'The Boss' Does Surprise Gig

Associated Press, 1994-08, by:
Before Bruce Springsteen became the Boss, he honed his talents at local bars along the Jersey Shore. The Freehold native still appears at shore bars occasionally. He showed up unannounced early Sunday at the Marz American Style nightclub here, surprising the crowd with a nearly two-hour set with an up-and-coming blue-collar rocker, Joe Grushecky.

Springsteen is producing songs for the latest album by Pittsburgh-based Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, and the Boss has played and sung backup on songs recorded for the album that are being shopped to record companies.

The packed house at Marz heard Springsteen and Grushecky perform two of those songs, ``There'll Never Be Enough Time'' and ``Chain Smokin','' and the two shared vocals on such classic hits as Van Morrison's ``Brown-Eyed Girl,'' Wilson Pickett's ``Mustang Sally,'' and Chuck Berry's ``Reelin' and Rockin'.'' Springsteen took the mike alone for some of his hits, including ``Lucky Town,'' ``Darkness on the Edge of Town,'' ``Atlantic City'' and ``Glory Days.'' The stage got even more crowded when Dion showed up and sang his hit, ``The Wanderer.''

``People were freaking out. It was just great,'' said rocker John Eddie, who once fronted the old Front Street Runners and now hosts a live Saturday night rock show at Marz with his current band, the Lost American Thrill Show. ``Bruce Springsteen in a 400-seat club playing great music, and then to have Dion come out... it was magic.'' ``I was sitting there like I just saw a flying saucer or something,'' Eddie said.

Springsteen, who now lives in tony Rumson near the north Jersey shore, is working on a new album of his own targeted for release sometime next year. He won Academy and Golden Globe awards earlier this year for his hit ``Streets of Philadelphia,'' from the soundtrack of the Tom Hanks movie.

Grushecky, who works as a special education teacher by day, has recorded three albums on minor labels with his current band and four previous LPs with the defunct Iron City Houserockers.