Today’s “Glory Bound” preview. Back in the “day”, when we shot film, and stages were barely lit, we pushed film speed and if necessary, shot at 1/15 or 1/30s, wide open and hoped for the best. And sometimes we got a little surprise. This is one of my favorites, the E Street Band out of focus in the background with Bruce looking off stage. almost in my direction and in a slight blur. But so in the moment. There’s motion, action and energy on stage. Which is what it’s all about.
In selecting shots for the “Glory Bound” exhibit this September, not every shot makes the final cut. But here’s one we’re still considering. Bruce doing some story-telling during “Spirit in the Night”, May 1974
Ernest Boom Carter’s time with Bruce Springsteen was short but not without it’s influence. His jazz influenced rhythmic style was a major influence on the style that shaped the early sounds of the E Street Band.
Monmouth University Upcoming September Exhibit, “Glory Bound”. Soundcheck, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, May 9, 1974 Harvard Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA. Getting ready for what would become a legendary night.
Six weeks and counting to “Glory Bound” exhibit at Monmouth University, New Jersey. Show will feature 30 of my photographs of musicians at pivotal moments in their careers. I’ll be sharing some “previews” and stories in days ahead including a few extras. Gotta start with Bruce Springsteen, Harvard Square Theatre, May 9, 1974..”I saw the future of rock and roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen”
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.
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.
Musicians and all artists alike have always lent their voice to the political scene. While many of us recall the “protest songs” of the 1960’s, the legacy of musicians speaking out goes far back. In the 1940’s Woody Guthrie, in response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”, composed “This Land is Your Land”. Many believed this to be a song of patriotism. It was actually a call to protest that in a country meant to provide equality to all, many Americans were living in poverty and hunger. As Woody traveled across the country he was struck by this and could not remain silent.
What piece of music isn’t a statement, what work of art isn’t an expression? We all carry in us a voice that wants to be heard. The arts provide this path to articulate these thoughts. Find the story behind any painting, sculpture, photo or writing and you will find a story of a voice looking to for expression.
Bruce Springsteen had said he wouldn’t perform during the 2012 presidential campaign. He has changed his mind. He will lend his voice. He will be heard.
"Bruce Springsteen’s values echo what the President and Vice President (Biden) stand for: hard work, fairness, integrity" said Jim Messina, Obama for America’s campaign manager.
What values, beliefs do you hold that echo with those of others? You’ve heard the voice of others. Now listen to your own.