It's been two whole years since the last issue of Backstreets came out. I was wondering during that time if my subscribing to four issues per year had been a waste. #88 finally arrived in the mail few weeks ago. And kudos to Chris and gang for doing an amazing job once again. The 07-09 tour reports were kept to a minimum thankfully (everything can be found on the website). It's good to know now they're gonna make the magazine complement the website, in that contents on the print are exclusive only and can't be found anywhere else. Makes more sense.
The main focus here is of course, Danny Federici. The editors managed to get hold and interview most of the members of The E Street Band and also close friends (minus Bruce and Steve). They opened up about their personal and musical relationships with Danny. Readers got a more detailed glimpse into his wonderful life and also a closer look into the very early history of the E Street Band. There was so much stuff I didn't know about the man until I read the interviews and eulogies. Like for example, he actually jammed with Jimi Hendrix with his first band onstage! And let's not forget the many times he would play pranks and piss off his band mates!
I liked how people like Roy, Nils, Garry and Max emphasized on his outstanding musical ability. After all, he was perhaps the most intuitive and natural musician on E Street. It amazes me how Danny was not able to read notes and chord progressions, but he just knew EXACTLY what to play during the song. His Hammond organ defined the E Street sound. It's a funny thing; during my first few years of listening to Bruce's records, I didn't really notice the organ sound as much as the piano. But now I know -- take away the organ (or sometimes accordion) and you realize how 'empty' the songs would sound (just listen to Backstreets, in which the band opened with in Tampa after his death). I guess that's the way Danny was. His organ playing had a way of slipping in and out of your ears. It's like something magical happening, on a subconscious level. And for that, he can never be replaced. Danny's passing marked the end of an era for the E Street Band.
This can't be said enough, but Charles Giordano did a fantastic job of filling in during the past two years on tour. He was amazing on the Seeger Sessions tour, and he was amazing ever since. For that, I'm looking forward to what he brings to the table for Bruce's future records.
Donate to the Danny Fund.