CJ: So obviously all of the fans of the E Street Band are wondering, how will Bruce and the band decide to fill the hole that Clarence left. Can you give us any insight into what the new shows might be like in that regard?
Nils Lofgren: Uh, no. [Laughter] Basically, in a word, no.
The bottom line is we havenít been together in over two years. Clarence is a devastating loss. Heís one of my best friends off stage. We spoke every week. I stood next to him for 27 years. We literally are just, you know, gotten together for two days and just kind of brush off the two years and figure out what band weíre going to be next. And the fact that there are shows booked in summer is beautiful. Weíre all excited, but I mean, itís way too early to tell. And weíre not even going there for, I donít think, awhile. Thatís not something you can do lightly. Like I say, with everybody, and Clarence was at the top of the list, thereís no Clarence 2. Thereís no such thing. Itís a loss that you cannot replace. So what are we going to do? I donít know. Whatever Bruce decides. Heís a master band leader. Weíre all great band mates with a lot of opinions. And Iím sure over the next month or two, weíll delve into it. But itís not happening today. Today weíre just kind of look at each other in the face. I mean, I stay in touch with everyone on the phone, but itís just exciting to look at each other and thereís a gratitude Ė and kind of a somber gratitude now that Dannyís gone and Clarence is gone. And itís not just that. Itís just like you guys, Iím assuming, all of us in life, in and out of show business. When you get old enough, you start saying goodbye to people. I got a song Miss You, Ray thatís all about that kind of loss on my record. Lifeís grand, man, but it gets rough. You start saying goodbye to family and friends more and more and theyíre heavy hits. So this is as heavy a hit as weíre going to take as a band and what weíre going to do remains to be seen. I have complete faith that Bruce will come up with something. But letís be very clear. We all know there is no Clarence 2 and there will never be. So what happens? I donít know, man, and respectfully, down the road, when it comes to what goes on the next few months before shows start, thatís really information that should come from Bruce and Jon Landau, not me as a spokesman.
CJ: Yeah, we figured that would be the answer, but we had to try.
Nils Lofgren: Course you do, course you do.
TD: Nils Iíve got a question, out of the blue, do you think the E Street Band should be in the Rock n Roll hall of fame?
Nils Lofgren: Oh come on. A band like us, thatís still getting started Ė weíve still got to do another 40 years before they will put us in the hall of fame.
TD: Okay, youíve got to earn it.
Nils Lofgren: How silly. I got to admit, Iím still the new guy in the band. Iíve only been there 27 years with Patti, but all those guys, rightfully so, I think it sticks in their craw a bit and itís a sore spot. I donít want to speak for them, but I sympathize with them and even though Iím in the band I donít. Ö Look, I left record companies 16 years ago. Iím kind of like an off the grid guy that never had a hit record, just singing, playing, making records, and trying to stay engaged, and I have successfully stayed engaged and thrilled and grateful for my musical career and the people that show up. And just Ďcause itís 300 people instead of 30,000 people, I donít care. I want to give Ďem the best show I can possibly give every night.
I think the E Street Band a long, long time ago belonged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but look, thereís a lot of people who should be there that arenít. I mean, Free should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Paul Rodgersí first band obviously. Itís just politics and, you know, when they honor somebody I think thatís great, but when they forget to honor somebody, to me, I think itís kind of the bureaucracy and politics of it. And I have a sense of humor about it. To me, I almost wear it as a badge of honor: Yeah, the E Street Band doesnít belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fine. Come see us play. Tell me what you think. I donít really care. Right now, as a planet, Iím a 60-year-old man and Iím not just a kid. I look around and we got a lot deeper problems than the E Street Band getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And I got to promise you that for 27 years, I can guarantee you that there has not been one second where that lack of notoriety has hurt us on stage in front of an audience. Not for one second has it hurt us. And so, maybe, I know it hurts the other guysí feelings a little more, but to me, I see it as a badge of honor. Yeah, right, we donít belong in the Hall of Fame. Of course not. Go talk to the guys in the tuxedos. Iím sure theyíll have a good reason why we havenít made it yet.
CJ: All right Nils, one last question before you go, in the tour coming up, is there an E Street band rarity that you would really like to see in the set list or your favorite to play live?
Nils Lofgren: Not, not my favorite to play live, no. I think on the Born in the USA tour we played Man at the Top once. Itís not my favorite song to play live, but itís one of my favorite Bruce songs Iíd love to see. But thereís hundreds of them, man, thereís so many great songs. And I love playing them all. The challenging ones, the fun ones, the simple ones, the complex ones. Bruce is a master songwriter and heís still getting better. And itís just mind-blowing to be in a band with 300 great songs to choose from and a guy to deliver them like that. So Iím down for it all. But thatís one song that comes to mind. Another one is Janey, Donít You Lose Heart, which we play once in a while. In my first appearance as a session singer, Bruce threw me at his side as a harmony and I love that song. Of course, thereís a lot of great stuff on the Tracks record, but those two come to mind. And we have played them intermittently over the last 30 years.
CJ: All right good stuff. So Nils, you and I met in Dublin at a cigar store before The Rising Show out there, are you still a cigar fan?
Nils Lofgren: Oh, no, you know, I do that once in a while at Thanksgiving or Christmas with my brothers, but I kind of missed that boat these last holidays. Once in a while Iíll take a few puffs at a special with my brothers, but Iím not really a cigar fan. Iím a singer so I should probably remain a distant fan of cigars and not get too close.
Thanks for letting people know about my record.
Stone Pony London
The SPL's Nils Lofgren Old School Intervew: Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4