“It’s cooler to be a Jersey band than a Brooklyn band,” declares Antonoff, 29, who was born in Bergenfield and grew up in New Milford and Woodcliff Lake. In fact, he says, “Jersey has a sound more than New York City has a sound.” And that sound is rooted in Jersey’s proximity to the Big Apple. “It’s something about being close to New York City.”
Meaning that rock bands from Jersey try harder? “Yeah,” he says, “like Springsteen”—whom he cites as an influence.
The band was hatched on this side of the Hudson in 2012, after Antonoff met his future bandmates—lead vocalist Nate Ruess from Arizona and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost from Michigan—while gigging with his former band, Steel Train. Within a year, fun. earned a Grammy for best new artist and their hit, “We Are Young,” snagged the Grammy for song of the year.
These days, Antonoff, who is dating actress Lena Dunham of Girls, makes his home on the other side of the Hudson, but heads to New Jersey to visit his mom and work on his songwriting. He also remains close to his sister, designer Rachel Antonoff, with whom the band founded the Ally Coalition, which seeks to mobilize support for the LGBTQ community.
Antonoff laments the impending loss of Maxwell’s, the revered Hoboken rock club that is due to shut its doors July 31. “I probably played 50 shows there, starting when I was 15, sometimes to seven people,” he recalls.Click here to leave a comment