Tag Archives: bruce springsteen

No Autopilot – Ever

Monday’s show had the requisite helpings of hard-swinging Jersey backbeat as well as exuberant guitar rock (“Darlington County”), despairing balladry (“The River”) and stories like “Jungleland,” which began as a piano etude and erupted into flourishes of cinematic grandeur. In every case, every single tune, the details were nailed and at the same time, the band sounded fully invested in bringing the songs to life. It didn’t matter if it was a nightly staple or an obscurity – nobody on Springsteen’s stage operates on autopilot. Ever.


Love Goes To Buildings On Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever, by Will Hermes

Mick Jagger recently told VEVO that New York was a swirl of cultural action back in the mid ‘70s – punk mixing with disco mixing with rap mixing with art. Rolling Stone critic Will Hermes feels the same way. The sweep of his investigation into the Big Apple circa ’73-’77 is enticing. From the Bronx salsa dances to the Bowery punk escapades to the free jazz blowing that took place in downtown lofts, he scrutinizes all the creativity at hand while linking it in a way that doesn’t defy credibility. The best part is that his swirl of action always has clarity to it. A short section about the city’s 1977 blackout is turned into precursor of Foursquare. Johnny Thunders getting off a plane,Bruce Springsteen forsaking the studio, David Murray dining at Sardi’s, Meredith Monk viewing ofAnnie Hall being curtailed, and Talking Heads grilling dinner on their roof in Queens. Fun stuff. VEVO 


Going up to the F Is Alot of Work 

Saving Up For Things That $$$ Can’t Buy

There’s never been any doubt about Bruce Springsteen’s joy when it comes to rockin’ a little R&B, especially old school R&B. The E Street Band’s Mitch Ryder medley bent the girders of some joints back in the ’70s, and he’s shared a mic with Elvis Costello on Sam & Dave spins. Last spring it was “CC Rider” with some old pals. Last night it was nod to the Big Man with JT Bowen and the Soul Cruisers, and a romp through “Saving Up (For the Things Money Can’t Buy),” among many other tunes. What’s your fave R&B tune in the Springsteen book?


Scooter and Pal

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Greatest Human Being That Ever Lived”

“Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.” – Bruce Springsteen

Got a chance to hang with Clarence when he was doing press for one of his solo projects. Nice guy. Here’s a chunk of the piece:

Flip over your vinyl copy of Born to Run and there’s Clarence Clemons, the Big Man. The mighty saxophonist has been a crucial part of Bruce Springsteen’s music ever since joining the E Street Band in 1971. Whether kissing Bruce on the lips or kissing or letting his horn soar on “Bobby Jean” and ”Thunder Road,” Clemons is both the Boss’s loyal lieutenant and custodian of the band’s R&B muse. But now that he’s got his own band – the appropriately named Temple of Soul –  how does he fare as the man in charge?

“I’m a good boss,” says the 61-year-old Clemons. “It’s a matter of who you choose to work with. I’ll take a guy who isnt the greatest musician but loves what he’s doing over a guy who is a virtuoso and don’t give a damn. I’m very fortunate to be associated with the best of humanity with the two bands I play in. It’s great to be a great musician, but being a great person is more important.”

Clemon’s good humor suggests he wont be restructuring his organization anytime soon. And in building the Temple of Soul, he has certainly surrounded himself with great people - eight of them in fact, including two keyboardists and a violinist. With the addition of the four-man Uptown Horns on his new album Live at Asbury Park, it makes for quite a mob onstage. They’re all there to get the party started, he says.

”I dont care if there are five people in the audience or 100,000. I’ll always give 110 percent. With Bruce, we’ve got lots of onstage space to move around. With the Temple of Soul, we haven’t got much, but were more agile!”

When not dodging one another, the Temple of Soul guys play the sweaty, horn-heavy R&B that once throbbed in every bar along Jersey shore. Holding it down is the distinctive wail of Clemons’ horn, which he’s come to call “Jerome.” Whether letting rip on Springsteen’s “Small Things,” or breaking down into sobs on “Livin Without You,” Jerome is a passionate dude. The Temple makes music that should tickle both jam band fans and soul music buffs. At some points – especially the rowdy curtain-raiser ”Washington Bond” – there’s a distinctly Latin flavor provided by John Colbys piano and Tomas Diaz’s percussive forays.

Clemons relocated to Florida six years ago. He says that’s the reason he now sounds like he’s throwing a salsa party on E Street. In search of sunnier climes and great fishing, he discovered the power of the Cuban rhythms, and the festive nature of Caribbean culture.  Read more…

The Minister of Soul,  Secretary of the Brotherhood, probably the next King of England…


Backstreets on CC

Friendship 101

Lights In The Sky

Saw the vertical beams cutting through the drizzle last night, and this morning it’s still raining – the exact opposite of the weather the day the towers collapsed. WNYC is covering the Ground Zero ceremony – the choked voices reading the names of those who are gone are disturbing. My kid was going to his first day of grade school eight years ago. Today’s his third day of high school. Someone just sent me the piece I wrote the as the shitstorm was going down. Grab a loved one and hug ’em tight today. Work to make the sun come out, too.