The Student Prince

Bruce's introduction speech to "The E-Street Shuffle"
(The Bottom Line, New York City, August 15, 1975)

"It was, uh, about three, four years ago - four years ago now, about this time of year, it was around August on a night like this. I was working in this bar down on the shore. I worked there for three or four months, this place called the Student Prince. [A girl shouts] Yes! Where you going? So it was me and it was Steve here and... and Garry, Garry was in the band then. And Southside Johnny. Do you folks get down to the shore much? [cheers] Well, you gotta go see Southside Johnny's band, he’s got a band there; yeah, the Jukes [giggle]

Anyway, this is about three, four years ago, me and Steve and Garry are working in this bar down there. And we was feeling like, like real discouraged at the time, because no one would give us a gig or nothing. We went into this bar - the only way we got this job was this guy had just bought the bar and we went into this bar about midnight on a Saturday night. You know, there should be a few folks in there, right? Went into this place, the darkest, dampest, dingiest place you’ve ever seen and there was nobody in there, right?

So we walk up to this guy and say we'll play for the door. You know, we'll charge a dollar at the door and we'll play for that. So we had a seven-piece band at the time, we got a big band. And we brought the band in the first week and we played and we made about, hell, we must have made... [Steve: “Thirteen seventy-five”] Yeah, we split $13.75 between the seven of us. And a few guys quit, you know. The next week I was there with a six-piece band. I threw some cat out: next week a five-piece band. This went on for a few weeks until we got it down to like... you get down to your boys when you're starving.

We was playing this joint and we was always figuring, like, these people was always trying to set us up, like “Man, I got the manager from the Byrds coming down here tonight to check you guys out. So you dudes better be good.” Right? So we would play like mad dogs all night. And about three in the morning we'd all be sitting at this damn little table, saying “Where is the cat, you know? What happened to the joker? Where is the dude?”

And Steve, Steve was known then for practicing his guitar, day in and day out, night and day, all the time. Every time I'd see him, he would practice, practice, practice. He always had his guitar with him, everywhere he went, you know. See him on the boardwalk, he's got his guitar with him. Practice, practice, practice.

So one night after the gig, we was all feeling down in the dumps and all pissed off, and you know, you're sitting there saying “Man, we're better than them cats and they got two records out. How come we ain't got no record out?” You do all that kind of stuff, you know. Me and Steve was feeling really, really drugged out, and we figured we were gonna go home, figured we'd walk north along the boardwalk.

So we got out there and it was a damn nasty night. It was raining and the club was flooded because some like bikers came along and ripped off the front door. Really, they just took the sucker off and brought it home with them or something. I don't know what they did with it. They ate that thing, right?"


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