Dave Siegel with Louis DeJesus, USA.
Bruce Springsteen: Fire on the Fingertips. #bootleg #vinylporn #vinyl outtakes from the wild, the innocent and the e street shuffle. #bosstime #brucespringsteen #springsteen #newjersey #vinimaddiglopez #davidsancious #dannyfederici #garrywtallent #clarenceclemons
"I Wanna Be With You" (recorded May – September, 1979 at the Power Station, New York, NY; available on Tracks)
In 1979 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band recorded some of the greatest New Jersey power pop of all time. The treasure-chest of British-Invasion derived beats and strums that was left in the vaults after the River's completion shows a hit-hungry Boss, searching for the core of his fifth album, reveling in the power of the road-honed E Street Band. He cut a ton of material at the Power Station in NYC during that year and spilling over into 1980, 50 or 60 tunes by many accounts. The resulting album, as we know, was a sprawling 21 song double LP, containing his first big Billboard hit in “Hungry Heart.” During this time, in a post-punk, post-disco world, Bruce explored many versions of what he imagined a proper radio pop song could be. One of the best, released on disc two of 1998's Tracks box-set of rarities, is “I Wanna Be With You.”
On paper it seems like a trifling song about a girl. It’s got a simplistic chord sequence and a banal title. It is a temple of stereotypically Bossish gestures. B counts off his own guitar introduction with not one but two bars of Stiller-worthy one-two-three-four. He delivers a bombastic vocal performance about getting fired from his job. And yeah there is some toot-toot from the Big Man. There’s plenty for Boss-haters to dismiss.
To me, however, this is the best shit. It boils down the most crucial elements of the E Street Band and serves as a showcase for Bruce’s under-appreciated pop-craft. I’ve listened to the recording hundreds of times and I never tire of it. I still occasionally get the chills. Bruce junkies are addicted to this physical rush his music delivers. Bruce Juice. It’s physical. It’s a thing. It takes you over.
On that two-bar opening count, on that second beat four you can kinda hear Steven snarl “yeah” off-mic just as Weinberg kicks in the band in. Little Steven is the heart of late-70s E-Street. He’s the garage guy, the true believer in three chords-and-the-truth, the guy that fought Bruce to keep “Loose Ends” on the River and lost. He’s literally chomping at the bit. May I remind you that the Boss is counting himself off! After his four-bar guitar intro states the chorus riff, Max’s mighty snare thwacks us into the the groove. Pianist Roy Bittan hammers on one static D note in a tense cadence while the band revs up for that first verse.
"Let the frozen cities crumble," he yells in key. This is the kind of vocal performance that makes all the veins on Bruce’s forehead pop out. Top volume. He empties the tank. He’s going all in. He’s got one thing on his mind and it’s making some sweet love to this one girl he can’t stop thinking about and he’s yelling about it. Hey that sounds like rock and roll to me.
He’s gotta sing loud because Mighty Max is slamming! The Power Station had a great big room sound. The rough mix of this song that circulated on bootlegs before the release of Tracks in ‘98 has those big room mics turned way up and you can really feel the air moving. He drives quarter notes on his hi-hat closed tight as hell leaving tons of space in the groove for Garry W Tallent, whose rising bass glissandos put some flash in the arrangement.
When the chorus crashes in, it is hook central! “I wanna be with you / That’s what I wanna do,” sings Bruce with taut harmony padding. Many songs from this period feature an expanded role for harmony singing, notably “Where the Bands Are,” “Dollhouse,” and of course “The Ties That Bind,” and “Two Hearts.”
This is not one of Bruce’s most profound lyrics. Maybe that’s why he elected to keep it off the River. However when he sings, “I lost my job at the Texaco station, instead of pumping gas I’d dream of you,” you know Bruce is thinking about connecting on multiple levels. He’s gotta twist it a little bit. Rather than making his narrator a dishwasher, a cab-driver or a caddy he makes him a gas-guy in 1979 amidst the oil crisis, when gas lines are wrapping around the block. Ah! Who am I kidding? You can’t get too fancy trying to connect this song to some larger historical context. I think Bruce just wanted to sing the word “pumping.”
In this period Bruce made a point to give his many of his songs great bridges, like the Beatles. He leads the band through a tidy and effective middle eight here, shuffling the chords around to build tension for the release that comes at the section’s end. The triplet figure and dramatic drum roll that conclude the section set up the climax of Springsteen’s vocal performance: “I don’t know I don’t know I just can’t understaaand it. You’re not pretty at all!” What? She’s not even a little bit pretty? Wait a second! THAT IS A CRUCIAL DETAIL HERE! You ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright, anyone? Does that mean she’s ugly? That’s GREAT!!! Bruce overshoots his yell on the “understaaaand” part, making a squeaky sound which shows us that what he’s dealing with here isn’t coming from the mind, or even the heart really; it’s physical. He can’t hold himself together. He’s a man in need and he’s all worked up! Blue-balls? He continues, “But I come when you whisper.” Oh OK! I get it, Boss! Springsteen sings these lines with the desperation of a young man dying for some tail. That’s something any working man can relate to.
Bruce isn’t some sex-crazed cretin though. He’s after more than tail. He uses the ending of the song to remind the object of his affection of his love. Love? Up to this point in his career he’d steered clear of that ubiquitous pop-song topic. But if you want a hit, you gotta play the game. In a deliciously satisfying use of Beatles-esque show-biz pop-song ending, he croons “bee-cause-i-love-you-sooooo” at the end. What a guy! Wink.
1st single from the Travis-produced LP out 9/10 on Ernest Jenning …
"Taut New York five-piece MiniBoone are an enchanting mesh of old-school energy and new-school melody. The band mixes the dervish energy of ‘78-era post-punk with the super-hooks of modern indie-pop-think Buildings And Food-era Talking Heads if David Byrne could travel back in time and tell himself about Arcade Fire." - Christopher Weingarten, The Village Voice
“Joyous power-pop with unpredictable twists and turns… With guitar feedback, jerky rhythms and catchy hooks, these songs can get stuck in your head for days on end.” - NPR All Songs Considered Blog
Since their first appearance in 2008, Miniboone have shared stages with acts as diverse and acclaimed as the B-52s, Art Brut, and Real Estate, and brought their witches’ brew of caffeinated, unabashedly-delivered power pop to audiences at festivals such as Bonnaroo, South By Southwest, CMJ and NXNE.
After two EPs and one 7” comes the first full-length, covering the fertile crescent of stylistic ground between Squeezey brain-pop and Queeny big-sounds while, if you listen close enough, telling the classic story of friends trying to find their place in a rapidly changing urban environment that wants nothing more than to co-opt them, confuse them into adulthood, jerk them around from desk job to spineless desk job, and scare them straight with tales of unfulfilled dreams and missed chances. They recorded the album over the course of a year at Serious Business studios in Manhattan with producer Travis Harrison (Lifeguards, Homosexuals) and the result is equal parts proto-punk rave up (“The Superposition of Human Affection”), harmony basted slow burn (“Magic Eye”), and Hall-and-Oates-spectrum smooth-rock (“Baby, I Hope So”).
Bruce Springsteen: piece de resistance 09.19.78. Passaic, Nj. #bootleg #vinyl #3lp #brucespringsteen #theboss #deepjersey #streetsoffire #bruce #garrytallent #maxweinberg #littlesteven #roybittan #dannyfederici #theprofessorroybittan #mightymax #thebigman #clarenceclemons #clarence #thebigmanclarenceclemons #thepromisedland #darknessontheedgeoftown #passaic #newjersey #broooce #broooooooooce #bruuuce #bruce #bruuuuuuuuuuuce #jersey #borntorun #bornintheusa #theriver #thewildtheinnocentandtheestreetshuffle #theestreetband #estreet #estreetband #E #street #band
Brooklyn trio Dead Stars make self-described nerd grunge, which turns out to be the perfect description of their sound. Jangly and fuzzy in all the right places, with hooks reminiscent of everything catchy from Weezer, Pavement, and Superchunk as well as the rumbling rock of Hum or Archers Of Loaf. The list could go on — just take a look at that book of favorite CDs from the 90s to get an idea, as our suspicion is these guys had very similar musical upbringings to most who grew up in the ‘burbs. This is straight up, no-frills, rock music — the sort that was once called “alternative” before it morphed into mainstream rock and then disappeared from the airwaves altogether. And Dead Stars ably give it new life.
Featured song: “Waste Away”
Dead Stars’ High Gain EP is out 6/4 on Uninhabitable Mansions
Complete broadcast and radio playlist: http://b-t-r.co/1545bRm
Dead Stars on Bandcamp: http://deadstars.bandcamp.com