Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bruce Springsteen - The Boss and the E Street Band Gear Up for Bonnaroo‏

A portrait of Bruce SpringsteenImage via Wikipedia

by Brent Warnken

While Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band aren't the typical act you might expect to see at Tennessee's Bonnaroo Music Festival, Little Steven Van Zant recently told Billboard online that the band is more than ready for the June 13 gig.

"I love the fact that we're playing to, I don't know, probably half of the audience who maybe never heard of us certainly never heard us. That's nothing but fun and nothing but exciting," Little Steven said about the group's upcoming Bonnaroo gig in a conference call, adding, "I'm hoping we do a whole lot more of these, and I think what I'm expecting ... is just, I hope, a lot of young people that have never seen us before, and it's going to be fun."

The Boss and the E Street Band will jump the pond to play at the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival on June 27, and Van Zandt said he's excited that the music festival culture seems to be expanding in the States. "In Europe it's a festival almost every week in almost every country," Van Zandt observed before describing it as "a way of balancing out what has been a kind of isolated generation or two between computers and video games and that sort of thing."

Although Springsteen and the E Street Band might not be an obvious choice for Bonnaroo, best known for attracting jam bands like Phish and Widespread Panic, their tradition of playing long, highly-improvised sets will fit well into the festival.

Said Van Zandt, "We change things a lot normally. Every night is different... There is a very wide variety of songs that we've done over the years that Bruce has written over the course of ... 30, 35 years. There's a lot of stuff to pick from. And then on top of that we build in a certain amount of spontaneity right into the show... The last two weeks we played Ramones, Clash and Tommy James ... all kinds of fun sort of bar band type songs."

The E Street Band guitarist continued to say that this style of playing "just loosens everybody up and keeps the thing fresh. There's nothing like playing a song you've never played before and never rehearsed before 20,000 people. It's just kind of an immediate sort of electric sort of joke that kind of keeps everybody very awake."

Van Zandt, who hosts his own syndicated radio show The Underground Garage and also has a record label, Wicked Cool Records, does have a bone to pick with Bonnaroo organizers.

Little Steven revealed in the conference call that he noticed that the Bonnaroo lineup didn't include the garage rock that he plays on his radio show, saying, "I think as the genre starts to expand here ... more young people will be starting to get to know this garage rock world... So maybe in the next couple of years, Bonnaroo will start to have an underground garage stage or tent or some kind of garage rock day or some part of the festival." Check online for Bruce Springsteen tickets.

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