Robert D. Salzmann
The Student Prince 1971
The Student Prince gigs of 1971, truly were a piece of rock history and I consider myself very fortunate to have been a witness to it.
Quite honestly, I don't know that I can provide many more details than what I've already posted. In 1971, the band's personnel did change frequently and often times during the course of an evening. Yes, Southside Johnny would step up to the microphone while Bruce and/or band members took a break. At other times, the band would come around, grab some "suds" and speak with us at the bar and tables. If they were frustrated or disappointed by the evening's turnout, they did a great job of hiding it from us.
They were particularly good at covering the blues, Stones and Chuck Berry. As a matter of fact, they played the Stones cover version of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" and were as good as if not better than the Stones themselves. They were always being asked to play "Not Fade Away", and being good natured rockers they tolerated our requests and normally complied. They knew that it was the music that held us all together in those days of social- generational turmoil. It was the music that got you through the coming week and eased the mundane routines waiting on Monday.
They were truly in tune with their audience at the time: NJ longhaired, "freaks" who weren't really welcome in many other clubs or places. The Student Prince was dingy but it was very typical of the bars/clubs open to my generation and we gladly tolerated the grunge in exchange for the music. We were a small army of rock 'n' roll gypsies dressed in jeans, denim jackets and flannel shirts and the "BS Band" grew to become one of our preferred escapes from our menial jobs and daily lives.
Each week as the Student Prince gigs progressed, there seemed to be more and more people coming to hear the group and building the momentum for fame. I can remember that on my first visit there were probably 12 - 15 people total. In hindsight, I guess we were spoiled by these earliest of days. As the scene outgrew the Student Prince, many of us faded into the background and watched from a distance.
I split for London in the early part of 1972, and by the time I got back the band was in full swing with "Greetings" on its way to the shelves.
Overall, after 29 years, I can say that those 1971 gigs became a source of joy and fond memories for me and the audience(s).
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