Celebrate A Special Bruce Springsteen Anniversary At Monmouth University In October
Bob Santelli is the Executive Director of the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, located on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch.
On Saturday, October 28, 2023 they will commemorate the release of Springsteen’s landmark second album a half century ago. Named The 50th Anniversary: The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, this will be a day-long event that will include panel discussions, interviews, musical performances of the songs on the album performed by area musicians, and more.
Expected to be among the guests participating in the symposium will be original E Street Band members, music industry legends, and special guests.
Bob and Jim Monaghan are long-time friends who caught up with each other this morning on “All Mixed Up.”
AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE INTERVIEW
JIM MONAGHAN – You’ve got something coming up in a few weeks. The symposium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. Tell our audience about that.
BOB SANTELLI – Well, the Springsteen archives, we’re in the 50th anniversary business because earlier this year…we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Bruce’s Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey. We had 700 people show up for that Greetings symposium. And it went so well, we look very much forward to doing Wild, Innocent E Street Shuffle. And it takes place on October 28th at Monmouth University, which is where the Bruce Springsteen Archives is located.
JM – You were an early fan of Bruce Springsteen’s. What was it, Bob, that captivated you the most about him?
BS – I remember going to a coffee house in Redbank and I thought I knew a whole lot about music because I was able to go over the Village at the time and I was pretty hip with the music I was listening to. I didn’t think anybody down the shore listened to Tim Buckley. And I walk into this coffee house. I just joined a band down the shore as a guitar player, musician, and lo and behold, there’s this guy with long hair playing Tim Buckley. I couldn’t believe it. And it was Bruce. I’d seen Steel Mill, the Bruce Springsteen Band. I’ve seen virtually all of his major bands. And right from the very beginning, you didn’t have to be a genius to know he had the “it” factor. And boy, could he play, sing and write. And if anyone was ever going to make it from Jersey, from a rock and roll standpoint, it was going to be Bruce.
JM – One of the things that’s come out in this tour that he’s been on, is the finality of things. And he talks a lot about George Theiss and a lot of Letter to You – that album seemed like a goodbye in many sense. Not to his audience, but to different phases of his life, different people in his life. And Bob, I went back to a lot of his earlier songs, and I couldn’t get over the number of songs that talked about getting older. Songs that he was writing in his mid-twenties. What kid at 24 talks about getting older?
BS – Yeah. At 24, you think you live forever, right? I think that comes probably from a working class background when, you know, things are finite. It’s not just peaches and cream. You got to earn what you get. And I think in particular with George Theiss, George was a good friend of mine, and we were very lucky at the Springsteen Archives to do a significant oral history with George just a few months before he passed. And, when Bruce thinks about finality, you have to consider, as he says, his first band, he’s the only survivor. His second band, Earth and Child, his second and third bands, only survivor. So it’s not just the Castiles with George. It’s the first three bands. Thank kind of makes you think twice when you look in the mirror, I think you’re very blessed. You feel that you’re alive and well and that you are the last man standing. I think Bruce has a responsibility I think he believes this as well, to carry on the tradition that some of the players that he basically broke in with.
JM – The symposium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle coming to Monmouth University on October 28th. There’s some other things you kind of alluded to this a few minutes ago. What can you tell us?
BS – Yeah, we’re going to be doing a number of programs both in New Jersey and beyond, actually, that broad now palette, meaning there’ll be some things, certainly on Bruce, but more things on American music. We did a few things this year on the 50th anniversary of hip hop. I can tell you that next year, as you know, is the 60th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America. We’re going to be doing something with the Beatles. It’s also the year of the British Invasion, right? We’re going to be doing something on the British Invasion. So my hope is that I do two essential things with these programs. Number one is reconnect with fans and give them new context, new energy, new reasons to think about what had happened in the past or go back to the records that they once loved with a renewed sense of interest. And number two, equally important, maybe even a little bit more. I’m on a college campus, and there’s a mission that I adhere myself to, to make sure that younger kids today, kids whose parents, even grandparents, turned them on to the Beatles or to Bruce, that they get the information they need to appreciate. They don’t have to become fans. I’m not forcing that by any means. But they appreciate this great American music tradition that we have and understand Bruce’s role in it.
JM – Well, looking forward to what you do on 1964 because a lot of those three-minute records that he learned more from than sitting in a classroom were the records from the Beatles and that ’64 British Invasion.
Get more details on the Symposium on the Springsteen Archives website.