Posts tagged ‘Springsteen’

Why I Hate Bon Jovi

My youngest sister is 25 years old and she loves Bon Jovi. I am guessing it has something to do with Jon Bon Jovi, who I think she thinks is “hot,” even though his face betrays clear evidence of various injections and surgeries.

I’ve always thought of Bon Jovi as “Springsteen for dummies,” with all due respect to my sister, who’s not dumb. We all have our weak spots. She likes Bon Jovi; I watch Jersey Shore. It happens.

As I watched their performance on the Grammys last night, the real reason I dislike them came to the fore: They’re absolutely uninspiring performers. Granted, they’re older guys now, so maybe back in the day they set the stage aflame with the heat of their music. But last night, on an internationally televised program and whilst accompanied by an awkwardly-strutting blonde woman in too-tight pants, their performance felt thick, bloated, OLD. It felt nothing like a dynamic live event and more like a Performance Of A Hit Song By A Band. No nuance or texture to the music; no frills or riffs or standout moments that indicated that anyone involved on stage was doing anything other than going through the motions.

(It’s also helped me learn a good general barometer for these types of bands–if your drummer needs to wear special gloves, they’re probably not a great drummer. Max Fucking Weinberg doesn’t need special gloves. He just ROCKS OUT WITH HIS STICKS AND HANDS.)

There was even a very minor element of surprise to their performance; the final song in the band’s short set could be voted on via the internet. I held out small hope for some kind of random upset or vote-rigging that would force the boys to play an unrehearsed rare album cut or even better a weird cover. Instead, we got “Living On A Prayer,” or at least about a minute of it. It reminded me of the album version. It sounded exactly like it.

Because they’re a Jersey band and they themselves seem to consider Springsteen an inspiration, it’s hard not to compare them to the E Street crew, who play with finesse, creativity, nuance and unbelievable ENERGY pretty much every time out. Look at any of the other Asbury Park scene artists and you’ll find the same ethos.

I don’t think Jon and the boys from Bon Jovi realize they don’t give a shit, but they really don’t seem to give a shit, so neither do I.


February 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm 11 comments




February 1, 2009 at 11:53 pm 1 comment

Spooky Broooce

Bruce Springsteen has a free download and music video up at his official site in honor of Halloween.

The tune, “A Night With The Jersey Devil,” is a nice slice of toss-off filthy swampy blues.

The video features Springsteen rising up out of a murky bog.


October 31, 2008 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

The Pop Geek PopCast 7.5

Gosh, it’s been a while.

Songs I like, carefully arranged, taking no more than twenty minutes of your time.

In defiance of the laws of God and man, you can download it too.

Tracklist post-jump.

October 10, 2008 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

The Boss @ The Bowl?

Rumors are a-flyin’ that Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band will play the halftime gig at the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa, FL. (Just two hours away…maybe Clarence can crash at my place?)

This news…troubles me. Springsteen has always been one of the most ardent opponents of corporate-sponsored music; his tours have never been sponsored, and he’s resisted overtures from the biggest names in business to co-opt his tunes for television commercials.

I’m having a hard time understanding how his stance on this would jibe with playing a gig in the heart of the most-watched corporate sports event in the world. Does he play “Born in the U.S.A.,” which millions of beer-swilling red staters across the nation will misinterpret as a jingoistic anthem yet again, and croon on their couches while totally missing the point? What about “Born to Run,” a song about escaping the American reality, and not about achieving the American dream? If he sticks to his “hits,” what does that mean–“Hungry Heart”? “Dancing in the Dark”? “Streets of Philadelphia”?

What is it in Springsteen’s music or creative image that would have anything whatsoever to do with something as banal and wrong-headed as the Super Bowl halftime show?

I don’t begrudge the guy a victory lap; I’m sure from a personal perspective, there’s a billion reasons for the boys to load up their gear and play the biggest stage in the world on the biggest day in sports. Looking at Springsteen the Artist, though…I don’t get it.

(All that said, if the band were to play, say, some large outdoor free concert in conjunction with the game, I would still happily drive those two hours and attend, were it at all logistically feasible for me to do so. I’m not made of stone.)

August 13, 2008 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

So Long, Danny

“Phantom” Danny Federici, a core member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band since its inception, died yesterday. He was 58 years old.

Here’s how he earned his nickname:

The story goes that the Middletown cops were looking for Danny after the infamous Clearwater Swim Club riot following a Steel Mill show on Sept. 11, 1970…Danny may or may not have pushed an amp from the stage on to the Chief of the Middletown police. Later, the cops were looking for Danny and he escaped arrest on future nights by disappearing into the crowd when Steel Mill would perform “Ressurection,” which started his nickname “Phantom.”

And here’s one of his finest moments, from the 1973 album The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle: “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” featuring Danny on accordion.

Shit, the guy could play–the only time you’d hear a stadium crowd roaring about an organ part like it’s the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl is when Danny would finish up his solo on “Hungry Heart.”

Over the past several decades of recording and touring, Springsteen and the E Streeters have become something more than mere rock stars; they’ve evolved into near-superhuman beings, occupying their own unique corner of rock as almost a complete mythology. The stories Springsteen tells in concert, their interactions through music and camaraderie, the legends about every facet of their careers together–it all speaks to a large tapestry that looms behind them every night on stage, and is dwarfed by the blood, mercy, fear, and majesty in Springsteen’s songs.

Myths, and the gods that occupy them, are not supposed to die–at least, not outside the pages of comic books and the scripts of summer movie blockbusters. Yet here we are, mourning the death of a man, a myth, and frankly a legend.

I realize I’m overshooting reality here by some degree, but those who are fans of Springsteen, or have seen him live–those who’ve sipped the same Kool-Aid I gulp down on a daily basis, in other words–must know what I mean. These aren’t just fellas in a band, playing songs for the fans; they’re high priests of a sort, participating in a regular ritual of equal parts reverence and irreverence, constantly questioning everything we hold dear about American culture and life while at the same time believing that if we all work together and try hard enough, we can have the country and the society we dream about.

Offstage, he was just a guy, seemed nice enough, cut a few solo albums, got melanoma and died too young.

Back on that riser to the right of Mighty Max, Danny was an integral part of a seminal ritual of rock, an ongoing saga of redemption and romance expressed through Springsteen’s songs.

He will be missed.

April 18, 2008 at 10:39 am 2 comments

Knee Deep in the Boss

Where have I been?

Knee-deep in Springsteen, that’s where.

I wish I had more to offer on Britney, America’s Next Top Model, or even Dora the Fucking Explorer. But my latest pop culture passion is literally listening to bootleg studio cuts from thirty-odd years ago, like a version of “Hungry Heart” with a different organ solo.

Seriously! How batshit is that?

It is continuously staggering to me just what a great songwriter Springsteen is. I know I’m a fanboy for the dude but honestly. Just take a fucking close look at “Thunder Road,” and really think about it for a second:

The screen door slams
Mary’s dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that’s me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again
I just can’t face myself alone again
Don’t run back inside
darling you know just what I’m here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking
That maybe we ain’t that young anymore
Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty, but hey you’re alright
Oh and that’s alright with me

You can hide ‘neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I’m no hero
That’s understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night’s busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven’s waiting on down the tracks
Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it’s late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold
Thunder Road

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my car’s out back
If you’re ready to take that long walk
>From your front porch to my front seat
The door’s open but the ride it ain’t free
And I know you’re lonely
For words that I ain’t spoken
But tonight we’ll be free
All the promises’ll be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets

They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they’re gone
On the wind, so Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers
And I’m pulling out of here to win.

It is maybe the perfect song–detailed, evocative, concise. God, the imagery–the graduation gown, the wings for wheels, the screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves…

See? I’m useless to you. Useless.

October 19, 2007 at 9:32 am 4 comments

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