Steel Mill, the New Jersey club band featuring Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Danny Federici, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez and two others, played its first West Coast show, at the Matrix in San Francisco, 50 years ago today. (January 13th). The late E Street Band organist Danny Federici thought the song Blinder By the Light  was too fast for people to dance to. It was recorded for the album Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey It didn’t even chart, though a cover by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band topped the charts four years later.

Danny Federici recalled in a 1990s interview that Bruce didn’t really have a band when he recorded Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey. When they finally took songs like “Blinded by the Light” on the road, they weren’t exactly easy to play.

“Bruce had most of the songs intact on that record, he used a lot of different players. And by the time he called us back, basically, the material had been recorded and he needed people to play on tour. I always thought they were fast. ‘Blinded by the Light’ was like ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka. I don’t know, it’s kinda hard to dance to and it always seems we had to keep the tempo back or it could run away with itself. But it was exciting. It was steady jobs. We had bookings. We were, like, in the van and on the road. This is a fantastic thing, to be able to work steadily.”

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