Welcome to Part 2 of the 1977 article on the Asbury Park NJ beach & club scene:
I recently discovered a magazine from 1977. “Intune”, billed as “young New Jersey’s entertainment magazine”. I couldn’t find any information on the magazine & don’t know if they ever published another issue. But I was taken with this article on the Asbury Park NJ beach, boardwalk & club scene. I published part one in my blog last week if you want to catch up. Here’s part two. Amazing how some things never change. Keep in mind that this article is 43 years old.
“ASBURY PARK” by Carol Maso Fall 1977 (part 2)
Things aren’t as smooth as they might be down here. Edward English, town councilman and villain, has initiated a referendum to stop all live music in Asbury Park. Eighty percent of the population is made up of blacks and senior citizens, most of who are not exactly into rock and roll. the town councilmen seem to think that Asbury Park is getting a bad name. The fact is, not so many years ago, Asbury Park was a losers’ beach. No one came. It was following in the steps on its sister, Atlantic City. It was dying.
Since the success of Springsteen and the Jukes, and the rock renaissance, the place is packed. The past Fourth of July was the best ever. The average age dropped ten years from the previous years. They pour in from everywhere, just hoping to get a glimpse of Bruce, see the Jukes play pool, or catch a good act. New York city comes to Asbury Park more often than the other way around. There are rock movies at the Paramount. Even live concerts have found a new home there, in addition to the Convention Hall. Rock and roll has pumped energy and money into this broken resort spot. “They should build a statue to Bruce Springsteen here”, says Mike. “Without Bruce and the ocean this town would be worse than Newark.”
Still English and the others say all of this is giving Asbury Park a poor image. The town council complains about the noise, crowds, and drugs. The town hassles the hell out of the kids. Emotions run high.
Only the ocean is indifferent.
It’s hot and the merry-go-round horses spin by so fast they make you dizzy. A father stuffs taffy into his mouth. “They don’t make it like here anywhere else,” he says. Pretty girls pass. The man that runs the Funhouse lecherously looks on. Palm readers and fortune tellers cackle from inside their dark booths. They know when you will die.
Asbury Park is the kind of place where, if you have a good tan at least a hundred people have better ones. If you are fat, an army of fat people are crowding you out of the water. If you are beautiful, it is a beach filled with beauties. If you’re cool, there are countless cool kids. It is a place rich in possibility and devoid of possibility. It embraces every form of life and death. It is as wonderful and horrible as the whole world itself.
Better than any history book, better than anything I, or anyone else, can scrawl on the cold page, Bruce’s records tell what Asbury Park is. Asbury Park is special, and not just for the summer. It is specials because it provides the energy, the despair, the cheap thrills, the hopes, the violence, the dream material that makes rock and roll. Bruce Springsteen is more special. Asbury Park has a million stories to tell, if we only had the heart to tell them, if we only had the ears to hear them. Bruce does.
New Jersey has never been a cool place to come from in the eyes of the rest of the country. Squished between the Big Apple and the City of Brotherly Love, its politics are scandalous, its weather rancid. Its cities make good party jokes. But, now they’re walking tall down here. The local boys, with chests pushed out, say they wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. You see, they say, its the only place left where a good band can get a decent break; where you can just park your car and hit nine or ten clubs, and get good rock and roll all day and all night.
INTERESTED IN THE 1977 INTERVIEW WITH SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY?
We’ll reprint in a future post–so make sure to visit our blog page to keep up with coolness of the past and present!
Do you have any info on “Intune” magazine or author Carol Maso? Please let us know!