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This one is dedicated from the Wolf to the Cat, on the occasion of Neko’s return home.
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“And to ease the loss of youth
and the many, many years I’ve missed you
pages plead forgiveness, every word handwritten…”
—Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem
There’s something about rock and roll music and its lasting connection to youth that later in life can almost give you an alternate history of growing up. Listening to The Who’s Quadrophenia can take me back to those awkward years in a heartbeat - yet I don’t know anything about being either a mod or a rocker. (A mocker, on the other hand…well, don’t get me started!)
Growing up a few hours away from the Jersey Shore made Bruce Springsteen’s music a natural and easy source for an alternate version of my youth. While I never got caught on the South Beach Drag’s Tilt-a-Whirl, I did see my friend Kenny get stuck upside-down on that coaster in Wildwood. It’s interesting to note that both Bruce and that particular Who album are steeped heavily in the allure of the beach and ocean. There’s also a deep romantic streak running through all this music that’s not always visible at surface level. Sometimes it takes awhile for it to be noticed; maybe that’s due to years and distance you put on with the tunes over the years of growing older.
Tonight at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC, we’ll once again spend some time with The Gaslight Anthem, whose 2012 LP, Handwritten, is one of my favorites of the year. We spent some time this summer for the first time in years at the Jersey Shore, and it was the perfect soundtrack for driving around there. AND PLAYING IT LOUD. What continually astounds me about it is how I can both look back and ahead with the music. There are a lot of allusions to records (the song 45 likens recovering after a breakup to turning a record over), the radio, and the love of music - especially in the moving video for this song.
This song and the above quote makes me think back on the lonely, awkward years and the pain inherent in feeling those feelings so intensely and passionately. The song is a love letter to the days of handwritten notes and letters - and does it without necessarily knocking or commenting on technology (like Arcade Fire’s tune “We Used To Wait”).
As we move forward with planning a wedding, though, there’s another line in the song that turns me around and has me looking forward with immense positivity.
“And with this pen, I thee wed
from my heart to your distress…”
At first glance it might seem sad because of the “distress,” but to me the connection of heart to distress means that said distress is getting addressed by the ceremony at hand.* These things may or may not be intended by The Gaslight Anthem, but when it comes to lyrics… they’re always in the ears of the beholder. These are a few reasons why I love The Gaslight Anthem and especially their current LP.
(*Note: I’m not saying my fiancée is in any distress, it’s just a line I like in a song!)
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The great thing about Rep. Ryan’s playlist that goes “from AC/DC to Zeppelin” is it means that his alphabet only goes from A->L.
Also: as someone pointed out on Twitter, no American bands!
It’s stunning to me that nearly every time a politician seeks to make himself (or herself) more relatable by listing the music they like… it backfires. Whether it’s using a song without permission on the campaign trail and being told to stop, or completely misreading a song like Reagan did with Bruce’s Born in the U.S.A.*, this pattern does seem to keep repeating itself. It’s really embarrassing.
*Reagan described BITUSA as “a song of hope,” but that only really holds true if you look at it as a song about a veteran hoping his job will be there when he gets home.
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Perhaps you’re wondering what a 25-year-old who’s never seen Bruce Springsteen’s video for Dancing in the Dark might think of it?
Wonder no more! Check out this analysis over at Grantland. It’s hilarious.
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HOW RONALD REAGAN IGNITED BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S POLITICS.
Fascinating excerpt from an upcoming book by Marc Dolan entitled “Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
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40 years ago on this date in 1972, Bruce Springsteen walked into John Hammond’s office at Columbia Records with an acoustic guitar.
He didn’t quite walk out a legend, but he was on his way.
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Hearing Clarence Clemons’ saxophone come blazing through in Land of Hope and Dreams will surely jerk a tear to your eye.
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From the phenomenal Golden Age of Music Video blog comes a great interview with film director John Sayles. You might be interested to know he directed the following Springsteen videos:
It’s pretty long, but well worth reading here.
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When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the purview of the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like “The Long Run” by the Eagles and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, will be in the same situation — and then, as the calendar advances, every other master recording once it reaches the 35-year mark.
—from a fascinating New York Times article about recent developments that will potentially enable artists to regain control of their master recordings…without the labels being involved.
This has the potential to seriously change the way the recording industry functions in the United States.
And if you think we see a lot of reissues now… look out! Mega selling artists such as Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles, Billy Joel, and Bob Dylan are some of the artists who may already be working towards regaining their masters that have made the labels lots of money over the years. Click here to read the full article.
Source: The New York Times
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About a week ago, the outtakes from Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark video popped up. That was only half the story! A fantastic blog entry over at the Golden Age of Music Video reveals that Bruce wanted some very soft lighting, and a disagreement was had because “that’s how we light Stevie Nicks.” The story is too long for me to recount here, so check it out over there. Said lighting director, Daniel Pearl, blamed himself for years for the shoot falling apart, but eventually the circle became complete.
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Outtakes from the original Dancing in the Dark video, which appears to have been directed by Jeff Stein, who created The Kids Are Alright, which is the chronicle of the Who up through 1978. I can’t begin to elaborate on how hilarious this footage is.
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from the memorial service is posted here.
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Sean Daly from Tampa Bay.com wrote a great piece.
I wound up covering a slew of Springsteen shows – including his Super Bowl stint in Tampa in 2009 – and the sound I remember from those gigs, the one that still resonates, wasn’t the singing or the drumming but that fallen-angel sax. It was edible, tangible – you could pluck the notes out of the air and take a bite.
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Rolling Stone has Bruce’s statement:
Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the oppurtunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.
Source: Rolling Stone
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