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Thursday Thunder Road

June 10, 2010

“And I walk over and I say, ‘I want to sit in…'” 

Clarence Clemons chats about the first time he met Bruce.(via Fuckyeahtheboss

I am jealous that musicians get to have that connection. Painting, drawing, printmaking, artmaking… any of that lot is always solitary, but sometimes it’s downright lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I like it that way. I work better alone, and I really dig hitting a rhythm and going down the rabbit hole. I have tried collaboration, and besides illustrating for some fabulous writers, it has never worked. There wasn’t any fighting or bickering or anything of that nature, the art was just, well, bad. I guess I just haven’t found my Clarence or my Bruce. 

For more Boss action, here are some bands I love that I think wouldn’t exist (or they’d be ripping off Depeche Mode… who knows?) if it weren’t for Bruce. 

  • The Gaslight Anthem. The first time I heard these guys, I said, “Oh! It’s like cute little punker Bruce Springsteens! Adorable!” Bruce has even played with them! And like Papa Bruce, there are reoccurring themes of women and cars, cars and women, open roads, youthful angst, and cars and women. And they’ve got a new album coming out, which probably means you’ll get a chance to see them live soon… Here’s a video of them covering “I’m On Fire” in Germany. The audience sings along. I am sucker for s**t like this.
  • The Weight. Oh hey, it’s a buncha beardy dudes in tight pants from Brooklyn who probably smell like meat sandwiches, stale cigarettes, and hair conditioner. The music is good. All-American rock with no irony. Real love. Go HERE to listen.

    Excuse me, can you recommend a good dry cleaner who specializes in denim?

  • The Arcade Fire. Not a big fan. Let it also be known, I’m not a hater. But I always think Arcade Fire are at their best when they’re trying to be someone else (see: Bowie on “Rebellion: Lies”, The Cure “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) ” )  The second album, Neon Bible goes full on Boss. “(Antichrist Television Blues)” and “Keep the Car Running” are textbook Born in the USA era Bruce.  Though I’m still not a fan of them, I still think they did right by the Boss. Anyway, here is Bruce and the Arcade Fire doing “State Trooper”. 
  • John Cougar Mellencamp. I’ve heard the Bruce similarities thrown at JCM as an insult. Mostly, that JCM is like a 10th generation copy of Bruce. I can see a little grain of truth in that because I think that most times Mr. Cougar-Mell’s lyrics aren’t quite as insightful and I’ve never seen JCM have the sort of urgent anger with injustice that Bruce does. However, John brings that swaggering, cute, everyman to life just as well as Bruce. Especially on 1987’s Scarecrow which rides on the same bus line as Darkness on the Edge of Town and Born. Spend a little time with it, I think you might be surprised. Look at how timely JCM’s video for “Rain On the Scarecrow” is even today. Maybe even more timely. The more things change, the more they stay the same?
  • Others of note: The Walkmen (more on them later), Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi. Those who have tried and failed: The Killers, Kings of Leon.
6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2010 5:57 pm

    The Weight. Oh hey, it’s a buncha beardy dudes in tight pants from Brooklyn who probably smell like meat sandwiches, stale cigarettes, and hair conditioner. The music is good. All-American rock with no irony. Real love. Go HERE to listen.

    You had me at “meat sandwiches”. I will become one of their disciples.

    As for the Arcade Fire, how would you classify “Headlights look like Diamonds”? It’s my favorite of their songs. That said, I prefer The Neon Bible – as I am a sucker for albums with neon in the title – to Funeral.

  2. June 10, 2010 9:51 pm

    I love The Gaslight Anthem. The first time I heard them, I said “’s Bruce Punkstein!”

    Also, The Hold Steady are acknowledged Bruce devotees. And I also wonder how much The Weight was influenced by The Band. Also: both The Hold Steady and The Band have covers of “Atlantic City” that are pretty badass.

  3. evmaroon permalink
    June 11, 2010 12:33 am

    The Walkmen! Say good things about the Walkmen! That’s my cuz’s band…

  4. June 11, 2010 1:31 am

    The door of the club rips off its hinges and Clarence Clemons walks in through the crashing and flashing of thunder and lightning. Now that is how you make a true rock-and-roll entrance! And he didn’t even need a road crew to spend half the day rigging it up…

  5. June 11, 2010 1:21 pm

    @Snarky: I never got that EP, but I just listened on Grooveshark, and on a few listens it has a sort of faint Talking Heads vibe…. But I get a little David Byrne whenever I hear Win singing. I’m liking this a lot though. I like that the beat sounds like your driving, passing telephone poles. It really travels, which is very cool. I prefer Neon Bible as well. Didn’t care for Funeral much at all outside of “Rebellion (Lies)”. It’s my own hang up, but I get tired of all their bells and whistles. To me, it’s just entirely too precious and a lot of time it seems like decoration instead of adding to the song. (And I’m someone who LOVES the Brian “More timpani, wait more bird sounds, wait more triangle” Wilson era Beach Boys). I think on Neon Bible I liked that they just went for it and went WAY over the top.

    @eieioj: Hold Steady! I like that first album quite a bit but they just keep losing me. I dunno, I am often very irrational about music and sometimes stuff just rubs me the wrong way. The Weight are definitely influenced by the Band, and by Papa Cash. I discovered them on Emusic when the “Roots and Influences” section said, “Johnny Cash, The Replacements, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash” Yes, it said Johnny Cash twice, which immediately made me download the album. Love.

    @ev: Workin’ on it!

    @heathereff: Right? Where have all the rock’n’roll stars gone?

  6. June 13, 2010 3:41 pm

    I have not heard any of these bands/artists except Bruce and John Cougar. I need to expand my horizons or something.

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