Sprung from cages on Highway 9, Hemi-powered drones screamed down the boulevard making tracks through the blazin’ rain from the fire roads to the interstate highways jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive somewhere in the swamps of Jersey (the Meadowlands). Waiting down in the parking lot, the visionaries dressed in the latest rage sat on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer in the soft autumn rain just like another stranger waiting to get blown away (fuck, we could keep doing this all day).
Anyway, last month the Boss played a home-state show, so we headed out to the surrounding lots to tailgate with some die-hard Bruce fans and find out how it feels, to find out if love is real (sorry, sorry).
10 Deep shirt, Levi’s jeans, Adidas shoes
Where are you from?
Old Bridge, New Jersey. Exit 123 on the Parkway.
What are you missing right now to be here?
I’m in community college. I had to ditch out on my English class.
How long have you been into Springsteen?
Pretty much my whole life. My dad’s a big fan and would always be playing it. I see it as part of my whole New Jersey upbringing.
Have you seen him play before?
No, this is my first time seeing him in concert.
Which period of Bruce is your favorite?
Definitely Born to Run. No doubt.
Who drove today?
This guy over here, with “Born to Run” tattooed on his stomach.
Five Four jacket, American Eagle shirt, belt, and pants, Fruit of the Loom underwear
How long have you had that?
I got it a year ago, and I just got it because I don’t know what it means. “Born to Run.” I guess it means run from responsibility and that makes sense because I have a lot of credit-card debt. It works out.
Is this your first time seeing him?
I saw him last year with the Seeger Sessions Band with my brothers and my mom, but this is my first time seeing the E Street Band.
Do you tailgate at other shows too, or just Springsteen?
Not really—it’s different. There’s a whole lot more to look forward to at a Bruce concert, so it’s not like you’re just getting wasted. You want to save your strength.
It’s more like a warm-up.
It’s getting ready to, like, I don’t know, to go see Bruce. Springsteen isn’t just music, it’s a belief system.
Acne Jeans jacket, Diesel jeans
Where are you from?
Sayreville, New Jersey.
What up, Slayerville!!
You a Bon Jovi fan?
You betcha! You gotta be.
How many times have you seen the Boss?
This is my first time.
Are you taking off work right now?
Yeah, I snuck out early. My boss is here too, actually. We told the secretaries we were at meetings.
This is a pretty nice spread.
I got here at 1:30 PM. We brought some beers and had lunch—it’s an all-day party. The guys I’m with brought this game called Redneck Golf where you throw bouncy balls on string at a stand made of PVC pipe.
Chinatown Soccer Club scarf, Levi’s jeans
You big into the Bruce?
Yeah, me and my wife are fans from way back.
Are you wearing a Cuffs shirt?
Yeah, that’s my son’s band.
Do you guys go see his shows?
Sure, they used to tour with Rancid and the Dropkick Murphys. They had a good thing going, but then he went back to school, for medicine. He’s studying to be a surgeon.
It’s funny how many punk kids turn around and become surgeons or something.
Well, you gotta make a living down the road. But he loves the punk. That’s his thing.
How’s he feel about the Boss?
He likes the idea behind it, but he’s got his own mind and is more into his own thing.
(l-r): agnes b. sweater, American Apparel top, Dollhouse jeans, Asics shoes; model’s own clothes; Paul Frank top, American Apparel pants, Gap flip-flops
KATIE, BRIANNA, AND KIM MIHAFFEY
Where are you ladies from?
Paramus, New Jersey.
Have you guys seen Bruce before?
I saw him rehearse for a news show once, in Asbury Park.
I’ve seen him 17 times.
Do you have a favorite concert?
One time I went to see him with some friends in Cleveland and we made a huge, glittery sign that said “We’re from Jersey!” and they showed us on that big TV thing. I was so excited.
Do you have a favorite Bruce move?
I like it when everyone lines up and they all start playing the guitar and rocking back in forth in unison. That’s the best.