Friday, December 9, 2016

the last book I ever read (Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, excerpt eight)

from Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen:

Vini could be the warmest, most soulful guy inn the world one minute, truly kind, and then go completely postal within seconds. As time passed this wore on some of the band members who bore the brunt of the Mad Dog’s wrath. Danny had taken his lumps. Steve Appel, Mike’s younger brother, who helped out on the road, took a pop in the eye, and so did countless strangers who’d stumbled across the Dog’s intemperate side. Going out with Vini was risky business. One night we headed to a second-floor beach bar. As I was climbing the stairs to the entrance I saw a body tumbling by me on its way back to floor one. It was Vini. He was being thrown out before we even managed to get in! The accompaniment of Big Danny stepping in at the right moment and altering someone’s attitude occasionally saved us from trouble. Vini showed up at a gig one night all bruised and scratched up. He had his enemies, and someone had found out Vini rode his bike home down the boardwalk to Bradley after the gig every night at three thirty a.m. Some vengeful soul had stretched a thin wire from the railing across the boards right at bicycle tire level. Mad Dog hit it at speed and got launched head over handlebars into an ass full of splinters, cuts and bruises.

Then . . . he took it one step too far. One afternoon he managed to drive Clarence Clemons around the bend. C went off, strangling the hell out of Vini’s skinny neck, holding him down on the floor and smashing a heavy stereo speaker inches from his head in an attempt to bring the enlightenment. Vini got up, ran out of the house and made a beeline to my garage apartment in Bradley Beach. He looked like he’d just escaped a hanging but had spent a few moments too long dangling, eyes popping, legs shaking, at the end of the rope. He showed me huge red welts around his neck, screamed that Clarence had tried to murder him and uttered the immortal ultimatum, “Brucie, it’s him or me.” Not the best way to sum up your grievances on E Street, but it was my band, my town, I was mayor, judge, jury and sheriff, so I calmed him down and told him I’d look into it.

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