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(no subject) [Dec. 8th, 2009|02:22 pm]

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Stepping into People's Lives [Sep. 30th, 2009|12:44 pm]

I'm late in posting this, but Bruce Springsteen turned sixty one week ago today. Over at Mental Floss, Matt Soniak posted the very entertaining "60 Springsteen Facts for Bruce's 60th Birthday." 

Regarding Number 17 on his list—

Springsteen lore has it that Bruce was once spotted in a movie theater watching Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories (which comments on artist/fan relations). The fan who saw him challenged Bruce to prove he didn’t regard his own fans with the contempt as the Allen stand-in in the movie by coming to meet his mom and have dinner. Bruce did so and supposedly still visits the fan’s mother every time he’s in St Louis.
—I was reminded of a passage from the "Two Jewish Mothers Pose as Rock Critics" chapter of Paul Nelson and Lester Bangs's Rod Stewart book wherein, during a give-and-take between the two critics about the nature of fame and what it can do to an artist, this same story about Springsteen came up. Paul said: 

I've been backstage at Springsteen shows where Bruce'll open the doors and let thirty kids hanging around outside come in and talk to him. Hope Antman [of CBS Records] told me a story that when Bruce was in Minneapolis and had a night off he went to a movie by himself, and this kid recognized him as he was buying a ticket and said, "Hey, you wanna sit with me?" And he sat with him, and the kid said, "Hey, you wanna come home and talk and my mother’ll fix us some things?" And Bruce went home with the kid and spent the whole night with the kid. And that ain't ever going to happen with Rod Stewart.”

I asked Bruce if any of this were true when I interviewed him in 2007.

"Oh yeah," he said, "oh yeah. I think it was St. Louis, though, or St. Paul. I forget where. I was by myself. I sort of enjoyed the license that that strange part of my job, where people recognize you, allowed me to kind of step into people’s lives, and it was just a night where I wasn’t doing anything and it just sounded like a good idea. The kid ran into his room and came out with an album cover and held it up next to me [laughs] after we came in the door.”

Springsteen volunteered that he does still see the kid's mother occasionally when he's in town (whichever town it may be), though it sounded as if such meetings were in the nature of a before- or after-concert encounters, not a visit on his own part.

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Paul Nelson's White House Connection [Jan. 29th, 2009|06:16 pm]

[Current Location |Brooklyn, New York]

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, David Browne reports that in 1979 Paul Nelson was recruited as an advisor to a commission headed by legendary producer John Hammond to update the official White House Record Library. As a result of the commission's efforts, President Obama can enjoy vinyl versions of Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Springsteen's Born to Run, Randy Newman's Good Old Boys, Led Zeppelin IV, the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed, the Ramones' Rocket to Russia, the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, the Flying Burrito Brothers' The Gilded Palace of Sin, as well as records by Santana, Neil Young, Talking Heads, Isaac Hayes, Elton John, the Cars and Barry Manilow.

It's not difficult to surmise which selections were high on Paul's list of suggestions.

The entire article, "Obama's Secret Record Collection," can be found here.
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Max's Kansas City [Oct. 19th, 2008|12:54 pm]

In January of 1973, a few weeks after Elliott Murphy first played his demos for Paul Nelson, then an A&R guy at Mercury Records, Paul presented him the recently released debut album of another songsmith: Bruce Springsteen's Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Later that same month, Paul invited Murphy to join him at Max's Kansas City, where Springsteen was playing with a very early incarnation of the E Street Band.

This week over at Wolfgang's Vault—which features free streaming of vintage live concert performances—the featured concert is, with relative certainty, the show in question. Recorded January 31, 1973, after the show Paul introduced Elliott to Bruce, thereby launching a friendship that continues to this day.

Copyright 2008 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.
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Bumping into Geniuses [Aug. 25th, 2008|01:14 pm]

[Current Location |Brooklyn, NY]

Rock journalist. PR guy for Led Zeppelin. Nirvana's manager. Good friend to Kurt and Courtney. Record company executive. These are but a few of the descriptions you might apply to Danny Goldberg, whose latest book, Bumping into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business, hits the bookstores next month. In addition to the appellations I've already dropped, among the many behind-the-scenes tales Goldberg tells are how he covered Woodstock when nobody else wanted to, when he talked Kiss into taking it all off (makeup-wise), and how he launched Stevie Nicks' solo career. What emerges is the profile of someone savvy enough to know that doing business is all about relationships—and that you can't succeed at either one at the expense of the other.

For our purposes here, Goldberg also writes about such Paul Nelson favorites as Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Ian Hunter (whom Goldberg now manages), and Neil Young. Most importantly, he writes about Paul.

Touching on Paul's five years at Mercury Records, when Goldberg was writing for Circus magazine, he also reflects on Paul's role in the Warren Zevon saga in a lengthy and loving chapter about the singer/songwriter's final years (Goldberg was head of Artemis Records and released not only Zevon's last three studio albums but also the fine tribute album, Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon). He also reflects on Paul's memorial service at St. Mark's Church on September 7, 2006.

What emerges is Goldberg's admiration for both Paul the man and Paul the writer. As he wrote for shortly after Paul's death:
Paul was hopelessly miscast as a PR guy. He was literally incapable of hyping an album or artist he did not believe in and was always apologetic when he called about a Mercury artist.... Paul was far more likely to go into a track by track analysis of the latest Leonard Cohen album on Columbia than even to mention a mediocrity on Mercury. I don't know how he got himself into a position where he was able to sign the Dolls (not normally the kind of thing a PR person could do at record companies) but I suspect he just wore out his superiors. But he did enjoy the expense account that allowed him to take a long list of writers to La Strada and other Midtown restaurants.

Towards the end of Bumping into Geniuses, Goldberg realizes that "People like me were only valuable to record companies to the extent we could identify and sign commercial talent. And the way that the business world judged your talent for picking and signing and working with artists was not how smart you were, how much you loved music, how hard you worked, what skills you had, or what critics thought of your taste. To be taken seriously by the grown-ups you had to be associated with big hits. That was the coin of the realm."

Which pretty much sums up why Paul Nelson's record company career ended in 1975.

Copyright 2008 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

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(no subject) [Mar. 23rd, 2008|10:17 pm]

001-003 Jensen Ackles - Supernatural promo
004-029 movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang + quotes
030-044 Keanu Reeves
045-062 Bruce Springsteen

kkbb17.png kkbbtxt8.png
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Looking for a HQ Image... [Dec. 20th, 2007|03:12 pm]

[Current Location |home]
[Current Music |Bruce of course ;)]

Hello Everybody! I'm Luereatha and a fellow Boss fangirl and I was wondering if anybody happened to have a HQ Image of Bruce leaning on a trailer and looking out towards the viewer? I believe it's from the "Magic" release. I used to have that image but now I can't find it and I was working on a collage of my favorite Bruce images and if anybody happens to know and have that particular image could you post it up or send it to

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Girl, I'll Prove It All Night For You [Nov. 21st, 2007|02:52 pm]

[Current Music |jungleland live in new york - bruce springsteen]

[18] Bruce Springsteen

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(no subject) [Sep. 30th, 2007|01:39 pm]

[11] Bruce Springsteen

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Everything Is an Afterthought [Aug. 24th, 2007|11:31 am]

[Current Location |Brooklyn, New York]

"There were a few people who picked up on me very early before my first record, when I was playing solo at Max's Kansas City," Bruce Springsteen said about Paul Nelson, "and he's the one who stands foremost in my mind."

From 1975 to 1982, Paul wrote a series of infrequent but expansive meditations about Springsteen, his music, and his remarkable relationship to a rapidly burgeoning audience. How accurate were Paul's perceptions? "Oh, they could come out right now," Springsteen said, "and they'd be right on the money. That was my job the way that I saw it, and he perceived it. That's quite a connection to make."

I spoke with Springsteen Tuesday afternoon, an interview that, by the time all was said and done, took eight months to arrange. In the interim, Springsteen wrapped up his tour with the Sessions band and released a live album documenting it; recorded a new studio album with the E Street Band, Magic, due out October 2nd; and suffered the death of his longtime friend and assistant, Terry Magovern, who passed away in his sleep on the night of July 30th.

As an interviewee, Springsteen was open, funny, and philosophical without being pretentious. And on the subject of Paul Nelson, he spoke eloquently.

Paul entered Springsteen's life in 1972 when the young singer/songwriter (who was then 22 or 23) would take the bus from New Jersey into New York City to play the opening half of double bills at Max's Kansas City. Paul was impressed enough to keep coming back, bringing with him other writers and artists (including Elliott Murphy) and turning them on, too, to the New Jersey phenom.

Everything Is an Afterthought examines Paul's friendship with Springsteen (mostly in Springsteen's own words) and how the artist's special brand of rock & roll represented for Paul more than just music. The book will reprint all of Paul's articles and reviews about Springsteen, presenting for the first time Paul's preferred texts, based on his original manuscripts. (For instance, Paul's review of The River is considerably different than what got published in 1980 and which can be found online.) 

Documenting Springsteen's early career, Paul's writings reflect not only his fondness for the man but how he had to come to terms with his friend's music when it took turns down alleyways both unexpected and dark.

Copyright 2007 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.
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