THE GRAY LADY AND THE STONE PONY New York Times gathers oral history of the Asbury club, hosts event there next week
Your must-read for today: The thriving New York Times presents an oral history of the Stone Pony, "How an Iconic Rock Club Rode the Ups and Downs of One of New Jersey's Most Storied Shore Towns." Nick Corasaniti put the story together, talking with "the owners, musicians, staff and fans who have called its dark black interior and low-slung stage home."
Among the musicians telling the story: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Van Zandt, Southside Johnny, Vini Lopez, Bobby Bandiera, and Brian Fallon. Others taking part include original owner Jack Roig, Pony DJ Lee Mrowicki, Shore journalist now GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli, Springsteen Archives Director Eileen Chapman, and current Pony manager Caroline O'Toole.
For an encore, the Times runs Corasaniti's complete interview with Springsteen, from which comments were taken for the oral history. Bruce recalls meeting his future wife for the first time at the Pony: "She came out and played onstage with, it might have been Bobby Bandiera or, I forget which local band was playing. But she came out and played the Exciters' hit 'Tell Him,' and she was very striking right from the beginning."
On Monday night, October 22, the storied Asbury Park club will host The Stone Pony Then and Beyond, a night presented by the New York Times and hosted by Corasanti. He'll be leading a panel discussion featuring Chapman, Lopez, and O'Toole; Southside Johnny will also be on hand for an acoustic performance. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster. - October 17, 2018 - photograph by James Shive
DOUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND Photographers David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteenjoin for a Joad/Nebraska-themed gallery showing
Tomorrow Morrison Hotel Gallery will launch its bi-coastal exhibition of Springsteen-themed photographs by David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen. The exhibit, entitled From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland and Bruce Springsteen, will spotlight Pam Springsteen's work on her brother's album The Ghost of Tom Joad and Kennedy's work on the Nebraska album: two records very much linked by their shared focus on a hard, troubled land.
The exhibit opens tomorrow, October 17, and runs through October 21 at Morrison Hotel's Los Angeles Gallery. It then will move to Morrison Hotel's Soho Gallery in New York City for a run that will begin on October 24 and continue through November 1. Prints of the photographs on display will be available for purchase. Click here for further information.
Kennedy and Springsteen also will be special call-in guests on tomorrow's edition of E Street Radio's Live From E Street Nation with Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo. The show will air beginning at 10 am ET on Sirius/XM channel 20, with a repeat airing on Sunday, October 21 at 6 pm ET. - October 16, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting
THE SEARCHER COMES HOME DVD is now available, in both regular and Collector's editions
Today Thom Zimny's three-hours-plus, two-part film Elvis Presley: The Searcher becomes available in the U.S. on DVD only (no Blu-Ray), released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Zimny directed the film — which just received two nominations for Critics' Choice Awards — and served as one of its executive producers, along with Jon Landau and others. Landau and Bruce Springsteen were among those interviewed for the documentary.
The DVD release includes a 40-minute featurette entitled In Conversation with Priscilla Presley, Thom Zimny, Jerry Schilling and Scott Goldman. The featurette was filmed at the Grammy Museum earlier this year, with the participants discussing the making of the documentary. The Collector's Edition DVD, pictured right, contains the same DVD content but also includes a 20-page booklet featuring images from the Graceland archives.
Backstreets covered Elvis Presley: The Searcher extensively last spring, when the film had its world premiere at Austin, TX's SXSW 2018 film festival, shortly before making its HBO debut. Our archived coverage can be found here and here. We'll have more on The Searcher in the pages of Backstreets Magazine issue #92, coming this fall.
Elvis Presley: The Searcher is available now from Backstreet Records in both DVD and Collector's Edition DVD formats — save 20% off each with our New Release sale. - October 16, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting
"I KNOW WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT"
Jay Weinberg talks Best Buddies benefit, "a labor of love"
With Jay Weinberg's Buddies on the Beat benefit coming up tomorrow night in Nashville, Forbes.com has an interview with Jay — about his five years drumming with Slipknot as well as what drew him to the Best Buddies organization, and how much he's thrown himself into this effort to help:
I'm personally just so sick of being surrounded by negativity in our world and people who often choose to live a negative life or propagate negative energy in any way. Whether it's political, or social, or within stupid music politics and bulls**t like that. I'm so sick of the addiction to negativity our culture thrives on.
I believe for myself, I've gotta look inwards and find something that I can do that is a counter reaction to that. It's a total DIY effort. I'm not just slapping my name on this.
It's a labor of love. We have cast of over 20 musicians who wanted to be a part of it.
I do find that people are gonna have their stereotypes about whatever people in heavy metal or hard rock stand for, but I know within myself and my friends that will be joining me for this, I know what we're all about.
Jay's fundraiser brings together E Streeters Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg with members of Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bully, the Offspring, Dashboard Confessional, the Nashville Predators, and more. "Seeing the response from my own friends has been really heartwarming and encouraging," says Jay, "that people are willing to drop what they are doing and fly across the country to play some cover songs for a really great cause."
If you're near Nashville, tickets for the October 16 concert are available via ticketweb.com; from anywhere in the world, you can participate in the online auction.
2019 CALENDAR IN STOCK NOW
An annual favorite holiday gift has arrived: the official Bruce Springsteen calendar for the new year from Thrill Hill.
The focus of the 2019 calendar is on the '80s and '90s, to coincide with the Album Collection Vol. 2 box set released this year, still available in vinyl and CD formats.
While the last edition was all Frank Stefanko shots, the new calendar taps multiple photographers for striking live shots and portraits, with and without the E Street Band, in both color and black & white.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHARLIE!
It's been a dozen years since Charles Giordano started touring with Bruce Springsteen. Before he stepped in for
Danny Federici in 2007 with the E Street Band, Charlie spent most of 2006 on the road with the Sessions Band (that's their June 16, 2006 stop in Cleveland, above). While we're hoping to see him up on that E Street organ riser again next year for Lucky 13... in the meantime we wish Charlie a very happy birthday today. Excelsior! - October 13, 2018 - photograph by Guy Aceto
"LINDA CHORNEY, LESBIAN ASSHOLE THAT KNOWS BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN" That's the title of a blog entry the irreverent Linda Chorney wrote during her crazy ride to the Grammys in 2012. A scene in her award-winning film When I Sing shows Linda proudly sharing it with music historian Jim Berkenstadt in a studio session, with a photo of Bruce Springsteen and Linda backstage at The Paramount in Asbury Park.
Chorney made history in 2012 as the first truly independent artist to be nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album. The gatekeepers of the industry did not welcome her nomination with open arms, thus Chorney received a lot of flak for daring to crash their party. But she made the best of it with her sense of humor, which is depicted in her music and in When I Sing.
In fact, in 2012, Chorney performed at the Light of Day Foundation concert at The Paramount, taking the stage directly after Bruce sat in with Garland Jeffries. She got up to the mic, with a Cheshire Cat smile, and announced, "I always wanted Bruce to open for me." The audience responded with roaring laughter, though some gasped. This actual footage is used in her docudrama.
"When I was backstage," Chorney recalls, "I thought to myself, when am I ever going to have the opportunity to deliver such a line? I'm going for it. Hopefully, they'll laugh."
"Then Bruce invited me on stage with him, Willie Nile and Garland, but I was in the bathroom!"
I loved the film so much that, as I write, I am literally on my way to see When I Sing screen for a second time in Los Angeles. The film has heart! No wonder it's winning so many awards.
When I Sing will screen in Atlantic Highlands this Wednesday at Atlantic Cinemas at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com, with additional screenings listed here.
In November, Linda continues The Wicked Awesome World Tour with the following dates:
CIAO, BOLOGNA — FRANK STEFANKO IS COMING YOUR WAY!
A year ago, photographer Frank Stefanko celebrated his massive new Springsteen retrospective Further Up the Road, a beautiful book published in Italy, with a visit to The Boot and a Wall of Sound Gallery exhibition. Next week, he's coming back to say cao... and for another showing of his Springsteen exhbition, this time in Bologna at the ONE Arte Contemporanea gallery.
For the opening event on October 18, Stefanko will be on hand for a conversation with his Wall of Sound Editions publisher Guido Harari, to sign, and to celebrate.
"It should be a party," Frank tells Backstreets. "Joining us will be Cristina Arrigoni and Willie Nile, to add to the excitement. Cristina will be signing her new book that Guido designed and published for her, The Sound of Hands, and Willie will be performing and signing his wonderful new album Children of Paradise, featuring Cristina's cover photography."
Bruce Springsteen: Further Up the Road - The Photography of Frank Stefanko will be on display from October 18 to November 18. For further information, visit onoarte.com. If you'll be in Bologna, you'll be able to purchase Further Up the Road at the gallery. If not... the Deluxe Edition is sold out, but you can still order the Collector Edition from Backstreet Records. - October 11, 2018 - photographs by Frank Stefanko
NEW DAY "RISING"
Striking new political ad boosts women Congressional candidates When political rallies use rock music to get the crowds going, it often raises the ire of the songwriters. But an advertisement that appeared October 9 on YouTube seems to have some cooperation from Bruce Springsteen: "Women Rising," for eight candidates running in next month's Congressional elections.
Until today, we weren't familiar with all of them — Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Mikie Sherill of New Jersey, Amy McGrath of Kentucky, Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, and MJ Hegar and Gina Ortiz Jones of Texas — or Serve America, the political action committee that created the one-minute, 18-second ad. While it's no surprise that they're Democrats — we have a hard time imagining that Springsteen would let "The Rising" get reworked for Republican campaigns this time around — we know this group's strength, experience (pilots, a combat surgeon, a Purple Heart recipient, an intelligence officer, an appointee of the Bush and Obama administrations, veterans of the Navy, Air Force, and Marines) and courage will serve them well in a tough election season. And beyond.
After watching the spot — moved, frankly, and through a few tears — we tried to recall an instance where Springsteen has approved the use of his music for a political advertisement. Vote for Change, sure. Rallies for Barack Obama, too. And let's not forget about that gig at the White House in 2017. But advertisements? This may be the first time Bruce Springsteen clearly approved this message.
Moreover, the song appears tailored specifically for use here. A long instrumental leads into the narration, and Springsteen's vocal comes in at the end. Of course, "The Rising" has roots about as far from electoral politics as one could imagine. Few would have predicted that it would appear years later in a political ad. But the power of "The Rising" lies in honoring the bravery, courage, and sacrifice of people dedicated to a greater purpose and a common cause — a song truly born in the U.S.A. If these candidates are answering a similar call to service, they may just have the right song. - from the Editors, October 10, 2018
Cologne-Brookes lives in the UK, but he'll be in the States next month for the Louisiana Book Festival, and he'll be signing especially for Backstreets readers while he's here. The number of pre-orders we receive will determine how much signing Gavin does for us, so order yours now to guarantee. For more on the book and to pre-order, see American Lonesome in our online shop.
Speaking of fun shows in Nashville, here's another one coming up this weekend. The same guys who put on recent Springsteen tribute concerts in Music City ("40 Years Burnin' Down the Road," the "Darkness on the Edge of Town" eclipse event) are getting the band back together... this time for Sprucefest on October 12.
The event is to christen the new location of the hit Nashville brewery Jackalope and the release of their seasonal black IPA, Spruce Beersteen. Alex Fang of the BEast Street Band (as they're known this time around) tells us, "Maybe Pete frontman Frankie McGrath will be singing with us, as well as well other Nashville talents including Eric Stuart (who many know as the voice of Brock from Pokemon)." Catch 'em all this Friday at Jackalope Ranch Taproom, 5-9pm. - October 8, 2018
WEINBERGS & THE TENNESSEE TERROR TEAM UP FOR BEST BUDDIES
Some E Street action is coming to Nashville in mid-October, and for a great cause — Jay Weinberg has put together a benefit show featuring not only his own big beat, but also the long-prevailing rhythm section of the E Street Band.
"I’m hosting a night of covers ranging from The Who to The Misfits," Jay tells Backstreets, "and my father and Garry Tallent are among the awesome special guests we’ll be having on stage!"
Buddies on the Beat will raise funds for Best Buddies Tennessee, "a great nonprofit in my community that helps kids and young adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as autism and Down syndrome," says Jay. He also notes that 100% of the night's proceeds, including a silent auction, will benefit Best Buddies. "We’ll be auctioning off a custom Fender telecaster signed by Bruce, my father, Garry, all of Slipknot, and more."
After filling in for his dad on the E Street drum throne in 2009, Jay has been a member of Slipknot since 2014. For more about his involvement with Best Buddies, and to donate to the cause, visit Jay's fundraising page. - October 7, 2018
COME ON UP FOR THE RISING TOUR Europe 2003 rises from the vault, with the first night in Helsinki The Rising is arguably Bruce Springsteen's most culturally important album of the past two decades. At home, it re-established him as a mainstream commercial force and a voice of national significance in the 21st century. Overseas, the LP reinforced his status as an American cultural ambassador. Yet the 2002-'03 tour that followed has been increasingly conspicuous by its absence from the Nugs retrospective series.
That absence came down to a technical snag. Rather than analog or digital tape, the tour relied on an early-generation version of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) to make multi-track recordings. But years after the fact, outdated and outmoded software and hardware made recovery of the recordings a challenge. Today's arrival of Helsinki, June 16, 2003 suggests those issues are finally being overcome, bringing a Rising-era performance to the archive series for the first time.
June 16, 2003 in Helsinki - all photographs by Riku Olkkonen
Springsteen first visited the Nordic region in 1975, with shows in Sweden; Norway and Denmark got their live baptisms on the River Tour in 1981. But he didn't play in Finland until this night in 2003. Back-to-back Rising shows at Helsinki's Olympiastadion sold out in a record-breaking two hours, and the Finnish fans evidently made enough of an impression to earn several subsequent E Street visits.
And while the Finns may have been somewhat late to the house party, they would go on to leave their mark in the history books: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would play their longest concert to date, in 2012, right here at the same Olympiastadion, a genuine four-hour-plus show that has already earned a spot in the official archive series.
Few fans who have clamored for a Rising Tour release had June 16 in mind, a show never widely considered remarkable. But it's a solid one. The show's "Model A" setlist features nine tracks from The Rising, including ones rarely revisited after 2003, like "Empty Sky," "You're Missing," and "Worlds Apart."
In contrast, rather than the tours they represent, "fan favorite" releases (such as Nassau '80 or Brendan Byrne Arena '93) emphasized the uniqueness of individual performances. Starting with a less famed Rising show at the outset is not unlike the choice of August 5, 1984 as the first selection from the Born in the U.S.A. period, or Belfast (1996) for the Tom Joad tour.
The Rising Tour started in the summer of 2002. Its "barnstorming" strategy hit many locations for one night only, including seven performances across Europe. The Live in Barcelona video showcases this early stretch at its best: a compact, high-energy arena performance. When the E Street Band returned to Europe for a more extensive 24-show leg in the spring and early summer that followed, the concerts took place in much larger outdoor venues. The sold-out Olympiastadion held close to 45,000.
As far as rock shows go, a concert on the Rising Tour was a serious affair. If the Ministry of Rock 'n' Roll was back in church on the Reunion Tour, the post-9/11 mood on the Rising Tour felt at times like a wake. The Finnish are regarded as among the more stoic Europeans; moreover, Springsteen was meeting this audience for the first time, outdoors and in somewhat cool weather.
Audiences here are largely fluent in English and will listen attentively to new material, slow songs, and spoken interludes. Springsteen opened with the solo-acoustic "Born in the U.S.A." In 2002, he'd introduced the familiar full-band version as "a prayer for peace." By the summer of 2003, with the Iraq war under way, the acoustic version needed no introduction to be well understood by a crowd sympathetic to his opposition to it.
The great challenge of performing to a large audience of reserved northern Europeans is to get the crowd to loosen up, move, and sing along. Maybe it is easier to let loose in the dark, but if it gets dark at an early summer outdoor show like this, it won't be until the encores. Even an entertainer on Springsteen's level cannot take the cooperation of these crowds for granted.
Of course, pumping up tens of thousands of grown adults is all in a night's work for the mighty E Street Band. But there is a difference between a jaded, tailgate-tired East Coast crowd that may have seen it all before but is ultimately there for a good time, and an audience that is culturally less expressive and needs to be convinced to lose its inhibitions.
That brings us to "Mary's Place" — the beating heart at the center of any Rising Tour show, extended with band introductions and parts of "Baby, I've Been Missing You" and Major Lance's "Monkey Time." Listen for Bruce's exhortation to the Finns as he works to get them in concert with him. "Mary's Place" was a lengthy performance that repeat attendees may have tired of. And without the visual benefit of the onstage spectacle, the song may be diminished in its translation to the audio format. But on a night like this, before a new and unfamiliar audience, it is this brand-new track that does the job of bringing the crowd up a level or two, making sure a three-hour concert doesn't feel too long.
By the time the encores roll around, the audience should be won over, and all that is left is hard-rocking communal celebration. "Ramrod," extended by a playful instrumental boogie, joins radio favorites "Dancing in the Dark" and "Glory Days," which were back with a vengeance after being out of rotation on the Reunion Tour. And Moon Mullican's "Seven Nights to Rock," still a hot new showpiece after its Paris debut less than a month earlier, hit the ground running. It quickly became an encore staple.
Until now, this show is unlikely to have made many Top Ten Rising Tour show lists. But the setlist here is a first-rate representation of the 2003 European shows — exactly what you'd expect from the first night of two in a new market — and it is exciting that Nugs has finally broken the seal on such an important era for Springsteen and his fans. It isn't unreasonable to expect that we will see more concerts from this tour in the future.
Now, put on headphones to hear what the hardworking sound wizards have managed to do with that tricky DSD multi-track recording.
- October 5, 2018 - Magnus Lauglo reporting - photographs by Riku Olkkonen
SITTING DOWN WITH STEVIE
Behind the centerpiece of the next issue of Backstreets Magazine, a definitive, career-spanning interview with Little Steven
This month, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul resume their Soulfire Teacher Solidarity Tour with a series of 28 American shows that will keep them on the road until shortly before Christmas, when Soulfire Live! will be released in vinyl and Blu-Ray formats. As before, teachers who sign up for the nightly TeachRock professional development workshops get free admission to the show.
"This will be the end of the Soulfire tour," tweeted Little Steven. "We're hitting the Midwest, all the states where teachers were on strike (or almost were) to show solidarity." This final U.S. leg begins October 18 in Wilkes Barre, PA, and these gigs will formally conclude a two-year cycle of recording and touring that began in London on October 29, 2016.
Backstreets has reported on Little Steven's every move since then, and we'll be posting regular reports this fall as he and the band travel from New Jersey to California, clocking up their 100th show en route. Although he intends to continue his solo musical career, it's understood that Little Steven has reserved the first few months of 2019 for other projects. A new studio album is currently being recorded in New York, and members of the band have taken to social media to extol its virtues.
"I must warn you now that this new album will surprise you," said Ed Manion. "It is off the charts and will be worth the wait when you finally hear it. We worked hard and gave it our all. Seriously, it's hard to describe what just happened here. You will love it!" During a phone-in interview on Tom Cunningham's Bruce Brunch on September 23, Little Steven said that the album will probably be released in May, two years after Soulfire. He later tweeted that it will feature 10 new songs. At the moment, a European tour is pencilled in for next summer.
To coincide with Little Steven's two-month tour and the final stretch of Springsteen on Broadway, we'll be publishing a brand-new print edition of Backstreets magazine. The centerpiece of the new issue will be one of the longest and most comprehensive recent interviews with Little Steven, conducted by longtime Backstreets contributor and Van Zandt historian Mike Saunders [above].
SPRINGSTEEN CONCERT FILMS ROLLING OUT MONTHLY ON YOUTUBE
Sony has gotten serious about Springsteen streaming in 2018. In May, a big audio effort brought lots of Bruce's loose ends to Digital Service Providers for the first time, with Spare Parts: The 9 EP Digital Collection. Across those nine EPs were 21 recordings — previously released live tracks and B-sides, gathered in this Spotify playlist — making their debuts for streaming services and digital downloads. We wrote about it here.
Slowly but surely, Springsteen video is being given a similar treatment.
Last week, the complete The River Tour, Tempe 1980 film — originally available only as part of the Ties That Bind box set — became available on YouTube for free HD streaming up to 1080p, posted as individual tracks and gathered into a full playlist. Additional clips from the Ties box have been posted as well (five songs from River Tour rehearsals), all on the Springsteen YouTube page.
Tempe1980 is the fourth such title to officially make the jump from DVD to YouTube. Though not touted as a monthly series in the way the Nugs live archive series has been, it's shaping up that way: a new Springsteen title has made its way to YouTube each month since June:
So we're seeing a trend, with additional titles ripe for official transfer (including Live in Barcelona, Live in Dublin, and London Calling: Live in Hyde Park) that could take us well into next year, if a monthly release schedule keeps up.
Of course, Blu-rays and DVDs for these titles are still in print and available. But free? Free ain't at all a bad price to pay.
STAND UP FOR HEROES SWEEPSTAKES ON NOW
Bruce Springsteen is returning to the Stand Up for Heroes fundraiser this November — this 12th annual benefit will be Bruce's 11th appearance — and Omaze is hosting a fundraising sweepstakes with quite the prize: One winner and a guest will receive not only receive VIP tickets to the show, but also get a backstage meet-and-greet with Bruce and green room access, with flights and hotel included.
Donations made between now and October 21, 2018 at 11:59pm will score you entries to the sweepstakes and benefit the Bob Woodruff Foundation. See full details at Omaze.com. - October 2, 2018
SOME PEOPLE LIKE TO ROCK AND ROLL...
Springsteen jams with Social D at Asbury's Sea.Hear.Now Festival
Boardwalk life is through? Not judging by this past weekend in Asbury Park. The inaugural Sea.Hear.Now festival in Asbury was a success right out of the gate, capped off with a Day 2 guest performance from Bruce Springsteen on the beach.
Last night, Springsteen joined his old pal Mike Ness and Social Distortion for three songs on the Sea.Hear.Now Sand Stage: "Bad Luck" (which Ness has previously performed with the E Street Band), "Misery Loves Company" (the studio version of which features Springsteen, on Ness's solo album Cheating at Solitaire) and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" (which Social Distortion covered on their 1990 self-titled album).
Congratulations to Sea.Hear.Now mastermind Danny Clinch on creating a music/art/surf festival perfectly suited to Asbury Park — the Asbury Park Press calls it "a major success." We'll have a full report from the fest in the coming days; in the meantime, watch Springsteen's guest spots below.
- October 1, 2018 - photograph by Moe Green
"BY BIRTHRIGHT YOU ARE A PLAYER IN HISTORY"
Mark Kissling shares 2008 "This Land Is Your Land" Springsteen interview
Ten years ago, educator Mark Kissling was studying the history of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." His research included a couple days at the Woody Guthrie Archives, focusing on "how teachers in U.S. schools over the past six decades have used the song as a curricular resource to teach about patriotism." If you were in his shoes, is there anybody in particular you'd like to talk to about the song?
Well, exactly. And as as guest editor of the new issue of Bank Street Occasional Papers Series, Kissling, now an assistant professor of education at Penn State, writes, "During this time, Bruce graciously sat down with me at his home in New Jersey for an interview about how he learned the song and why he began playing it at concerts in the early 1980s."
You'll find the full 28-minute interview now online — "'That's Quite a Tune: An Interview with Bruce Springsteen" — as both an audio file and a full transcript. Along the way Springsteen talks about the beauty of the song, about Guthrie, the music of the Civil Rights Movement, "the American idea," his own political activism, identity, and lineage. And of course, adding "This Land Is Your Land" to his set on the 1980-'81 River tour:
I put it into the show in 1980 because the band was sort of taking a turn towards
the political: certainly with
Darkness on the Edge of Town, a lot of class-based music; The River. There was
a recession at the time. My brother-in-law was a construction worker — very similar now: construction
stopped. No construction jobs. He became a janitor at the high school. This was my sister's life. Reagan
was elected in 1980, which seemed like a disaster in the making for working people. That was when we
brought it into the show and I started to sing it.
It was going to be [“This Land Is Your Land”] because it was a song I felt people knew but didn’t know,
[that] they didn’t understand its full meaning and its greatness. It had kind of been diminished by overuse.
Its popularization had cut away some of its depth at the time. I just looked at it as a piece of poetry, it was
so beautiful. I mean, if you take away even the verses that contain some of what you might call the “radical
politics,” the song still functions. It’s enormously beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful statements of
ownership of your own Americanness. The insistence of your place, that this is your place. That you have a
place, not just geographically, but by birthright you are a player in history. By your belonging to this place,
at this time, and making your claim of ownership of this place, at this time, marks you as a player in this
moment in history. As such you are empowered, rather than disenfranchised.
Springsteen and the E Street Band performed Guthrie's song more than 80 times on the 1980-'81 tour (their December 28, 1980 live performance at Nassau Coliseum was included on Live/1975-'85) and revisited it again at the end of the Born in the U.S.A. tour, for another 20 performances in the summer of 1985. At the time of the interview, December 2008, Springsteen's performance of the song with Pete Seeger to celebrate the Inauguration of Barack Obama [above, January 18, 2009] was still just a gleam in his eye.
HALF OFF SCRATCH & DENT COPIES OF GREETINGS FROM E STREET
Published in 2006 by Chronicle Books, Robert Santelli's Greetings From E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is not only a rich history of the band, it's also a treasure trove of photographs, clippings, and memorabilia — including removable reproductions of everything from backstage passes to a Stone Pony cocktail napkin.
We also have a stack of these books that we're offering in a scratch-and-dent sale: 50% off a limited quantity of Greetings, marked down from the $35 list price to $17.50. These copies have imperfections to the slipcase that houses the book: dings, bumps, or small splits. But the book inside is in perfect shape, complete with all inserts present.
JAKE CLEMONS BRINGS FEAR AND LOVE AND DEMOCRACY TO THE UK As part of his 2018 Summer Road Trip, Jake Clemons and his four-piece band recently completed a U.K. tour that comprised consecutive nights in Glasgow (August 28), Liverpool (29), Birmingham (30), Oxford (31), and London (September 1). The Glasgow show was moved from the O2 ABC to The Garage, due to the devastating fire at the neighbouring Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art that severely damaged the venue.
Inevitably, the majority of Jake's audiences were Springsteen fans, but as Bruce was several thousand miles away on Broadway, they were almost certainly in attendance to discover what he had to offer rather than hoping that his employer might turn up. Those who hadn't previously seen Jake live experienced some powerful and emotional live performances, and more full-band rock 'n' roll — and less sax — than they were probably expecting.
Playing acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards and saxophone, Jake sang material from his 2017 debut album Fear and Love and previous EPs Embracing Light and It's On. These included "All I Need," "Song For Hope," "Hold Tight," "Janine" (his song about the dangers of an abusive relationship), and "You Must Be Crazy," which included a nightly excursion into the crowd to roam the room, sing with fans, and pose for selfies.
Photograph by Mike Saunders
The sets included some older unreleased songs — "Wherever You Are" and "Say Your Prayers" (on the latter, Jake recorded multiple loops that combined to make a multi-tracked one-man performance) — and more recent material that may appear on his second album, including "Nothing Left," "Consumption Town," "I Never Missed You," and "Ayuda."
Jake gets a little help from Mic Geraghty - photograph by Mike Saunders
There were also three inspired covers: a joyous encore of the Rascals' "Good Lovin'," a Joe Cocker-style "With a Little Help From My Friends" (a duet with roadie, friend, and fellow musician Mic Geraghty), and a rocked-up version of Leonard Cohen's "Democracy," which many felt was one of the highlights of the tour. - September 26, 2018 - Mike Saunders reporting - thanks to Dan French and Deirdre Houston for additional information - Visit Dan's YouTube channel to view additional Jake clips
BUILT STRAIGHT OUT OF SCRATCH, 69 YEARS AGO TODAY
Happy birthday, Bruce! Keep shutting 'em up and shutting 'em down. - September 23, 2018
BRUCE BRUNCH MEETING YOU SUNDAY IN ATLANTIC CITY
Tom Cunningham's weekly radio show to host a 9/23 birthday bash
With Bruce's birthday falling on a Sunday this year — that's this Sunday, in case you don't have major holidays marked on your calendar — leave it to Tom Cunningham and the Bruce Brunch radio program to cook up a cool celebration for the occasion.
Tom has filled us in on some of his plans for the birthday bash… and it sounds like he's turning the sand to gold.
First of all, Steven Van Zandt will be calling in as a special guest. A longtime Hard Rock proponent, Stevie dropped by the construction site last year and promised to play a show when everything was up and running. That promise will be fulfilled next month when he rolls into town with the Disciples of Soul, Tuesday 10/23. And this Sunday morning, someone will leave the Hard Rock with a pair of front row tickets in hand.
John Eddie & His Dirty Ol' Band will be performing live on the air, and the band will include original Front Street Runner guitarist "Baby" Joe Sweeney. Count on at least one memorable Springsteen cover. And stick around after the radio broadcast, because John and the band will be playing at least a set right from the Lobby Bar stage.
Noted Springsteen photographer Frank Stefanko will also be on hand. He is generously giving away a 16x20 portrait of Bruce (above) titled "Hard Land" (2017, Colts Neck, NJ).
Sunday'sgiveaways, in addition to the Stefanko print:
Tickets to see Steely Dan on Saturday 10/13 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock.
Front row seats to see Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul on Tuesday 10/23 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock
Tickets and an overnight stay to see Elvis Costello & The Imposters on Saturday 11/3 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock
Tickets and an overnight stay to see Bob Dylan & His Band on Saturday 11/17 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock
Be sure to note: the show streams online at 1057thehawk.com, but you must be present to win.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is the home of some rare Springsteen memorabilia, as well as Stevie Van Zandt keepsakes, the Big Man's BIG motorcycle, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes archives, and lots more Jersey Shore music scene rarities.
Cunningham tells Backstreets, "It's been a while since Bruce's birthday has fallen on a Sunday. What better way to mark the day than with other fans in this beautiful new place. The Hard Rock did it right, and I love how they made sure that all of New Jersey's legendary artists are represented."
Makeup on? Hair look pretty? The Bruce Brunch is heading to Atlantic City. - September 20, 2018
BRO CODE OF THE ROAD
Nils Lofgren jams with his brothers to kick off fall Acoustic Duo tour
Over the weekend, Nils Lofgren started his September tour in style with three nights in a row at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. Following those homecoming shows, Lofgren's tour pulls into Asbury Park tonight, for a stop at the Stone Pony, and continues throughout the month.
All in the Family: Mike, Nils, and Tom Lofgren at the Birchmere, 9/14/18 - photo by Jerry Frishman
The Birchmere concerts — three nights running, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — were special ones, as Nils and his Acoustic Duo tourmate Greg Varlotta (guitar, trumpet, keyboards, tap dancing) were joined by Lofgren brothers Tom, Mike, and Mark for "An Acoustic Evening with Nils Lofgren & Friends." During one song Nils and Tom — who were bandmates in Grin — strummed each other's guitars, and the sibling love was evident when all four brothers performed together. Their mom must have been proud.
Still Grinnin': Nils and Tom help each other out, 9/14/18 - photo by Jerry Frishman
The song selection spanned Nils's 50-year career, including Grin tracks like "Moon Tears" and "Believe," and solo cuts like "Code of the Road," "Girl in Motion," and "No Mercy." In between songs he told stories — on Friday, he talked about meeting Neil Young and collaborating on the After the Gold Rush album. Nils displayed his wide instrumental range, playing harp, keyboard, guitar, and lap steel; his rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee" on accordion was a huge crowd pleaser.
A fan in the opening night crowd called out, "Bullets Fever"! Nils sang a few lines of his 1978 basketball anthem and told the story of how he wrote that song and took it to local Washington DC stations, whereupon it became a big local hit. (Of course, the team is now the Wizards). The performance concluded with a great version of his sublime favorite "Shine Silently."
Following tonight's Asbury Park gig, the Acoustic Duo will make their way around the Northeast before wrapping up the month in NYC — get there if you can:
September 18 - The Stone Pony - Asbury Park, NJ
September 19 - Musikfest Cafe at ArtsQuest Center - Bethlehem, PA
September 20 - Colonial Theatre - Phoenixville, PA
September 21 - The Space at Westbury - Westbury, NY
September 22 - Cabot Theater - Beverly, MA
September 23 - Paramount Hudson Valley - Peekskill, NY
September25 - Tupelo Music Hall - Derry, NH
September 26 - Narrows Center for the Arts - Fall River, MA
September 27 - Academy of Music - Northampton, MA
September 28 - Cary Hall - Lexington, MA
September 29 - Infinity Hall - Norfolk, CT
September 30 - City Winery - New York, NY
For more details and ticket links, visit nilslofgren.com. - September 18, 2018 - photographs and reporting by Jerry Frishman
WELL MY DADDY HE WAS JUST A STRANGER
As we first reported in May, screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan revealed that he and his father, fellow screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, drew inspiration for their Solo: A Star Wars Story screenplay from Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run autobiography. Now that Solo has become available for home viewing via digital streaming, Kasdan has tweeted some additional making-of factoids "in lieu of a commentary," including more details about this Springsteen/Star Wars backstory connection:
Solo: A Star Wars Story is digitally available now, and will be released in physical media formats on September 25. Click here for details.
- September 17, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting
STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE
On November 5, an off-night for Springsteen on Broadway, Bruce will be on a different NYC stage, returning for the 12th annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit at Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theatre. The New York Comedy Festival event raises money for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, supporting post-9/11 impacted veterans, service members, their families and caregivers. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, September 13 at noon Eastern, via Ticketmaster. - September 12, 2018
IF YOUR SPIRIT IS READY TO TAKE THAT RIDE...
Catch that coast town bus to Atlantic City, with a Backstreets ticket presale for Little Steven's only area show next month
This fall, Little Steven brings his Teacher Appreciation Tour back to North America for a two-month victory lap. With his Disciples of Soul, Stevie will be performing from coast to coast beginning in October, from Rochester to San Diego, from Tulsa to Tahoe. It's a last chance for Stateside fans to behold the glory of these Soulfire shows.
With the tri-state area already having witnessed several nights with Little Steven and the Disciples, this fall leg will inlcude only one stop in the region: October 23 in Atlantic City, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's Etess Arena. And Backstreets can help you get in. General onsale for Atlantic City is this Saturday at 10am; 24 hours prior, a Backstreets presale will give our readers advance access to tickets.
Use the presale code BACKSTREETS (all caps) to go for Atlantic City tickets this Friday, Septemer 14, beginning at 10am Eastern via Ticketmaster.com.
This final leg is set to open October 18 in Wilkes Barre, PA and continue into December. The current itinerary for the Soulfire Teachrock Tour 2018:
October 18 - Kirby Center - Wilkes Barre, PA
October 20 - Kodak Center - Rochester, NY
October 23 - Hard Rock Hotel - Atlantic City, NJ
October 24 - Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall - Munhall, PA
October 29 - Honeywell Center - Wabash, IN
October 31 - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, WI
November 2 - Ames Center - Burnsville, MN
November 3 - Meyer Theatre - Green Bay, WI
November 5 - Copernicus Center - Chicago, IL
November 7 - Club Brady Theater - Tulsa, OK
November 9 - Music Hall - Detroit, MI
November 10 - Monarch Music Hall - Peoria, IL
November 12 - Mercury Ballroom - Louisville, KY
November 14 - Newport Music Hall - Columbus, OH
November 16 - Hard Rock - Cleveland, OH
November 17 - Metropolitan Theatre - Morgantown, WV
November 26 - Tower Theatre - Oklahoma City, OK
November 28 - Hollan Performing Arts Center - Omaha, NE
November 30 - Gothic Theatre - Denver, CO
December 1 - The Depot - Salt Lake City, UT
December 3 - Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC
December 5 - Snoqualmie Casino - Snoqualmie, WA
December 7 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
December 8 - Harrah's Lake Tahoe - Stateline, NV
December 11 - House of Blues - San Diego, CA
December 12 - House of Blues - Anaheim, CA
December 14 - House of Blues - Las Vegas, NV
December 16 - The Van Buren - Phoenix, AZ
Watch littlesteven.com for further information, including additional show announcements and onsales for the West Coast this Friday morning.
As reported previously, K-12 teachers get into the show free after attending a pre-show TeachRock workshop, focused on using music to engage students in the classroom. See teachrock.org for details.
RESUSCITATED AND REDEDICATED IN CHICAGO, 9/30/99
Boom Boom: the live archive taps the Reunion tour for the second time
Today's new release in Bruce Springsteen's live archive series marks its second offering from the Reunion tour, joining the previously released July 1, 2000 performance from Madison Square Garden. That legendary tour finale was an obvious pick. This one, Chicago September 30, 1999, undoubtedly comes as a surprise to many devotees of the series. Upon further examination, though, it's a fine selection, capturing the soaring wrap-up of a successful first leg of the U.S. tour that rededicated the E Street Band for the turn of the millenium.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band blew into the Windy City in late September for three shows over four nights, riding the momentum of a lengthy stretch of East Coast shows that included a record-setting 15-show home state residency at the Meadowlands and the just-completed six-show stand in their stronghold of Philadelphia, where the Boss turned 50. Unlike lucky Easterners who by then already had plenty of drivable opportunities to see the band, Chicagoans were still thirsty to finally witness Springsteen playing with the E Street Band again. It had been awhile: they'd last played together in the area in 1988 at the Rosemont Horizon. The anticipation for the E Street Band's return was goosed by the giddiness of finally being able to see the reunion that, for a solid decade, we didn't know would ever happen.
The 1999 model E Street Band - photograph by Ron Ring
The fans who filled the spacious United Center for three sold-out shows gave Bruce and the band a hero's welcome — and the E Streeters responded by making "The House That Michael Jordan Built" their own during their first visit to the arena. After an off-day following the first two Chicago shows, which capped a demanding stretch of four in five days, the E Street Band returned to the stage on September 30 with renewed energy — and the continued engagement of proving to itself as well as the audience that it wasn't only rediscovering its storied past, but also creating new glory.
The Chicago stand saw 42 different songs played, including seven on the final night that weren't played in the first two concerts. The stage setlists were replaced twice before this show — a good sign, of course, though their author still didn’t exactly follow the last one taped in front of him. The band slammed into the underplayed "Take 'Em as They Come" to start the night and offered other remarkable rarities as well.
Springsteen rewarded the city he first played in 1973 (as an opener to The Persuasions for five shows at the Quiet Knight) with a stunningly beautiful "New York City Serenade." The epic hadn’t been played since 1975 until making a surprise appearance a month earlier in New Jersey, and it would be performed only five times on the Reunion Tour. While "Serenade" didn’t feature the strings of the recorded version — or of the live performances of recent vintage — Roy Bittan's sublime piano helped send the song down Broadway and into the mystic.
September 1999 - photograph by Mark R. Sullivan
On the flipside, "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart" saw its groove escape. "Oh, we’ve got to practice that one," Springsteen said with a laugh after its conclusion. "She's the One" quickly restored the show's surging energy.
On quite a few occasions Springsteen shouted instructions to the band, followed by urgent scrambling to change guitars. This performance was a prime example of Springsteen making the right calls to form an expertly paced, thematic setlist that had the benefit of strong anchors on this tour. A highlight was the nightly airing of the fiery three-pack of "Youngstown," "Murder Incorporated," and "Badlands." Later, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" saw a snippet of the Curtis Mayfield-penned "It's All Right" by The Impressions that led into Al Green's "Take Me to the River" with lengthy band introductions, during which Springsteen said he wanted to go there with us "because you can't get there by yourself."
The main set-closer, a show-stopping, supercharged "Light of Day," nodded to the city's blues tradition with a pedal-to-the-metal shift into John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom." It also made local references to cows, pizza, and "Mike Ditka memorabilia" before Springsteen fervently preached the Reunion tour's mission: "If you've been downsized, stigmatized, retro-psychedelicized, analyzed, Pokemonized, pass-that-tax-cut-for-the-rich-Republicanized, it ain't too late to repent! I'm here to re-educate, to rededicate, to re-confiscate, to resuscitate, to reindoctrinate, to re-sexualate, to re-liberate, to recombobulate with the power, with the glory… with the promise, with the mystery, with the majesty, with the ministry of rock 'n' roll!"
September 1999 - photograph by Mark R. Sullivan
The tour's defining emotional highs of "If I Should Fall Behind" and the new spiritual "Land of Hope of Dreams" packed a back-to-back punch as usual, driving home themes of companionship and camaraderie, but on this night they were not the last word. "Miss O'Leary, step aside!" Springsteen exclaimed — and with that, a lunatic version of the rollicking "Ramrod" served as the closer, ending the concert and stand with fans pumping up the decibel level in the United Center.
The exhausted frontman gave them a final scene to remember as he laid sprawled on his back on the monitor in front of Max Weinberg's drum kit, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. Then he started turning. For a moment, it looked as if he was trying to kick the bass drum or knock down the entire kit, but he was just gaining leverage to spin on the monitor. He eventually positioned himself upside down and looked at the crowd. The place went nuts. The roar reverberated through the building at least as loud — and maybe even louder — than when Jordan's Bulls won NBA titles here. Don't believe it? Ask the floor that shook. After a mad dash was punctuated by a somersault, Springsteen was still bouncing off the stage when the band took its final bows — a crazy ending to an electrifying show.
Also read: Erik Flannigan's "Listen to Your Junk Man" at blog.nugs.net.
- September 7, 2018 - Dave Miller reporting - ticket stub courtesy of Bev Horne - additional thanks to J. Burt
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH STEVIE
Now that school is back in session across the U.S., Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul also are gearing up for more TeachRock.org professional-development sessions for teachers as part of the next U.S. leg of their Teacher Appreciation Tour.
Beginning next month, all teachers who attend a TeachRock professional-development session will continue to receive the same cool "stipend" for their attendance — two free tickets to the Little Steven concert accompanying the session — plus some wicked-cool swag, in the form of the newly added official teachers-only Teacher Appreciation Tour T-shirt.
Stevie himself provides all of the details (including the shirt) in the video above. "This is a little different than the professional development experience that you may be used to," says Steve. "This is a rock 'n' roll experience." Interested teachers of classes from kindergarten through grade 12 can click here to learn more and to register for an upcoming professional-development session near them. - September 6, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting
TRUST NONE OF WHAT YOU HEAR
We believe strongly that the free press is not the enemy of the people... but still, there are times when you can't believe everything you read. Despite what The Daily Star reported yesterday, Steven Van Zandt does not believe that Bruce Springsteen has just "ONE more tour in him." On Twitter, Stevie calls this "the real FAKE NEWS!"
“Quotes” from Daily Star. “It’s been an amazing run for him and then he’s going to take some time off.” I didn’t say that. I said he DESERVES TIME OFF. “I think the E Street Band has one more tour then maybe that will be that.” Completely made up! 100% fiction. Fucking amazing.
"We will tour forever" — that's a 100% non-fiction, straight-from-the-source quote we're happy to disseminate.
Stevie and his Disciples of Soul continue their own tour this fall, as the Soulfire TeachRock Tour 2018 returns to the U.S. with more dates beginning in October. See the itinerary at littlesteven.com. - September 5, 2018
"Lots of cool stuff here I didn't know existed until I did the research," Jay tells us, and we concur. Some tracks will be familiar to most fans not dwelling under a rock — Rick Springfield's "Bruce" and Eric Church's "Springsteen" made the first list, of course — but there are plenty of rarer cuts gathered here. We somehow missed Link Wray's "It Was Elvis" from 1993's Indian Child:
Now Bruce is carrying on with Born to Run Through the Darkness on the Edge of Town His gun's for hire, he's making fire
In his pink Cadillac, he's the boss of the rock 'n' roll sound.
On the new list you'll also find recordings from John Wesley Harding, Dar Williams, The Gaslight Anthem, Lana Del Rey, and more. Jay writes, "Some of the artists are extremely obscure, but I think there are a lot of cool 'finds' here that a lot of Springsteen fans probably haven't heard before." Check out Part 1 and Part 2. - September 4, 2018
IN FREEHOLD AND BEYOND: ROCK & ROLL TOUR OF THE JERSEY SHORE
Last week, the Asbury Park Press published an article on the houses where the Springsteen family lived in Freehold — a subject with some currency, given Bruce's Born to Run memoir and childhood recollections in Springsteen on Broadway.
Jean knows whereof she speaks, having given tours of music landmarks on the Jersey Shore for years, along with collaborator Stan Goldstein. The pair also put their local knowledge down on paper for an invaluable book, Rock & Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore. Here at Backstreets HQ we get asked a lot where to go, if someone is making the pilgrimage to Asbury Park and environs... we recommend this book every time.
With maps, stories, and photos, Rock & Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore is now in its Fourth Edition.
However, we've also turned up a stack of the out-of-print Third Edition [right] — they're a little beat up, but still highly usable. And we'd love to see them in use. So we're having a scratch-and-dent sale: get a copy of the Third Edition for just 5 bucks! That's more than 80% off.
If you're thinking more "throw it in the car and go" rather than "I need it in perfect shape on my shelf," come and get it!
ARE HERE Official Springsteen calendars from Thrill Hill now in stock for the new year!
Backstreet Records is the mailorder division of Backstreets, delivering Springsteen merchandise to fans for more than 25 years. We carry numerous collectibles, tour shirts, books, magazines, and imported CDs and records.
The world's best selection of Springsteen collectibles, all available by mail.
We also post all known concert dates for some of our favorite Jersey Shore (and Shore-adopted) musicians:
Joe D'Urso... and more.
For more information on upcoming shows such as these, check out our Concert Calendar.
Many from the Springsteen community banded together to preserve this Asbury Park landmark.... and Tillie has now been saved!
Check our Save Tillie page for the latest developments.
THE SPRINGSTEEN SPECIAL COLLECTION
Organized by Backstreets in 2001, this storehouse of Boss books and magazines is the largest such collection outside of Bruce's mother's basement. Thanks to the generosity of fans around the world, total holdings are now well over 15,000. But the collection is by no means complete.