Former Bruce Springsteen, E Street drummer opens up about ‘Greetings from Asbury Park’
It was more than 50 years ago when Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez was working in a boatyard at the Jersey shore "scraping hulls and getting barnacles off when the owner of the place came in and said there's this guy named Bruce on the phone".
Springsteen said to his drummer "Hey you know what I did? I signed a contract with Columbia records. We're gonna make a record. Do you want to play on it? to which Lopez replied "When do we start?" to which Bruce said "This Week" The album 'Greetings From Asbury Park was released on Jan. 5, 1973.
The rest is history as Lopez, who spent the weekend discussing the album Saturday at the Bruce Springsteen Archives Center for American Music Symposium for the 50th anniversary of “Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ” at Monmouth University. Later reminisced on my New Jersey 101.5 show.
What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of 'Greetings From Asbury Park'?
"How young we were when we did that? Because we had no clue. No. No clue at all" says, Lopez.
'Little tidbits about it. There were songs more than one, that Gary and David Sanchez were not available and Bruce and I did all the cuts. I did the drums, Bruce did the bass Bruce did the guitar, and Bruce did the piano. When we did some singing and then Clarence came in and we had another vocalist.'
"But most of that stuff is done by Bruce", says Lopez "A couple of songs Davey and Gary play on 'Lost In The Flood' for instance, Davy's on there."
"Some other thing that people don't know really is that on 'Blinded By The Light'. That's Mike Appel singing the background harmony on it. I sang it live every show we played and on 'Rosalita' that was Mike Appel singing on that."
What are your fondest memories of making the album?
"Getting it done so quick," says Lopez " "I was there working in a boat yard but half the people were in Richmond, Virginia like Gary (Talent) and Davey (Sancious) and everybody. They weren't even around, really."
"We rehearsed for like a week or so, the same thing with Gary (Talent). Bruce called Gary and said, "do you want to play?" You know, could we play in the band?"
"They didn't want a band," says Lopez. "They wanted Bruce on his guitar. And they didn't really want a band, but they did half and half."
Any memories of actually being in the studio making the album.
"One thing I remember is, I'm in the drum booth. And there's a window, I had limited sight. But I could see Mike Appel in the mixing booth. And I knew if he was moving his arms and flailing around. I knew he wanted me to play more. That kind of stuff."
"And another memory that really really sticks out. Is when Davy came in and did the piano in New York City Serenade. It's another session but just like there's a picture of me watching him play the piano. His fingers were like, just it was amazing to watch him do that."
Fifty years later, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are all in the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame. It's like Bruce used to say at his concerts "It was bye bye New Jersey, we was airborne."
To hear the full interview with Vini Lopez click here and go to 1:36:30.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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