Musician’s Rules “The Boss” Forgot – Or Never Learned

Posted by Dave

Many years ago, I wrote a song dedicated to my father, who taught me most of what I know about the meaning of the words “professional musician.” (Ed Bernet being the person who taught me all the rest.)

Anyway, regarding my dad, I said – in part:

“He starts on time and plays what they wanna hear,
If he ever talks, he keeps it clean and sincere,
And he acts like he plans to be invited back some day…”

I mention this because Gina and I went to see “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen, this weekend at our local arena. 20,000 other folks – give or take – joined us for the 7:30 concert. Unfortunately, Bruce didn’t. Not at 7:30, anyway. Or 8:00, or 8:15 or :20. No announcements over the PA informed us of technical problems, transportation issues, or any other reason for the delay. Apparently, the Boss didn’t think we were owed an explanation. My dad – and I – would beg to differ.

When – about 55 minutes late – Bruce and his E Street Band did come on stage, they were talented, tight, and put on a pretty good show. What kept it from being a very good show were a couple of needless, pointless, and – in my mind, at least – clueless political comments. Speaking only for myself, my enjoyment of Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt, and Elton John (among others) is based on their music, not their voting preferences. I guess I’m philosophically in tune with the guy who yelled “Shut up and sing!” to Barbra Streisand after one of her on-stage diatribes. I just come to hear the music.

I’m not inferring that celebrities don’t have a right to voice their opinions, because they do. And a rally in support of a particular candidate or issue – where the majority of the audience probably shares their world view – is a perfect place for them to do so. But – in these politically polarized times – almost any general audience is likely to have a wide spectrum of opinions. Unless that audience came to hear what ___ thinks (as opposed to what they sing), I think that when entertainers accept my money, they owe me a performance, not polemics.

It’s too bad that today’s celebs never knew my dad – he would have taught them better.


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