Hi Everyone - Couple of things...
On the Big Star front, if you haven't checked out the Kickstarter page for the Alex Chilton documentary in the works, you'll want to do so immediately. The director is posting some very cool footage and you'll have the opportunity to contribute to help bring this project to fruition. (Note: I've donated my interview tapes for my book to be used however possible.)
On the Springsteen front, the 33 1/3 B-Sides anthology is slated to be published early in September. One interesting twist for this book is that readers will be able to vote for the chapter that they would most like to see become a full-blown 33 1/3 book and the winner will be offered a contract. One of the parameters for B-Sides is that we were held to a strictly-enforced word count (2500). My first draft was nearly triple that in length – and I was trying to be concise! But writing about an essential chapter in the development of a major artist raised that to date has gone undocumented raised all sorts of questions / observations about how much the music business has changed since the early 1970s. Suffice it to say, if a young performer of Springsteen's level of skill and talent came along today, he or she wouldn't have to scuffle for years to get noticed. It was indeed a weird feeling to walk out of a Springsteen concert feeling like you'd just seen one of the greatest performers on the planet and realize that beyond a small (but quickly growing by word-of-mouth) group of fans, no one had even heard of him.
Once the book is published I'll expand on some of my observations but here's a small one. When you go to concerts today, it's the norm to see racks of guitars in the wings – almost like a mini-Guitar Center. Some guitarists swap out guitars almost every song. Even up-and-comer bands usually have back-up guitars for the back-up guitars. But when Bruce toured in late 1974, he travelled with one guitar. That's it. When he broke a string, he replaced it on stage while Clarence sang a song (Gimme That Wine in the case of Geneva). But those were the days when even the biggest bands in the world (The Who, Led Zeppelin etc.) used minimalist stage set-ups. Amps and drums on the stage floor (LZ might have added a riser later on I thing). Some monitors. Simple lighting (certainly by today's standards). Minimal, if any tricks like pyro. It all came down to what was coming out of the speakers. You sank or swam with the music and if you were drowning, there was no second stage you could magically fly via a harness / rigging to escape to / distract the audience. As much as I don't really connect to Ed Shearan's music (and at my age I imagine I'm not really his target audience), I'm a bit fascinated by the fact that a guy with just an acoustic guitar and a few foot pedals can perform to 80,00 people.