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  1. #1

    Default 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Tonight, I'm going to have my opportunity to pay tribute to the Big Man!

    There's a group here in Chicago called Tributosaurus (www.tributosaurus.com) that plays the first Wednesday of each month (7pm and 10pm) at Martyrs, a club on the north side. Each month they become a different legendary band. This month they're doing Bruce Springsteen, and they tapped me for the tenor sax position. I've been doing my homework - transcribing the original Clarence solos, reading his book "Big Man", checking live performances on youtube, etc. It's been a great learning experience in playing with economy, emotion, and melodic content.

    Two days after Clarence died, I had a gig that was all 50's and 60's rock 'n' roll, and I got to channel a lot of Big Man for that. Tonight's gig will really give me a chance to properly pay homage to CC. We're doing an 18 song set for each show. The songs with sax/horns are:

    Blinded By The Light
    10th Avenue Freeze Out
    Thunder Road
    Ties That Bind
    New York City Serenade
    Born To Run
    The Fever
    Trapped
    Jungleland
    Rosalita

    Can't wait to hit the stage! What with 2 18-song sets, we'll ALMOST be playing as much as an E Street Band show, except with a break in the middle!

  2. #2
    TK Melody Endorser/
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    I absolutely envy you right now.

    I have extremely fond memories of a band I toured the Southwest with in the early eighties. We played at least two sometimes three Boss tunes every set, and I still think about those CC solos I tried to play like him.

    Long live Big Man.

    B
    “We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
    ~Aristotle

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member nachoman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Quote Originally Posted by modman View Post
    I absolutely envy you right now.

    me too!
    Trevor James RAW Tenor, Theo Wanne Amma & Rico Plasticovers
    Bauhaus curved soprano, Theo Wanne Gaia & La Voz
    Charlie Blacklock Musical Saw

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member LateNiteSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    When I was the sax player in one of the Springsteen Trib. bands here in the USA I though "piece of cake." Well getting that stuff down to where it sounded totally convincing took some real hard work, I switched to a Ponzol M2+ 110, and that helped!

    I worked on getting the finest inflections, and honing in on the details, and in the process, I grew to really love the Big Man and Bruce. His cannon of pop tunes is towering achievement in American Music, the tunes are unique and are like so many brilliantly conceived gems with Bruce's personality in them.

    The first few shows I did were a bit nerve wracking because there were guys hanging out right at the side and front of the stage, just STARING at me, listening to everything I did and watching my every move like I was under a microscope. I got used to after a few weeks.

    After playing Jungleland to close the first set, I remember these guys came over to me and said it "pretty good, but you messed it up a bit." well that got me peeved, and then I realized that I was there to do a job. I was stepping into the Big Man's shoes, and while it was me playing, I really had to ACT, I had channel the Big Man, thats what the people wanted, and it became a real challenge that I embraced, and put my ego on the shelf, and did my job the very best I can. Good times.

    Try to not make this show a one shot deal, try to get the stuff down and maybe use that as another way to market yourself. Good luck!
    "We sax players need to stick together and save the world." Sonny Rollins, 1993 after a show.

  5. #5
    Just a guy who plays saxophone. swperry1's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    One of the most fun (and marketable) bands I ever played with was a Springsteen Tribute band...That was a great 7-8 months!

  6. #6
    TK Melody Endorser/
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Believe this or not I tried 2 years ago to start a Springsteen Tribute Band and people acted like they didn't know who he was. I question the sanity of most people. :0

    B
    “We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
    ~Aristotle

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    So, JB4Sax, did they throw gold coins your way ?

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  9. #9
    Forum Contributor 2008 Kermit's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mecca View Post
    If I had the time I'd love to put together a Big Man Tribute band, and do his stuff from the Red Bank Rockers, MSB etc... non Bruce Stuff.
    Seems you live in a place where the people would dig & appreciate that kind of thing!

  10. #10
    TK Melody Endorser/
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mecca View Post
    If I had the time I'd love to put together a Big Man Tribute band, and do his stuff from the Red Bank Rockers, MSB etc... non Bruce Stuff.
    Michael Stanley Band. Whatever happened to them? They were incredible.

    B
    “We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
    ~Aristotle

  11. #11
    Bill Mecca's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Quote Originally Posted by modman View Post
    Michael Stanley Band. Whatever happened to them? They were incredible.

    B
    I only ever had the one album (still do somewhere) the one C played on, several tunes, it was a killer album. I believe Michael Stanley has (or had) a Radio DJ gig. but yeah, what ever happened to them?

    ( I did find out recently that JT Bowen lives right near me and works at a church in my town.)

  12. #12

    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Quote Originally Posted by LateNiteSax View Post
    When I was the sax player in one of the Springsteen Trib. bands here in the USA I though "piece of cake." Well getting that stuff down to where it sounded totally convincing took some real hard work, I switched to a Ponzol M2+ 110, and that helped!

    I worked on getting the finest inflections, and honing in on the details, and in the process, I grew to really love the Big Man and Bruce. His cannon of pop tunes is towering achievement in American Music, the tunes are unique and are like so many brilliantly conceived gems with Bruce's personality in them.

    The first few shows I did were a bit nerve wracking because there were guys hanging out right at the side and front of the stage, just STARING at me, listening to everything I did and watching my every move like I was under a microscope. I got used to after a few weeks.

    After playing Jungleland to close the first set, I remember these guys came over to me and said it "pretty good, but you messed it up a bit." well that got me peeved, and then I realized that I was there to do a job. I was stepping into the Big Man's shoes, and while it was me playing, I really had to ACT, I had channel the Big Man, thats what the people wanted, and it became a real challenge that I embraced, and put my ego on the shelf, and did my job the very best I can. Good times.

    Try to not make this show a one shot deal, try to get the stuff down and maybe use that as another way to market yourself. Good luck!
    I had a very similar experience. I did a LOT of homework for this gig, and developed a greater appreciation for what CC did. Like I was saying to one of the band members, on this type of gig most of the fans can sing the sax solos, because they were pretty much obligatos after the initial recording. And even if you're the baddest MF on the planet when it comes to soloing, you've probably got a 10% or less chance of playing something that works better. So do you want to fall on your face 9 times out of 10, or really nail the original solo with conviction. And that was the trick - nailing it WITH CONVICTION and with total respect for what CC had done.

    FWIW, I used my Ackerman/Klum lost wax Crescent copy, which has a bit more projection than my usual Link STM. I've also been having a love affair with a King Super 20 since May, so it was "shades of the Born To Run album cover"

    Thanks for the good advice about using this as a marketing angle - I definitely have something to offer to anyone doing Springsteen tunes, so I'm going to get the word out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rackety Sax View Post
    So, JB4Sax, did they throw gold coins your way ?
    No gold coins thrown. But if the crowd had thrown coins with the velocity of their applause, the band have been in the emergency room!

    The bandleader did throw some "gelt" my way the next day, though.

  13. #13
    Distinguished SOTW Member LateNiteSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Is there a Springsteen trib band that works regularly around Chigago? If not, atleast not a good one, I would not hesitate to do so. Go for it. I guarantee there is a demand for it.
    "We sax players need to stick together and save the world." Sonny Rollins, 1993 after a show.

  14. #14

    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    FYI, Micheal Stanley still resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a long time DJ at a classic rock station here until he had a heart attack a few years ago. Since then he does occasional gigs in Cleveland with his band "Micheal Stanley and the Resonators".

  15. #15

    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    And now a report on the actual gig.

    The band was stoked - everyone had prepared their stuff and we were ready to deliver. This group strives for authenticity in the performance, but doesn't try to do a "look-alike" type of thing. At times, like during "Born To Run", we had 15 musicians on stage - 3 guitars, 2 keyboards, lead vocalist, bass (got himself a Danelectro, just like Tallent had), drums, 3 horns, and string quartet. No one was particularly dressed up except for me. I took a cue from the Big Man, and as part of my homage, dressed in a suit with black T-shirt.

    Per usual, the group included the 5 core members, all of whom are top pros in the area, along with other Chicago area BAMFs. So no worries about "cutting the parts" - just count it off, kick butt, and enjoy. Since the horns did not play on all tunes, we would leave the stage and come back as needed. This was not so easy, as both shows were sold out and folks were up against the stage. But the crowd was cool, making room for us to get to the green room, with many "high fives" along the way.

    From the first notes, the audience was singing along with everything, and I saw several folks singing along with (and sort of conducting) the sax solos, too. On "Born To Run", I played the CC solo (which I'd known since around 1978 or so) and folks crowded around my area of the stage, singing along with the whole thing. At the end, a roar went up, and it was as if we'd ALL played that solo together. "NYC Serenade" was really well recieved, as Bruce has rarely played it live - here again, people singing along (what is all this Fish Lady stuff?)

    But I wasn't ready for the reaction when we did "Jungleland" in the first show. I had the solo down (and my transcription on the stand in front of me), and I felt REALLY good about the performance. This time, EVERYONE had been singing along with the solo, and like LateNiteSax said, all eyes were on me (critical or not). The place just EXPLODED at the end of that solo! I guess most of the people there were missing the Big Man, and that solo particularly touched a lot of people through the years. The same thing happened at the second show!

    The Set List:

    Blinded By The Light
    10th Avenue Freeze-Out
    Thunder Road
    Ties That Bind
    NYC Serenade

    Growing Up
    Does This Bus Stop At 82nd St/Lost In The Flood
    My Hometown
    Candy's Room
    Born To Run
    Atlantic City
    I'm On Fire
    The Rising
    For You
    The Fever
    Trapped
    Jungleland
    Rosalita


    The band members themselves were on a high at the end of the night. The next day, there were several "Reply All" messages saying how much each of us had enjoyed the show. Most of the band still had Springsteen songs "playing in their heads" the next day.

    And the best part - an email went around Thursday that we booked the Springsteen show again for Friday, Sept. 2 at Fitzgeralds, a great club in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn! Especailly cool, as it is only 10 mins away from my house. AND, my freinds that could not make the shows last week get another chance.

  16. #16

    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohn1 View Post
    FYI, Micheal Stanley still resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a long time DJ at a classic rock station here until he had a heart attack a few years ago. Since then he does occasional gigs in Cleveland with his band "Micheal Stanley and the Resonators".
    With a name like that, they'd BETTER have a sax player!
    (...what kind of resonators? Metal, nylon, domed, Noyak?...)

  17. #17

    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JB4sax View Post
    With a name like that, they'd BETTER have a sax player!
    (...what kind of resonators? Metal, nylon, domed, Noyak?...)
    Biological resonators

  18. #18

    Default Re: 4 hours 'til BIG MAN time!!

    Well, we had a great gig Friday night. Someone posted a video of "Trapped" (I guess shot with a smart phone??) on YouTube. No rain that night, but temperatures in the 80's. Still, about 300 people came out and we all had a great time!



  19. #19

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