(mostly compiled from LuckyTown Digest mailing list)

"American Skin (41 Shots)"- Controversy


New Songs Debuted in Atlanta............... read
To All Delegates And Members..............read
"41 Shots" Getting Under Some American Skin..................... read
NY cheers Springsteen's Diallo song........ read
Subject: Alterman on MSNBC.com .........read
Subject: nyt: Springsteen Plays Song About Diallo at the Garden................ read
Subject: more concert coverage............................. read
Subject: American Skin..............read
Subject: Race Matters............... read
Subject: Diallo dialog.................. read
Subject: Floating Fag...................... read
Subject: American Skin................read
Subject: American skin, saints and sinners................ read
Subject: Bruce in WSJ.................... read
Subject: The stupidest article so far................... read
Subject: 41 shoots observed from Madrid....... read
Subject: Bruce in Newsweek........ read
Subject: exploiting......... read
Subject: Monday night................. read
Subject: Race...........read
Subject: Re: True Story................. read Subject: Note of sanity regarding American Skin........read
Subject: Reply to Paul Mulshine's column.............. read
Subject: Letter to the Reactionaries........................... read
Subject: 41 Shots and Two Cents ...............read
Subject: RE: Did anyone else see the creep ......... read
Subject: random ramblings / musings............ read
Subject: This needs repeating............................ read
Subject: Re: American Skin/Lost in the Flood................ read
Subject: Jon Pareles.............. read
Subject: Jack Newfield's Post column.............. read
Subject: reply from NY COP ONLINE MAGAZINE.... read
Subject: American Skin mentioned in "Der Spiegel"..........read
Subject: American Skin Debate.............. read
Subject: LTD-Were Big Time Now!!!/Clinton Staffers for Bruce........................ read
Subject: Re: "Note of Sanity Regarding 'American Skin,' " #118.................. read

BACKSTREETS Magazine – www.backstreets.com – June 6, 2000

New Songs Debuted in Atlanta

Two world premieres in Atlanta brought an audience the first brand new Springsteen songs of the tour since "Land of Hope and Dreams" was debuted at the open tour rehearsals in Asbury Park. Just to be clear, these two songs are Springsteen compositions that have never been released or performed for an audience before. "Further On Up the Road" is a great mid-tempo rocker that opened the June 4 show, reminiscent in sound of "Lucky Town." A few songs later, Bruce introduced another new one he called "American Skin"--though it was noted on the handwritten setlist as "41 Shots." By the end of the song, the Atlanta crowd was chanting along with this intense and haunting slow-burner: "41 shots..." The song was inspired partly by the high-profile Amadou Diallo incident in the Bronx, in which an unarmed man was shot 41 times by four police officers. "American Skin" was reportedly soundchecked in Raleigh and Salt Lake City in advance of Atlanta, and "Further On Up the Road" had been rehearsed even more regularly. Both new songs elicited a great response from the Atlanta crowd, and here's hoping they become regulars in NYC.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Asssociation of the City of New York, Incorporated

To All Delegates And Members

June 8 , 2000

Singer Bruce Springsteen has begun performing in concert a song called "American Skin," - the title seems to suggest that the shooting of Amadou Diallo was a case of racial profiling - which keeps repeating the phrase, "Forty-one-shots." I consider it an outrage that he would be trying to fatten his wallet by reopening the wounds of this tragic case at a time when police officers and community members are in a healing period, and I have let his representatives and the press know how I feel about this song. 

I strongly urge any PBA members who may moonlight as security or in any other kind of work at rock concerts to avoid working Springsteen concerts. He is scheduled to appear at Madison Square Garden for a 10-day stand beginning June 12, and the PBA strongly urges you not only not to work this or any other Springsteen concert but also not to attend. 

Let's stick together on this important issue. 


Patrick J. Lynch


BACKSTREETS Magazine – www.backstreets.com – June 12, 2000 (download)

"41 Shots" Getting Under Some American Skin

In advance of the Garden dates, with the song only played once to date, "American Skin (41 Shots)" is already generating controversy. Patrick J. Lynch, President of the Patrolmen's Beneveloent Association of the City of New York, has called for a Springsteen boycott, saying that "the title seems to suggest that the shooting of Amadou Diallo was a case of racial profiling." The entire text of his June 8 letter can be found on the PBA website.


NY cheers Springsteen's Diallo song

By David Bauder

June 13, 2000 | NEW YORK (AP) -- Caught in another political storm over his lyrics, The Boss responded by letting his music do the talking. 

Bruce Springsteen performed his new song about the New York City police killing of Amadou Diallo to a New York City crowd Monday, despite angry police union leaders urging their members to boycott his concert. 

The New Jersey rocker made no introduction and offered no explanation of his thoughts on the song, "American Skin (41 Shots)." Springsteen introduced the song last week during a concert in Atlanta. 

E Street Band members began the song by approaching microphones one by one and repeating the words "41 shots," referring to the number of times four white officers shot at Diallo, a black West African immigrant. 

The crowd began cheering in recognition of the song and interrupted Springsteen's singing with cheers several times. It was difficult to distinguish any boos from the traditional "Bruce!" chant at his shows. 

"Is this your wallet? Is this your life?" the unrecorded and unreleased song goes, referring to Diallo's wallet, which police mistook for a gun. "You can get killed just for living in your American skin." 

One heckler was escorted from Madison Square Garden after he approached the stage and flashed obscene hand gestures at Springsteen during the song. 

Diallo, 22, was mortally wounded as he stood in the vestibule of his Bronx home on Feb. 4, 1999. The four officers involved in the shooting were acquitted of murder earlier this year. 

Diallo's parents attended the Garden concert. Kadiatou Diallo, the slain man's mother, has said she interprets the song as a sign that people cared about what happened to her son. 

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents 27,000 city police officers, has urged its members not to attend -- or work overtime security detail -- Springsteen's 10-concert stand in protest. 

Police Lt. Eric Adams, of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, said his group supports Springsteen and is upset that few black artists have used their talents to support the Diallo family. 

"We commend Bruce Springsteen, and we believe that he is courageous in the position that he is taking," Adams said in a news conference before the concert.

107 | June 13, 2000

LuckyTown Digest       Wednesday, June 14 2000       Volume 07 : Number 113

Subject: Alterman on MSNBC.com

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 15:04:46 -0400

From: "Lehrer, Eli" <Eli.Lehrer@abc.com>

Eric Alterman, author of It Ain't no Sin to be Glad You're Alive, has a piece in MSNBC.com on American Skin and the reaction of the New York media. Very interesting and worth checking out.


Subject: nyt: Springsteen Plays Song About Diallo at the Garden

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 15:11:13 -0700

From: "jen kilmer" <jenk@aa.net>

June 13, 2000

Springsteen Plays Song About Diallo at the Garden


Standing on the stage at Madison Square Garden momentarily shrouded in darkness, Bruce Springsteen sang the words "41 shots" nine times last night. The words begin his new song deploring the killing of Amadou Diallo by four police officers.

The crowd grew silent, then rose in applause, as Mr. Springsteen began to sing. Scattered boos were quickly enveloped in the cries of "Bruce!"

The song, "American Skin," has been criticized by Police Commissioner Howard Safir and Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, who has urged New York City officers to boycott Mr. Springsteen's concerts.

But that boycott was not strictly observed yesterday. "It's not a big deal. People blow things up," said Natalie Carbone, 25, a New Jersey native, lifelong Springsteen fan and New York City police officer. "I don't think this will affect what police officers think about Bruce Springsteen. It's just a song."

But other fans said they were disappointed that Mr. Springsteen had chosen to perform the song in New York City. "He shouldn't use his power to make a statement like that," said Heather Milyo of Staten Island, whose fiance is a police officer. "I think you have to be in a cop's shoes to understand what happened."

The "41 shots" Mr. Springsteen sings about at the beginning of the song refer to the number of bullets fired at Mr. Diallo as he stood in front of his apartment in the Bronx last year, and it includes the lyric, "You can get killed just for living in your American skin."

Although Mr. Springsteen has not released a recording of the song, controversy has built around it since he first performed it on June 4 in Atlanta. Mr. Diallo's mother, Kadiatou Diallo, has said she took the song as a sign that people cared about her son. But police officers, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mr. Safir have frowned on it, suggesting that it is wrong to condemn the officers who were acquitted of murder and other charges in February.

Representatives of Mr. Springsteen yesterday declined to comment on the criticism of the song.

Mr. Diallo, a black street vendor from Guinea, was shot by four white officers who approached him on Feb. 4, 1999. The officers testified that they had thought he was reaching for a gun. Mr. Diallo was unarmed and was apparently reaching for his wallet, a fact Mr. Springsteen focuses on in the song.

Mr. Springsteen sang: "Is it a gun? Is it a knife? Is it a wallet? This is your life."

"We're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood" - Bruce Springsteen, "American Skin (41 Shots)"

"...one hope ... one faith, one baptism" - ephesians 4:4&5

jen kilmer -o- http://www.aa.net/~jenk


Subject: more concert coverage

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 15:08:10 -0700

From: "jen kilmer" <jenk@aa.net>



"We're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood" - Bruce Springsteen, "American Skin (41 Shots)"

"...one hope ... one faith, one baptism" - ephesians 4:4&5

jen kilmer -o- http://www.aa.net/~jenk


Subject: American Skin

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 16:53:51 EDT

From: RAYERW@aol.com

Mr. Lynch,

I hope you have taken the time to listen to Bruce Springsteen's song, American Skin (41 Shots) and to realize that this is a song against violence in our country, not police violence or any particular group's violence but the tragic circumstances con-fronting our country today.  All ages, all walks of life, men, women, children, all races, religions, etc. face violence from their fellow man.  Bruce has addressed social issues for many years and has always supported his fellow working man/ woman, which I am sure also includes policemen everywhere. Look into an issue before you condemn it.

Sincerely, Betty Anne Ayers

Subject: Race Matters

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 20:45:24 -0400

From: Michael Whalen <75533.434@compuserve.com>

Hey all.  I live in NYC, and I'm seeing a Garden show this Saturday.

I find it amazing that Bruce has written about Vietnam vets, single mothers, wife beaters, gay men, car theives and more, without incident.  As soon as he writes about race, however, he's being  boycotted and called a "dirtbag." Think about it. 25 years of being scandal free, and with 1 song on 1 night in 1 city....     I mean, WOW. I quess race really does matter in this country.

BTW, the NY Times has recently been doing an excellent ongoing piece about race in America.  Worth checking out.

AND, one more thing...I downloaded "American Skin" from Napster and found it a totally fair, beautiful and sad song.

Michael Whalen

Subject: Diallo dialog

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 22:28:29 EDT

From: B0ssfan@aol.com

Thanks Bruce for once again allowing everyone from fans to journalists to the police to have a dialog about an issue that shouldn't go away simply because some folks feel uncomfortable about it. The "Diallo trial" was held here in Albany and provoked an outpouring of emotion at the courthouse and at every workplace in town. By our conversations and our songs, we begin the process of communicating and healing.

Eric Eisenstein

Albany, NY


Subject: Floating Fag

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 10:11:41 -0400

From: MBrogger@PCIT.com

I read the comments of the president of the NY PBA about "now [Springsteen} is a floating fag and you can quote me on that."  Huh?  As a gay man, I have no idea what this means.  Maybe it's some ignorant play on "light in his loafers."  Maybe this guy didn't think much of Bruce's "Streets of Philadelphia."  But as with most homophobic comments, it says so much about the person issuing the offensive remarks than its itended target. "American Skin" is about the racial reality of America that makes possible something like the Diallo shooting.   The police were acquitted of criminal wrong-doing.  Fine - that's the jury's job.  However, the jury's verdict doesn't negate the fact that an unarmed black man was gunned down in his own home by white police officers.  This was a travesty and a tragedy.  But that's race in America.  I sat with my boyfriend last night so proud of Bruce and and proud to be a lifelong fan.

Mark Brogger

Subject: American Skin

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 13:34:17 -0400

From: Ilene/Ralph <ilene2@erols.com>

As a NYC resident who participated in some of the protests against the NYPD after Amadou Diallo was murdered, I guess I finally have something positive to say about the NYPD. They have given Bruce and "American Skin" so much publicity that we should thank them for shooting off their mouths again. And what kind of intelligence is operating when they call for a boycott of concerts that no one in the city can get tickets for? Do they really think any police officers with tickets are going to throw them away? Maybe we'll be lucky and they'll bring to the drop line...  Anyway there's a lot of publicity in the NY papers today about Bruce's involvement in the Red Bank benefit for Sgt. King, positive statements from Amadou's parents, etc, and the police union brass have once again made fools of themselves. Peace to all and let's give Bruce a standing ovation every night for having the courage to speak the truth.



Subject: American skin, saints and sinners

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 11:42:00 PDT

From: "peter yan" <peteyan@hotmail.com>

An open letter to David Marsh and LtD'ers.

Mill once said that "literature is not heard, but overheard"; that it merely "shows" a scene but does not "tell" its theme or main idea.

1. I hope David Marsh and Ltders use email, columns, letters, to protect Bruce from the stupid allegation that he is anti-cop.

2. The general sotry of "41 shots" shows a scene of what American Life has come to: the loss of goodwill, random acts of violence, the lack of trust among its citizenry to believe that our hands can hold a wallet, money, keys - -- anything else besides a gun. The particular story involves the police -- cops have been gunned down simply for stopping a car for speeding, and the culprit reaches for a gun instead of a wallet-- not because they are evil but they are the reluctant participant/actor in this duet of tragedy...41 shots represents the magnitude of that fear, the loss of love between brothers and sisters.

3. As for the police, they have room on Bruce's symbolic dreamtrain which carries "saints and sinners...losers and winners...sweet souls departed".



LuckyTown Digest        Thursday, June 15 2000        Volume 07 : Number 117

Subject: Bruce in WSJ

Date: 15 Jun 00 09:11:57 EDT

From: Randall West <randallwest@usa.net>

Hello LTD'ers,

Below is yet another article on the '41 Shots' controversy, from the Wall Street Journal, HOWEVER, I include it because it has an interesting reference to a fan being thrown out during that song, which I have not heard anything about.

And we all thought that PBA Pres. Pat Lynch wasn't going to go to any of the shows!  :-)

See you in NYC on 6/23!

- --Randy in Dayton

Dow Jones Newswires

New York Concert Crowd Cheers Springsteen's Diallo Song

Dow Jones Newswires

NEW YORK (AP)--Caught in another political storm over his lyrics, The Boss responded by letting his music do the talking.

Bruce Springsteen performed his new song about the New York City police killing of Amadou Diallo to a New York City crowd Monday, despite angry police union leaders urging their members to boycott his concert.

The New Jersey rocker made no introduction and offered no explanation of his thoughts on the song, "American Skin (41 Shots)." Springsteen introduced the song last week during a concert in Atlanta.

E Street Band members began the song by approaching microphones one by one and repeating the words "41 shots," referring to the number of times four white officers shot at Diallo, a black West African immigrant from Guinea.

The crowd began cheering in recognition of the song and interrupted Springsteen's singing with cheers several times. It was difficult to distinguish any boos from the traditional "Bruce!" chant at his shows.

"Is this your wallet? Is this your life?" the unrecorded and unreleased song goes, referring to Diallo's wallet, which police mistook for a gun when he reached for it. "You can get killed just for living in your American skin."

One heckler was escorted from Madison Square Garden after he approached the stage and flashed obscene hand gestures at Springsteen during the song.

Diallo, 22, was mortally wounded as he stood in the vestibule of his Bronx home on Feb. 4, 1999. The four officers involved in the shooting were acquitted of murder earlier this year.

Diallo's parents attended the Garden concert. Kadiatou Diallo, the slain man's mother, has said she interprets the song as a sign that people cared about what happened to her son.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents 27,000 city police officers, has urged its members not to attend - or work overtime security detail - Springsteen's 10-concert stand in protest.

Police Lt. Eric Adams, of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, said his group supports Springsteen and is upset that few black artists have used their talents to support the Diallo family.

"We commend Bruce Springsteen, and we believe that he is courageous in the position that he is taking," Adams said in a news conference before the concert.

Sixteen years ago, Springsteen was upset when his song "Born in the USA" was used in President Ronald Reagan's political campaign and was misinterpreted as a patriotic anthem.


Subject: The stupidest article so far

Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 19:58:59 +0200

From: Fernando Seco <fseco@iai.csic.es>

Hi tramps,

The competition is tough these days, but I think I found the ultimate opinion column on the "American Skin" controversy.

Warning: Mr. Mulshine's thick reasoning may have strange effects on your mental health.

*****   begin article   *****

The Star-Ledger Online

Fake working-class hero gets under this American's skin


In defense of Bruce Springsteen, I must respond to the charge by a police union spokesman that he is a dirtbag.

Springsteen is not a dirtbag. He just plays one on MTV.

In reality, Bruce Springsteen is a typical suburban kid from one of the most suburban places on the planet, the Jersey Shore. There's nothing wrong with that -- I myself grew up in the same place at the same time -- but it does take on a certain relevance when Springsteen decides to take on a weighty issue like the Amadou Diallo shooting.

The four cops involved in that tragedy were living the real-life version of Springsteen's fantasy. They were exactly the type of blue-collar guys that Springsteen purports to portray in his songs. On the night of the shooting, they were walking around a bad neighborhood looking for a rape suspect who was armed and dangerous.

I don't know how Bruce would have reacted in that situation, but I know how I would have reacted. And I certainly would not have shot anyone. That's because I would have been running away. Situations involving potentially violent felons, loaded guns and dark vestibules scare the hell out of me.

They scare the hell out of Bruce Springsteen, too. He just won't admit it. We suburban guys are not quite up to the challenges of the city streets. In my case, this is no problem. I'm not pretending to be the boss of anything except that little patch of lawn that serves as a buffer between me and the real world. But Bruce has spent his life trying to convince the world he's a tough guy from Jersey.

[ed. note: and now get ready as Mr. Mulshine genius unfolds]

He's not. I didn't know Springsteen back in the '60s, but many of my friends did. He was even skinnier and wimpier than the rest of us. And this stuff about his gritty, blue-collar upbringing is perhaps the biggest load of manure ever dumped on the American public. Yes, his father was a blue-collar worker. So was everyone's father. But we kids had lots of money because we could get summer jobs on the boardwalk and could buy cars, clothes and anything else we needed. His job, playing guitar in bar bands, was perhaps the best job a Shore kid could imagine.

Yet somehow he has created this working-class legend about how he "paid his dues" in those harsh six years between his high school graduation and his first major record deal. What a crock. The Beatles and Rolling Stones were born in England during World War II and grew up in an era when food and clothing were rationed. Yet they managed to create the best music in rock history without whining about wearing secondhand clothes and eating tinned ham.

But Springsteen -- who gives no indication of ever having worked a day at a real job -- has packaged himself as the hero of the working class. His problem now is that the cops actually believed this nonsense. They thought he was a guy who would understood the pressures of the job. They figured he'd realize there's not a cop in America who is not a split second away from making the same mistake the Diallo cops made. They feel betrayed and they're bitter.

They shouldn't be. From the very beginning, it was obvious that Springsteen wasn't writing about that class of people who do blue-collar work but about a theoretical class of workers lifted intact out of old Woody Guthrie songs. Why he feels obligated to peddle this nonsense I don't know.

The story is that a couple of egghead rock critics pulled him aside and convinced him he had to be "relevant." But his real talent lies in simple, straight-ahead rock songs about universal themes like girls, cars and beaches.

His fans love the rock songs and merely endure the "message" songs. Still, these songs serve a crucial function at concerts. If Springsteen kept doing only the good songs like "Rosalita," "Fourth of July, Asbury Park" and "Pink Cadillac," no one would ever get a chance to get some liquid refreshment or dispose of the inevitable byproducts.

Fortunately, he has a habit of mixing the good with the bad. Just when you've run out of brew, he'll start in on one of those songs from "Nebraska." Then he does a lot of good songs until around the time you need another break. Right on schedule, he'll start wailing about the Okies. You head to the men's room humming the theme from "Born to Run."

I suspect that once the furor dies down, this latest song will fall into that category -- "41 shots" will be followed by several thousand beers.

Paul Mulshine is a Star-Ledger columnist.

*****   end article   *****

Quickly, my 2 cents:

A new Bruce song addresing social issues?

With evocative lyrics?

And the E Streeters rocking by his side?

I'll take it everyday.

Proud to be a Bruce & E St fan,

"We're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood"

- --

Fernando Seco




Subject: 41 shoots observed from Madrid

Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 14:49:44 CEST

From: "JA C" <xacp@hotmail.com>

All this 41 shots controversy confirms once again time that Bruce is perhaps the most missinterpreted author in history of music.

Once more, Bruce is singing about something purely American but of an universal scope. It's easy to reduce the meaning of Bruce music to just a representation of America, overall after BITUSA, but what makes him so great is that those New Jersey roads an bars, could be in any other part of the world. Just change names. When he sings about father and son or men and women relationships, he is singing about feelings and communication, about fear and hope, this is done from an American point of view, but it can be easily understood and assumeded everywhere. The same with his music during the 80's, when not just in America were closing factorys. When I first heared My Hometown, Bruce was singing to me not about Freehold, NJ but about "ny hometown", a small town in Spain where the shipyard was being closed.

Again, now when he is singing about the Diallo killing, he is singing about how a good working citizen can be killed just for being in the wrong place and by governments which many times use power in perverse ways. He is talking about freedom, as simple as that. And again, freedom is a top value for the American society, but once more is perhaps the most valued and unrespected human value.

But I want to try to read this from outside America, and take advantage for making a consideration on Bruce relevance in the 90's. I didn't want to enter into this discussion before, but I guess what this song does is simply confirm what direction he is giving to his music, and what king of issues he wants to talk about. And when an artistis is able to open (or reopen) a discussion about any social issue, just by singing an unrecorded song in just one concert, that's relevance. And if this makes whole pages in newspapers overseas (as is happening in Europe), that's relevance.

I am one of those fans who thinks that Bruces has nothing to do with setting new standards or trends in rock and roll music today, that should be the mission of younger and newer artists. But I personally love the paths he is exploring. I prefer a 60 years old Bruce playing in small venues but with dignity (I'm thinking of Ray Charles, Dylan or even Van Morrison)much more than a Bruce trying to remember his glory days hiding behind smoke and fireworks in a Stadium. Thank god, he is not doing this.

Jose A. Cachaza


Subject: Bruce in Newsweek

Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 13:18:08 -0400

From: "Wheeler, Sherry" <wheeler@kgc.thyssenkrupp.com>

In light of all of the recent hullabaloo over "American Skin", I thought I'd create a brief diversion and point out that Bruce made Newsweek's Periscope page in the June 19th edition.  The gist is concert T's, and mentions that some pre-BitUSA shirts are worth as much as $75.  The article also states that "This year's tour of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band brought the love affair between the star and his believers to a new pitch:  he sang their obscure favorites, and they helped him set three new records."  Those records being:  Most total attendance at Meadowlands (1,272,503); Most arena shows in a row (Meadowlands); and Most Madison Sq. Garden shows in a row (10). This further illustrates something my very elderly grandmother said to me recently, "That Bruce Springfield - he's everywhere!"

Sherry Wheeler

Subject: exploiting

Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 08:28:29 PDT

From: "Jeff Andriesse" <jandriesse@hotmail.com>

The dumbest of many dumb things I have heard from the police spokespeople and some segments of the media is that Bruce Springsteen is exploiting a tragedy for his own personal gain.  How can a man who already has more money than he can ever spend benefit from playing a song that is not on an album at concerts that are already sold out?  And whether American Skin is on his next album or not (hopefully it is...hopefully there IS an album!) he will sell the same amount of copies.  If Bruce wants to get back on the charts and exploit anything, he should collaborate with N'Sync or have Carlos Santana play a guitar line on his next song.  He's playing American Skin to show concern and light a fire under the middle-aged white suburban crowds of his who tend to forget that things such as the Diallo incident still go on in this country and just want to hear Glory Days and Born in the U.S.A.



Subject: Monday night

Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 13:12:20 EDT

From: MBarry1671@aol.com

Did anyone else see the creep who approached the front of the stage while Bruce was singing American Skin, pulled out a badge, held it out  towards Bruce, then gave him the finger while yelling obscenities at him?  I was sitting in 414 (directly behind the stage) looking through binoculars and almost fell out of my chair as this scene was unfolding. Although the creep was not in uniform it appeared to be a valid cops badge. Security surrounded him and started pushing him off towards the side. When he got in front of Clarence he broke loose and did the same thing. From there I lost sight of him and don't know if he was removed or what. I turned to my friend sitting next to me and asked if he'd witnessed the situation.  He, nor anyone else around me, seemed to notice. I was the only one looking through binoculars at the time. I've not seen any mention of it in any press or LTD, etc. Please respond if you saw anything.

Mike Barry


Subject: Race

Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 14:45:11 -0400 (EDT)

From: "CHAR R. MILLER" <cmillerd@osf1.gmu.edu>

I just wanted to echo Michael Whalen's comments about race in this country.  I was always sort of surprised that no one ever mentioned Springsteen's "State Trooper" during discussions of Ice-T's "Cop Killer."  I always figured it had somthing to do with Springsteen's rather glorified position among politicians and the fact that few people ever took the time to listen to what the man said on "Nebraska."

Turns out its really just about race.  As long as it is a white man with guns, even aimed at the police, there is very little public reaction, but as soon as those guns are owned by black men, ala "Cop Killer" there is a huge reaction.  The "American Skin" controversy could be even more disappointing, since Springsteen only suggests that the life of a black man is valuable.  Surprising and sickening that such a suggestion causes such a commotion.



Char Miller

Assistant Professor of Government and Politics

Department of Public and International Affairs

George Mason University


Subject: Re: True Story

Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 18:28:53 -0400

From: Mark J Thompson <M_THOMPSON@stblaw.com>

I had a great experience after the show Monday night that I hope you might enjoy.

I had to leave early to get some sleep before catching a 6 am flight, so I left before the encores.  I stood on 7th Avenue for a while until I caught a cab (standing by the blue police barricades that had contained the picket lines earlier in the evening).  Finally caught a cab and, after telling the driver, a West African immigrant, where I wanted to go, I had the following conversation with him:

He: "Were you at the concert?"

Me: "yes"

"Is it over?"

"No, I had to leave early"

"Was it good?"

"it was great!"


"Did he sing it - the song - 41 bullets, I mean 41 shots - did he sing that song?"

"Yes, he did!

" He did?  He really did? He sang 41 shots?"

"Yes, he really did."

"OH!  He is a man!  A real man!"

"It is a very powerful song.  He sings the words '41 shots' over and over quietly. [ I give him an example] It's very powerful."

"You know, I saw him once, in 1988, he came to Africa with Sting and I saw him."

"Where in Africa?"

"In Abidjian, the Ivory Coast.  He was there with the black lady, what's her name?"

"Tracy Chapman."

"Yes and that englishman..."

"Peter Gabriel."

"Yes, they were there for some human rights or United Nations tour."

"Amnesty International."

"Yes, Amnesty.  I saw him there.  1988.  He is a good man.  He is not afraid to take a stand."

And so we went on, a West African taxi driver and a typical suburban white guy, two fans united by the power of Bruce Springsteen's words, music and soul.

Going back tonight for more.


LuckyTown Digest        Saturday, June 17 2000        Volume 07 : Number 118

Subject: Note of sanity regarding American Skin

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 10:29:25 -0400

From: Frank Hankey <FHankey@InfoAppSys.com>

No one posted this yet, but there was a letter to the NY Times on Wednesday from a NYC Police lieutenant. Most reassuring. I believe most cops are sincere public servants but I had begun to have doubts in the light of the level of commentary from various so-called representatives. He injects a much needed note of sanity in a few paragraphs.

To the editor:

Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, is making a serious mistake in criticizing Bruce Springsteen over "American Skin," his song about the shooting of Amadou Diallo. The song's lyrics include repetition of the words "41 shots." Artists are not supposed to follow strict political lines. They have to speak "from the gut" if they are to communicate honestly with the public. Furthermore, artists are supposed to shake people out of their complancency, not protect them from embarrassment and controversy. Trying to muzzle those who refer to this tragedy is wrong. Mr. Springsteen has generally been a supporter of police officers, giving generously to police charities. Attacks on him are not only unfair but also counterproductive.

Michael J. Gorman

The writer is a New York City police lieutenant

BTW, John Tierney wrote a column in the NY Times earlier in the week that would compete strongly with the Paul Mulshine article for "dumbest" so far.

Thanks to Bruce for writing this beautiful, haunting song. Far from interrupting the healing process, I think it contributes to a more genuine kind healing, one that asks us to examine the tragedy and try to understand such a thing could happen.

Frank Hankey


Subject: Reply to Paul Mulshine's column

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 08:20:58 -0500

From: Tom Grier <TGrier@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU>

I don't normally get too riled up about something, but in LuckyTown Digest V7 #117, Fernando Seco <fseco@iai.csic.es> posted the text of what he called "The stupidest article so far."  Fernando was right. This guy is a no-mind. I couldn't resist, I worte to him at the paper, and thought you might like to see my letter:


Paul Mulshine, Columnist, New Jersey Star-Ledger (in response to 6/15/00 column "Fake working-class hero gets under this American's skin")

You, sir, are an uninformed fool.

To be fair, your column busting Bruce Springsteen's chops for writing songs that tackle some of America's internal problems is full of your opinion, and that's what an opinion column is supposed to be.

But, please state YOUR OWN opinion, and don't speak for Springsteen Fans.

You obviously are not one, and don't have a clue what fans like.  Your statement, "his fans love the rock songs and merely endure the 'message' songs," is so incredibly wrong.  Yes, we love his rock songs, but if you ever spent anytime reading the LuckyTown email list for Springsteen fans, you'd know that most of the discussion is on Bruce's "message" songs.

We discuss the surface tension in his songs, the depth of his lyrical study of important social issues, and how we felt after having heard the songs.  Some of the central themes in Bruce's music have changed over the years.  He has grown and matured and his focus on what's important has also matured.  Interestingly, most of his fans who were there for the "cars, roads, girls, work" songs of the 70s, are still here and listening and thinking about the messages in Bruce's "poverty, hunger, drugs, AIDS, desperation" songs.

You, apparently, still only think about running for another brew, whenever you might be challenged to think.  That says a lot about you and your opinion.  Fine.  Just don't project that onto Bruce Springsteen fans in general.  You're way off.

- -- Tom Grier, Winona, Minn.

- --

''''''   ''''''            Tom Grier  (tgrier@VAX2.Winona.MSUS.EDU)

  ''     ''  <'                Director of Public Information

  ''     ''''''         Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota USA

"All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental." -- Kurt Vonnegut


Subject: Letter to the Reactionaries

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 00:17:27 -0400

From: "Zur, John Francis, JR (John)" <jzur@lucent.com>

To the Reactionaries,

I recommend that you take the time to listen to the song "41 Shots" a couple of times. Don't pre-judge or overreact. Do a little more home work on some of Bruce Springsteen's motivations behind writing these types of songs. I'll get you started:

Musician Magazine, November 1984 p.54 2nd column

Mr. Springsteen states: "I just wanted it to feel like an everyday, darlington county kind of thing. Like in 'Glory Days', it sounds like you're just talking to somebody; that's what I wanted to do. Wanted to make it feel like you meet somebody. The 'Nebraska' stuff was like that: you meet somebody and you walk a little while in their shoes and see what their life is like. And then what does that mean to you? That's kind of  the direction my writing's going in and in general it's just the thing I end up finding most satisfying. Just saying what somebody had to say and not making too big a deal out of it."

Mr. Springsteen is a gifted songwriter and has written a song that puts you in both the victim's and the cop's shoes so you can see things from both points of view. It doesn't matter where you are from, how much money you have, etc - the fact is, Mr. Springsteen is a talented artist and has touched, helped and inspired many fans like myself. Go ahead, try and actually listen to the song this time ...

John Z

Subject: 41 Shots and Two Cents

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 08:23:40 -0700

From: "matt " <unclempc@mind.net>

Couple of thoughts on all of this:

Has Springsteen ever said he was a member of the working class? I can't recall, though he has sung about us blue collar folks (as well as other segments of society; i.e. immigrants, people w/ AIDs). Does singing about people make them one of their subjects?

Did anyone protest over Ghost of Tom Joad (or for that matter the film Grapes of Wrath)? I seem to recall the line "Wherever a cop's beatin' a guy"...

And finally:The same laws about freedom of expression that allow Bruce to sing about whatever, also allow his critics to say whatever. But as John Rocker found out, freedom of expression does have some fallout-in terms of public opinion.

Personally, this uproar doesn't bother me one bit. I seem to recall a group, possibly the National Organization of Women urging a boycott in the 80's, for Springsteen 'degrading' women by calling them 'baby', 'honey', 'darling', etc.  Or something like that.

My advice:Enjoy the music, learn from it. But don't allow someone else's hatred/dislike to affect you.  Because then, the person with the hatred has won.


Subject: RE: Did anyone else see the creep ...

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 10:44:43 -0400

From: "Feeney, Brian" <Brian.feeney@MercerMC.com>

>Did anyone else see the creep who approached the front of the stage while

>Bruce was singing American Skin, pulled out a badge, held it out  towards

>Bruce, then gave him the finger while yelling obscenities at him?

Hi Mike -

I was MIB-ed to front row center and here was what I saw as posted on LiveDaily boards previously:

"The audience was still applauding when Bruce started into American Skin/41 Shots. The arrangement was a little different from Atlanta as Patty, Nils, Clarence, and Steven each sang a solo 41 shots in the intro as opposed to all of them singing in unison. About this time, a stout built guy in a grey t-shirt and shorts pushed his way between me and the camera man at the front of the stage. I was watching Bruce and didn't see him until he bounced off me (I'm 6'5" and about 280#, but he was pretty hefty too so he gave me a good shot as he pushed by). He was flashing a badge, so security pretty much ignored him at first. He stopped right in front of Bruce and held the badge in his left hand and flipped him the bird with his right hand. he was also yelling at Bruce who was so into the song I'm not sure he really saw the guy. Patty did and got a panicked look on her face and about that time the two security guys finally started to move the man away. He stopped in front of Nil's and again held up the badge and the finger. Same thing in front of Clarence. Bruce's security guy came across from the right and caught up with them at that point and they promptly moved him off the floor towards the side exit."

If you still had your binoculars trained on the front during Promised Land Mike, I was the guy Bruce flipped the harmonica to. I let it come to me which was the wrong move as the overzealous lady two seats to my right dove in front and knocked it onto the floor further down our row.

All in all a great show. I was still in withdrawals as I read last nights setlist.


Subject: random ramblings / musings

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 12:53:25 -0400

From: "Barnett, Karen" <BarnettK@DNB.com>

I feel compelled to post once or twice a year and bore everyone with my random thoughts.  It's that time of year again.

First off, I want to congratulate the person that received Dave's 'stupidest' comment.  Dave has been on this list for a long time and that time included some of the most inane discussions that I have ever heard. This should be considered quite an honor.

I had the joy of being at last night's show (06/15/00).  Some questions. The last show that I saw was the Meadowlands last summer.  Has Bruce been as loose as he seemed to be last night in recent times or is it because this is the last stand?  By loose I mean in a joking, laughing, hamming it up fashion.

Did anyone else think that Clarence was having a hard time?  It just seemed to me that he was getting winded easily.  I thought this after the Asbury warm up show and then at the Meadowlands he seemed better.

Also, a plea.  I've shared my extras and if anyone could possible share a 07/01/00 ticket it would be appreciated. Where is the ticket drop line at MSG physically located?

Having heard it live, I can say that 41 Shots is a great song.  It was beautifully performed with multiple voices on the refrain. As to the controversy, I have the utmost respect for any police officer. It is a difficult job to say the least.  No one can predict what they would have done in the same situation;  shoot or not.  I take the song as a statement not a negative or positive statement just a statement.  It happened.  To ignore it does not change that nor does it bring a young life back. Perhaps the president of the PBA would like to comment on where his 900 officers on duty last Sunday were when 40 women were being assaulted in Central Park.

By the way, and I could be wrong in this, but didn't Bruce contribute bullet proof vests years ago in Asbury?

Enough until another six months or so pass.


Subject: This needs repeating.

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 13:56:01 -0400

From: "Dale Ahearn" <dales@ix.netcom.com>

I posted this in 99 in answer to a thread.  It seems to bear a repeat in light of the new song (do I have to say its' name?).

- --------------

From Steve Sutherland's piece in the Joad tour book:

"Springsteen casts no stones.  He dispenses no judgment....

Springsteen accepts that violence is part of the human condition and, no matter how determined we are to establish and protect society, it will only ever be a tissue of morals to be brutalized again and again.

The search for reasons, for a code by which to continue, is constantly shattered....

The total pointlessness of it all.......

And yet, those hopes, those dreams....

There is no promised land, of course, but there is a comfort and a reason to persist in the vision.

And so is there succor in embracing harsh reality."

- ---------------

As careful as Bruce is about his "product", I assume he might as well have written that himself.

Bruce's work is for me a hand in the dark and thanks to him I have "lucky graveyard boots and a song to sing."


church of Bruce

"Those three hours, man, are a real community. Hopefully, people will take that back into their lives." Little Steven

LuckyTown Digest         Sunday, June 18 2000         Volume 07 : Number 119

Subject: Re: American Skin/Lost in the Flood

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 15:49:44 -0400

From: Mark J Thompson <M_THOMPSON@stblaw.com>

The last verse of Lost in the Flood makes an interesting contrast with American Skin.

Some storefront incarnation of Maria, she's puttin' on me the stare and Bronx's best apostle stands with his hand on his own hardware Everything stops, you hear five, quick shots, the cops come up for air And now the whiz-bang gang from uptown, they're shootin' up the street And that cat from the Bronx starts lettin' loose but he gets blown right off his feet And some kid comes blastin' round the corner but a cop puts him right away He lays on the street holding his leg screaming something in Spanish Still breathing when I walked away And somebody said "Hey man did you see that? His body hit the street with such a  beautiful thud" I wonder what the dude was sayin' or was he just lost in the flood? Hey man, did you see that, those poor cats are sure messed up I wonder what they were gettin' into, or were they just lost in the flood?

Subject: Jon Pareles

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 11:59:42 PDT

From: "Robert G Pietranton Jr" <robertpie@hotmail.com>

<<<Subject: NYT review of 6/12--This is a great review of the "American Skin" and the show.  The author has done his homework on Bruce :)>>>

Jon Pareles...one of the few great rock critics still typing out commentary in the brave new world.  I remember being a little surprised at his pan of "Tracks," but found his review of the 6-12 show and analysis of the American Skin (41 Shots) situation to be the most commanding and authoritative writing yet produced on the "controversy."  He is a writer not to be missed when he appears in the Times.

LuckyTown Digest        Tuesday, June 20 2000        Volume 07 : Number 120

Subject: Jack Newfield's Post column

Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 10:26:37 -0400

From: Robert Fitzpatrick <rafitz@earthlink.net>

Hi, Luckytowners. Here's another opinion piece re "41Shots" from last Tuesday's New York Post. Interesting because it was in the same issue as an editorial that ranks right up there with Mulshine and Tierney as the stupidest pieces written by people who just don't get it. Newfield gets it.




THE PBA is either planting evidence or framing the wrong guy when it attacks Bruce Springsteen as anti-police for his new song - "American Skin" -about the death of Amadou Diallo. And the claim that Springsteen's creative inspiration is financial greed is pathetic in its ignorance. Springsteen has written about 500 songs since 1973 and doesn't need the money. With this one, the Boss is just doing his job, which is being an American artist with integrity. For 25 years, Bruce has been the role model for how to be an American celebrity with dignity. No arrests, no scandals, no disco brawls, no thug bodyguards. Just hard work and private charity. He's like those old-fashioned movie stars, like Paul Newman and Robert Redford, who are both gentlemen and artists. Leo and Pufy should study at Bruce's feet. Bruce has done countless benefits and donated millions of dollars, without fanfare, to small, local causes he believes in - unions, strike tunds, food pantries, homeless shelters, citizen action groups, Vietnam veterans. In 1998, he did a benefit perforrnance that raised $100,000 for the widow and children of a New Jersey cop, Sgt. Patrick King, who was killed in the line of duty. King's widow, Maureen, told reporters Sunday, "Bruce came to the aid of myself, my family, and the police department. I'll never forget thatHe is a very caring and generous person." For two generations, the heroes and heroines of rock 'n' roll have destroyed themselves with drugs, excess, violence and self-indulgence. Just think about Frankie Lymon, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Tupac Shakur, Keith Moon, Brian Jones, Sid Vicious, Jimi Hendrix and so many others. Springsteen is the opposite story. He became a serious grownup without a rap sheet. He wrote mature songs about eroticism, love, divorce, family, faith and memory. He walked away from the rock star machinery, made untrendy acoustical albums and tried to live as normal a life as possible. He made the gap between the American Dream and the everyday reality of working families the theme in some of his best songs, making art out of working-class life in great songs like "My Hometown", "Johnny 99", "Seeds", "The River" and "Youngstown", which is about jobless iron workers. Bruce has never lost his working-class anger at the dead end of low expectations and absence of hope in places like where he grew up on the Jersey Shore. Pat Lynch, the PBA's new president, came into office mouthing a promise of intelligence and real unionism. His attack on Springsteen is a crushing disillusionment. This Diallo song doesn't criticize the police. It never mentions the police. It memorializes the victim. As Dylan once sang, "Don't criticize what you can't understand." The PBA should have just shut up. Most of Bruce's songs are not overtly political. But enough are so that "American Skin" fits neatly into a canon, a tradition. Bruce won the Academy Award for his song about the horror of AIDS - "Streets of Philadelphia. Veterans love "Born in the USA", a misunderstood anthem about those who fought the Vietnam War. I have seen Bruce perform about 15 times since 1976, and each time he gave the audience everything he had. He left his perspiration and inspiration in puddles on the stage in four-hour performances. His final encore of a 1985 Giants Stadium show was the most beautitul version of "This Land is Your Land." It was acoustic, and 80,000 people were dead silent, listening to the words, including the infrequently sung verse about the unemployed and the relief office. Springsteen is a patriot who loves America. The Diallo song is just his latest attempt to bring America's reality closer to the promise offered in the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, FDR's inaugural address and Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The Boss is real. There is a purity in his songs. Go join the mass religious experience at the Garden, if you can get a ticket. You will probably see more cops singing along inside than picketing outside, because Bruce speaks to the soul of working people with hard jobs. He is pro-cop, pro-American and pro-justice.


Subject: reply from NY COP ONLINE MAGAZINE

Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 08:36:34 -0700

From: ROUSSEAU RICHARD <richardrousseau@home.com>

Mr. Reuss,

Thank you for your reply; I was not expecting, or even looking for one, and it is appreciated.

Unfortunately, "American Skin/41 Shots" has elicited attention and controversy not because of its content or performance, but because of the reaction of Mr. Lynch and other NYPD leaders.  You mention that it was Mr. Lynch's obligation to respond. I'd qualify that statement by saying that especially because of his position of leadership, he should be responding not by reflex, but only after thoughtful consideration.

A policeman's work, by its very nature, is so often brutally difficult because he or she simply does not have the luxury of time to consider his or her reaction.  Mr. Lynch, on the hand, had all the time in the world to listen to the song, attend the show, maybe request a meeting with Mr. Springsteen to discuss his concerns, and come out with a public statement several days after.  That reaction would likely have contributed to the healing process instead of politicizing what is an inherently apolitical song about the cost of racial tension.  The cops in the song are remorseful, the song sad yet redemptive:

41 shots and we'll take that ride

Across this bloody river to the other side

41 shots my boots caked in mud

We're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood

It is not an angry song, and I certainly don't hear any accusatory tone.  Quite the contrary, Mr. Diallo and the people who shot him are forever linked and a part of each other in the song.  The song is not "targeting" the NYPD, nor "using" the tragedy.  The song gives a human voice to the consequences of racial tension, for all the victims of society, including those who fired the 41 shots.  Mr. Springsteen's entire opus is about we, not us and them.  I for one am a more compassionate person on account of Mr. Springsteen's music.

Suggesting a boycott is a thoughtless, inappropriate and entirely uncalled for reaction. I strongly encourage you and any other police leaders to publicly retract a call for a boycott that does little but suggest censorship of meaningful art, art that ultimately makes our society a better place.  Both the NYPD and Mr. Springsteen have the same objectives, why are you picking a fight with him?

Richard Rousseau

NYCOP wrote:


> Richard,


> Thanks for your response to NY COP ONLINE MAGAZINE WWW.NYCOP.COM


> The death of Amadou Diallo received voluminous coverage by the press and TV

> worldwide.  All the court testimony was broadcast throughout the world.

> I think that people of good recognize the diffculties that police officers

> face and expecially are aware of the tragic events that led up to the

> shooting.


> Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen know the powerful influence that they

> exercise when tney use a socially explosive incident such as the Diallo

> case.  We should be  shocked by the corruption and brutality of police

> agencies in other parts of the world.  Yet, the spotlight is focused on the

> NYPD.   I fear that the NYPD is an easy target.  We wash our laundry in

> public face up to our mistakes.  Songs should be written about police forces

> that terrorize their citizens and where acts of brutality are everyday

> policy.


> The police officers involved in this case are still facing a possible

> federal prosecution and also are subject to civil litigation.  The PBA

> President Patrick Lynch would not be fulfilling his role as the leader of

> his police membership if he didn't take action to respond.


>                                                                 Edward D.

> Reuss


> CaptReuss@nycop.com


> ----- Original Message -----

> From: <richardrousseau@home.com>

> To: <nycop@pouch.com>

> Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2000 11:38 AM

> Subject: Nycop Contact


> > street_address   = 2633 country woods drive

> > city   = surrey

> > state   = canada

> > zip   = v4a 9r2

> > email   = richardrousseau@home.com

> > comments   = I've sent a message to the president of the PBA, Mr. Lynch,

> in regards to his call  for a boycott of Mr. Springsteen's concerts in NYC.

> What this president  fails to understand is that Mr. Springsteen's song

> might actually  contribute to the public's understanding of and compassion

> for the  tremendous difficulties your members face everyday.  I urge you to

> ask  him to reconsider his position, and ask your membership to look at the

> song from this perspective.

> > phone   = 604-541-7357

> > FormsButton6.x   = 16

> > FormsButton6.y   = 12

> >

> > -------------------------------------------------

> > Form processed at Sat Jun 10 11:38:56 EDT 2000

> >


LuckyTown Digest        Wednesday, June 21 2000        Volume 07 : Number 122

Subject: American Skin mentioned in "Der Spiegel"

Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 18:38:45 +0200

From: Achim Schmidt <garp@netcologne.de>

There's a short (and fair) article about the "American Skin"-controversy in germans leading news-magazine, "DER SPIEGEL", from 06/19/00, on page 237.


Subject: American Skin Debate

Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 19:51:22 +0200 (MET DST)

From: Frank Schulz <fschulz@rz.uni-potsdam.de>

Have you noticed that finally LTD is back to the songs of Bruce? I am so happy about the recent mails debating the CONTENT of a new Springsteen song. The man has given the world something to think about! I was so tired of reading complaints about tickets, sounds, and not played favorites. Now, LTD is back to what it should be: a network for interested Bruce fan who love the songs 'that mean something' and like to share their opinions about what that is.

Thanks to all critics and fans for taking part in the discussion.

Bye from Germany,

Frank Schulz.


Subject: LTD-Were Big Time Now!!!/Clinton Staffers for Bruce

Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 16:21:21 EDT

From: PLucas1818@aol.com

Hey Luckytowners:

Just happened to pick up the latest copies of Time, US News and World Report, and Newsweek. Chock full of Bruce!

Probably the most interesting is Eugenie Allen's "We Love The Boss" in this week's (June 26, 2000) Time (p. 82). Eugenie, relates how her Bruce's music has kept her relationship with her husband cooking. The thrid paragraph says it all "Not long ago, my husband got me a subscription to the Bruce Forum at "Luckytown". 'Nuff said!

Also in Time a very funny? piece "Cops and Rokcers"  (p.20) which traces Bruce's relationships with the police and songs. Mr. State Trooper and Johnny 99 ar elisted as "Pro Cop" while "Working On The Highway" is listed as having a "anti cop" stance. Jungleland?-"No clue".

U.S. News & World Report has a good tidbit (P. 7). "Loyalty To The Boss" which describes how Press Secretary Joe Lockart and Deputy National Security Advisor James Steinberg took a Road Trip (let's hope it wasn't the movie kind), to see Bruce at the Garden last week. Lockart is described by a friend as a "Serious Sprngsteen groupie" and as being friends with Max. What I want to know is where was Bill (as in why didn't he make the show?) as they later hooked up with President Clinton in the city. On page 11 there is also a tidbit about the controversy.

Maybe the best article is in Newsweek (June 26, 2000, p. 66). "Springsteen and The Blues" does a good job defending Bruce noting that "American Skin" is "more a general rumination" on the American problem of race.

So in sum, its maybe not the simultaneous covers of Time and Newsweek, but not a bad week for Bruce in the mags. And Luckytown?... Hope Majordomo can handle it!!!

Thanks to all who are providing info on the MSG drops. Hope to see you there.


P.S. My choice for the opener of closing night assuming its the last show ever by the band (yeah, right!). of course I want it to be the most rockin' show ever (how about reverting back to the two set 4 1/2 format for one night?) . Need one more or so newbies off of "Tracks" and to build on the theme of "This Train". How about ..."Leavin' Train"?  As for a closer. if it were to be the last song together, I'd have no trouble with "No Surrender" or "Born To Run" (maybe we'll already be at that place where we really want to go).

Save room for me on the train...

Subject: Re: "Note of Sanity Regarding 'American Skin,' " #118

Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 19:10:44 -0400

From: Dean_Ahearn@tax.org

Mr. Hankey, we have a counterpoint.

From another NYPD lieutenant, in fact.

Lt. Michael J. Gorman, who wrote the letter to The New York Times you cite at #118, wisely notes in the spirit of conciliation that "Mr. Springsteen has generally been a supporter of police officers, giving generously to police charities. Attacks on him are not only unfair but also counterproductive." But the following Saturday, June 17, an op-ed piece by Lt. George Mole' of the NYPD -- an avowed fan, at least until the airing of "American Skin," and someone who it seems ought to know better -- appeared in the Times. Lt. Mole' calls "Skin" "an amazingly shallow and unbalanced song about the death of Amadou Diallo . . . " The lieutenant flatly states: "Bruce Springsteen's empathy and understanding do not appear to extend to people like me: police officers."

The rest of this post, Frank, is to Lt. Mole', assuming he looks in here from time to time. (From the moving way the lieutenant describes sharing "Drive All Night" with a friend who'd never heard it, I'd imagine he does.) Lt. Mole', I hope you're reading -- not because I'm the Font of All Wisdom, but just because I think we need to talk.

You say his empathy doesn't extend to you. "Is it a gun? Is it a knife? Is it a wallet? This is your life." Lieutenant, that's an officer thinking. And I'd say there's empathy there. I don't think there's anyone who can't at least imagine how that feels, and doesn't feel the pain of a life snuffed out with one bullet in a case of mistaken identity -- the pain of all involved.

The burning question here is repeated in the song's overture: "41 shots." All everyone who wasn't there wants to know is: Why was that necessary? Put a bit better: Why, and how, did that happen? I've got to tell you, Lt. Mole', that I'd wonder if I lived in the Bronx.

Anyone who uses this incident to condemn the entire NYPD is a fool. Even given the recent mob violence on Puerto Rico Day in Central Park, I don't think anyone can question whether New York City is a safer place nowadays, or ask who's largely responsible. But the question has to be asked, Lt. Mole' -- and answered. And an acquittal on murder charges isn't an answer. 41 shots? 41? That number is why this was news to begin with. Why?

I've had a gun pulled on me by a police officer, Lt. Mole', in Maryland. And as upset as I was by it -- and I told him so -- I could almost understand why he did it. I'd entered a dragnet, apparently, and he asked me to get my license and registration. I might have moved a bit to fast for comfort, I don't know; I was just doing what he'd asked. But apparently the person they were looking for was "armed and dangerous," and they had to be ready. But I lived to tell him how much he'd scared me. 41 shots. I wonder.

Lt. Mole', you accuse Springsteen of "implying, viciously, that the police killed Amadou Diallo because he was black" when he sings "You can get killed just for living in your American skin." The clear meaning, to me: You can die if you're black. Or white. Or blue.

Lieutenant, you ask: "Can Springsteen not see that the four officers, like Amadou Diallo himself, were working men who wanted to go home that night, who wanted to see their families again?"

He sees. He responds: "Is it a gun? Is it a knife? Is it a wallet? This is your life." That, Lt. Mole, is a direct answer to your question, given before you even asked it.

They all wanted to go home. They all knew they might not -- I'm assuming, giving them the benefit of the doubt. But the question still hangs: 41 shots?

And Springsteen asks it. Because no one else really has.

Lt. Mole', you argue that the verse in which the mother instructs her son on how to behave if stopped implies "that cops are dangerous animals who must not be provoked." I've been there, Lt. Mole', and I know it's exactly the opposite. "Never ever run away" -- because only suspects do that. (I didn't run; I knew I didn't have to. A little boy might not.) "Keep your hands in sight" -- because how do you expect an officer to know for sure otherwise? Sounds to me as if the woman in the verse might be married to a police officer. Or might have lost one. Remember, these days kids shoot kids -- and, sometimes, adults. Bruce knows that, and so do we.

Lt. Mole' -- and all other police officers who might read this -- please think before you speak, before you write, before you post, or anything else about censuring someone who seems to have a great deal of empathy for what you go through and how tough your job is. He just might be one of the best friends you have. And because there are going to be a lot more people who jump to the exact opposite conclusions, you need all of those friends. Thanks.

- -- Dean