Happy Birthday to Bruce Springsteen, who turns 63 on Sunday (September 23rd)!!! On Wednesday (September 19th) Springsteen & The E Street Band kicked off a three-night stand at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, and on the first night, welcomed back original drummer Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez for a rendition of 1973's classic "The E Street Shuffle," before Max Weinberg made his way back to his drum stool. Later in the show, Lopez returned to shake a tambourine for "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and "Twist And Shout."
Back In March, Springsteen scored his 10th career Number One album with Wrecking Ball, which sold 196,000 copies in its first week on sale. The album's chart placing tied Springsteen with "The King" himself, Elvis Presley, for the third-most Number One albums in the history of the Billboard 200.
Springsteen says that there's always been a form of interactive journalism in his songs, in which his fans can experience situations that differ from their lives first hand: "My job was always to put you in somebody else's shoes and have you walk a while in those shoes. You're out there, and you feel what's in the air out there, and you feel what's on people's minds. People are looking for ways to try to get a handle and make sense of what's happening."
Springsteen, who's released three acoustically-based solo albums over the years, admits that it's a different process writing for himself versus writing for an E Street Band project: "There's just something -- it's a different thought process when I think about writing for that group of musicians, and it tends. . . I think I tend to be more direct in some ways, y'know? I expand, maybe, my scope in some fashion. It's something just about what the band is after all these years that makes me think a little bit differently, so I'm, I'm excited about doing that."
He says that he still takes pride in the fact that since the band's reformation in 1999, they've consistently played to the top of their -- or any other band's -- game: "It's the long, long ride that it's all about. It's that I've had these guys and these ladies at my side and we've made it this far, and that we're here to do it. It's the consistency. . . Professionalism is alive and well, we hope. We just want to carry on and give some people some smiles and some inspiration."
Steven Van Zandt says that Springsteen and the band are just as committed to each other and their fans as they were upon forming: "We are an ongoing concern here, still creating things. Bruce is still writing, y'know, fantastic things and vital things and he's very, very much inspired and motivated to continue doing things as we have all along. We don't go onstage with a different attitude. We're the same as we were when we were 25. It's great, it's a tribute to our audience that they really support that."
Max Weinberg began drumming for Springsteen in 1974 and rates it far above any other musical experiences he's ever had: "Well, there's only one Bruce Springsteen, and what he does is singular and unique. And as a member of his band, I got to see that up close, and most of the time from behind. But it's so much fun to play with Bruce and the E Street Band, you have no idea. For me, as a drummer, as a young kid growing up, playing with Bruce all those years, and the band, it was every little kid's dream come true for me."
Patti Scialfa was asked if her and Bruce's kids were used to having parents whose "office" is out on the road: "Yeah, of course. We've been touring since they were young, and when they were born they were always out on the road, now they have a pretty big life of their own and school -- so they don't like to leave school now. And sometimes I can drag them out on a weekend. They don't want to be on the road right now. In the summer they like the road, 'cause they can bring a friend and they're free. But usually they miss a lot of schoolwork and they don't like that. And then they have their own lives and their own friends. So, we're home every three days."
In 1999 Bono inducted Springsteen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and paid tribute to "The Boss" both as an artist and as a man: "For me and the rest of the 'U2-ers,' it wasn't just the way he described the world, it was the way he negotiated it. It was a map, a book of instructions of how to be in the business but not of it. Generous is a word you could us to describe the way he treated us. Decency is another, but these words can box you in. I remember when Bruce was headlining Amnesty International's tour for prisoners of conscience, I remember thinking, 'Wow, if ever there was a prisoner of conscience, it's Bruce Springsteen.' Integrity can be a yoke, a pain in the ass, when your songs are taking you to a part of town people don't expect to see you."
The Raspberries' Eric Carmen and Springsteen have enjoyed a mutual admiration society for years. Carmen says he considers Springsteen not only an inspiration, but a kindred spirit: "The thing that I like most of all about Bruce is that he totally gets it. Y'know, he totally gets what rock and roll is. And you go back and listen to the Born To Run album and it's like, he learned from all the same records we did.'
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band tour dates (subject to change):
October 19 - Ottawa, ON - Scotiabank Place
October 21 - Hamilton, ON - Copps Coliseum
October 23 - Charlottesville, VA - John Paul Jones Arena
October 25 - Hartford, CT - XL Center
October 27 - Pittsburgh, PA - CONSOL Energy Center
October 30 - Rochester, NY - Blue Cross Arena
November 1 - State College, PA - Bryce Jordan Center
November 3 - Louisville, KY - KFC Yum! Center
November 11, 12 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
November 15 - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Arena
November 17 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
November 19 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
November 26 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
November 28 - Portland, OR - The Rose Garden
November 30 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
December 4 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
December 6 - Glendale, AZ - Jobing.com Arena