Springsteen writing on ‘Bruce’

Bruce w: Bruce

I’m as eager to read Bruce Springsteen’s memoir Born to Run as anyone. And it’s nice to see he’s still interested in the one I wrote about him — Bruce is just beneath the left side of his notebook, by his left knee.

Wilco is Onstage: Put Your Damn Cell Phone Away

Photo: Consequence of Sound

Photo: Consequence of Sound

If you go see Wilco it’s okay to bring a cell phone, but really a good idea to put it away when Tweedy comes onstage. And if you’re sitting in the front rows, where he can actually see you, it’s a goddamned great idea to put it away because if he sees you using it during the show, which he will, he will talk to you about it. Into the microphone, so booming-loud. And he’ll tease you, and taunt you and call you a motherfucker. Inciting the derisive laughter of everyone else in the hall, many of whom are also using their phones, only out of sight. And this happened last night at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Or. And was followed an hour later by Tweedy actually stepping forward to snatch another person’s cell phone, raised either to shoot pictures or a video of an encore, out of their hands and, after a victory salute, tossing it to the rear of the stage.

Was Tweedy  advocating for his art or just overreacting in a way that, if you think about it for a moment, you just know a guy who writes songs like that would react. Because his art matters that much to him, and also because it hurts him, psychically and maybe even physically, to create it. But he has no choice must because that’s the pain that makes the music, and him, more beautiful. And even if the other thousands of folks are alternately rapt and cheering him along it’s that one phone he can’t not see. Because the phone, in that moment, symbolizes all the humiliation he’s ever had to suffer to do what he does. And that person holding it, sitting there right up close where the artist can’t help but look for signs of his audience’s approval or disinterest, won’t be touched by what he’s working so hard to do. And, in the interests of emotional, physical and creative survival, must be destroyed.

That’s how it seemed to me, anyway. It was a beautiful show.

Rolling Stone features HOMEWARD BOUND in Fall Books Preview

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This from the just-published Sept. 8, 2016 issue of Rolling Stone. Featured alongside new books by Brian Wilson and Bruce Springsteen, subjects of CATCH A WAVE and BRUCE, respectively.

You can pre-order HOMEWARD BOUND ps://www.amazon.com/Homeward-Bound-Life-Paul-Simon/dp/1627790349/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8″>here and here and here.

Talking Springsteen on NYC’s WNET-13


This cool story about Bruce and “The River” and the new tour aired originally a few months back, but now they’ve freshened it up to coincide with the new run of shows in the Meadowlands. It’s cool! Full disclosure: I screw up my recitation of the key first line of ‘Racing In the Streets,’ but let’s call it a momentary brain fail. A ’69 Chevy. I knew that.





‘Catch A Wave’ Named One of the 10 Best Books About L.A.’s Music History


This from the L.A. Weekly, Aug 22, 2016:

So much great music has come out of the Los Angeles area, created by geniuses, cartoon characters and everything in between, that it’s no surprise there are just as many great books chronicling that music’s history.

Whether it be Laurel Canyon in the 1960s, Sunset Strip through the decades, or straight biographies and memoirs from important figures in the scene, a multitude of words have been written about the many and varied musical happenings in this region by many talented writers. Here are 10 of the best, alphabetized by title.

10 Great Books About L.A. Music
Rodale Books
Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson by Peter Ames Carlin
The thing about John C. Reilly’s portrayal of the fictional rocker Dewey Cox in the film Walk Hard is that, when Cox went through his Brian Wilson stage, “an army of didgeridoos” and all, it was only mildly exaggerated. Wilson’s abuse from his father, his descent into depression, his swan-dive into drugs, the turmoil he caused within The Beach Boys as he tried to make his increasingly ambitious and eccentric visions into reality — it all happened, and Ames Carlin details it wonderfully here, with the colorful L.A. of the 1960s (and later) serving as a glorious backdrop.