Publicity touring in New York, New Jersey and Long Island

So why read BRUCE alone when you can go out to a friendly, nearby bookstore and have at least some of it read aloud to you by the author? Plus also you can ask questions, pose riddles or make vague philosophical assertions that end with a shrug and a sigh that speaks volumes of life’s horror and meaninglessness.  Some of these things are possibly better than the others of those things, but as ever anything can happen at any time, place or website. Dig it.


Monday, Nov 12: (tonight!) at the Monmouth Mall Barnes & Noble in Eatontown, NJ, at 7 pm.

Tuesday, Nov 13: Princeton Public Library at 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ at 7 pm. With historian/author Sean Wilentz, whose new study of the history of Columbia Records “360 Sound” will surely become a part of the conversation.

Wednesday, Nov 14: In Manhattan at the Fifth Ave/18th Street Barnes & Noble, at 6pm. With photographer Eric Meola, whose latest book, “Streets of Fire” collects breathtaking shots of Springsteen he took during the “Darkness on the Edge of Town” era.

Thursday, Nov 15:  Huntington, Long Island: Book Revue, 313 New York Ave at 7 pm.

I’ll also be turning up on various TV and radio shows through the week, starting with this morning’s Starting Point on CNN. Which, if you’re on the west coast, you’ll be able to catch in precisely 20 minutes from now! (7:45 am)

More soon….

The Gaslight Anthem is in love — what’s that song?

The first moments of “Handwritten,” the title track to Gaslight Anthem’s fourth album, tell you a lot about the band’s sound and spirit, and everything you need to know about  Brian Fallon’s vision of what he does, and why it can be so compelling.

“Pull it out! Turn it up! What’s your favorite song?/That’s mine, I’ve been crying to it since I was young.

The band’s slamming behind him, the drums pounding, the lead guitar strung with razor wire. You can hear the Replacements in there. And the Clash.  And trace elements of every serious rock ‘n’ roll band whose records ever played within earshot of these tattooed New Jersey boys.

Fallon’s voice, all raw flesh, cigarette smoke and tough breaks, seethes with belief. He’s got a hard luck past, but also an overwhelming faith that two guitars, bass and drums can create a sound force powerful enough to define a life, and maybe even save it.

Is that crazy talk? Aggressive naivete wrapped up in a muscle car? Could be, I suppose. But music has been a part of my life ever since I can remember being alive. I don’t dismiss friends whose record collections suck, but I have to admit, it still kinda matters. When I climbed into one girl’s car for the first time one night in 1988 I was so impressed with her tapes (Steve Earle! Yo La Tengo!) I ended up marrying her.

So tell me, what’s your favorite song? And if you grew up loving, even needing, music as intensely as Fallon did, you may not be able to imagine a more soul-revealing question. [Read more…]

Dateline Freehold: All the news from Barney, owner emeritus of Joe's Barbershop.

So why does Bruce Springsteen still live near his ancestral home of Freehold, New Jersey? Owner emeritus of Joe’s Barbershop, Barney DiBenedetto, (his dad was Joe), makes it pretty clear. And he’s no rock ‘n’ roll fan, which I think is the point:

“I never cut his hair. But my father. . Look, i’ll tell you a funny story.

“I had a guy who used to work for me here, Mike Patterson. He used to go to school with Bruce. Then in the early ’80s he saw Mike  at the paper store, and  Bruce hollered after him, because they were friends. So they talked and then Mike figured he’d take him here so Bruce could meet his boss.

“So I’m cutting hair in the first chair, and he comes walking in with Springsteen. Now, I’m no Springsteen fan, I never listened to him, I don’t have any idea what he looked like. And he says to me, ‘Do you remember me?’ I look over at him and say, naw. I don’t remember you. He says, your father and Vinnie Paladino used to cut my hair when I was a kid!’ and I says, well, I remember my father and Vinnie Paladino, but I still don’t remember you.’ He says, ‘Well, I’m Bruce Springsteen!’ and I says, ‘Hi, how ya doin’?’

See, he was a real nice fella. A real nice fella. And what impressed me about him was that he said to Mike Patterson, ‘You want to go to a concert?’ and Mike said, ‘Sure!’ and he said he’d send over some tickets. I was listening and thought, well, he’s a blowhard. He ain’t gonna send over no tickets. But then two weeks before the concert a limo pulls up front. A guy came out and said, ‘You got a guy named Mike Patterson works here?’ I said, ‘Yeah, he’s on the 3rd chair.’ So he walks over and hands him an envelope. MIke opens it up, it’s got six tickets, six backstage passes and a note that said, ‘C’mon back, we’ll have a soda or a sandwich or something.’  Then for the next concert he sent over two tickets. And that impressed me, that really impressed me.

“He’s a real nice guy. I aint’ crazy over his music, but he’s still a nice guy.”