. But it’s not as much that as I just see shit all the time that is somebody else’s old shit that meant everything to them. It blows my mind when I see those old black and white pictures for 50 cents at vintage stores, because that shoebox was somebody’s life – this was like three generations of a family. People looked at these pictures, people stared at these pictures and felt something and somebody knows who all these fucking people are, and now they’re 50 cents in a bin. The record was a mechanism for that – those inanimate objects in your life that play such a big role to you and you think nobody else, but if they live on, then they do sometimes affect somebody else like that.”
After the screening, Horowitz – who conceived of the idea for the film during the making of the video for The Gaslight Anthem’s ‘Handwritten’, the title track of the band’s fourth album – and Slack took questions from the packed auditorium of fans. Present at both were Gaslight Anthem bassist Alex Levine and guitarist Alex Rosamilia – the latter, with fellow musician Wes Kleinknecht, composed the film’s score. While an impending heavy schedule of touring for the band means projects like this might not be a regular occurrence, for Horowitz it nevertheless marks the completion of a long-running creative urge.
“I’ve always written,” he says, “but I’ve never written anything organised, because I don’t know how. But I’ve always written things that are just like journal entries, and all those years of doing it made me think I could do it. One of the awesome things about being in the situation I’m in is that my job gives me the liberty to pursue these interests, and because of it, there are actually people who are interested. I feel really lucky to have that. I’m an opinionated person – and a loudmouth sometimes – but I’m a drummer. And that means you don’t have your own voice. But there’s shit I want to say, and maybe this is the way I can get to say it.”