Ernest “Boom” Carter. A rare moment on E Street #estreetband #brucespringsteen #boomcarter
Back at ya Danny! My prized photo of Clarence. @dannybones64 #dannyclinch #bigman #clarenceclemons
Saucer sighting circa 1976
The Selective Process
Thanks to some dear friends, poetry’s been crossing my path recently. As I read the works I’m being introduced to I’m struck by what I feel are close similarities with the craft of photography. It’s all about the process of selection.
In a poem, words are carefully chosen and when woven together a new creation emerges. And it’s not just the passing of words over one’s tongue that creates the experience…it’s everything in the spaces in between. It’s the beat, the sounds, the rhythm and the flow that sets the table and serves up the meal.
Photography is the process of selection, too. When looking through the lens the photographer selects a portion of a bigger picture to tell the story. Deliberately leaving some parts behind. As the poet leads you down a trail with his or her words, the photographer directs your eyes by taking you to a spot you may not have seen before. In both cases, through the process of selection you are taken somewhere. Somewhere you hadn’t before imagined.
Which is the sole purpose of art.
I was at a retirement party for a friend when I got the news Clarence had passed. Texts were coming in and one seemed to sum it up best; “tears fall on E Street”. My body suddenly felt heavy like lead and the sense of simply overwhelmed me. I felt like I had lost a friend.
Bruce and Clarence first met in 1971 and a year later he became a member of the E Street Band. This photo I shot of them in 1974, for me, seemed to depict a glimpse into their friendship. While many great shots of Bruce and Clarence over the years depict one of them leaning on the other, facing each other, cavorting with each other, this one seemed to evoke the opposite. Bruce, his eyes shut, seems almost transcendental and wandering off to wherever the music is taking him. While Clarence appears poised, focused and on note right at his side, giving Bruce the comfort and assurance to let him be who he is.
Righteous. True friendship.
At the heart of all communication is our inert desire to tell a story. Theatre evolved from a story being shared around a fire. Marshall McLuhan explained it well when he said “the medium is the message”. The mechanisms we use to tell our story craft the way it is told. Social media today is proof point of that assumption. Music is a medium to tell a story. Early folklorists talk of the troubadour and how their travels became the subject of their songs. As they moved from town to town their music became the instrument in which one learned of life outside the boundaries of their physical. emotional and spiritual existence.
While much of music as we know it is rhythm and beat it’s also stories. A craft that begin to wane at one time, Bruce Springsteen resurrected. Perhaps his ability to concoct a tale of love lost, friends in need and personal triumphs and tragedies woven into a steady beat, is one reason for his overwhelming appeal. In our hearts we all love a good story and love the story teller.
From February 1974 to August of the same year, Ernest “Boom” Carter sat behind the drums for the E Street Band. Though only a short stint many “musicologists’ credit him with being instrumental in adding the jazz and funk flavor to the band's early sound. Later he, and E Street Band pianist David Sancious formed “Tone”, a jazz fusion combo that would eventually feature Patti Scialfa. Here's “Boom” at the Harvard Square Theatre show with the E Street Band.