New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Tune into Radio Jersey with Lee Mrowicki every Monday through Friday from 6pm to 8pm
Broadcast on Asbury Music!

The Student Prince

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/26/2012

Historians and rock and roll fans will forever remember the Student Prince as the place where Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons first met.  As the story goes, friends of Clarence had been telling him to check out Bruce’s band and so he did on a very stormy night.  The wind was howling and blowing up and down the boardwalk.  When Clarence opened the door, a huge gust literally ripped the door off of its hinges.  Clarence saw Bruce on stage and yelled, “I want to be in your band.”  Seeing the very large man standing in the  doorway that no longer had a door, Bruce replied something like, “Sure, you do whatever you want.”

The Student Prince was located at 911 Kingsley Avenue.  It was a major part of the music scene at the time.  Many of the great Jersey Shore artists like Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Little Steven, Billy Chinnock and David Sancious were all known to play there. 

“It was small,” recalls Billy Chinnock.  “The stage was on the right, and it was always jammed.  You’d squeeze through the door and it’d be all you could do to be able to make your way to watch the band.  The bandstand was really high like at the Fast Lane and the Pony in later years.  There were times when you couldn’t even move when we played. Jammed!”

For artists like Southside Johnny and Steven Van Zandt, the Student Prince provided an opportunity and a venue where they could take some musical risks.  It was sort of a bridge between the free-form days of the Upstage and the Stone Pony.

“The Student Prince was great,” said Southside Johnny. “The guy who ran the Student Prince was an interesting guy.  We could con him and he kind of went with the folly.  I remember Steven and I put together a band, but we wanted to do a lot of blues at that time.  I guess this was the late 60s.  Bruce was on the West Coast, I believe.  And we kind of formed a strategy that we wanted to do a lot of Elmore James and Muddy Waters, but he wanted to do reggae and we wanted to explore a lot of different things. And Ry Cooder was a big influence because he was exploring a lot of these kinds of music so we wanted to try some of that.

“Steven was the first guy I really knew that knew about reggae.  I really didn’t know that much about it, but he had found a bunch of wacky compilation albums.  It was great! But we say we’ll never get in anywhere.  So we learned two Rolling Stones songs.  I think it was ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and ‘Brown Sugar’ or something like that.  And we went in one night and a band was playing and we said, ‘Can we audition?’ There was like two people in the club.  So he said, ‘Sure, go play some songs.’  We played the two songs and people went nuts.  You know, Stones songs.  So he said, ‘Great! You’ve got a two week booking.’”



The article continues after this ad

 


“We proceed to go in there and play all blues and these bizarre reggae and R&B things and we never did the two Stones songs,” continued Southside.  “He came over to me one night said, ‘What happened to those songs that people really liked?’ I said, ‘We don’t do those any more.’ But we ended up having a following there.  We started to draw fans from there, things like that.  It’s just that was what I was into.  I forget what the name of the band was.  Funky, Dusty and the Soul Broom or one of those bizarre Steven names.”

Many of the musicians that jammed or hung out at the Upstage would play at the Student Prince.  It was almost like a stepping stone for them into the world of playing in bars.   One such band was Sunfield with Skip McGrath, who frequented the Upstage often. His band had a regular gig at the Student Prince.   “We only played all original music and had five part harmonies, stuff like Crosby, Stills & Nash and America,” said McGrath.  “I think we were the only ones around doing anything like that.  I remember times when Bruce and the E-Street or pre E-Street band would stop in for a cold one and listen to our band.  Boardwalk musician Kevin Conklin was a member of our band.  He was one of the best acoustic guitar players around. Unfortunately, he was killed by a car.”

The most famous band to come from the Student Prince was, of course, the Bruce Springsteen Band.  This band featured many of the members which would ultimately back Bruce as the E-Street Band.   Robert Salzmann, who remembers seeing the band for the first time.

“My best friend, Bob Strusz, went to art school in Plainfield with Vini Lopez’s then girlfriend Beth,” said Salzmann. “Bob’s car had some problems and I gave him a ride to school one day. We ran into “Mad Dog” (Vini Lopez) who was dogging Beth and we shot the shit and shared a joint. Vini raved about this band that he was playing in and carried on about the lead guitarist some Bruce fellow. Our musical tastes appeared to be similar and Vini was charming as well as very convincing so we agreed to drive down to the Student Prince in Asbury Park.

“The place was empty except for a couple of roaches. There must have been about 12-15 people, including groupies and friends of the band and the two of us.  We sat at the bar about 15 feet in front of Bruce and Steven. They were fantastic! We requested songs by Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones and supplied the guys with beer during the breaks.  They were really good at covering the blues.  The next day we spread the word up north (Metuchen area) and made arrangements to return with another group of people for the Saturday and Sunday shows. The word continued to spread through New Jersey and in the following weeks the audience started to snowball.”

Salzmann would make the trek from Metuchen to Asbury Park often to see the Bruce Springsteen Band play at the Student Prince.  He had a beat up old 1964 Mercedes Benz as his ride.  The car had once been used as a dealer’s loaner car, but was still a pretty cool car in the early seventies.  Times being as they were, the smell of cannabis often replaced the smell of leather when you opened the car’s door.  It was like a “hippy mobile” designed to bring Robert and his friends to the Shore.  Dressed like a bunch of rock and roll gypsies in their jeans, denim jackets and flannel shirts, seeing the Bruce Springsteen Band was one of their favorite ways to escape their daily lives.  It certainly was the more legal approach.

“One night my friend and I were invited by the drummer to see the Bruce Springsteen Band perform,” said Salzmann.  “During the 30 minute drive down the Garden State Parkway, we got thoroughly buzzed.  At the show we had several beers.  During one of the intermissions we decided to step outside, walk around the block and get re-buzzed.  We invited the drummer to join us on this quest for ‘fresh air.’ He accepted the offer and commented positively on the wisdom of the proposal.  While sharing a joint outside the bar we were approached by Bruce Springsteen.  We invited him to join the gathering.  He looks over, smiles and gestures ‘no thanks’ by waving his hands back and forth.  We shrug, smile back at him and continue to pass the thing around...”

Tom Matthews remembers going to the Student Prince a lot during the summer of 1973.  That was the year New Jersey lowered the drinking age to 18.  Tom, like many other 18-year olds, suddenly was able to see the Asbury music scene in action.  He recalls seeing bands like the Bank Street Blues often at the Student Prince and watching guys like David Sancious take part in jams.  “It was like a smaller version of the Stone Pony,” he said regarding the club.

“The Student Prince was like this real sleazy little bar,” said Sonny Kenn.  “You went there because you could play there.  They didn’t pay much money, but you could play.”

In later years, the area where the Student Prince was located became known as Club Xanadu, a popular bar in the eighties that hosted local and national acts, and more recently as Seductions Go-Go.  It has not been in use for several years now, yet another abandoned building in Asbury Park hiding a wonderful musical history inside its walls.




From the book Beyond The Palace by Gary Wien


For more by this author, click here






Tommy Castro & The Painkillers To Return To Lizzie Rose Music Room
​​​​​​​(TUCKERTON, NJ) -- Tommy Castro & the Painkillers return to the Lizzie Rose Music Room on Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30pm.  Whether he’s squeezing out the deepest blues or playing the funkiest soul grooves, legendary blues and soul giant Tommy Castro knows how to ignite a crowd. Tickets are $38.00 Advance and $45.00 day of show.
Experience Hendrix at NJPAC on March 29th
(NEWARK, NJ) --  Celebrate the music and legacy of Jimi Hendrix as Experience Hendrix comes to Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Centeron Friday, March 29 at 8:00pm. This critically acclaimed multi-artist tribute to Hendrix features performances by Billy Cox, Joe Satriani, Dave Mustaine, Jonny Lang, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Johnson, Doug Pinnick, Chris Layton, Mato Nanji, Kenny Aronoff, The Slide Brothers, Henri Brown, Kevin McCormick and special guest Taj Mahal.
World Famous Bachata Artists To Take The Stage for Uforia Bachata Fest 2019 At Prudential Center on Saturday, March 16
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Uforia Bachata Fest 2019 at Prudential Center will bring together the world’s best Bachata artists including, Frank Reyes “The Prince of Bachata”, Hector Acosta “El Torito”, Zacarias Ferreira, Luis Vargas and Raulin Rodriguez "El Cacique”. Uforia Bachata Fest 2019, presented by Zamora Live, Euforia Radio (Univision) and Corona Extra, will be held on Saturday, March 16 at 8:00pm.  The contagious Caribbean rhythm known as "Bachata" will have its gala night, marking the first time in history these world-renowned artists will perform on the same stage. 
Youth Symphony and Youth Orchestra To Perform at Princeton University January 27
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) continues its 40th Anniversary with a concert featuring the NJYS Youth Symphony and Youth Orchestra on Sunday, January 27 at 4:00pm at Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University located at 68 Nassau Street in Princeton. Youth Symphony will open the concert with Mahler Symphony No. 1 in D major followed by Youth Orchestra performing Dvořák Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88.
Rickie Lee Jones To Perform At Grunin Center
(TOMS RIVER, NJ) -- Two-time Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones exploded onto the pop scene in 1978 and has made a career of fearlessly experimenting with her sound and persona on more than 15 critically acclaimed albums. She brings her show “An Intimate Evening with Rickie Lee Jones” to the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts on Friday, February 22 at 8:00pm.  


The Empire Strikes Back in Concert with the NJSO LIVE! at the State Theatre
Some of our favorite childhood memories growing up at the Jersey Shore involved going to our town’s grand old movie palace, The Community Theater, in Toms River. Built with colonial architecture and featuring large white columns in the front, paned glass windows in the lobby, a circular brick walk from the sidewalk to the box office, and a white picket fence which enclosed a lawn and a flower bed, this local gem presented the latest Hollywood films. For kids like us back in the 1960’s, that meant pictures like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, The Love Bug, and Flipper.
Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.






Event calendar
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019

Sorry, no events listed for today.
Here are some upcoming events.


2019-01-23
Rechnitz Halls DiMattio Gallery, Monmouth University @ 10:00am
West Long Branch

2019-01-23
Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University @ 7:30pm
West Long Branch

2019-01-24
New Jersey Repertory Company @ 8:00pm
Long Branch








 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.