I don't think the guy who replaced Bon Scott needs to worry about his job, but there is something about this tribute to the late Bon Scott performed in his home country of Prison Island that delights me. Younger readers, to whom this will just be another example of one guy from the '70s covering the music of another guy from the '70s, may be less impressed, but they've got an entire world of emoji and Avicii records and Nickelodeon-themed quizzes out there dedicated to keeping them amused now, it's not going to kill them to let the old people have [...]
1987 was a tough year for New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen fans. After our hometown hero conquered the world on the Born In U.S.A. tour, he broke our hearts by marrying a model who he'd first seen in a .38 Special video and summoned to a backstage meeting arranged through his manager. Julianne Phillips was a former cheerleader from Oregon who lived in L.A., about the farthest thing from the kind of Jersey girl Bruce had been singing about so well for so long. And when he ditched the E Street Band for his new album, and posed on the cover wearing a blazer and a bolero tie, [...]
"There is no way to accurately or adequately laud Bob Dylan. He is the Homer of our time. The next Bob Dylan will not come around for another millennium or two, making it highly unlikely that it will happen at all."—T-Bone Burnett, foreword to Rolling Thunder Logbook
Critics have always been quick to proclaim someone as the Next Dylan. "No sooner was Dylan Dylan," says Gene Santoro in Highway 61 Revisited, "than the search was on for the Next Dylan, the New Dylan—a list that, over the decades, accumulated dozens." Pity the poor soul who writes intelligent lyrics, sings a bit off-kilter, strums a guitar, and—hoist the millstone!—plays harmonica. [...]
"Bruce Springsteen, like Sly Stone but for so much longer, dared to present America in the 1970s and beyond through the faces of a band that actually looked like America: people of color, ethnic, rough around the edges, and always ready to bust the chops of self-righteousness with a great sense of humor. Kissing the Boss on the lips or embracing him in a giant bear hug at a peak moment in almost every show, Clemons was, in Springsteen's words, 'King of the World, Master of the Universe, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall refineries in a single bound; it's a bird, it's a plane, it's [...]
Remember the movie Garden State from a few years ago that was supposed to be about New Jersey, and was for a while, and was pretty good for like an hour or so, but then it got so bad and fake and sappy at the end that it ended up being more about somewhere else? Hollywood, I guess? Of course you remember. The soundtrack changed your life.
That movie really ticked me off. More than it should have, probably—like I said, it had some good things going for it. But because I’m from New Jersey, and have an emotional attachment to the place, I find myself [...]
Free Energy and Titus Andronicus, "I'm Going Down" (And Bruce Springsteen Covers Throughout History)
Philly's Free Energy and Jersey's Titus Andronicus just finished a tour together. At one of the last shows, last week in Atlanta, the Titus guys joined Free Energy for a beery, raucous rendition of "I'm Goin' Down," a song from Bruce Springsteen's 1984 album, Born in the U.S.A. It's pretty great.
Coincidentally, this is the same Springsteen song NYC's Vampire Weekend has been playing lately.
In just a few hours, most every functioning television screen on the Eastern Seaboard will be showing NBC's new mid-season replacement reality series, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together. And we aren't the only ones who smell an entire river of dead rats. Fox News, for example, has an interesting take that is mostly "interesting" for its picture of Kanye at the top of the story. (Kanye West isn't scheduled to do the benefit tonight, but he did say something about George W. Bush at another hurricane benefit, seven years ago. And Kanye is also black … much like Obama.)
"Where does this disdain for workers come from? Some of it, obviously, reflects the influence of money in politics: big-money donors, like the ones Mr. Romney was speaking to when he went off on half the nation, don’t live paycheck to paycheck. But it also reflects the extent to which the G.O.P. has been taken over by an Ayn Rand-type vision of society, in which a handful of heroic businessmen are responsible for all economic good, while the rest of us are just along for the ride." —Paul Krugman is right. And it's important to note that before Neil Peart replaced John Rutsey on drums and Rush was taken [...]
It Seems Like This New Bruce Springsteen Album Could Be Really Good In Some Ways But Then Less Good In Some Other Ways
I spent a lot of the past weekend listening to Bruce Springsteen's new music. His 17th album, Wrecking Ball, will come out in March, and the lead single, "We Take Care of Our Own" is good. It's about America, and the belief in the country's better ideals. Knowing Bruce's politics, as he's let us (forced us?) to be more and more aware of over the past decade, I first thought that the this song was ripe for the same kind of misappropriation that "Born in the U.S.A." suffered when it came out in 1984—when Ronald Reagan ignored the bitter irony in its lyrics and quoted it in some [...]
Sad news yesterday from Florida, where saxophonist Clarence Clemons, the big man who made all the little pretties raise their hands when he joined the E-Street Band in 1972, was left partially paralyzed after suffering a stroke at his home. He's had two brain surgeries, but is reportedly now in stable condition. Clemons, 69, plays on Lady Gaga's new album, on a song called "The Edge of Glory," and performed it with her on American Idol last month.
Okay. Just two weeks to go. Everybody's sniffling and coughing and more regularly and severely hungover than usual. And feeling guilty about all the extra baked good they're eating. And too busy with planning and shopping and going to holiday parties to even really enjoy any of it. And it's so cold. (Will winter never end??!! Oh, right it hasn't even started yet.) Worst of all, perhaps, the music. Which, if the world made any sense, we'd only be just starting to hear on the radio and TV commercials and piped into in the aisles of our corporate convenience stores, but instead have already been subjected to for [...]
Man, I'm psyched to see The Promise, a documentary about the making of Bruce Springsteen's 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town, my favorite Springsteen album (which is a little bit like saying, "the favorite part of my heart.") Directed by longtime Springsteen cinematographer Thom Zimmy, it's set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month, along with interesting-sounding documentaries by Errol Morris, Alex Gibney, and Werner Herzog (whose Cave of Forgotten Dreams is about prehistoric cave paintings and is for some reason shot in 3D.) HBO will be airing The Promise for me in October-and for you, if you want to see it too.
Chris Christie Will Do Literally Anything, Including Be Nice To Barack Obama, To Get Bruce Springsteen's Approval
Chris Christie's sudden respect for Barack Obama has enraged conservatives and the Romney campaign, but it makes sense when you remember that Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen more than anything, and a disaster just hit New Jersey, and Springsteen will obviously do a benefit. But Springsteen, who is such a Famous Democrat that he actually campaigns with Obama, refuses to have anything to do with Christie. What might change Bruce's feelings for the Republican governor of New Jersey? What might make The Boss finally give a little love back to his biggest (!) fan, Chris Christie?
This should do it:
Springsteen To Perform At Sandy Benefit [...]
"But rock n roll has played also another role in American life, which is to prove that Herbert Marcuse was right. There will be no revolution in America. This society will contain its contradictions without resolving them; it will absorb opposition and reward it; it will transform dissent into culture and commerce. Marcuse’s mistake was in believing that this is bad news. It is good news, because we will be spared the agonies of political purifications. But it is also comic, as protest songs become entertainment for the rich, and Bruce Springsteen the idol of the elite." —I have no horse in this race: I don't really care about [...]
Bruce Springsteen geeks take note! This is a video of the first-ever (solo) performance of "Incident On 57th Street," from the 1973 album, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. It happened Friday night, during a concert the Boss was playing his old friend, Joe Grusheky in Grusheky's hometown, Pittsburgh. God, it sounds great, doesn't it?
Welcome to June. The month when it's already too hot.
I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend. I did, pretty much. Although it was too hot. And it was too hot yesterday, too. I know it's awfully trite to complain about the heat in New York, and how spring is too short in the city. But I'll do it anyway. It's too hot and spring is too short in New York City. Spring meaning not the quarter of the calendar, of course, but the fleeting blip of time each year when you can be outside without a coat, but also without a coating of sweat. When you can [...]
Bruce Springsteen appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show last night, and played "Because the Night" with who-woulda-thunk-it backing from a supergroup combo of the E-Street Band the Roots.