Friday, April 11, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate the E Street Band



I was reading the recap from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last night in New York.  This year there was apparently the need to induct The E Street Band, as if the induction of Bruce Springsteen didn’t cover that ground.  However, when all the real rock icons have already been inducted, you gotta find someone to fill the void.  When you get to the point of E Street Band or Firefall, which one do you think will sell more tickets?  That’s right, it’s time to trot Little Steven and Max up there and make the sponsors happy.  Old white corporate guys love the E Street Band.

I have always felt pretty ambivalent about the E Street Band.  This is primarily due to the fact that I never really “got” Springsteen.  The only album of his that I truly like is “Nebraska”, which I think is sensational.  In fact, every time I hear the E Street Band on his records I think, “Man, I bet this would be a good song without all that crap around it.”.   Is there a more dated sounding record than “Born In The USA”?  Those 80s keyboards and horrible guitar tones are all E Street Band.  How about those cringe worthy keyboard parts on those 70s records?  Brace yourself Springsteen fans…  I realize that people love Clarence Clemons, but why does every sax solo of his sound exactly same?  It’s like a porno movie.  You know how it’s going to end.  “Here comes The Big Man!”

I had been scolded for this anti-Bruce attitude of mine by people here.  “You just need to see him in concert.  He played for five hours last time he was here!”  OK.  I checked it out.  What I saw was four people on guitar (Bruce, Nils, Little Steven, and Patty), a piano player, an organ player, bass player, drummer, some percussion dude, and the dreaded Big Man.  I have no idea why he needed four people playing guitar for a song that probably needed one but could support two.  It was all a big wash of pompous noise that had little to do with saluting a Phil Spector Wall of Sound, Motown, or whatever other sacred cow rock iconic movement you want to toss in there.  It was bloated 70s rock excess that took away from any real song lurking in the mess.  While they may have played for five hours, I left after about 50 minutes.  I couldn’t take it.

There is no reason for any concert to last five hours, unless the entire audience is under the influence of dangerous stimulants and needs to be focused on pretty lights and sounds.  If Bob Dylan showed up at my house with Tom Waits and they wanted to play songs and tell stories in my living room, I’d tell them to wrap it up after 90 minutes or so.  Just because you can play for five hours doesn’t mean you should.  There is something to be applauded for concise thought and brevity.  I saw the Ramones do a 32 minute show that was maybe the best thing I ever saw.  I don’t think anyone ever left a Springsteen show after five hours saying, “I wish he woulda played more from side three of The River.”

The thing that I find truly odd when it comes to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is that when it comes to normal decorum in things like gala concerts and award shows, it all goes out the window when it comes to them.  For example, it took one hour and twenty five minutes to induct the E Street Band into the Rock Hall last night.  Holy shit, I would have wanted to choke myself on a napkin if I had been sitting there.  Those guys appear to be completely oblivious to the fact that they are Bruce’s backing band.  They get more leeway than the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, and The Clash combined.  It’s unbelievable.  And why doesn’t anyone ever mention how Springsteen laughs uproariously at his own “jokes”?  “Well ah… hahahahaha…I met Steve….hahahahahaha….outside of the Thunderbird Lounge hahahahahahaha…”  What the fuck are you laughing at dude?  Why is that funny?  It’s like hanging out with guys from a fraternity that do nothing but tell in-jokes from things that happened 25 years ago and have no idea that everyone else has disconnected.  Then when it’s time to actually play, they always feel entitled to more time because they are on some sort of higher plateau.  Whereas most inductees play a song or two, they played three extended songs.  When I saw them at the Rock Hall Grand Opening concert, every friggin’ rock legend you can think of played three of their big hits whereas Bruce gets the green light for an entire set.  What the fuck is with that?  I’m I the only one that finds this music boring? 

I know that I am not allowed to even think like this.  It’s downright un-American.  The potential wraith that will come my way from middle aged dudes and working class cigarette Moms is very real.  His music touched them in a way I can’t understand.  Frankly, I don’t think I ever will.

2 Comments:

At April 11, 2014 at 5:44:00 PM EDT , Blogger jofprexus said...

I couldn't agree more. The only thing more irritating thsn Springsteen music is Springsteen fans trying to tell me "you just don't get it".

 
At April 11, 2014 at 5:49:00 PM EDT , Blogger vfh159 said...

Yeah, you got my husband all spitting and sputtering. Me, on the other hand, am still pissed because the Replacements got the snub. I just went and listened to Within Your Reach just to clean the sax out of my head put there just by reading about the Big Man.

 

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