A few weeks ago a man named Lawrence Kirsch noticed that I had written a few posts about Bruce Springsteen (All Bruce Posts). Lawrence is among other things, a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen. He organizes what I will call crowdsourced books in honor of the rock & roll legend – He reaches out to fans of Bruce and allows them the opportunity to submit a piece of writing or photography to the book.
I jumped at the opportunity, but I wanted to do a bit more to promote the book and the concept behind it. I think a book by the fans is an incredible idea.
To spread the word Lawrence gave me a few minutes of his time for an interview:
The Geek Whisperer: Tell me a little bit about the The Light in Darkness.
Lawrence Kirsch: The positive reaction to my first book on Bruce Springsteen, For You Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans was overwhelming. I always thought about digging deeper into one of Bruce’s original albums, and since Darkness on the Edge of Town is my favourite album and tour, it was an obvious choice.
TGW: How did this project come about?
LK: I was researching photos for a Spanish collection of CDs last year, reissues of all of Bruce’s original CDs with fantastic new collector books for each album. I was having a lot of satisfaction tracking down never-before-seen photos that I thought the Springsteen fan community would enjoy.
From there it was a natural leap to start researching my own volume on Darkness.
TGW: Why write specifically about Darkness on the Edge of Town?
LK: Many reasons, but if I can quote from one of the fan submissions:
“It’s a hard, hard album with a sound so brilliant, gorgeous and true that there really ought to be a law against it just so we could break it. This is the climax of American Rock. It is tired, ragged, angry, moving, but still spirited. A grizzled fighter with one last bout. It feels like the Okie standing in front of the tractors in The Grapes of Wrath. That kind of rage — empty handed, wanting someone to hit, hopeless but not gone yet.
But there’s still that spirit, a vestige of the youthfulness of Rock still in it. It conjures up bits of Eddie Cochran, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Johnny Cash. It stands next to Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine like brothers coming to the same conclusion through different paths. It’s brilliant and hungry.
Listen with care”
I witnessed the opening concert of the 1978 Darkness tour in Buffalo, the last two in Cleveland and about 15 in between. It still ranks as my top tour and top performance of any artist I have ever seen.
TGW: Who can submit writing or photography?
LK: Glad you asked. I feel that too many fans have the false impression that only those who saw the 1978 tour can contribute. That is definitely not the case. Anyone who is a fan of the album can submit a story.
Whether you heard it first in 1978, or more recently discovered Darkness, we want your stories about how the album and/or live shows affected you. We are also looking for original 1978 photography and memorabilia.
TGW: When is the deadline for content submissions?
LK: July 1, 2009
TGW: How can I buy a copy of The Light in Darkness?
LK: You can visit www.thelightindarkness.com to find out more about the project, order books, or submit content.
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Since I am far too young to have been around for the release of Darkness I decided that it was appropriate to reflect on the timeless nature of Bruce’s work:
Darkness on the Edge of Town is a timeless album. Bruce Springsteen’s music in general is everlasting because he crafts his lyrics and instrumentals in such a way that they avoid the trite clichés and trends of most other popular music while still remaining remarkably relevant and relatable. This is why Bruce Springsteen endures, why his music always has meaning in spite of the passage of time. His music isn’t about a “cool riff,” an incredible solo, or even his legendary lyrics; they are about universal emotions. That is why thirty years can pass and Darkness on the Edge of Town endures.
I spent this evening at the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex NYC’s new exhibit, John Lennon: The New York City Years.
The museum, while small, is a lot of fun. It’s packed with memorabilia that will please most rock & roll fans. The stuff that interested me the most were the guitars. One of Eric Clapton’s Martin acoustics, Steve Vai’s Green Meanie, Kirk Hammett’s Skully, and one of Jimi Hendrix’s reverse strung stratocasters had me feeling like a little kid in Cooperstown.
I also loved Johnny Rotten’s “Don’t Fuck With Chuck (Manson)” jacket; it was delightfully insane.
And Bruce Springsteen’s 57 Chevy was way cool.
As you enter the museum they outfit everyone with headsets. The headphones were Sennheiser PX200, and they were the best sounding noise cancelling headphones I have heard outside of the very pricey studio quality stuff. They had great mids which Bose seriously lack. When you walk in front of a display, music from the artist featured begins playing through the headset – it was a nice touch.
Sadly they didn’t allow photography, so the only pictures I was able to take were by the bathrooms:
The only part that I found disappointing was the John Lennon exhibit.
It was created by Yoko Ono, and near as I can tell she is famous for three things:
- Breaking up the Beatles
- Her painfully bad voice
- Being an attention whore
Sadly at least a third of this exhibit was about her. Even worse, at some points those excellent Sennheiser PX200 headphones forced Yoko’s paint stripping voice into my ears.
Her excessive presence in this exhibit might not have been as obnoxious if she wasn’t the creator of the thing.
The stuff about John was cool, but far too much of the exhibit was about Mrs. Self-Important.
I heard Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded By the Light” three separate times in three different places yesterday. It launched me into a discussion about the garbled lyrics in Mann’s cover.
In case you don’t know what I am talking about, the Boss wrote the song in 1973 for the album “Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ.”
And she was blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
She got down but she never got tight, but she’ll make it alright
The portion in question is, “Cut loose like a deuce.”as in a 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe hotrod – Slightly cryptic, but it makes sense, right? Just as the Boss intended.
Then in 1976, Mann decided to cover the song and it landed at #1 on the Hot 100… with a small change to the lyrics.
Mann allegedly sings, “Revved up like a deuce” in place of the original lyrics. However, many people hear him sing, “Wrapped up like a douche.”
I’ve been listening to this song since I was a little kid and even before I knew what a douche was, that’s what I thought he was saying. Listening to the song three times yesterday, I am still hearing douche.
Even in this live version, from 1976, he clearly says “revved up” but I am fairly certain he is singing “douche.”
Anyone else care to weigh in?
I just walked through the door after a long day in NYC that culminated with a Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill.
I’ve seen my fair-share of live musical performances from all manner of genres, and this was by far the most fun that I have ever had at a concert.
Let’s take it from the top.
The band was on fire from the first song. Southside Johnny is an incredibly engaging frontman. He changes things up on the spot, alters tempo, lyrics, and regularly brings other great musicians on stage from the audience. This time he brought up harp (harmonica) players Dennis Gruenling to play on a few songs.
Gruenling was a very expressive harp player. He kept his solo’s interesting and never overstayed his welcome. I liked him a lot. (I also hassled him for his business card after the performance, so I will have to look further into what he is up to. Expect more on this guy)
The rest of the performance was what I expected. The band was powerful and Southside Johnny’s unique stage presence brought the act to life.
I should also mention that B.B. King Blues Club & Grill is a superb venue. It is small and intimate with great acoustics. I recommend seeing a show there if you have the chance.
This is the second time I’ve seen Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes live at BB King’s. I saw them a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but Johnny was sick during that performance and was not quite as energetic as he was this time.
One of the great strengths of Southside Johnny shows is the audience. He used to have a very large following, especially in the NY/NJ area, but over the years he has fallen into obscurity. The fans that show up to his shows are real fans. His love for his fans rings just as clear as our love for him. He puts no barriers between himself and the audience during the performance. I was standing only a few feet away and I saw a couple of people pass him cocktail napkins with song requests on them.
This was a killer performance straight through the set, but as great as it was, the encore was even better.
Enter Steven Van Zandt (Little Steven) of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Little Steven was a founding member of the Asbury Jukes back in the mid 70s.
I honestly can’t remember the set-list but it took them a couple songs for Little Steven to sync up with the band, but once they did it was a ton of fun.
A lot of the specifics are blurry to me… No I didn’t drink, I was just completely enthralled with the show and didn’t take any notes (mental or physical). If you know what the set list was, I would appreciate you posting it.
In my opinion, Ticketmaster has always been pretty shady, but this is pretty insane:
I would write more extensively about this, but Stereogum covers it perfectly.
The one thing I will reiterate is that it was the venue that chose to contract with Ticketmaster, not Bruce or any of his people.
I really hope that the Federal Trade Commission can enforce positive change. The best application of government is limiting corruption.