Springsteen like you (probably) never heard before: Steel Mill’s “Garden State Parkway Blues”

steel2 

In all its meandering, hippie-fied, pre-prog-rock glory…nearly 30 minutes of changing melodies, time signatures, moods, song structures, sunlight soldiers and guitar jams. You’ll never see the highway in quite the same way again.

Steel Mill line-up mach 2: Bruce (guitar, vocals), Danny Federici (organ), Vini Lopez (drums, recorder, vocals), Steve Van Zandt (bass, vocals)

The word on The Word

Readers, friends, colleagues and/or compadres: I’m extra-pleased to point you in the direction of the December issue of the UK’s fine culture magazine The Word, which only takes a slight dive, quality-wise, to fit in a pretty lengthy story on Bruce Springsteen’s early life. Which was, need I say more, written by yrs truly.

Groovy pictures, lots of other great stories and if that weren’t enough a free CD with new tracks by the Posies, Squeeze and Afrocubism!

Greetings from Asbury Park, and other journeys

Okay, so it’s been a while. But what fun we’ve been having! And tomorrow’s Halloween, which means the usual neighborhood walk becomes a profit-making excursion. Is it wrong for a father to order the kids to trick-or-treat another block, or possibly three, and both sides of the street, goddammit, until they’re actually weeping and begging to go home? Probably, so I stop just short of that. But what part of free candy doesn’t this generation understand?

I’ve been in New York an New Jersey this past week, working on the new Springsteen bio, and it’s been a lot of fun. All the meetings and interviews you can imagine, plus also a cool few hours in the Monmouth County Historical Association library, a few beers at the VFW in Highlands, NJ and a long, fun evening in a basement in Long Branch, playing music (badly, on my part) with Vini Lopez, Tinker West and a few of their very, very patient, and far more musically accomplished than I friends.

Steel Mill fans will remember the Middletown police scrape in the summer of 1970. . . seems that Tinker ran into the retired chief of police at some social gathering a while back and went up for a cheerful hello. Greeted him by name, in fact, which took the ex-cop’s friends by surprise. “Do you know the chief?” they asked. “Of course I know him!” Tinker brayed. “He’s the fuckin’ asshole who started a police riot at my concert!” Chief McCarthy (am I remembering that correctly just now?) is in a wheelchair now, seemingly infirm in a variety of age-related ways. “But of course he got all fuckin’ riled up,” Tinker says, laughing. Nothing ever really ends, now, does it?

Meanwhile, in “Paul McCartney: A Life” news. I’m doing a variety of radio interviews to herald the paperback publication. And the Wall Street Journal takes a look right here, tossing in a bunch of observations, my favorite being: “…a riveting re-creation of a pivotal time in rock-music history.” That’s nice, isn’t it?

More soonish. For even more, even sooner, do check out my Oregonian blog: www.oregonlive.com/carlin