Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

My rock and roll library update

The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label by Barry Miles (Harry N. Abrams, 2016)

Do we need another Beatles book? Is there any facet of the Beatles’ 12-year existence as a group that hasn’t been written into the ground? Well, at least until Mark Lewisohn completes his definitive multi-volume history, it looks like we’re going to continue to get more. This one is a specific first-person look at the big-idea, short-lived subsidiary label that the naive idealists formed to release experimental recordings. Miles was hired to record poets such as Charles Bukowski, Laurence Ferlinghetti, and Allen Ginsberg. Spoiler alert: Zapple ended up only releasing two records (vanity projects by George Harrison and John Lennon) before new manager Allen Klein fired everybody and closed shop.

The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America by Michaelangelo Matos (Dey Street, 2015)

I’m probably not the intended audience for this book since I don’t really know the difference between house and techno and jungle and dubstep, and I don’t particularly care. Dance music people are very into genre differentiation, but it’s still rock and roll to me. I do, however, enjoy reading well researched and engaging history, and this book is full of that. Lots of young people doing their own thing, making their own scenes, getting loaded, and digging music. Despite the fact that Matos has claimed “The book is not about recordings,” I could have really used a soundtrack when reading it since virtually all of the music was unfamiliar to me.

Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces… by Glyn Johns (Plume, 2014)

It’s rare that I start but don’t finish a book. This is one of those rarities. For all the characters and events this guy witnessed, you’d think he’d be able to come up with some interesting insights or at least a few good stories. Nope. It’s just tame and boring. Which is a shame because I’ve read interviews with Johns where he’s been hilarious and opinionated. Unfortunately, this book — at least the first half — doesn’t reveal any of that.

Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski (Back Bay, 2008)

I picked up this book after reading Patoski’s Oxford American article about drummer/character Paul English, “Watching Willie’s Back.” Willie Nelson is an American hero whose greatness has only occasionally been captured on tape despite the fact that he’s got 50+ years of recording under his belt. This book goes a long way in explaining what it is about Willie that makes him such a compelling and unique figure. He’s as close to the Buddha as this country is every going to produce.

Continue reading My rock and roll library update

A Few Words About Springsteen

Last night Sab and I and several thousand other people saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Palace of Auburn Hills, in suburban Detroit.

Sab has seen Springsteen on a number of occasions.  Something like seven.  I’ve never seen him before.  Sab is going to write something breaking down the show.  He’s got a whole lot of reference to do so.  And seeing the show in his company was good, in that when he wasn’t whooping, shouting and screaming, he explained what album this song appeared on or when he’d heard this other song at another show.

For me, it was about seeing an American rock and roll icon more than anything else.  I was happiest listening to Nils Lofgren playing; his solo on “Youngstown” (“That’s an acoustic song on the disc,” Sab explained to me after the guitar shredded out note after note in a remarkable display of capability; Little Steven may get the attention, but Lofgren has the chops) was nothing short of show-stopping.

One aspect that seemed somewhat unsettling was that Springsteen, who had misidentified where he was the last time he played Detroit (Cleveland?!), emphasized that he knew where he was from the start, and after opening with the anthem-like “We Take Care Of Our Own,” the sort of lyric that Kid Rock might produce, launched into “Wrecking Ball,” “Badlands,” “Death to My Hometown,” and “My City of Ruins.”

Meanwhile, back in the offices of the mayor of Detroit, the real possibility that the city could be taken over by a state-appointed emergency financial manager continues.

A little musical municipal uplift would have been nice for the denizens of Detroit.  That run of songs was like something Christopher Nolan might have been listening to when he reimagined Gotham City.

He did give a vigorous nod to the importance of Motown music to his career (and arguably to that of a multitude of other acts), and they launched into the Temptation’s “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” which was written by Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers of The Miracles.  (I am more of a partisan of Eddie Kendricks’ vocal stylings on that than Bruce’s rougher handling.)  Oddly, that segued into “634-5789,” which was originally performed by “Wicked” Wilson Pickett, who was not a Motown artist.  C’mon: the Motown songbook certainly has more than a sufficient number of compositions that could have followed.

Be that as it may, it was a worthwhile experience.  Springsteen and his band are rare performers, people who are unabashedly about rock and roll, who are continuing to produce new music that is fresh and relevant, not pale imitations of what had gone before or the sort of mellowed-down pap that things like “American Idol” and “Glee” have led the listening public to adore.

Photo by John T. Greilick / The Detroit News.

GLONO Video: Two Cow’s Micah Schnabel Live

Video: Micah Schnabel – “Throwing Rocks at the Sun” (live)

Shot by Whiskey Bender Productions for Glorious Noise during a solo/acoustic performance at Beat Kitchen in Chicago on January 7, 2010. Micah Schnabel is the singer-songwriter-guitar player for one of GLONO’s favorite bands, Two Cow Garage. We’ve been gushing about them for years, and now Micah’s got a solo album, When The Stage Lights Go Dim, out now (or coming soon?) on Suburban Home.

I spent about ten minutes clicking around Google and the Suburban Home website and I can’t figure out how to buy the damn thing. Maybe it’s out of print already, and maybe they’ll reissue it, but there’s not much info online.

Anyway, he just wrapped up a solo acoustic tour, and the whole band is hitting the road in March. We’ve got a couple more live videos after the jump, including another song from When The Stage Lights Go Dim plus a great Bruce Springsteen cover off Nebraska.

Continue reading GLONO Video: Two Cow’s Micah Schnabel Live

The Boss is Number 1

Billboard reports this week’s album sales:

1. Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream – 224,000 (debut)

2. Taylor Swift – Fearless – 55,000 – (-11%)

3. Beyonce – I Am … Sasha Fierce – 52,000 (+1%)

4. Nickelback – Dark Horse (-3%)

5. Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak – 33,000 (-15%)

6. Grammy Nominees 2009 – 33,000 (debut)

7. Jamie Foxx – Intuition – 32,000 (+4%)

8. Keyshia Cole – A Different Me – 31,000 (-1%)

9. Franz Ferdinand – Tonight: Franz Ferdinand – 31,000 (debut)

10. Britney Spears – Circus – 28,000 (-8%)

• With nine No. 1 albums, “Springsteen is now tied with the Rolling Stones for the third most No. 1 albums. Only the Beatles (with 19), Elvis Presley (10) and Jay-Z (also 10) have more.”

• “At 6.50 million units, sales are up 1.2% compared to the same total last week but are off by 14% compared to the same week in 2008.”

Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream

Bruce Springsteen - Working On A DreamBruce SpringsteenWorking On A Dream (Columbia)

Let’s get right down to it: “Outlaw Pete,” the opening track of Bruce Springsteen‘s sixteenth album Working On A Dream does sound just like Kiss‘ “I Was Made For Loving You” (YouTube). It’s not a complete re-write, but there’s a series of do-do-do’s and a guitar part that mimic the same note sequence as Paul Stanley singing “I was made for lovin’ you baby,” from the horrific Dynasty album.

It’s enough to get Gene Simmons‘ attention, but not similar enough to get him to try to sue The Boss.

The déjà-vu won’t leave you mad at Springsteen, but it will have you scratching your head “Why?” Why didn’t any of the performers, producers, confidants, whoever, come up to him and say “You know Bruce, that one part sound like that shitty Kiss song—the one when they went disco—whadya say we rework it, or better yet, just leave that section out?” Seriously: the song, which drags on for a yawn inducing eight minutes, doesn’t need it at all.

No sir, what The Boss needs is a district manager: someone who can sit him down and advise him on little matters like Kiss, Wal-Mart, and his own legacy within the scope of rock and roll.

Continue reading Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream

Get New Bruce Springsteen MP3 Free – Life Itself

Bruce Springsteen is giving away his new single, “Life Itself,” as a free download via Amazon MP3. Get it while you can!

The Boss will also be giving away “My Lucky Day” and “Born To Run” as free downloads for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii versions of “Guitar Hero: World Tour,” from his new album’s release date (Jan. 27) through Feb. 4.

Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Life Itself”

Via Billboard.

Springsteen to Rock Super Bowl XLIII

Six years ago yesterday on Glorious Noise, Johnny Loftus compared the NFL season to a world tour by your favorite rock band. Specifically, he explored the similarities between Bruce Springsteen and the Chicago Bears:

Brian Urlacher is not Bruce Springsteen. While the Chicago Bears’ leading tackler and unassuming team leader was a free safety, wide receiver, AND punt returner at New Mexico, Urlacher could not at press time sell out the United Center based on his strength as a songwriter, singer, and bandleader. Nevertheless, Urlacher’s weekly onfield heroics and meat and potatoes demeanor are a rallying point for many Chicagoland football fans. And while he’s never sold out the UC, Urlacher’s passion between the goalpoasts is a big reason why so many Chicagoans make the trip to downstate Champagne for Bears home games, played away while Soldier Field is on the DL. He gives them something to believe in, and please don’t make any Poison bits here. Because the NFL’s highly-paid heroes are, for many Americans, as singularly heroic as a rock and roller like Bruce Springsteen.

I guess we were a little ahead of our time because the National Football League has announced that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play the halftime slot at the Super Bowl on February 1 in Tampa Bay.

Is Loftus some kind of crazy prophet or something? GLONOstradamus, baby!

Bruce Springsteen – Radio Nowhere

MP3: Bruce Springsteen – “Radio Nowhere”

For one week only Guardian Unlimited Music is offering you the opportunity to download the first single from the upcoming album, Magic, due October 2 on Sony.

Via Lefsetz.

The Killers vs. Green Day

Brandon Flowers is a fucking moron. NME has excerpts from The Word‘s cover feature on the Killers, and it’s almost painful to read this dipshit’s sophomoric ideas about Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, and an artist’s role as foreign ambassador.

Some examples of his idiocy:

“You have Green Day and ‘American Idiot‘. Where do they film their DVD? In England. A bunch of kids screaming ‘I don’t want to be an American idiot’ I saw it as a very negative thing towards Americans. It really lit a fire in me.”

Why’s that, Brandon? Because you’d prefer everybody to be as idiotic as you? Did you ever consider that the message of Green Day’s album might have been to encourage American kids to not be idiots. Is the true intention of lyrics such as “Don’t wanna be an American idiot / One nation controlled by the media” a little too obscure for you to figure out? Hint: Green Day is advising people to think critically about what they see on television…

“You have the right to say what you want to say and what you want to write about, and I’m sure they meant it in the same way that Bruce Springsteen meant ‘Born In The USA’ and it was taken wrongly, but I was really offended when I saw them do that.”

Ahem. This mental midget really shouldn’t be allowed to ever mention Springsteen again. Seriously. The song “Born In The USA” is even more critical of the United States than anything Green Day has ever released. Bruce is actually one-upping Kanye West and saying that not only does the American government not care about black people, they don’t care about anybody!

“People need to see that, really, there are the nicest people in the world here! I don’t know if our album makes you realise that. But I hope it’s from a more positive place.”

Yes, we’re all very, very nice. Perhaps the nicest people in the world. And we have the best facial hair, too.