The Gaslight Anthem’s Benny Horowitz Explains Why He Started Bottomfeeder
Being born and raised in a blue collar area of New Jersey has served Benny Horowitz well. His hard work ethic has helped the talented drummer find success with The Gaslight Anthem, the rootsy punk band he helped launch in 2005. With roots tied to the fabled New Brunswick DIY scene of the '90s, the group has gone on to become a huge act in America and the UK, and can count fellow Jersey hero Bruce Springsteen as one of their biggest fans.
It's the kind of musical career that most people would give away their firstborns for, but Horowitz wasn't content with just sitting around at home in between The Gaslight Anthem's touring and recording engagements.
In 2011 he helped form Bottomfeeder, a band influenced by the likes of Vision, Lifetime and other melodic yet hard-edged groups he grew up on. They recently released a self-titled EP on Human Blood, a label owned by The Gaslight Anthem guitarist Alex Rosamilia.
"I've known Cory [Perez, guitars] for quite a while and he plays in another band called Let Me Run. I've also known Mike [Maroney, bass] for a long time. I actually hired him at a newspaper I worked out years ago. But the way Bottomfeeder started was one day this past summer, I was with Derek [Reilly, vocals] at a diner in Jersey City and we got into a discussion about melodic hardcore.
"It was a really passionate conversation [laughs]. But we decided that we wanted to start a band that played that mid-'90s type of hardcore that we both loved so much. I called Cory, who then texted Mike, who knew Dan [King, guitars], and before we even left the diner, we had a new band together," Horowitz tells Noisecreep about Bottomfeeder's formation.
Sharing a similar background helped the new group gel together quickly. "Yeah, it felt natural from the first time we jammed in a room together. Actually, the new 10" we just released features the first few songs we wrote together those first few practices."
Watch Bottomfeeder's 'You're Welcome (Live at Maxwell's)' Video
With The Gaslight Anthem now signed to Mercury Records, and the band playing huge venues, Horowitz is enjoying Bottomfeeder's DIY approach. "Honestly, yes, it f---ing rules! It's back to the way I remembered. Bottomfeeder is super independent, and it's been so much fun. Just being able to use our friends as resources for shows and putting out records again has been really cool. It's a pleasant thing to be back to.
"I know it might sound weird to some people, but I love doing things on a more DIY level. I'm much more comfortable with this type of thing, and it's what is more familiar to me. I spent way more time in the underground world, than I have the "Mr. Successful Music Guy" world," laughs Horowitz, who will be recording and touring with The Gaslight Anthem again later in the year.
The drummer says he not only misses the music of his teen years, but also the sense of community. "I was 15-16 in 1995, and I grew up a few minutes away from New Brunswick. So I was lucky enough to be around that music scene. I thought everyone had that kind of experience. I'm talking about the people, the bands, show spaces, the mixing of art and music, etc. I thought every city in America had that going on. But I didn't realize how special that era and scene was until I was older. So Bottomfeeder, and the kind of music we play, is definitely a tribute to that time period."