Still Runnin’ At Forty
None of us ever know when, or if, that big break will come.
Yesterday, August 25, marked the 40 anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band’s landmark album, Born To Run. Bruce labored over this album for months, trying to make it perfect. Legend has it, they were doing final mixes on it as they were loading up the van, literally, to head out on tour. He just couldn’t pull the trigger to give final sign off. Then he had to. He, and the band, were off, in more ways than one.
He also tells the story that the songs on Born To Run are all pieces of a story that takes place during one hot, muggy night at the Jersey Shore. Yesterday was a hot, muggy day. I was supposed to head to Asbury Park to do some portraits for someone, but the threat of evening rain cancelled that shoot.
But by late afternoon, it hit me – go shoot 40 portraits in Asbury Park to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Born To Run. A quick little photo project. With my family in Wildwood, NJ, for a few days, and me just dog sitting, I had nothing holding me back.
My initial thought was to have people hold up lyrics to the songs on the album. But as I rolled into Asbury Park and up Cookman Ave, I spied Hold Fast Records. I quickly parked, ran across the street, and bought BTR for $6 in about 30 seconds. The album with that absolute CLASSIC image of Bruce and Clarence Clemons, shot by Eric Meoloa. (now on TIME’s Lightbox as a supreme storm chaser…)
The new plan: Forty portraits of forty Springsteen fans holding the record on the fortieth anniversary of it issue.
Welp…it didn’t quite work out that way. I put two hours worth of money in the meter. I shot my first portrait just before 6 p.m. in front of The Stone Pony.
Two hours later, I had shot just 20 portraits. It was a lot harder finding Springsteen fans than I though, especially in Asbury Park. Some folks I spoke with were vehemently against him too! Like, wouldn’t even touch the album.
And the two cats sitting on a boardwalk bench who said they’d never heard of him.
But the people I did meet, they were great. By chance, I met (and photographed) the pork-pie hatted Paul Whistler, an Asbury Park musical legend who counts original E Street Band drummer, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez” as his drummer. As well as a young dude in an Asbury Park baseball cap who was a musician as well. He perched on the railing for me and said Born To Run was one of his favorite songs.
I also had two long conversations with two different couples, both giving me great stories of Springsteen shows they had seen.
And one young guy, Paul, who kinda came up to me to show me the Tramps Like Us tattoo across his chest. Said he got it when he was young, wouldn’t do it now, but the had great memories of seeing the E Street band with his parents. His mom told him he had “seen” the ESB while he was still in the womb.
The rain never came down in the city. And the light was spectacular all evening.
And, well, this happened too…
I got interviewed by Maghee Henry of PIX11 out of New York. Clip ran late last night, and while I got cut out of the on-line video, I did get mentioned in the story. (last name spelled wrong, though. Grrr..)
“Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night….” Bruce sings in Thunder Road.
Yes, yes there is. As I pulled out of Asbury Park, it was dark and the lights were shining bright. Sometimes you just gotta find that magic, make it happen. Not for fame or fortune but for yourself.
Now… go listen to my favorite track from Born To Run….the epic, sprawling, driving, falling, storytelling goodness that is Backstreets.
(c) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2015