Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tusk Editor's Note: Feb. 1

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tusk Editor's Note: Feb. 1

Article excerpt

Knew it was going to be a good news/bad news kind of week when Bruce Springsteen visited my dreams. Despite my love for the man, this is not a usual occurrence. My dreams just don't dare go certain places -- although you might be surprised at the places they visit - - when it comes to hero worship.

For example, I've never had a dream about Hank Aaron, despite having been a big fan of the man since childhood. I have been visited in dreams by my dad, though, but that's a little different. The heroes we adore from afar can maintain an aura of invincibility and perfection. When you've seen your dad mow the lawn in pink bermuda shorts and a straw hat with fan built in, you see his Achilles' heel. It's visible through ratty Keds.

Several years back I interviewed Bruce's chief sideman -- especially since the Big Man passed -- Little Steven Van Zandt, via phone, about his Underground Garage radio show. Van Zandt's management told me I'd only have 20 minutes, starting at 10 p.m. We wound up talking for an hour and a half, and it was kinda magical. I tamped the gush down until the end, when I burst out with how much I loved the E Street Band, how I'd seen them in concert X many times and hoped for Y many more. And I thanked him, saying "This is probably as close as I'll ever get to meeting y'all."

Little Steven chuckled, then he said "Ya never know. Ya never know."

It kind of chilled as it thrilled, because I know what would happen, should I ever meet Bruce or Hank or Little Steven or any of these other fine folks: Drool. Indecipherable body language. Uncontrollable jabbering. Total nerd-boy foolishness. This is a bit of a problem in my job, where I sometimes meet cool people. I did OK with Kurt Vonnegut, less well with Sidney Poitier, though I'm pretty sure I had a fortifying drink beforehand, both times.

Seriously, I'd rather try to seduce a live Jessica Rabbit in front of a judges' panel composed of ex-girlfriends than actually meet someone I wholeheartedly admire. It'd be less difficult in the attempt and at least equally humiliating in the outcome.

In the dream, as he apparently is in real life, Bruce was so cool, sheep count him. But he needed my help detangling some kind of cord issue backstage, which was redonkulous to start with, because he's been playing wireless, the better to cover every corner of an arena, for many years now. …

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