“Whenever I hear someone say, ‘Oh, I don’t really like Bruce Springsteen,’ I say, ‘No, man, you’re thinking of John Cougar Mellancamp,” says Phil Churchill—comedian,guitarist, singer, and self-professed Bruce Springsteen super-fan.
He is one of more than a dozen local musicians paying tribute to Springsteen’s music this Valentine’s weekend. The lineup for the evening reads like a who’s-who of local music, featuring vocalists Tim Baker, Blair Harvey, Sean Panting, Jody Richardson, Mark Bragg and the list goes on. Backing them all up will be Mark Bragg and the G Street band, an 8-piece group.
What is it about are so many people getting up to sing the songs of Bruce Springsteen?
“We’ve pushed him up on the soapbox for the blue collar worker,” says Churchill. “He’s a kind of loveable loser who really has nothing, but is still gonna put on his jean jacket and go down and knock on that girl’s door to ask her out.”
“The tunes just kick ass too,” he says.
Springsteen has been tributed by the same bunch twice before here in town, and, again, both times were during the most forbidding days of winter. The first show at The Ship coincided with a snow storm that knocked the power out just as Sean Panting was breaking into the first 10 seconds of “The Ghost of Joad.”
“He kept going,” says Phil, “and we filled in behind him the best we could.”
Once the song ended, they called a break and Churchill and Bragg ran to an apartment to fetch a guitar amp powered by a car battery, as well as whatever else they could carry that made sound and didn’t have to be plugged in. They returned to The Ship to finish the set.
“Everybody moved a bit closer to the stage, and we lit candles.” he says. Definitely appropriate for the sensitive tough-guy sound of The Boss.
St. John’s Does Bruce Springsteen will take place Friday, February 13 and Saturday, February 14 at the Rock House. Tickets are $15 in advance, available at Fred’s Records and the Rock House. Show starts at 11pm.