Sorta my first book review. I received Clarence Clemon's new book right in time for X'mas last year. This is a signed copy, which I ordered through Backstreets. C could only finish signing all the copies after the tour was over, so I had to wait especially long to get mine. Well, it was worth the wait. I could've easily ordered the one without the autograph, but c'mon.....it's the fucking Big Man we're talking about here!!!
Not gonna go into much detail bout the book's contents. But it's worth noting that this isn't like your usual musician's autobiography. The story isn't told in a chronological order. The short chapters makes it very readable. He's a great writer, very funny too. He's brutally honest and direct and doesn't shy away. The more I read, the more I wanna be his friend. Then, there are those 'bullshit' stories highlighted by the gray pages of the book; stories and legends that may or may not have been true, according to C. This stuff makes the book special.
My favorite parts are when C talks about the band, especially those funny crazy-ass stories about Danny. Damn, I still miss him. And of course, Bruce, whom C has a really great admiration and respect for. We all know their partnership is what makes the E Street Band legendary, but to see actually read what C (and his co-author, Don Reo) has written about is just pure fucking poetry. I'm sure there are countless great stories on E Street and I wish he written more. This is mainly a book for the fans.
Then, there are also those parts where C talks about his never-ending physical struggle with his body. It's heartbreaking to read about the immense pain that he had to go through during the later part of his life; all those heart surgeries and knee and hip replacements and back pains and shit. But he has never missed a show in his life. He has never once let his family and friends down. He has never once let us down. He's still alive and kicking. I strongly believe if Bruce were to ask C if he were able to continue recording music with the E Street Band, C would say 'yes' without hesitation.
The story ends with the Superbowl Halftime show in 2009. Who would've known that just weeks prior to their performance, C was still in pain and doubtful if he could play? I was surprised. But I clearly remember those legendary 12mins unfold before my eyes. To paraphrase, Bruce said it was like seeing a heavily condensed 3 hour concert with the E Street Band. He was right. My favorite image is right at the start of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, right when Max comes in. Clarence and Bruce standing with their backs against each other, silhouetting off the white backdrop. Scooter and the Big Man. Then, when Roy plays the first notes, Bruce turns around and pats C on the shoulder, before tossing up his guitar. Those first few seconds there basically sum up what the E Street Band has been about for the past 35 years.