Here we are at the end of another year, finishing off our first issue of 2013 and looking forward to the Christmas break, which starts for us on Friday. We’re off then until January 2, when we will no doubt return refreshed to face the New Year. This is therefore the last newsletter for a couple of weeks, so I’ll take the opportunity now to thank you for all your support and enthusiasm over the last 12 months, which has been much appreciated by everyone at Uncut. We hope all our readers enjoy their own Christmas holidays and wish you all the best for the coming year.
I also rather hope you are a bit further advanced with your Christmas shopping than me. I’m afraid as far as I’m concerned it’s going to be the usual last minute rush, a frantic couple of days of panic-buying, which will probably leave me so stressed I’ll spend the rest of the holiday in a white-lipped stupor, wishing as ever that I’d been a bit more organised and planned things better.
If by any chance you are looking for a couple of last-minute gifts, you might want to check out a couple of new books that have recently come my way. Peter Ames Carlin’s Bruce, an impressive biography of Bruce Springsteen and the first in 25 years written with Springsteen’s cooperation. According to Carlin, he was already at work on his book when Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, called him, asked how things were going and offering any assistance Carlin might need.
Springsteen then made himself available for interview, talked freely about just about everything, told Carlin he was free to write whatever he liked and made sure he had access to anyone he wanted to speak to from the E Street Band or his past, including his family, former band members and various old girlfriends, who weren’t always flattering about the Bruce they had known, to the extent they all knew they would never be as important to him as his music.
It’s not clear why Springsteen afforded Carlin such hospitality, when two other recent biographies– Marc Dolan’s Bruce Springsteen And The Promise Of Rock’N’Roll and Clinton Heylin’s E Street Shuffle: The Glory days Of Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band – had to be written from, as it were, a distance, with no direct input at all from Springsteen. Carlin has made the most of his opportunity. Even at its most gushing, the book is a recommended read.
Talking of Bruce, by the way, did you see his turn with the Stones at their show last Saturday at the Prudential Centre in New Jersey, when he joined them for a rowdy version of “Tumbling Dice”? When Springsteen was making his name many years ago on the Jersey Shore scene, he may dreamed of one day sharing a stage with his musical heroes, among them, you’d have to presume, the Stones. And here he finally was, looking thrilled to the point of combustion. He looked like he couldn’t quite believe where he was and who he was playing with, but utterly thrilled to be there, as if all his dreams had come true at once, beaming like someone who’s just been given the keys to the kingdom. If his smile had got any bigger, it would have needed its own road crew.
Also recommended is Stone Free, the third volume of Andrew Loog Oldham’s on-going memoirs, which is packed with amazing anecdotes and also a brilliant and illuminating meditation on the music business, especially as it took shape in the 60s that were Oldham’s heyday, and its legendary hustlers – including Allen Klein, Phil Spector, Albert Grossman, Don Arden and Malcolm McLaren. There’s also an astonishing chapter on a character, less well-known, named Adrian Miller, manager of a band called The Babys. On the strength of the only four good songs they ever wrote, they started a frenzied bidding war from labels who in several instances had never even heard the band play but felt compelled nevertheless to offer them millions.
And of course there’s a final Christmas present option that you might want to think about, which is a subscription to Uncut. You can find full details of our current subscription offer on www.uncut.co.uk.
Meanwhile, have a great holiday and see you on the other side.
Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards pic: Kevin Mazur/WireImage