HOPE SWINGS ETERNAL FOR BANDIERA

lBob Bandiera brings his all-star jinglebell-jam rock spectacular back to the Basie on Monday night with Hope Concert V.

In an interview we did with Bob Bandiera a couple of seasons back, the veteran musical go-to guy fessed up to the effect that “I’ve got about 95 guitars. My wife is not happy about it — she allotted me two rooms for my music. But you know it’s fun to have that arsenal.”

What the Hardest Working Man in the Shore Music Business also appears to have is a “little black book” of friends that must rival the Oxford Unabridged for sheer heft — that, or a Rolodex the size of the “Big Wheel” from The Price Is Right.

On Monday night, December 19, a few of those friends — otherwise known as “almost every significant artist on the Jersey Shore” — will meet up with Bobby B in Red Bank town to take part in a little fundraiser show by the name of Hope Concert V, a local tradition that makes a much anticipated (and very much SOLD OUT) return to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre.

Read More »

CLEMONS RECALLED AS A TRUE ‘BIG MAN’

clarenceClarence Clemons, right, backs up Stormin’ Norman Seldin, behind the piano, at the Lock, Stock and Barrel in Fair Haven sometime in the late ’70s. (Photo courtesy of Norman Seldin; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He’d already soared into the music industry stratosphere alongside Bruce Springsteen when Clarence Clemons bumped into an old friend, the guy who helped get him his start in the Jersey Shore music scene, and asked if he could sit in, like old times, playing the saxophone.

The late-1970s encounter took place in Sea Bright, where Clemons had a home and was known for towing local kids around with fishing poles for some post-tour R&R.

And earlier this year, to celebrate his 69th birthday, Clemons bought a plane ticket for a longtime friend and former bandmate to fly down to Florida to sing at the party.

Clemons, who passed away Saturday from complications of a stroke, invested as much of himself in his friends and community as he did in his music, friends told redbankgreen in interviews this week, following the Big Man’s death.

Flags will be flown at half-staff throughout New Jersey in Clemons’ honor Thursday. A funeral service was held Tuesday in Palm Beach, Florida.

Read More »

‘MAGIC WAS HAPPENING’ AT BIG MAN’S WEST

clemons-big-mans-westClarence Clemons playing at Big Man’s West in Red Bank in an undated photo courtesy of Lewis Bloom Photo. The Monmouth Street space is now home to a gym. (Click to enlarge)

big-mans-westHe’s best known, of course, for his blaring, evocative saxophone solos as a member the E Street Band behind Bruce Springsteen.

But Clarence Clemons, who died of complications from a stroke at age 69 Saturday, also staked out a bit of turf as an impressario of sorts, right here in Red Bank.

Clemons’ club, Big Man’s West, at 129 Monmouth Street, managed to pack a lot of musical history into just a few years of operation in the early 1980s before it succumbed to financial pressures, says George McMorrow, a Red Bank business owner who managed the club through its final months.

Read More »

‘DARKNESS’ PARTY “LIKE A HOMECOMING”

jacksSouth Brunswick resident Jeff Beyer was first in line to buy Springsteen’s reissued Darkness on the Edge of Town record at the stroke of midnight today. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Nineteen seventy-eight wasn’t merely a big year for Bruce Springsteen, who, at the time, had just released the follow-up to 1975’s “Born To Run,” the record that catapulted him from mediocre recording artist to “the future of rock ‘n’ roll.”

With the release of “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Springsteen captured the hearts of a new fanbase that has stuck with him ever since — the same people who chowed down free pizza and coffee at Jack’s Music Shoppe Monday night in anticipation of the dual releases of the Springsteen treasure trove, a remastered and expanded version of “Darkness” and documentary of that era, “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town.”

Broad Street’s last surviving disc dealer commemorated the 30th anniversary release with a special screening of the doc, hosted a Bruce cover band, The E-Street Shuffle, and when the calendar turned to Tuesday, opened the register and started handing the coveted Boss artifacts over the counter.

“The album is almost like a homecoming,” said Harv Cohen, who drove from Philadelphia to get the reissue.”It’s pretty nostalgic.”

Read More »

MIDNIGHT MADNESS II FOR BRUCE BUFFS

The trailer for THE PROMISE. Below, the E Street Shuffle, which pays sonic homage to Springsteen as Jack’s Music hosts a midnight release event for the new Springsteen box based on the classic LP DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN.

By TOM CHESEK

estreetshuffleThey came to Red Bank from every cul-de-sac and corner of suburbia, word of mouth spreading like wildfire (this in an era way before the whole Twitter thing) as they negotiated the dark and unfamiliar streets of what was then called New Jersey’s Hippest Town. Sleepy-eyed grownups in jammies and hastily-grabbed jackets filling the aisles of Jack’s Music Shoppe and straining for a look at the man in the Seattle Mariners cap.

The year was 2001, the event a midnight release of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live in New York City — and the special surprise guest was none other than the Boss himself, marking his official reunion with the E team at the record store which, more than any other, served as a career-spanning touchstone for the local boy made god.

Pictures from that memorable midnight, once commonly found online, have apparently disappeared from general circulation — eaten away, perhaps, by litigious bacteria. But on Monday night, the edge of downtown will sport a little less darkness, as Jack Anderson’s duplex diskerie hosts a special late-nite release event in honor of The Promise, the all-new/ all-old expansion of the 1978 Springsteen landmark Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Read More »

BASIE STARTS BRISK MONTH WITH BUSY WEEK

daniel-toshNot bad for an 84-year-old.

Red Bank’s venerable Count Basie Theatre, which had its opening on November 11, 1926 as the Carlton Theatre (featuring The Quarterback, starring silent screen stud Richard Dix) continues to earn its a hard-earned rep as one of the premier performing arts centers in the region with a beehive-busy, seven-day schedule of entertainments being offered this week.

In an era when too many of its contemporaries have been reduced to a scratchy picture in some Images of America paperback, the Basie — now undergoing a major facelift — it maintains a level of activity that would pancake buildings half its age.

It’s a lineup that kicks off tonight with a show that sold out in a Tron-speed jiffy — standup stuntster Daniel Tosh (above), whose sublimely snarky Comedy Central web-clip show Tosh.0 should add a touch of multimedia mayhem to the comic’s mic routine.

Sellout or no, tomorrow is another day — and there’s more where that came from, happening at the Count’s crib.

Read More »

DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF RED BANK

Img_6707Bruce Springsteen meets with fans shortly before his May 7, 2008 show at the Basie. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Loyal Bruce fans, pack rats or both: The Count Basie Theatre would like to reward you.

If you dig through your dresser drawers and find a ticket stub from a Bruce Springsteen concert, the Basie is giving you a special price — five bucks — for entry to a special night for any fan of The Boss.

For just $5, stubholders will get to see the only screening in New Jersey of the latest installment of Bruuuuuuuce adulation, “The Promise,” a documentary about the making of 1978’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

Read More »

REFLECTIONS ON 30 YEARS AT THE SLICER

humanbites_fairwinds1 Warren Abrahamson with his daughter, Corinne, and some neighborhood clients at Fairwinds Deli in Fair Haven. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Bites1_SmallFor 30 years, Fairwinds Deli has been serving up belly-busting lunches in Fair Haven. By the end of the summer, the aprons and slicers will be boxed up and moved out. But this is nothing to lose your lunch over. Really. Owner Warren Abrahamson is riding a zephyr, not a squall, out of 770 River Road. Abrahamson tells redbankgreen he’s renovating property just a short walk away, at 698 798 River Road, and will open a new and improved Fairwinds Deli.

“It’ll be bigger. It’ll be my own,” said Abrahamson, 46.

In this edition of Human Bites, redbankgreen sits down with Abrahamson, of Middletown, to feed him some questions.

Read More »

4 SALE: HOUSE WHERE ‘BORN’ WAS BORN

springsteenThe West End cottage where Bruce Springsteen — seen above outside the Count Basie Theatre in 2008 —  wrote ‘Born to Run’ is for sale.

Rbo_3bIt’s tiny little shotgun-style cottage near the beach where a hungry young Bruce Springsteen wrote his career-making third LP, ‘Born to Run.’

Now, a fan with a hungry heart — and a spare $299,000 — can lay claim to the deed.

The storied cottage in the West End section of Long Branch where Springsteen wrote ‘Born to Run,” “Thunder Road” and “Backstreets” is up for sale.

redbankgreen‘s sibling site, Red Bank oRBit, has the exclusive details.