Tag Archives: The Boss

So Long, Boss

George Steinbrenner, a/k/a The Boss, dead at 80.

With all due respect to Mr. Springsteen, even the biggest Bruce fan in New Jersey knows who owns that nickname. Larger than life, a master at nabbing the back page of the New York City tabloids, George Steinbrenner was in your face 24/7. He led a fascinating life and was a great businessman, but the story really took off on the day he took over majority ownership of the most famous sports franchise on Earth.

Even in death he drew attention; passing away on the morning of baseball’s All Star Game. I guess he was just waiting for Bob Sheppard to go first. This way he could be sure to get the proper introduction at the next destination.

Best comment of the day (not my words) from one of many message boards buzzing about the news: “Isn’t it ironic that one of the biggest blowhards in sports will have his memory celebrated on national television with a moment of silence?”

You’ll read a million stories about this sports legend, about how he meddled in the most minute business affairs and drove his employees crazy, how he dumped managers and general managers like used tissues, and how even the best players wilted under his constant myopia over the years. Google his name along with that of Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Dave Winfield and especially Billy Martin and you’ll be entertained for weeks.

But the man wanted to win above all else. And win he did.

I knew another side of the man. Years ago I worked for a celebrity who had a relationship with the Yankee organization, and of course, the two of them got along famously. But that warmth and kindness extended past the famous person right down through everyone in our organization, and as we got to know many in the Yankee family we found out how quietly magnanimous the man was. He bragged long and hard about baseball, but he did a lot of charitable work behind the scenes in relative anonymity.

And what truly egotistical man would let himself be parodied long and hard like he did on Seinfeld? Or mock his own persona (and with some acting chops) on Saturday Night Live?

R.I.P., George – you were truly one of a kind.

George Steinbrenner wiki.

New York Yankees official website

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Live: Gaslight Anthem

Not my little secret any longer.

Not my little secret any longer.

Last year I wrote about The Gaslight Anthem and their album The ’59 Sound with unabashed fervor. I placed it in my Top 25 last year with a bullet, because I thought I stumbled across the Missing Link between Bruce Springsteen and The Clash. Here’s what I wrote:

I usually have a bone to pick with any CD that starts with the sound of a needle dropping onto a vinyl record, as if to say “we’re old school rock”. But when you back it up musically, like The Gaslight Anthem does with its Springsteen-from-Dublin approach, all is forgiven. Like The Boss, they’re from Jersey, and this energetic, sing-along, punk-tinged quartet bleeds Bruce’s social observations, wanton loneliness and escapist angst without sounding like a wannabe copycat band. Musically they’re closer to a combination of the rhythmic Edge-like guitar chop of U2 and the sonic political energy of The Clash and…well, early U2.

Having “anthem” as part of their name is appropriate; their literate, lyrical songs resonate with importance and are sold with the passionate vocals of Brian Fallon. I can’t listen to “The Patient Ferris Wheel” or “Meet Me By The River’s Edge” without stifling the reflex to pogo up and down, pumping my fist…not the best combination when driving. Of course, once I noticed that former Flogging Molly guitarist Ted Hutt produced it that explained everything. Hard to believe a band gets this good in two and a half years, but this album is so impressive that I’m grabbing their earlier effort on good faith.

Seeing them live tonight reinforced every thought. 

What can I say? Brian Fallon had the crowd in the palm of his hand the moment he walked on stage. The rest of the night? He juggled them. And I’m not certain if drummer Benny Horowitz had an unlit cigarette or a lollipop in his mouth the entire night, but whether he was channeling James Dean or Kojak didn’t matter. He threw the pulse of the band on his back and carried that weight; all chops and no show-off. Bassist Alex Levine is a massive physical presence, especially next to the comparably diminutive Fallon. His bass thundered all night, but who would dare tell him to lower it one notch? The crowd, fixated on every move, clapped when he clapped and sang when he sang, as if he was the official audience conductor.

I was wondering why guitarist Alex Rosamilia appeared shy by comparison, forgoing the front line to remain a few steps back stage right, at times bent in halfas if bowing to the rhythm. I soon realized that the cacophony of sounds (strings here, accordion there… a horn section?) was emanating from his flavored playing. While Fallon was hammering out the path forward with choppy rhythms, Rosamilia was aural popcorn, splattering a Jason Pollack potpourri of soundscape that made no two songs sound alike.

The Water Street Music Hall was packed, and although the crowd skewed pretty young compared to most, this was a revival meeting from the jump. Sing-alongs, fist-pumping accolades, a well-earned four-song encore and a captive audience that left as sweat-soaked and drained as the band. The Gaslight Anthem earned every penny tonight,  and I suspect they do every night. They ripped through most of the new album – half of which are anthems – along with a couple of cuts each from Senor and the Queen and Sink or Swim. They’re bouncing around the US kicking asses one city at a time – don’t miss them!

And somehow I thought they were still my little secret? Oh, foolish mortal!

gaslight anthem 59 sound

Gaslight Anthem MySpace site

Official website

Listen to clips and buy the album on Amazon.

Who wouldn’t like these guys?


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Happy Birthday, Boss!



Sixty is the new forty.

He’s known by his full name, but he’s identifiable by his first name as easily as he is by his last. He’s the Boss, the man who might have saved rock and roll when it needed it, who might be the last American rock’n’roll icon given his impact and longetivity. He’s a wealthy man who can still write from the voice of a blue collar guy. He’s astute enough to respect the past masters while carving out his own legacy.

Many believe the stars aligned when Time and Newsweek ran him on their covers; others believe it was just a brilliant marketing campaign that took a guy with potential and anointed him the new King. But whether you believe talent trumped opportunity or a pre-Internet American Idol was created in a major label test tube, one thing is undeniable – when they sent him to the plate, he hit that ball out of the park. And as far as live performers are concerned, Bruce Springsteen is a legend, and rightfully so.

There are a million Bruce Springsteen stories out there, and you’ll hear and read several of them today. I’m saving mine for a longer essay that will run another time.  One December day long ago changed my life, and it involved a Springsteen concert, a blizzard and a woman. Don’t want to lose that one in the volume of today’s posts.

So here’s a tip of the cap to you, Mr. Springsteen. Like many of you, I’m going to get my Boss on today.

Bruce Time Newsweek

WXPN in Philadelphia is having a day-long celebration of The Boss, including a live broadcast of a tribute concert. In the meantime you can stream some of the studio cuts.

Of course Little Steven will have something to say.

An Internet buddy offers some selected covers of Bruce songs here and here.

And, of course, Bruce Springsteen Dot Net.

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