Incredible Asbury Park rock doc that you’ve got to see (Opinion)
If you think you know all that there is to know about Asbury Park, or want to know, you've got to see the new feature film, "Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll," narrated by our own Big Joe Henry with commentary from everybody who's anybody, including Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Steven Van Zandt, and Vini Lopez. I talked to Big Joe about it, which you can check out up above or click here.
The story opens with "The Boss" describing the Asbury Park music scene as, "we took a little bit from here, a little bit from there, a little bit from soul, a little bit from pop, a little bit from the sound on the west side of the tracks, and we kind of combined it into the sound that this town and a little part of the Jersey sound became known for."
That point is further brought home by Pastor Warren Hall of Deliverance Temple in Asbury Park, he said, "The Jersey sound whether, it be Southside Johnny or Bruce Springsteen or Gary U.S. Bonds, that Jersey sound is distinctively and uniquely Jersey, it's not black Jersey, it's not white Jersey, it's Jersey...it defines us as a group not separate and apart but it brings us together, it's soul is what it is."
If the world were the Asbury music scene, there would be no racial problems. Unfortunately, not everybody there plays in a band and the Asbury story of the east side richness and the west side, home of the Orchid Lounge where African-Americans, Italians, and Jews lived, didn't get along.
"Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll," talks about how great things were in the 60's, when the town rocked with acts from all over the country being brought in to perform at places like Convention Hall. Meanwhile Asbury's own "school of rock" was taking place at "The Upstage Club," which was an after-hours club that didn't serve liquor but did serve the greatest musicians the town had to offer, playing together and cutting their teeth on the stardom that was to come.
What came on July 4, 1970 was a riot that would cripple the town so badly that it would take several years and attempts to rebuild. This is finally happening thanks to the diversity of places like The Paradise Lounge and Empress Hotel, designed to cater to the LGBTQ community, the Lakehouse studios, where the tradition of the Upstage Club continues allowing musicians to grow into their voices and of course through it all like the tie that binds "The Stone Pony"
You'll come away with so much more respect and affection both for the Asbury Park music scene and all those who worked so hard and sacrificed to make it happen. See "Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll" by clicking here. You can also donate to the youth arts in Asbury as well by clicking here.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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