Let’s face it, New Jersey doesn’t always have a good track record for honoring its musical heroes and supporting the stars of tomorrow.
According to the Associated Press, Hoboken-ites pelted Frank Sinatra with tomatoes during a parade in 1949; Middletown police shut down a Bruce Springsteen concert as he was on the verge of fame in 1970; and residents of Paul Robeson Village Apartments in New Brunswick demanded a “hood tax” from Jaheim, who grew up there, when he was shooting a video for his 2016 single “Struggle Love.”
What way out for rude behavior? Apparently every time out.
Rock ‘n’ roll was banned in Jersey City, Newark and Asbury Park in the 1950s, and the New Brunswick city was so unsupportive of its thriving indie rock scene in the 1990s that the scene was brought to play underground shows.
But maybe things are changing. In a remarkable week in March, George Clinton, the founder of Parliament Funkadelic, was honored by Newark, the town where he grew up, and Plainfield, the town where he founded P-Funk in the former living room of Silk Palace hair salon on 2nd Street and Plainfield. Street.
Part of Plainfield Avenue is now known as Parliament Funkadelic Way.
“George Clinton burst in here and he literally put Plainfield on the map because of his world fame,” Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp said. “It’s a wonderful day for the town of Plainfield.”
On March 8, Bruce Springsteen was in his hometown of Freehold to help announce that the Bruce Springsteen Story Center will be coming to the decades-old fire hall on Main Street. It will feature Springsteen’s history and serve as a community center. The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Freehold are collaborating in this effort.
“The bottom line is you can’t escape the fact that it sounds weird,” Springsteen, 72, said. “I sat down three blocks from here, found a few songs, things I liked. The idea that 50 years later someone was going to be interested in them, I mean, what are the chances, folks? They are very small.
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In Springsteen’s words, little things mom, big things come one day. The Smithereens in Carteret and the Isley Brothers in Teaneck and Englewood have held similar celebrations in their home town in recent months.
Sayreville native Jon Bon Jovi has a rest area on the Garden State Parkway in Cheesequake named after him. Whitney Houston, Celia Cruz and Sinatra have similar honors on Parkway.
In 2022, it’s good to be a New Jersey rock star. Leave the tomatoes, handcuffs and music bans at home, please.
Going forward, he would be loyal to the cause of taking better care of the music stars of tomorrow. It is time to examine how public money is distributed. Many non-profit fine arts groups receive public grants each year, but Jersey’s popular (and independent) concert halls don’t get a dime.
Perhaps it is time for the state to start recognizing concert halls as worthy recipients of public funds. It’s ironic because several cities across the state have paired their downtown revitalization plans with nonprofit arts venues that feature a lot of rock ‘n’ roll and other types of popular music.
It’s time to open up the grant process to include struggling for-profit independent sites.
The state lost Brighton Bar in Long Branch and Roxy and Dukes in Dunellen during the COVID shutdown. Maybe if these spots had a direct line to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the council’s grant and loan processes, like nonprofit venues do, they’d still be there.
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We’re all for naming the streets, fire stations and Parkway rest stops after our local music heroes, but a little support for the venues where the stars of tomorrow are playing today would also be nice.
Thursdays on the promenade
Do you have plans for Thursdays in May?
The Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean Band take over the Langosta Lounge on the Asbury Park promenade for a month-long residency on Thursday nights starting May 5.
The two groups play various styles, from Americana to hard folk, and they complement each other so well that Dean is also the drummer for Jackson Pines.
Dean made his debut with the band when Jackson Pines performed at the Sea Hear Now festival in Asbury Park last September. Look for lineups, headliners, guests and more at Langosta, band members say.
Additionally, Stringbean and the Boardwalk Social Club return Mondays to Asbury Park Yacht Club, adjacent to Langosta. The first show is at 7 p.m., May 2.
All shows are free at Langosta and the Yacht Club.
The Jackson Pines and the Cranston Dean Band, 8 p.m. Thursday, May 5, Langosta Lounge, Boardwalk, Asbury Park. Free. www.langostalounge.com.
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Jersey Shore native Chris Jordan covers entertainment and reporting for USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; [email protected]