Clarence Clemons:Always Remembered, Greatly Missed.

It is with overwhelming sadness that we inform our friends and fans that at 7:00 tonight, Saturday, June 18, our beloved friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons passed away. The cause was complications from his stroke of last Sunday, June 12th.

Bruce Springsteen said of Clarence: Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.

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Bruce Springsteen, Frank Montemurro and a Day in 1978

Frank Stefanko, a local photographer, remembers Frank Montemurro in a letter to the editor.

Here’s a letter to the editor remembering Frank Montemurro:

I was saddened to hear of Frank Montemurro’s passing.

I was a resident of Haddonfield from 1978 to 1988, in which time I was fortunate to know Frank. He was my barber, my son’s barber, as well as being a lovely and congenial human being.

I was also fortunate, back in 1978, because that’s when I first started working with another great Jersey guy, Bruce Springsteen. On a winter’s day in 1978, while strolling through town, I asked Bruce to lean against a barbershop pole out in front of Frank Montemurro’s shop.

Bruce and I were shooting location shots while working on an album cover shoot for Darkness on the Edge of Town. The photograph now titled “Frank’s Barbershop” was one of my favorites, because it depicted a young Bruce Springsteen, with his leather jacket and wild hairdo, leaning against the barber pole, with the religious artifacts and plants showing through the window….the number 7 over the door of the shop, and part of a surfboard in the window next door.

It seemed to just exude a small town Jersey ambiance, that could have been taken anywhere, but was pure Jersey. Although that photograph never made the cover of Bruce’s album, it did, many years later, make the cover of my book Days of Hope and Dreams: An Intimate Portrait of Bruce Springsteen.

I recall how happy Frank Montemurro was in 2003 when I returned to Haddonfield, to give him a copy of my book and a poster with a large photograph of Bruce leaning against that very barber pole. Frank proudly hung that poster in his shop and told many uninformed clients about the famous Jersey rocker that posed in front of his shop.

I returned to that shop several years ago with film maker Thom Zimny, and Dave Bett from Sony Records, while we were working on the deluxe boxset of Darkness on the Edge of Town.  Unfortunately the shop was closed and we couldn’t say hi to Frank.

And now Frank is gone, way too early, and he will surely be missed by all who knew him, myself included. His memory will live on for me, however, every time I look at my photograph called “Frank’s Barbershop.”

Frank Stefanko, Photographer

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Legendary saxophonist Clarence Clemons, 69, of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band has suffered a stroke.

From the limited edition book, The Light in Darkness

Friedman reported last night that Clemons “is said to be seriously ill after a stroke at his home in Florida.

Friedman notes that Clemons has had health problems in the past, including having both knees replaced, but “this situation, as described to me this evening, sounds pretty dire. I am told that members of the E Street Band were advised to get down to Florida as soon as possible.”

AP and Rolling Stone say they have confirmed the report, citing an anonymous source.

Clemons last performed with Springsteen and the E Street Band in December of 2010 at Asbury Park’s Carousel House for a special web broadcast taping. He can be heard on two songs on Lady Gaga’s new album Born This Way, and played on stage with her last month during the American Idol season finale.

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If You Bought the Box Set, You Must Own This Book.

Good morning Lawrence….I don’t know where to start, so I’ll begin by saying that I picked up my copy of your book at the UPS store yesterday evening…..words seldom escape me, but to say I’m blown away would be a masterpiece of understatement… astounding collection of photographs, and from what I can see (didn’t read much, too busy checking out the photos), fan memories that are gonna make me feel like I was there….I’m just a shade young to have seen what is considered a legendary show at the “Q.E” here in Vancouver…..but Darkness has always been my favourite album by Bruce. I was so delighted to discover that you’d signed my  copy, thanks so much. I could go on and on, but I actually have to get some work done, and my guts are already in a knot over the game tonight….needless to say, I’m psyched for hours of losing myself in the book….

…I have been lucky enough to have seen Bruce four times here in Vancouver…..Born in the USA, Tunnel of Love, Devils and Dust, and lastly Magic….four different phases of his career, and like so many people commented in the book, no one else comes close….his music, his message resonates with myself and so many others in a place that’s like…if I have to try to explain, you won’t get it. You simply gotta feel it. I had thought for a long time that no other book on Bruce would top Dave Marshes brilliant “Bruce Springsteen On Tour 1965-2005”….but “The Light in Darkness” has proven me wrong. If you bought the box set, you must own this book.

Mark Clayton

Chilliwack, British Columbia

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The Light in Darkness

Kris DiLorenzo
Rock’s Backpages Writers’ Blogs

22 Apr 2011

With all the kerfuffle about the release of every scrap of information related to the making of Darkness on the Edge of Town and The Promise, I wanted to wait and avoid the rush, to tell people about a book that deserves not to get lost in the Springsteen Shuffle.

Canadian photojournalist Lawrence Kirsch has collected candid photos of Bruce and the E Street Band and writings about the Darkness tour from fans all over North America: their recollections and reviews. Reading about  shows in cities other than those I saw in New York was the best vicarious living I’ve done in a long time.

Some of the entries are as poetic as Springsteen’s songs, some are from kids who were too young to get to the shows on their own, some are from journalists, some from people who knew about Bruce way before the historic 1975 shows at the Bottom Line (and yes, he really did run up onto the amps and leap off, and yes, we were standing on the chairs screaming and rocking, even though we were supposedly cool, jaded music bizz people).

Some of the writing by “ordinary” people is better than the professional contributions, and some  of the most poignant stories are from a farm girl in Iowa, a teenaged guy whose lifelong friend was killed, and the art school kid who designed the marquee for the band’s legendary Capitol Theatre appearance. The thread is always Springsteen’s emotional impact on them. You know that those concerts are memories they’ll take to their graves, and you just might recognize yourself  in one of these stories.

Sprinkled throughout the book are anecdotes of running into Springsteen or miraculously being introduced to him in strange ways, and I have no doubt they’re all true. Outside the context of my work in the music business (which accounted for meeting Bruce backstage at the Bottom Line and in the Record Plant during the making of Darkness), I also encountered him on 57th Street on his way from the now extinct 42nd Street Sam Goody Record store, carrying a little brown paper bag containing a 45 (record, not gun), which I now wish to hell I’d asked him about; and on his way to a hamburger joint off Eighth Avenue. You just never know.

The pictures are all action shots, some of him in what I call “the gone zone,” when he’s singing and playing and absolutely transported elsewhere. Many shots are of Bruce interacting with audience members. The ecstatic looks on everyone’s faces, their sheer joy at seeing and hearing him, especially in close quarters when he bopped on down to the very edge of the front apron or jumped into the audience, is the legacy he’ll leave, long after the sound fades. My hat’s off to Lawrence for this huge labor of love, because god knows he’s not getting rich from it. You can see more  material for the project on the book’s website:

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