Boss Kutztown header

meet the new boss (true tales from the men’s room)

IT WAS 1975, and I was out of my hippie wannabe stage. I was playing it straight; not out of choice, but ne­ces­sity. (But that’s an­other story.) I was still as anti-authoritarian as all get-out—at least when it came to bosses who were re­ally bul­lies with authority—taking crap from no one. Ex­cept, of course, from my girl­friend. In fact, my boss at the place where I worked was such an ar­se­w­hole that to this day I wish I had asked him to step out­side and duke it out!

But I didn’t.

Being the wuss that I was, in­stead of having it out with him, I was petty in­stead: I took to calling every­body “boss” as a way to ame­lio­rate the pain of having to work under this guy every day.

So, like I said, it’s 1975 and my little sister is a stu­dent at Kutz­town and I drove more than two hours from Wilkes-Barre to Kutz­town to see her. It was a Sat­urday in July in Penn­syl­vania, so it’s hot. There was also a con­cert at the col­lege by the latest hot­shot rock & roller that every­body was talking about that I wanted to see.

The old two-stones-with-one-bird thing.

So I had lunch with her and met her super-cute co-ed friends. 1

I vis­ited a great little mom-and-pop record store there in down­town Kutz­town and bought a stack of old 45s that had been sit­ting in their back-room since 1966: Yard­birds, An­i­mals, Kinks, Byrds, etc., every­thing but Bea­tles and Stones, which were long gone).

That evening, I went to the con­cert and saw the up-and-coming su­per­star: he was good. In fact, he was a hel­lu­valot better than his first couple of al­bums let on!

But he wasn’t that good.

I gabbed with other people at the show, and everyone that had seen him be­fore agreed that he was off a little that night.

During a lengthy in­stru­mental break where the band showed off its chops, I went to the head and found my­self standing in the urinal next to the star of the show.

There was no one else in the room.

Wanting to be cool, I looked straight ahead. 2

But I’m a friendly guy so I just bobbed my head at the wall and I said, Hey, boss. 3

And he stops, shakes, steps back, and says, “You talkin’ to me?”

He does a Travis Bickle on me and all I can say is, Huh? 4

“You talkin’ to me?”

He does it again and this time I stammer out, Nuh-no, man! 

What did you just call me?”

Boss. I called you boss. Don’t take it per­sonal, man—it doesn’t mean any­thing!

And he said, “No, man. I like it!”

Now he’s Mr Nice Guy and all I can say again is, Huh?

“I re­ally like it,” and he gives me one of those little punches in the bicep. “Thanks, man. Thanks a lot.”

And he smiled a big old smile, nodded, and saun­tered back out to the stage and gave one hel­luva show the rest of the set and he in­tro­duced some new songs from his next album and blew everyone away with a blis­tering ver­sion of a song called Born To Run that segued into Thunder Road and he proved it all night that he was the boss!

 

Boss_Springsteen_boot

This photo was cropped from the bootleg KUTZTOWN SERENADE, recorded live on July 25, 1975. I am as­suming this is a photo from that show.


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FOOTNOTES:

1   About using the word cute here: I don’t re­member bandying the word hot around when de­scribing girls back then like every guy in the world seems to do today. I mean, there were hot chicks, but I re­member saving the word for REALLY hot chicks!

2   As all men are sup­posed to do in men’s rooms.

3   As all straight men know never to do in men’s rooms.

4   If you have to look it up, look it up. Then see the movie …


Boss_Kutztown

FEATURED IMAGE: Old Main, Kutz­town Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­vania (KU).




 

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You hit it Neal.
I con­sider my­self lucky to have seen the man him­self in ac­tion twice in Oz these past years.
Good old fash­ioned, honest to good­ness, great value for money shows and he can sing a bit too.
No going home early when he plays, whats not to like!