Christmas came early for the creative writing students at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft when Brian Fallon, lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem, held a special guest lecture.
The Red Bank-born songwriter, on the cusp of beginning a national tour, took some time to speak with students after a truly impressive request on social media.
It all started with a few students, their English teacher Andrew Cusick, and an idea of who would make for a great guest speaker on pursuing creativity. After deciding on Fallon, the students took to Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #FallonToCBA and inspiring fellow students, alumni, and even several media outlets to draw a spotlight to the cause. Several days and several hundred Twitter interactions later, Fallon (@thebrianfallon on Twitter) made his acceptance known, tweeting: “Dear @CBALincroft — get ready!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people have spoken!”
A few days later, the dream became a reality, with Fallon speaking to more than 100 students.
“The things he brushed on about our future and how to live a meaningful life seemed to prepare me for the next four years and forever for that matter,” said Blaise Ferro, one of the many seniors destined for college next year.
Fallon expounded on the importance of focusing on your passion, his musical career, and what it means to be true to your own values before opening a Q&A session. Speaking in the academy’s Henderson Theater, Fallon held forth with great candor and humor, and CBA’s students took full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Fallon put the focus on persistence, and how critical it truly is. “If you can do one thing a day that goes toward your purpose,” said Fallon, that would be the true determining factor.
“These kids are awesome. They asked nicely, and the only thing cooler was how nicely Brian responded,” said Cusick. “The speech was great. The kids were great. Overall, I hope the experience was as unforgettable for these boys as it was for me.”
Fallon begins his national tour Jan. 6 to promote his first solo album, Painkillers, due for release on March 11.
Fallon was presented with a commemorative CBA shirt, and given an open invitation for future appearances. As for the students, a taste of the VIP treatment and the chance to speak with a firsthand rock-and-roller from Jersey won’t soon be forgotten.