iPod on Shuffle

Sometimes you get ten gems in a row.

"N.F.B" : Peter Bruntnell
"Better Days Are Coming" : Jimmy Cliff
"Did She Overtake You" : Robert Forster
"Bled White" : Elliott Smith
"I'm In Love With a Girl" : Big Star
"Heart On the Ground" : Jay Farrar
"Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street" : Bruce Springsteen
"Horse Head" : 16 Horsepower
"Rock Island Line" : Johnny Cash
"Sleepy Head" : The Waxwings

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" Wraps Film Production

Although clearly in the minority, I did not consider the first adaptation of McCarthy's work, No Country For Old Men, to be more than just an average movie. Then again, I was so enthusiastic about the novel, that any rendering would probably have left me disappointed.

In today's New York Times, I learned that McCarthy's other masterpiece, The Road, will be arriving on-screen in the late fall. This adaptation stars Viggo Mortensen, Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire), precocious Aussie upstart Kodi Smit-McPhee, as well as various cameos by other Hollywood stars, including Charlize Theron.

My interest in present-day film has been waning over the years. Trips to the local cinema used to be weekly occurences, but given the plethora of garbage making its way through studious these days, I rarely find myself energized enough to make the trip to the theatre. Let's hope that the second adaptation of McCarthy's brilliant writing is worthy of the trip.

Perhaps the Prettiest Song of the 90s

Albums of Weeks 19 & 20


Old 97's : Fight Songs
Elektra, 1999

Luna : Lunapark
Elektra, 1992

New Old 97's Sampler

playlist: we don't dive, we cannonball


My Most-Anticipated Release of 2008

And it's only one week away.

Hillary's Final Stand

Hillary Clinton's editorial in today's New York Daily News just reeks of the criticism that she desperately tries to deflect. Every time Hillary attempts to justify her reasoning for remaining in the race, we're all offered a glimpse into this woman's true self. Make no mistake, as much as Hillary beats us down with, "this is about the people", when you collect her explanations and justifications, it's quite clear that Hillary Clinton remains in this race out of selfishness alone.

I should make it clear that I am not a Barack Obama fanboy. I don't want Hillary to step aside due to my adoration for Obama. If I look back to 2000, Senator Obama would probably be my third favorite democratic nominee. I admire Obama and get chills when considering a half-black man reaching the highest office in our country, but I still have questions about Obama, questions that I've had since he entered the race. That said, one thing is not debatable: Barack Obama is a man of integrity. Hillary Clinton abandoned this word soon after Iowa. And this is the overriding reason why I've supported Obama's run for the nomination.

More unnerving than any of her absurd claims has been her call for Michigan and Florida to be counted. Remember folks, prior to the first caucus, the democratic party agreed that Michigan and Florida had broken party rules, and thus would not be counted. Like Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed to this. There was no debate. The issue was settled. But then Hillary needed these votes. Without Michigan and Florida, her campaign was essentially over. Suddenly Hillary was reminding us of disenfranchised blacks in the 1960s, Zimbabwe, and other egregious cases of voter fraud and corruption. When I heard these outrageous tactics, I couldn't believe that Karl Rove wasn't on the Clinton payroll.

In 2000, Al Gore made me proud to be a democrat. In 2004, John Kerry elicited the same feeling. In 2008, I feel uplifted by the Senator from Illinois, yet I cringe at the mention of the junior Senator from New York. Hillary Clinton is certainly not representative of my beliefs, and I find her laughable presidential run to be far outside the ideals of the democratic party as a whole. I want that pride back. Unfortunately, she's not the one to deliver that emotion.

On Saturday, You Will Be Mine


Six Books


Chronicles, Volume 1 by Bob Dylan, Memoir, 2005: 7.2

Post Office by Charles Bukowski, Fiction, 1971: 7.5

Barack Obama and Race in America

Aside from Obama's speech following the Reverend Wright controversy, there has been very little open discussion of race during the primaries. That said, this entire run, especially of late, has a cloud of race hovering over almost every primary. Tonight in Kentucky, 21% of voters said that, yes, race does matter. These are the people willing to admit that race matters. One can only imagine that this number doubles (triples?) if we were to count those who wouldn't admit to bigotry.

Furthermore, it's been abundantly clear that Hillary Clinton has a firm grasp on the under-educated, blue-collar white voter. Left out of the discussion of her base is the race card. How many of these voters simply ignore Obama's candidacy due to the color of skin? I don't know the answer, but my assumption is that this is a significant number.

Then you look at Obama's base. A good portion of his voters are college educated, middle-upper class whites, as well as African Americans. The latter obviously wouldn't vote against Obama due to his race, and the former, given their years of education, have a much deeper understanding of race issues, and in all likelihood, have a smaller tendency to consider race when voting.

I am rambling. But as this campaign moves forward, I am frightened, and perhaps excited, at what this campaign will do for race relations in the United States. My hope is that it will bring this country to collectively look at these issues, and fully understand the importance of education when it comes to equality, understanding and harmony in our country.

We've had the Civil War, Reconstruction, The Civil Rights Movement and now, a half-Black man is in line for the presidency of the United States. It feels as if the wounds of race division in the 1860s on through to the 1960s are slowly being reopened right now. Senator Obama and every single one of us will determine how far we've either progressed or regressed.

New Look Bandwagon

Barring any html hiccups or changes in medication, I will stick with this new design. Thank you.

Edward Kennedy

Despite the media's incessant portrayal of him as a polarizing political figure, Senator Ted Kennedy has been one of the most ferociously just Senators in this country's history. He has fought exhausting battles on behalf of women, the poor, and those lacking health care, to name a few. The right has done a magnificent job of permanently labeling such vocal folks as "crazy liberals"; however, if you simply look at the issues, Senator Kennedy has simply wrestled to help those who have a difficult time being heard. No, he hasn't been perfect, but he's a man of integrity and heart.

This country needs more politicians who fight the good fight. We lost Minnesota's Paul Wellstone a few years ago, and the Senate hasn't been the same. Let's hope that Senator Kennedy has many more years ahead of him.

Burma: The Days Pass

It's now been over two weeks since a cyclone ravaged the country of Burma. Given the junta's firm grip on power, there has been very little footage of the catastrophe. However, the BBC has provided the following video.

Those Liberal Mississippians

Could the republican playbook finally have dried up? Has the country finally had enough of their fear-tactics, lies and deception? Have we all really caught on?

Lost in the coverage of West Virginia and the heartbreaking natural-disasters worldwide, was an astounding democratic House victory in Coffeeville, Mississippi. In a state that Bush won convincingly in 04 (62% of the vote), the voters scoffed at the predictable republican playbook. First they pulled out the race card and flooded the public of connections between the democratic candidate, Travis Childers, and presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama. When that didn't work (it actually fueled African-American voters and ultimately helped Childers), they called in Dick Cheney, Jhn McCain, Haley Barbour, and even the president himself recorded taped messages that were sent out to voters. Again, nope.

Childers shocked Washington and spelled potential disaster for Republicans in November. If the democrats can now swipe seats in districts as traditionally right-wing as this, where can't they win? This would be akin to Karl Rove stealing Nancy Pelosi's seat in the Bay Area.

Is fundamental national public-policy change on the horizon? Could November 08 be the beginning of a democratic takeover of the House, Senate and the White House? If the recent happenings down South are any indication, it's certainly looking good.

Fight Fire With Unlit Matches


Long Walk Home

There are those moments that we simply can't explain. Sometimes those moments are catapulted by music, art, something said, something felt. But whatever brings on those moments, we know it when they're present.

This morning on the long walk to work, I decided to listen to Bruce Springsteen's recent performance at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. This is now a historic show in the Springsteen canon, as not only did Bruce and the E Street Band perform before a mere 1500 people, but they performed Darkness on the Edge of Town and Born To Run in their entirety. Ticket prices were steep, but every penny went to restoring the Count Basie Theatre.

Instead of skipping right to the music, I listened to the 12-minute opener. Patti Scialfa spoke about the importance of the theatre and how for tens of years, the Count Basie had been a staple in her life. Then Brian Williams of NBC News took the stage and told some unreal stories about growing up in Jersey. The chills began to set in. Then came the mention of Danny Federici. I felt the emotion growing. The moment had arrived. Then Williams said, "I'm told this is the boss' mike. This is the first and last time that this will ever happen. Ladies and gentleman, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band". The crowd absolutely erupted. My throat tightened, my eyes welled up and I literally had no idea where I was standing. I could've walked two miles past my office and I would've had no idea. My entire body and spirit was in a place not my own. I felt connected to the world, yet completely outside of myself.

Then came the music. And the stories. And then the memories. Not Bruce's memories, but my own. All of the years that I've spent listening to his records. All of the years that his music let me dream. Let me be someone else. Let me truly, and I mean TRULY, feel life. When Bruce and the band moved from Darkness into Born To Run, I realized how much Springsteen's music has not only inspired in me, but how much it has taught me. If I had to point to one person who's moved me to care about public policy, social equality and all of the, pardon the word, 'ideals' that I hold so dear, it would be Bruce Springsteen. His music is as much a part of my life as anything. It makes me realize how much I love my family, how important my friends are in my life, how lucky I am to stand beside the girl in my life. It's my dreams both lived and searched for. It's everything that I hold dear. And right then, I realized that the feeling had set in.

All Week Listening


What a Complete Ass


Noah and the Whale

My E-Mails To Live Nation/Ticketmaster

Hi There,

I was about to purchase two tickets for the Old 97's at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Tickets are priced at $25 each. When I went to complete the transaction, the total came up as $73.85. I am sure that this is a mistake. I know that TM has fees, but just shy of 100% of the ticket price seems, well, absurd.

Please make the correction so I can purchase the tickets and go yell things at Murry!


No Adult Left Behind

I mean, it's never too late to educate even the grown-ups of our country. If Obama wins the presidency, perhaps this can be his big plan for education.

From today's Financial Times:

Democratic country keeps its distance from Obama
By Andrew Ward

Like most people in Mingo County, West Virginia, Leonard Simpson is a lifelong Democrat. But given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain in November, the 67-year-old retired coalminer would vote Republican.

“I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife’s an atheist,” said Mr Simpson, drawing on a cigarette outside the fire station in Williamson, a coalmining town of 3,400 people surrounded by lush wooded hillsides.

Mr Simpson’s remarks help explain why Mr Obama is trailing Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, by 40 percentage points ahead of Tuesday’s primary election in the heavily white and rural state, according to recent opinion polls.

A landslide victory for Mrs Clinton in West Virginia will do little to improve her fading hopes of winning the Democratic nomination, because Mr Obama has an almost insurmountable lead in the overall race. But Tuesday’s contest is likely to reinforce Mrs Clinton’s argument that she would be the stronger opponent for Mr McCain in November, and raise fresh doubts about whether the US is ready to elect its first black president.

Occupying a swathe of the Appalachian Mountains on the threshold between the Bible Belt and the Rust Belt, West Virginia is a swing state that voted twice for George W. Bush but backed Democrats in six of the eight prior presidential elections.

No Democrat has been elected to the White House without carrying West Virginia since 1916, yet Mr Obama appears to have little chance of winning there in November. Recent opinion polls indicate that Mrs Clinton would narrowly beat Mr McCain in the state but Mr Obama would lose by nearly 20 percentage points.

West Virginia is hostile territory for Mr Obama because it has few of the African-Americans and affluent, college-educated whites who provide his strongest support. The state has the lowest college graduation rate in the US, the second lowest median household income, and one of the highest proportions of white residents, at 96 per cent.

A visit to Mingo County, a Democratic stronghold in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, reveals the scale of Mr Obama’s challenge – not only in West Virginia but in white, working-class communities across the US. With a gun shop on its main street and churches dotted throughout the town, Williamson is the kind of community evoked by Mr Obama’s controversial comments last month about “bitter” small-town voters who “cling to guns or religion”.

“If he is the nominee, the Democrats have no chance of winning West Virginia,” said Missy Endicott, a 40- year-old school administrator. “He doesn’t understand ordinary Americans.”

Ms Endicott was among roughly 500 people who crammed into the Williamson Fire Department building on Friday to attend a rally by Bill Clinton, the former president. He told them his wife represented “people like you, in places like this”, and urged voters to turn out in record numbers on Tuesday to send a message to the “higher-type people” who were trying to force her out of the race.

Local leaders said Mr Clinton was the most important visitor to Williamson since John F. Kennedy passed through during the 1960 election campaign. Mr Kennedy’s victory in the West Virginia primary that year was a crucial step towards proving his electability as the first Catholic president. Nearly five decades later, the state appears less willing to help Mr Obama break down barriers to the White House.

None of the 22 Democrats interviewed by the Financial Times at the Clinton rally would commit themselves to voting for Mr Obama if he became the nominee, and half said they definitely would not. The depth of opposition is particularly striking considering that Mingo County is one of the most Democratic places in West Virginia, having cast about 85 per cent of its votes for the party in the 2006 midterm elections. If Mr Obama cannot win there in November, he has little chance of carrying the state.

Most people questioned said they mistrusted Mr Obama because of doubts about his patriotism and “values”, stemming from his cosmopolitan background, his exotic name and the controversy surrounding “anti-American” sermons by Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor. Several people said they believed he was a Muslim – an unfounded rumour that has circulated on the internet for months – despite the contradiction with his 20-year membership of Mr Wright’s church in Chicago. Others mentioned his refusal to wear a Stars and Stripes badge and controversial remarks by his wife, Mich­elle, who des­cribed America as “mean” and implied that she had never been proud of the US until her husband ran for president.

Conservative commentators have questioned Mr Obama’s patriotism for months and the issue is expected to be one of the Republicans’ main lines of attack if he wins the nomination. “The American people want a president who loves their country as much as they do,” said Whit Ayres, a Rep­ub­lican strategist. Obama supporters believe patriotism is being used as code to harness racist sentiment.

Josh Fry, a 24-year-old ambulance driver from Williamson, insisted he was not racist but said he would feel more comfortable with Mr McCain, the 71-year-old Vietnam war hero, in the White House. “I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president,” he said.

Album of Week 18


Wilco : Sky Blue Sky
Nonesuch, 2007

Pure Evil

As the world turns to help the suffering people of Burma, this "man" has turned the world away, and sits and watches his own people perish.

Along with the leaders of N. Korea, Iran, and dare I say, the United States, this man likely deserves to be atop the list of the planet's most evil men.

Burmese Dictator Than Shwe

A Nearly-Forgotten Classic


Top Stories on CNN Tonight

-Sinkhole somewhere in Texas. I think a tree got swallowed or something.
-Charlie Manson may have killed more people than originally thought.
-One of Bush's daughter's is getting married to some frat boy.

Not mentioned? Oh right, the death toll in Burma could reach 500,000.

And my vote for the most ridiculous TV anchor in the history of TV?

Erica Hill / CNN

Springsteen & E Street Band Perform Darkness and BTR Front-to-Back

This has to be one of the most historic shows in Springsteen's 35+ years of performing. 1978's Darkness on the Edge of Town still stands as my favorite record of all-time, while 1975's epic Born To Run is the greatest full-on rock n' roll record ever recorded (Sorry Bob, Highway 61 Rev. is a very close second).

As he wrapped up the US leg of the Magic tour, Springsteen and the band headed home to the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ and shocked the crowd by performing both records in their entirety. Audibles and surprises are common occurences at Springsteen shows, but this is in an entirely different league. I simply can't imagine the emotion, energy and awe-struck eyes running through that music hall.

I will now listen to Darkness. And then BTR

Obama's VP

We'll hear the obvious names such as Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Joe Biden and, of course, Hillary Clinton. But in the end, I'm pretty confident that Obama goes with Virginia Senator Jim Webb. Webb is a decorated war-veteran, a former Secretary of the Navy and is widely considered tough and "patriotic". He could help out with any claims that Obama is soft, while also adding the military nod that McCain will likely speak of every other second. Webb could also cater to the war-loving right, given that his son is currently deployed in Iraq.

If not Webb, my backup would be Biden.

Cabinet Predictions:
Secretary of State: Joe Biden
Attorney General: John Edwards
Secretary of Defense: Wesley Clark
Homeland Security: Chuck Hagel

US Aid To Burma

It disgusts me that this tragedy has brought out so much anger in me. But when I read this morning that Bush had offered up $3.25 million in aid (after an initial proposal of $250,000), I simply wanted to vomit. The people of Burma have suffered through nearly a half-century of hell, and they've just been flattened by one of the worst national disasters in world history, and Bush offers $3.25 million in aid? Folks, I hate to pull Iraq into this, but most estimates suggest that we're spending about $300 million per DAY in Iraq. And we can only muster up a few million for a helpless nation that may be looking at upwards of 100,000 deaths.

Sure there's a concern about how to get the money to the right people and aid groups, but our prick of a president should've hopped out of his cozy bed this morning and immediately offered up unconditional assistance to this country. But no. There's no financial reward for him and his scumbag cronies, so let's just shut everyone up by offering up a few bucks.

To anyone who reads this, the Burmese folks could really use your help. Since our shithead president is unwilling to lend a hand, maybe you can. I've been told that the following organizations are credible and will do everything imaginable to get the Burmese people the help they so desperately need:

Burmese American Democratic Alliance

Burmese American Women's Alliance

Foundation for the People of Burma

U.S. Campaign for Burma

It's Over Folks

It's time to annoint the nominee.

Newspapers On the Brink

Similar to the troubles facing the music industry (which I hear about daily), the newspaper industry seems to heading down the road. Out here in the Bay Area, we've all heard about the numerous rounds of layoffs at the San Jose Mercury News. A friend who is fortunately still employed by the Mercury has told me that it's now essentially a skeleton crew. Current employees are pulling longer hours and covering numerous duties, while either receiving the same or a decrease in pay.

I can understand that some papers will soon be no more, but I'm shocked to hear that even media powerhouses such as the New York Times could also find a similar fate. The Economist reports that The Times' ad revenues for March of 08 are down 12.5% from the same time last year. These are daunting numbers and will clearly bring on change, in some form or the other.

The continued consolidation of American media is a truly frightening reality in this country. As reputable outlets such as the Times continue to struggle, mindless networks such as FOX, MSNBC and CNN continue to thrive. In order to find genuine and in-depth reporting, the public now needs to spend time seeking out reputable sources online and on television. As we all know, only a small portion of the general public actually does so, leaving the majority of the country awash in corporate-slanted garbage.

The Gas Tax

If Obama and Clinton's positions on this ridiculous proposal doesn't reveal the true essence of these candidates, then nothing will. Along with her pal John McCain, Hillary Clinton has proposed a halt on the gas tax throughout the summer. On average, this will save motorists about $2 per fill-up. However, the flipside far outweighs the meager savings that folks will receive at the pump. First off, such a tax break will cost thousands of construction jobs. In addition, such a tax break will increase gas consumption and ultimately drive up the prices even further.

To the casual follower of politics, this policy initiative makes Clinton appear to be "for the common man", when ultimately she's doing exactly the opposite. Sound familiar? Yes, this is exactly how the Republicans have run their campaigns for the past two decades. The overall message is, "We're for you, the hard-working middle class", when behind all the advertising and photo-ops at rural gas stations, the folks on the receiving end of this pandering, are actually being screwed by such policies.

Barack Obama has stood firm, despite the snippets that make Hillary look oh so altruistic. Almost all pundits, economists and columnists agree that this is pandering at its worst.

One of the three candidates is taking the right position. No, it doesn't grab the sleek headlines, but in the end, it benefits the exact people that all three are speaking to. And this move is truly presidential.

Bruce Springsteen's Eulogy to Danny Federici


Let me start with the stories.
Back in the days of miracles, the frontier days when "Mad Dog" Lopez
and his temper struck fear into the band, small club owners, innocent
civilians and all women, children and small animals.
Back in the days when you could still sign your life away on the hood
of a parked car in New York City.
Back shortly after a young red-headed accordionist struck gold on the
Ted Mack Amateur Hour and he and his mama were sent to Switzerland to
show them how it's really done.
Back before beach bums were featured on the cover of Time magazine.
I'm talking about back when the E Street Band was a communist
organization! My pal, quiet, shy Dan Federici, was a one-man creator
of some of the hairiest circumstances of our 40 year career... And
that wasn't easy to do. He had "Mad Dog" Lopez to compete with....
Danny just outlasted him.
Maybe it was the "police riot" in Middletown, New Jersey. A show we
were doing to raise bail money for "Mad Log" Lopez who was in jail in
Richmond, Virginia, for having an altercation with police officers who
we'd aggravated by playing too long. Danny allegedly knocked over our
huge Marshall stacks on some of Middletown's finest who had rushed the
stage because we broke the law by...playing too long.
As I stood there watching, several police oficers crawled out from
underneath the speaker cabinets and rushed away to seek medical
attention. Another nice young officer stood in front of me onstage
waving his nightstick, poking and calling me nasty names. I looked
over to see Danny with a beefy police officer pulling on one arm while
Flo Federici, his first wife, pulled on the other, assisting her man
in resisting arrest.
A kid leapt from the audience onto the stage, momentarily distracting
the beefy officer with the insults of the day. Forever thereafter,
"Phantom" Dan Federici slipped into the crowd and disappeared.
A warrant out for his arrest and one month on the lam later, he still
hadn't been brought to justice. We hid him in various places but now
we had a problem. We had a show coming at Monmouth College. We needed
the money and we had to do the gig. We tried a replacement but it
didn't work out. So Danny, to all of our admiration, stepped up and
said he'd risk his freedom, take the chance and play.
Show night. 2,000 screaming fans in the Monmouth College gym. We had
it worked out so Danny would not appear onstage until the moment we
started playing. We figured the police who were there to arrest him
wouldn't do so onstage during the show and risk starting another riot.
Let me set the scene for you. Danny is hiding, hunkered down in the
backseat of a car in the parking lot. At five minutes to eight, our
scheduled start time, I go out to whisk him in. I tap on the window.
"Danny, come on, it's time."
I hear back, "I'm not going."
Me: "What do you mean you're not going?"
Danny: "The cops are on the roof of the gym. I've seen them and
they're going to nail me the minute I step out of this car."
As I open the door, I realize that Danny has been smoking a little
something and had grown rather paranoid. I said, "Dan, there are no
cops on the roof."
He says, "Yes, I saw them, I tell you. I'm not coming in."
So I used a procedure I'd call on often over the next forty years in
dealing with my old pal's concerns. I threatened him...and cajoled.
Finally, out he came. Across the parking lot and into the gym we swept
for a rapturous concert during which we laughted like thieves at our
excellent dodge of the local cops.
At the end of the evening, during the last song, I pulled the entire
crowd up onto the stage and Danny slipped into the audience and out
the front door. Once again, "Phantom" Dan had made his exit. (I still
get the occasional card from the old Chief of Police of Middletown
wishing us well. Our histories are forever intertwined.) And that, my
friends, was only the beginning.
There was the time Danny quit the band during a rough period at Max's
Kansas City, explaining to me that he was leaving to fix televisions.
I asked him to think about that and come back later.
Or Danny, in the band rental car, bouncing off several parked cars
after a night of entertainment, smashing out the windshield with his
head but saved from severe injury by the huge hard cowboy hat he
bought in Texas on our last Western swing.
Or Danny, leaving a large marijuana plant on the front seat of his car
in a tow away zone. The car was promptly towed. He said, "Bruce, I'm
going to go down and report that it was stolen." I said, "I'm not sure
that's a good idea."
Down he went and straight into the slammer without passing go.
Or Danny, the only member of the E Street Band to be physically thrown
out of the Stone Pony. Considering all the money we made them, that
wasn't easy to do.
Or Danny receiving and surviving a "cautionary assault" from an
enraged but restrained "Big Man" Clarence Clemons while they were
living together and Danny finally drove the "Big Man" over the big
Or Danny assisting me in removing my foot from his stereo speaker
after being the only band member ever to drive me into a violent rage.
And through it all, Danny played his beautiful, soulful B3 organ for
me and our love grew. And continued to grow. Life is funny like that.
He was my homeboy, and great, and for that you make considerations...
And he was much more tolerant of my failures than I was of his.
When Danny wasn't causing chaos, he was a sweet, talented, unassuming,
unpretentious good-hearted guy who simply had an unchecked ability to
make good fortune and things in general go fabulously wrong.
But beyond all of that, he also had a mountain of the right stuff. He
had the heart and soul of an engineer. He learned to fly. He was
always up on the latest technology and would explain it to you
patiently and in enormous detail. He was always "souping" something
up, his car, his stereo, his B3. When Patti joined the band, he was
the most welcoming, thoughtful, kindest friend to the first woman
entering our "boys club."
He loved his kids, always bragging about Jason, Harley, and Madison,
and he loved his wife Maya for the new things she brought into his
And then there was his artistry. He was the most intuitive player I've
ever seen. His style was slippery and fluid, drawn to the spaces the
other musicians in the E Street Band left. He wasn't an assertive
player, he was a complementary player. A true accompanist. He
naturally supplied the glue that bound the band's sound together. In
doing so, he created for himself a very specific style. When you hear
Dan Federici, you don't hear a blanket of sound, you hear a riff,
packed with energy, flying above everything else for a few moments and
then gone back in the track. "Phantom" Dan Federici. Now you hear him,
now you don't.
Offstage, Danny couldn't recite a lyric or a chord progression for one
of my songs. Onstage, his ears opened up. He listened, he felt, he
played, finding the perfect hole and placement for a chord or a flurry
of notes. This style created a tremendous feeling of spontaneity in
our ensemble playing.
In the studio, if I wanted to loosen up the track we were recording,
I'd put Danny on it and not tell him what to play. I'd just set him
loose. He brought with him the sound of the carnival, the amusements,
the boardwalk, the beach, the geography of our youth and the heart and
soul of the birthplace of the E Street Band.
Then we grew up. Very slowly. We stood together through a lot of
trials and tribulations. Danny's response to a mistake onstage, hard
times, catastrophic events was usually a shrug and a smile. Sort of an
"I am but one man in a raging sea, but I'm still afloat. And we're all
still here."
I watched Danny fight and conquer some tough addictions. I watched him
struggle to put his life together and in the last decade when the band
reunited, thrive on sitting in his seat behind that big B3, filled
with life and, yes, a new maturity, passion for his job, his family
and his home in the brother and sisterhood of our band.
Finally, I watched him fight his cancer without complaint and with
great courage and spirit. When I asked him how things looked, he just
said, "what are you going to do? I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Danny, the sunny side up fatalist. He never gave up right to the end.
A few weeks back we ended up onstage in Indianapolis for what would be
the last time. Before we went on I asked him what he wanted to play
and he said, "Sandy." He wanted to strap on the accordion and revisit
the boardwalk of our youth during the summer nights when we'd walk
along the boards with all the time in the world.
So what if we just smashed into three parked cars, it's a beautiful
night! So what if we're on the lam from the entire Middletown police
department, let's go take a swim! He wanted to play once more the song
that is of course about the end of something wonderful and the
beginning of something unknown and new.
Let's go back to the days of miracles. Pete Townshend said, "a rock
and roll band is a crazy thing. You meet some people when you're a kid
and unlike any other occupation in the whole world, you're stuck with
them your whole life no matter who they are or what crazy things they
If we didn't play together, the E Street Band at this point would
probably not know one another. We wouldn't be in this room together.
But we do... We do play together. And every night at 8 p.m., we walk
out on stage together and that, my friends, is a place where miracles
occur...old and new miracles. And those you are with, in the presence
of miracles, you never forget. Life does not separate you. Death does
not separate you. Those you are with who create miracles for you, like
Danny did for me every night, you are honored to be amongst.
Of course we all grow up and we know "it's only rock and roll"...but
it's not. After a lifetime of watching a man perform his miracle for
you, night after night, it feels an awful lot like love.
So today, making another one of his mysterious exits, we say farewell
to Danny, "Phantom" Dan, Federici. Father, husband, my brother, my
friend, my mystery, my thorn, my rose, my keyboard player, my miracle
man and lifelong member in good standing of the house rockin', pants
droppin', earth shockin', hard rockin', booty shakin', love makin',
heart breakin', soul cryin'... and, yes, death defyin' legendary E
Street Band.

Today's Ridiculous Hipster

The rotund lead singer of the atrocious band Les Savvy Some Shit