So with the whole Devils & Dust 2005 tour and album put pretty much to bed, topped off with a Grammy win two weeks ago, how many of you were whetting your lips for a full-blown tour and album from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band … possibly as soon as later this year?
Yeah, me too.
Well, it looks like that wait may be a bit longer than we were hoping.
From the folks over at Backstreets, who usually get these things right — check them out here — comes news, depending on how you look at these things I guess, both good and bad.
The good news is, there apparently is a new Springsteen record coming as soon as April.
The not so good part…at least for fans waiting since 2002’s The Rising for some new E Street Band music is…and pardon the bad pun here…
Springsteen’s response is apparently going to be a great big “Folk You!”
Backstreets is reporting that the next Springsteen record, the finishing touches being laid down with unspecified “NY/NJ musicians” even as we speak, is going to be some sort of tribute to folk music icon Pete Seeger.
The rumored working title is The Seeger Sessions, and is said to be comprised of either music “inspired” by Seeger, or an entire album of Pete Seeger covers.
There is also some talk in the rumor mill of a short two-month “small market” tour to support the record, with the same smaller group of musicians.
Now, don’t get me wrong here.
I’m all about Bruce doing the whole Devils & Dust “quiet” thing every couple of years or so. Last year’s D&D shows were incredible (especially the one I saw in Vancouver in August), what with the wildly changing nightly setlist rotations and all.
But that was last year.
Longtime, hardcore Springsteen fans suffered through an entire decade — from the Tunnel of Love tour in 1988 to the reunion tour in 1999 — between either an album or tour with the great E Street Band (save a brief reunion to record new songs for the Greatest Hits record).
We’re not talking the “Rawk” goons who scream for “Born In The USA” with their Bud cans raised high in one hand, while clenching fists with the other here, either. We’re talking about the true died-in-the-wool fans who’ve stuck with Bruce since the 1970s days of Born To Run and earlier – the ones who travel across country just to catch a single show.
And here’s the thing.
For “Tramps Like Us”, we know that the clock is ticking fast for one last chance to make it real with an E Street Band tour. It’s common knowledge that Clarence “Big Man” Clemons is in poor health these days and may have only one more tour, if that, still in him.
There have also been reports that Mighty Max Weinberg may be taking the reins as bandleader for The Tonight Show in the next few years. A year-long (or more) hiatus from that coveted gig to hit the road with the E Street Band may not even be a possibility once that happens.
So while it has been obvious for a while now that Bruce’s artistic muse may be leading him more towards the quiet, folk-influenced sound of Devils and Dust and Nebraska-type projects (and none of Bruce’s older fans, myself included, would complain about that), the window for another E Street Band album or tour may be closing.
The idea of Bruce doing an entire album of covers by anybody — much as I truly do respect guys like Seeger and Woody Guthrie — is just not something that makes me exactly quiver with anticipation the same way an album of new originals would. Especially if it were with the greatest band on earth. Just being honest here.
And isn’t Pete Seeger the same guy who ran around like a maniac threatening to “cut the cables” when Dylan went electric at Newport in the sixties anyway?
At any rate, there’s going to be plenty of time for all the folk-influenced records in the world long after the window for an E Street record and tour closes for good.
In the meantime, for those of us chomping at the bit for a new E Street Band album and tour, 2006 began with hopeful rumors of the band gathering in Atlanta with producer Brendan O’Brien.
I still can’t believe I used to play poker with this guy (O’Brien) every Wednesday night at the DiDia Brothers house in L.A in the early nineties….but that’s another story for another time.
For now though, it appears that hopes of an E Street album or tour — at least this year — have been dashed.
Will I buy The Seeger Sessions anyway if and when it comes out? Of course. But it would sure be nice to see the hopes and dreams of longtime, diehard fans of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band — fans like myself — come true.
It’d be nice to get one more album and tour while there is still a window of opportunity available. It remains to be seen however if and when that “faith will be rewarded.”
Maybe this is Springsteen’s secret plan to snag that elusive “Best Folk Album” Grammy. Regardless…
Please say it aint so, Bruce!
You’ll find Glen Boyd sharing his Thoughtmares about everything from music to politics to professional wrestling at his blog The World Wide Glen: Welcome To My Thoughtmare.