by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

Concert Preview: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
Buffalo, NY- HSBC Arena

     SHINE SILENTLY…..In 1978 guitar sage NILS LOFGREN released his first Double Live LP titledNight After Night”; 6 years later he would bring his six-string magic night after night to the stage with BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN on the “Born to Run” tour as part of the “heart stopping, pants dropping, house rocking, earth shaking, booty quaking, love making LegendaryE –STREET- Band.

      Although the BOSS may scribe the legendary lyrics, it’s the E STREET Band that is the driving force transcending those songs to scripture with epic brilliance during their celebrated 3 plus hour marathon concerts.  

     While NILS LOFGREN has been a significant cog in the tightly knit E STREET Band since 1984, those contributions barely scratch the surface of his illustrious career.

    He began with another band of legendary lore at the age of eighteen; playing guitar & piano on the NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE renowned record “After the Gold Rush”.

      LOFGREN is known by his peers as a consummate professional who is constantly working on his craft with over forty solo releases to his credit.  Whether in the studio or on the road LOFGREN is the go to sessions sideman to Rock’s elite; his lofty resume reads like a lexicon from the Rock ‘n” Roll Hall of Fame including collaborating credits with artists like ROD STEWART, BOB SEGER, RINGO STARR, STEPHEN STILLS, GRAHAM NASH, DAVID CROSBY, LOU GRAMM, WILLIE NELSON, CARL PERKINS & JERRY LEE LEWIS.          

     On Sunday Night the BOSS & his E STREET Band will roll into Buffalo for the last gig of the monumental “Working On a Dream” tour.    They will close it out the tour where it all began by performing songs from their first record Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” in its entirety for the first time in the bands history. 

     The Rock Rapport had the great fortune to catch up with NILS LOFGREN during the final week of the tour.


Ross CAT- Good Morning NILS I consider this my “Lucky Day” to be able to speak with you; Buffalo is extremely excited about hosting the final show of this amazing tour.

NILS LOFGREN-The band is really excited too, we’re in the best shape of our musical lives.

     While we’re all a little homesick its bittersweet to see a great band like this have to stop workin’ it for the time being.

Ross CAT- To make this evening even more memorable Buffalo will get to help STEVEN VAN ZANDT celebrate his birthday.

NILS LOFGREN-Yeah it’s actually on the day of the show, I’m certain we’ll have something planned to embarrass him properly.

Ross CAT- Talk about the rare six-string synergy you share with the BOSS & LITTLE STEVEN both on stage & in the studio.

NILS LOFGREN-It was great finally in 1999 to get STEVEN back in the fold, not only for his musicianship but the personality he adds to the band.

     Most of all for me its STEVEN’S voice; he and BRUCE have this Rough Rock duet thing going on that is only matched by MICK & KEITH, having that sound & camaraderie back on E STREET is great.

     BRUCE & STEVE played together on all the early records writing all the parts with STEVE producing a lot of them, whatever guitars they have in a song I just pick up on the next idea.

     It’s a very organic process, if they have parts of a song covered I’ll pick up the acoustic guitar, or if STEVEN is focused on singing an intense duet I’ll cover the line & vice versa.

     We all work well with others in a Rock Band setting, it’s been especially great having STEVE back in the studio on the last few records.  Working again together in New Jersey & Atlanta recording “The Rising”, “Magic” and of course “Working on a Dream”, it’s like a big high school reunion.

Ross CAT- To say the band is in the best shape of its career on every level would be an understatement.

     The relevance of the 3 aforementioned albums is exceptional; is it the constant influx of new material that keeps the band driven to perform at such a high level at this stage of your career?

NILS LOFGREN-We’re just so grateful and impressed that BRUCE continues to challenge himself as a writer finding new heights to take his music & this band. 

     As a group we all benefit from his expertise as a songwriter; in particular on stage there’s nothing that we can’t do or follow if he’s ready to sing it and lead us.

      It’s been really fun to work on all these new songs we’ve never played together as well as the covers we’ve been doing on this tour. 

     It’s funny we’ll realize half way through a song that we forgot to figure out the bridge of a song & BRUCE will just shout out instructions on the cuff; whatever it takes to get through it we keep our focus on the soulfulness of the piece and it always seems to work even with the ragged edges.

Ross CAT- There has been so many historical moments during the “Working On a Dream” tour beginning with the phenomenal Super Bowl performance, tell us about that amazing evening?

NILS LOFGREN-I guess BRUCE had been declining on the Halftime show since the “Born to Run” album. 

     It was a special week for all of us I had my wife AMY with me so it was great to be able to share the festivities with our families. 

     I had also recorded the original Rock Music for the ALL-MADDEN teams CD called “Tough Stuff” Best of the All-Madden Team”.  JOHN was kind enough to lend some of his football expressions inside the music, football fans can check that out @

     Of course for BRUCE & the E STREET BAND the twelve minute performance was a remarkable experience to participate in and culminated an extraordinary week for the band & our families.

Ross CAT- Another of the many highlights of the tour was the 5 sold out shows that bid farewell to Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, a place not to far from the corner of 10th Avenue & E Street in nearby Delmar, New Jersey were it all began for The BOSS & the E STREET BAND.

     Are there plans to release any of these amazing shows on DVD to share with the fans that didn’t have the opportunity to attend those unforgettable performances?

NILS LOFGREN-There always filming and taping our shows there might have been some extra cameras at those particular shows.

      At least from my perspective, I don’t want to speak for BRUCE, there’s never a commitment to release anything; the rule of thumb has been to record it, look at if off the road at a calmer moment and then decide if it has a use to be shared at a later date.

     It’s never something that’s planned before we take the stage, as of right now there are no plans to release anything; that being said there are a number of great moments from this tour that have been recorded, I guess we’ll see what happens with that when the dust settles.

Ross CAT- I’m sure the LOFGREN clan including your dog “Outlaw Pete is thrilled about the Yankees winning the World Series

     Some might even say your song “Yankee Stadium” may have been a good luck charm as you helped say goodbye to the house that Ruth built.

NILS LOFGREN-Yeah we actually got to the first playoff game in the first round, it was great to see them go all the way.

     There’s a great Steakhouse inside Yankee Stadium, their using the song on their website and where kind enough to make a donation to the food bank charity my wife AMY works with. 

     The song was actually her idea, going back to the fond memories of growing up in West Orange and going to the games taking in the unique aura that is Yankee Stadium. 

     I wrote the song through her eyes, she helped write the lyrics “Everyone is Beautiful in Yankee Stadium” & we came up with a roaring three minute Rocker that is available as a free download at

Ross CAT-Lets talk about your remarkable career and where it all began.  In 2008 you paid homage to the music of NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE with the critically acclaimed disc titled “Loner”; tell us what making that record meant to you.

NILS LOFGREN- I was fortunate enough to be able to work with NEIL on the “After the Gold Rush” album when I was only 18 years old. 

     Subsequently I also worked on the “Tonight’s the Night” & “Trans” albums and tours along with the MTV “Unplugged” performance in the 90’s. 

     I Love the guy we’ve had a lot of great adventures together; to make a long story short I sang his songs live at home with a guitar & piano, no production, no overdubbing basically just a performance piece.  When I finished I was so pleased with the raw emotion of the songs I decided to share it with our fans.

  Ross CAT-Being a multifaceted musician what’s your go to instrument when writing, the guitar or piano?

NILS LOGREN-I write primarily from the guitar, although a few songs from my solo record Sacred Weapon” were written from an old beat up  piano that belonged to my father-in-law most notably “Frankie Hang On

     Traditionally I have guitars set up in different rooms around the house; I’ll just pick one up and start messing around. 

     Also, Thanks to BRUCE and being the swing man in the band I’m playing some Steel Pedal and Bottleneck; the first song I ever wrote on the Bottleneck Dobro was a duet with WILLIE NELSON called “In Your Hands” another track from the “Sacred Weapon” record.

    That song was a Christmas gift for my wife AMY; not to mention being one of the highlights of my career getting the chance to collaborate with WILLIE.

Ross CAT- Not only have you shared your unique musical talents through the amazing body of work in your storied career; you also offer lessons at your website, surprisingly the lessons are more then affordable tell us about that innovative concept?

NILS LOFGREN-Before getting started I checked with the local teachers and they were charging $50-$60 bucks an hour so I decided that $20.00 a lesson would be a really good deal.

    The Beginners school starts you off at zero there is free information about getting yourself a guitar & tuning things like that. 

    The Beginners lessons are for the people that for the last forty-one years have come up to me and said I really want to play guitar but I have no talent or rhythm.  What I try to tell people just learning that it’s not a race, you don’t need talent or rhythm to enjoy the gift of music you just need a love of music. 

      More then anything playing takes more effort then talent it’s gymnastic for the hands. I’m trying to take the fear & frustration out of playing because it can turn people off pretty quickly. 

     You may practice for months before you can play anything but that’s the deal, JIMI HENDRIX had to do it, I still do it there is just no shortcuts.

      We just posted the “Because the Night” solo if any Intermediate players want to learn that you can go from there with those particular licks.

Ross CAT-As the “Working On a Dream” tour comes to a close what’s in store for you on the solo front in 2010?

NILS LOFGREN-I always have ideas flowing; but out of respect to myself as an instrumentalist & singer and to BRUCE as a bandleader & songwriter I just completely immerse myself in the E STREET BAND and his body work, which I’m thrilled & inspired to do. 

     I will go back and start writing for another solo record but there’s never a timetable; I would certainly enjoy getting out sometime next year and play some solo shows with my band.

Ross CAT- Lastly NILS my readers would lynch me if I didn’t inquire as to the future of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & the E STREET Band.

     The BOSS has mentioned during numerous interviews that he feels that this band is at the top of their game and he loves his job, where does the band go from here after a well deserved holiday break?

NILS LOFGREN-Well Yeah as a fan we all hope that this continues on;  obviously we’re all aware that were kind of a special Band with him out front and were all very proud of that.   

     Just like at the end of every tour we’re all so fried so there are really no plans at this point. 

      The way I approach it is to get home to the family take care of yourself & your craft.  Hopefully down the road God willing there’ll be another chapter, but that’s something none of us can really know at this point, including BRUCE.

    Meanwhile I’ll just keep on moving forward musically, if the BOSS calls as always I’ll be ready.

     The Rock Rapport would like to thank NILS LOFGREN for pulling off E STREET for a few minutes to speak with us.

     Check out NILS LOFGREN @, also at

     We would also like to Thank Jeff Albright of Rock Star PR for hooking us up once again.

*********************PEACE & Harmonies*******************

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