In which I review Peter Ames Carlin’s Springsteen autobiography Bruce in tiny bites on Tumblr
“The wheels of passion, hubris and industry spun towards a series of events that would eventually seem so significant that virtually everyone involved would come to remember it in his or her own unique fashion. Particularly when the time came to divide the credit, the blame, and the subpoenas.”
The story of the John Hammond auditions, and Bruce meeting Clive Davis. Appel originally setting up the contracts as 50-50 because he believed that was what Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis had. It’s not so much the greed, it was his belief, at that very moment, that he had found an artist similar. Bruce had had a lot of people believe in him up until this point, most of whom saw great things for him—but none quite like this. Again, I get the Appel defense, now that the legal clouds have blown away.
Conflicts between SVZ and Appel. Between Appel/Davis and Bruce wanting a band. But ultimately, Bruce recording his vision onto record and gaining his first supporters in Columbia and in the industry that would help sustain his career even later when many would turn their backs.
“I swear on a stack of Bibles that that door blew off its hinges” is all you need to know about what the focus of this chapter is.
A sticking point for me that bubbles to the top here is what feels like a spirited defense of Vini Lopez. I have gone to the mat in the past with Springsteen fans who have some kind of blind loyalty to Vini, none of whom were around when he was in the band, so I don’t get it. I mean, if you’re local and from the Shore and were around then and want to tell me what it was like, go for it. Otherwise I think it’s difficult to get any real read on what that relationship was like unless you were one of the people in the band or around the band.
Also, so what? So what that Bruce found someone else he connected with better? It’s not like Bruce went to NYC and suddenly called in a band entirely composed of session musicians in order to secure his ascendancy to the top. And personally, I have never felt that Lopez was as strong of a musician as the others in the band at this time and that that was ultimately the deciding factor, especially when you factor in his temper and the fact that he felt threatened by Clarence.
Some day I want to interview Garry Tallent about LIttle Melvin and the Invaders.
I have appreciated the in-depth descriptions and analysis of the early songs, but when we move into the era I am more familiar with, you want to skip over the parts where this is done with the album material. I happily read through the first one but then realized I was not going to learn anything new or hear anything different. I realize this is necessary to make the book as complete as possible, however.