Sunday, April 27, 2008

Paris is an incredible city. They maintain their history and the Metro is clean and on time. But the joy of seeing our French friends was totally destroyed when I found out that Danny Federici died. If you are not aware, Danny was the organist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band.

I am in complete shock as I had no idea that he was battling cancer for three years. I guess I am not as much as Bruce fanatic as I thought. I did not even know that Danny had stopped touring with the E Street band back in November due to his medical condition.

Danny may not have been one of the most prominent members of the band. He did not have the public face of a Steve Van Zandt or Max Weinberg. He was not a featured player like Roy Bittan or the Big Man, Clarence Clemons. Yet he was a distinctive as anyone. The apochryphal story of how he received his nickname of "Phantom" Dan Federici. His Flemington, New Jersey roots and his long red hair that swished back and forth when he played.

But it was his performance on organ, accordion, calliope and assorted instruments that brought the fun, the bluesiness and the Jersey Shore sound to the E Street band. I will never forget when I saw Bruce at the Acadamy of Music in 1978(?). Danny and Roy Bittan do the most incredible mano a mano organ and piano duel on Kitty's Back. Danny could even make Wild Billy's Circus song a concert favorite!

The older I get the more I realize that I can't hold on forever to the people and events that brought joy into my life. Great memories are fine but they can't stop reality from creeping in. Joy and sadness. Yin and yang. You can't have one without the other.

Phantom Dan- others may play Bruce's music but it will never sound the same. We will miss you!