Sunday, November 12, 2017

Living Life to the Max

Regular readers of this blog have heard me write on several occasions about our dear friend Martin Brewer, who we lost at way too early an age.  In the wake of this passing, his family was kind enough to share his voluminous CD collection with us, and it was dream catalog of most of the music we E Streeters have grown up with.
And among each of his deluxe boxed sets of music, each CD would contain a bonus CD, featuring another smaller, indie band that Martin enjoyed and felt a link to the cover artist, along, in most cases with a ticket stub from one of the hundreds of concerts when he had seen the featured performer, from throughout his decades-long rock and roll pilgrimages to venues around the globe.  Barry, Andrew, John and I were fortunate to log quite a few of those concerts with said Martin stateside, and on the other side of the pond, folks like Paul, Andy, Frank and Gillian were fortunate enough to have experienced the shows in London and its surrounding environs.
Where's this post going, you may be wondering?  Wonder no more.
Since Barry, Andrew and I attended Martin's services outside Littlehampton, England, we've had many a conversation about Martin's zest for life, and his willingness to always say yes to an event or an experience, because as life would come to show us, our time here doesn't always last as long as we'd like it to.  So go for the gusto when you have the opportunity.
Which brings me to a recent windswept night at Laugh nightclub in Boston, attending an unforgettable concert experience - Max Weinberg's Jukebox -along with my brother Jimmy and fellow Bruce Springsteen veteran Ken Gordon and his wife Breena.
And with that, the long-winded story behind this photo and the others to follow: (and despite what many already think - these are NOT photoshopped, as rock and roll photographer to the stars Ken Gordon can attest to - there's also video)
If you ever have a chance to check out the E Street Band's drummer solo tour - GO.  He and his back-up band, the Weeklings, a Beatles homage band out of Jersey, scroll about 200 songs on video screens around the venue, and he encourages the audience to shout out which of those songs they want to see the band play.  As a result, you NEVER get the same setlist for the band's performances.
Our setlist in Boston opened with Glad All Over from the Dave Clark Five, into Fortunate Son from Creedence Clearwater Revival, and then peppered through a litany of some of my favorite songs of all time, including I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones, and American Girl from Tom Petty, part of which can be viewed here:

If you haven't seen the Weeklings, they're quite an entertaining group in their own right, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that the songs to choose from included dozens of Beatles hits.  Surprisingly, though, there weren't a TON featured this night in Boston
We did, however, get to see Max channel some Keith Moon on the drum frenzy of I Can See for Miles, clips of which can be seen in these two links:

With the smaller venue, akin to the Garry Tallent show I blogged about earlier in the summer, Max had no problem getting up close and personal with his fans, as he related tales of his youth, his rock and roll upbringing, and of course, his time touring with the the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, hard-rocking, booty-shaking, love-making, earth-quaking, Viagra-taking, justifying, death-defying, legendary E Street Band! 
At one point, he brought a 13-year-old up to give it a go on the drums 
And then came the final song of the night, and the full circle of events I started talking about up top.
Max asked if anyone in the crowd knew all the words to Springsteen's Glory Days.
Without hesitation, and with a tip of my Thunder Road cap to Martin, my hand shot right up, no hesitation.  My brother looked at me incredulously.  Partly because he was surprised at my zeal, but maybe also because he fancied himself the singer in the family.  He's just more along the unrecognizable pitch and decibels of Bob Dylan.
Max beckoned me up onto the stage, and I found myself standing at one mic, along with a bearded stranger who was also clearly both a Springsteen fan, and a music aficionado.  We swapped cell phones to capture the moment for social media posterity.
Here's his pic of me 
And here's further proof, of him taking said pic
Come to find out the next morning, via the miracles of the interwebs and Twitter that my fellow stage performer was none other than Lowell's Chuck Kuenzler, who happens to be a nephew of my good friend, Mike Kuenzler.
Happy to share the stage with such a music buff as you, Chuck!
Here's me returning the stage pic favor
At song's end, with Max's big drum solo finale, it was time to bow down and pay homage to the Mighty One himself
And naturally, get a high five for my singing debut.  Not really, but I couldn't pass up the chance to thank my favorite rock drummer for the decades of enjoyment he's helped provide through his touring with Bruce and the rest of the band.
So there you have it. Probably my first and last time ever sharing stage with a rock and roll legend - Max, not Chuck, mind you.
Thank you Martin, for instilling in me the confidence to carpe diem, and in this case, to carpe microphone and write my own little chapter in rock and roll history.
So to quote the singers in other band I blogged about this week, the Who,
Meet the New Boss.
DEFINITELY not the same as the Old Boss.

Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight 
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill 
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it 
but I probably will 
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture 
a little of the glory of, well time slips away 
and leaves you with nothing mister but 
boring stories of glory days 

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