Bruce Springsteen recalled how one of his earliest gigs as a signed musician went wrong.
It took place after his 1973 debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., was recorded, and saw him opening for comedy duo Cheech & Chong in Pennsylvania.
“People forget, but Cheech & Chong were huge, huge at the time,” Springsteen told Jimmy Kimmel in an extended TV interview. “The first gig I ever did when I had my first record out was opening for Cheech & Chong in a small college in Pennsylvania. And we came out, we played about five songs, I thought it was going really good. I was sitting at the piano and somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘That’s enough.’ That was it!”
You can watch the interview below.
The fan website Bruce Springsteen Database puts the date of the West Chester College, Penn., show on Oct. 28, 1972, which was after the LP was completed but before it was released.
“Bruce and the boys were a last-minute addition to the show itinerary,” the site notes. “Soon after Springsteen began his performance, a dispute erupted backstage with Cheech & Chong’s management, who apparently were upset they had not been informed a third act had been booked. The end result was that Springsteen was forced to end his set prematurely, after only about six songs. … This West Chester show is currently the earliest known public performance of the E Street Band.”
Elsewhere in the Kimmel interview, Springsteen talked about how an exhibition traced his family history back to the Civil War, how his grandfather used to twist his cheek until it hurt and then asked, “Bruce, what’s the matter?” and how he moved his own family back to his New Jersey hometown so they could see a wider range of family influences than his own music-industry life.
The show also featured a brief clip from Springsteen’s new movie Western Stars, which premiered in select theaters on Oct. 19 and will be shown again tonight before its wider national release on Oct. 25.