Bruce Springsteen Unveils New Exhibition Space for Archives in His Hometown, Freehold, N.J.

Bruce Springsteen Unveils New Exhibition Space for Archives in His Hometown, Freehold, N.J. – By Michele Amabile Angermiller, Jem Aswad / Variety


The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University has announced a new collaboration with the singer’s hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, to create an exhibition space in the city. The Boss attended the ceremony on Tuesday and gave a brief but moving speech.


“What can I say?” Springsteen said as he took the podium, pointing out a ring given to him by Tex Vinyard, who gave the then-young Freehold musician and his band, the Castiles, a place to rehearse in town.  Springsteen told the crowd that he wears the ring on “special occasions,” as it is the one thing, he has that connects him to the town.


“Everything I learned of deep importance, I learned in this town. You learn most of what makes you who you are by the time you are 12, maybe, maybe your teen years. I had all the usual joy and heartbreak of growing up in a small town like this, and of course the minute the opportunity arose — I got the hell out,” he laughed.


“I suppose the unusual thing is moving around the world as I did, I always came back. To this day, I spend quite a bit of money and time trying to figure out what I keep coming back for, and so far, there is no answer. I will let you know as things go on.”


The current Freehold Fire Department building located at 49 W. Main Street will be renovated to accommodate the new exhibition space. The Fire Department will be relocated as part of the Freehold Center Core Redevelopment Plan. Springsteen added that at first, he wasn’t sure about moving some of the archives at Monmouth University to Freehold as he didn’t want to “step on anybody’s toes.” But when he was told they wanted to do it in the firehouse on Main Street, he changed his mind.


“That’s the coolest building in town,” he laughed.  “I sat three blocks from here and came up with a few songs and things that I liked and the idea that 50 years later anybody was going to be interested in them at all, I mean what are the odds, folks? They are very small.”


“I come to town very, very often,” he concluded. “I’ll be sitting in Federicis, or I’ll just drive through on my own — I still do all the time. So, I’m watching you. It’s been wonderful having this town as the center of my art and my life. I look forward to doing that until they put me in a box.” Town historian Kevin Coyne spoke of the genesis of the museum, saying originally fans had wanted the town to build a statue of Springsteen in front of Borough Hall.


“The town, thankfully, resisted,” he said. “That’s not who we are, and that’s not who he is. The ties that bind Bruce and his hometown are deeper and more complex than an empty shrine like that could express.”


“Together, the Springsteen exhibition in Freehold and The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music on the campus of Monmouth University will ensure that the musical legacy of Springsteen and his important role in American music history remain in New Jersey for generations to come,” said Archives director Eileen Chapman.


The anticipated opening date is mid-2024. The exhibition will include artifacts, photographs, multi-media displays (voice, film, concert footage, interviews), and interactive displays. The Springsteen Freehold exhibition will be curated and programmed by The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, along with Freehold historian Kevin Coyne and other members of the Freehold community familiar with the Springsteen story.


The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University serves as the official archival repository for the singer’s written works, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts, while honoring and celebrating icons of American music like Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, and others.  The Archives comprise nearly 35,000 items from 47 countries, ranging from books and concert memorabilia to articles and promotional materials; viewings are by appointment only.


Freehold Mayor Kevin Kane said, “On behalf of the entire council, I can say we are so excited to see this collaboration with the Springsteen Archives move forward. This will be the centerpiece of our redevelopment project and will be a fabulous addition to historic downtown Freehold.”


Patrick Leahy, Monmouth University president and chairman of the Archives’ board of directors added, “The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music is pleased to welcome our new Freehold partners as we develop on the campus on Monmouth University one of the country’s premiere cultural and educational institutions dedicated to preserving the legacy of Bruce Springsteen and celebrating the long, rich story of American music.”


According to Chapman, “The Springsteen exhibition in Freehold will allow us to provide not only exciting exhibits that tell the story of Springsteen’s early years, but also dynamic educational and public programs with strong ties to the community and area schools. This exhibition will be an educational resource for teachers, with pre-tour activities for school groups.  In addition, visitors will come from all over the world to see the exhibit.”


The Clash: A selection of Mick Jones' favorite bands

The Clash: A selection of Mick Jones’ favorite bands

The Clash was “the only band that mattered”, or so they said. But everyone needs its influences, and The Clash was no exception. The Clash had very different tastes: Paul Simonon was a reggae guy, Joe Strummer had rockabilly leanings, and Topper Headon enjoyed jazz. Out of the four musicians, only guitarist Mick Jones seemed to enjoy pop music, which is fitting, considering some of the influences that made his list of formative voices.


Jones grew up listening to Mott the Hoople, a 1970s live favourite that inspired everyone from David Bowie to Noel Gallagher. Forming the backbone of rock, the band proved the imprints of punk, by melding Beatlesque melodies with harder-edged guitars. Jones loved their work, and they sunk into his music, particularly on the buoyant and bouncy ‘Stay Free’.


His influences seem to be predominantly British, but the American band that seems to have inspired Jones the most are The New York Dolls, and even advertised for “New York Dolls style” playing for his pre-Clash band London SS. They were essential to the sound of the group, largely because they were taut and thrilling in their resolve.


He later found another American outlet that captured his attention, leading Strummer to explain why Jones enjoyed them so much. “When we came to the US, Mick stumbled upon a music shop in Brooklyn that carried the music of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, the Sugar Hill Gang… these groups were radically changing music and they changed everything for us”.

Detailing his formative years, Jones once said: “But even before The Dolls, I used to follow bands around. I followed Mott the Hoople up and down the country. I’d go to Liverpool or Newcastle or somewhere…sleep on the Town Hall steps, and bunk the fares on the trains, hide in the toilet when the ticket inspector came around. I’d jump off just before the train got to the station and climb over the fence. It was great times, and I always knew I wanted to be in a band and play guitar. That was it for me”.


Jones also grew up listening to what he penciled as ‘The Big Five’: The Beatles, The Kinks, Small Faces, The Who and The Rolling Stones. These were the bands that formed the lexicon of 1960s British rock, making it easier for the bands in the following decade to carry the narrative further.


“The Big Five groups over here — the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks, the Who and the Small Faces,” Jones recalled. “I was lucky enough to grow up at the time when they were doing their most fantastic music”. He was philosophical in his evaluation of their craft, feeling that they inspired him at a time when he was doing interesting stuff with his music.


Mott the Hoople helped to bridge the two generations, as they had a singer (Ian Hunter) who was contemporary to The Beatles but had a sound that was deeply reminiscent of the punk movement, invoking many of the flavorings that aided the rock stars on their journey into personal discovery. Jones was also greatly taken with The Faces, which was fitting because he “used to stand outside like urchins”, waiting for the band to come out.


Out of ‘The Big Five’, The Who seemed to be the most obvious parallel to The Clash, and Jones got to know guitarist Pete Townshend on a personal level. “I remember once, I was talking to Pete Townshend,” Jones recalled. “I said I know what ‘Quadrophenia’ means now, because if you look in one direction, you’re ignoring 50,000 people! He just looked at me like I was mad”.


In many ways, The Clash was the quintessential band, precisely their influences were American and British, which likely explains why they enjoyed greater success in the United States to The Jam. They didn’t sound so quintessentially English that they couldn’t translate overseas, yet they weren’t so American that they alienated certain quarters of their home fan base.


It was all about truth and roots for the band, but they couldn’t have done it without the conviction they had in their work, or in the way their influences captured The Clash at their most experimental. What’s obvious from the influences is that Jones wasn’t interested in bands that repeated the same rhythms over and over again, feeling that his influences had to be expressive if they were going to leave an imprint. And like an urchin waiting for The Faces or Mott the Hoople, neither Jones nor The Clash ever lost that initial curiosity of desire to search for new avenues.


Mick Jones’ favorite bands:

The Beatles

The Rolling Stones

The Who

Small Faces

The Kinks

Mott the Hoople

The Faces

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

The New York Dolls

The Sugar Gang


Credits: Eoghan Lyng –

Red Hot Chili Peppers: 10 things they told us about their unexpected reunion.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: 10 things they told us about their unexpected reunion

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are the cover stars of the new issue of Classic Rock – here are 10 things they told us during our in-depth interview. The Red Hot Chili Peppers release their brand new album Unlimited Love on April 1, and it marks the return of guitarist John Frusciante, back for this third stint in the band after more than a decade away.


The iconic Californian band appear on the cover of the brand new issue of Classic Rock magazine. We talked to all Chili Peppers about the new album, their rollercoaster history, and the return of their prodigal-son guitarist. Here are 10 things we learned.


The seeds of the reunion happed at bassist Flea’s house – and it got emotional

Bassist Flea and Frusciante had stayed in touch sporadically during the latter’s absence, and one night in 2019 the pair were hanging out at Flea’s house. “We’d never really talked about it [the split] much.


At one point my wife and his girlfriend were in the other room, and we were sitting alone, and I said, ‘John, sometimes I miss playing with you so much.’ And I started crying when I said it. And he looked at me and I saw the tears in his eyes,” he continues. “And he said, ‘I miss it too.’ There was just this moment, but in that moment, I remember thinking, ‘Man, you know…’”


When John Frusciante left for the second time at the end of the ’00s, Kiedis and Flea didn’t try to stop him. The rest of the Red Hot Chili Peppers weren’t surprised when Frusciante informed them that he wanted to leave for a second time. “John was very absolute about not wanting to do this anymore,” says singer Anthony Kiedis.


“So, when he told Flea and I, there wasn’t even that moment where we were, like, ‘Come on, we can work it out.’ We were, like, ‘We understand, it’s obvious it’s not where you want to be.’ I would say relief was probably the most descriptive word for everybody, including John.”


Frusciante left because he was “imbalanced and burnt out” – and dabbling in the occult. – The guitarist says a combination of pressure from people around him and the pressure he put on himself was a big factor in leaving the band: “I became quite off balance mentally those last couple of years we toured.”


A burgeoning interest in the occult didn’t help his frame of mind. “As the tour went on, I got deep into the occult, which became a way of escaping the mindset of tour life. The occult tends to magnify whatever you are, and I was an imbalanced mess.”


Everybody loved Josh Klinghoffer, but it wasn’t working out

“Look, he’s an amazing musician, he’s a kind and thoughtful person,” says Flea of the guitarist who replaced John Frusciante in 2009 and played on 2012’s I’m With You and 2016’s The Getaway. “I could go to him when I was hurting and crying on the road when I was in my own miserable neuroses and depression.


But we had a language with John that we developed when we were all much younger. We can do things without really speaking about it, we have this connection. That was harder with Josh, and for Josh too.”


Flea was so freaked at having to fire Klinghoffer that he crashed his car into his garage – Frusciante’s return meant a difficult conversation with the man who had replaced him a decade earlier. Flea invited Klinghoffer to his house for a band meeting to break it to him that he was no longer in the band.


“I crashed my car into the garage, I was so freaked out about it,” says the bassist of the meeting. “You go into the garage and the doors coming down and your mind’s so gone you just go into the door. It was really hard.”


When they got back into a room together, the Chilis covered old blues songs… and the Bee Gees – “I didn’t think it would be very good after not playing together for 10 years to go straight into writing cold,” says Frusciante now of the band’s initial jam sessions.


Instead, the guitarist suggested that they get reacquainted musically by jamming old blues numbers and 60s pop songs. “We didn’t even start playing Chili Peppers songs for a while, we played a Freddie King song, John Mayall, Kinks covers, Beach Boys, the Bee Gees,” says Flea. “It felt right, it felt organic, it felt flowing. We were born to fucking play together.”


Anthony Kiedis admits he’s been an asshole in the past

Looking back on the mega-success of the early 1990s, the singer admits he wasn’t at his best. “I was confused by it,” he says. “Then you have to go through a period of being an asshole. Anyone who has the impression that the world revolves around them is going to be an idiot for a while, and that happened to us all. And that really is no way to live.”

The late 90s were humbling for the Chili Peppers

1995’s One Hot Minute, their one-and-done album with Frusciante’s replacement Dave Navarro, is no one’s favourite Chili Peppers album. “We’d had a lesson of being drastically humbled,” says Kiedis of the rocky mid-90s, “and with career-restoring follow-up] Californication we weren’t coming at it from an arrogant place or a successful place. John had nothing; he’d burnt through everything. We were starting over from scratch.”


John Frusciante has been listening to a lot of psychedelia

Frusciante took a decade-long break from the guitar during his decade away from the Chili Peppers. “My ego had become too big a part of what I expressed as a guitar player,” he said. But since coming back he’s immersed himself in late 60s and early pyschedelia, as reflected in songs such as Black Summer and Bastards Of Light. “I’ve been listening to a lot of The Move,” he says, referencing Roy Wood’s late 60 psych-pop band. “And Syd Barrett.”


Flea finally acknowledges the greatness of Guns N’ Roses

Back in the 80s, when the Chili Peppers were the funk metal brat-princes of Hollywood, the battle lines were drawn in the sand – with the glam metal crowd on the wrong side of it. “We were definitely against the hair metal scene,” says Flea. “We were, like, ‘Fuck them – we’re the underground, art rock, get-weird east side guys, those guys are just rehashing Aerosmith and Kiss.’ In retrospect it was all petty bullshit. A lot of those bands were fucking great. Guns N’ Roses was a great band.”


Professor Of Rock has released the new video below, stating: “It starts out with a drum beat that so abrupt, you feel as though your head might explode, and then one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in classic rock history – not to mention the singalong chorus that everybody knows by heart. Up next, the story behind this all-time classic from one of the only remaining members of the band.”