Sunday, June 26, 2011
CLARENCE CLEMONS & PETER FALK R.I.P. (A LITTLE LATE)
I never met either of these men, though I was invited backstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert in the 1980s when I was a regular on a short-lived TV show (BERENGER'S) and met Springsteen, who was just as you'd imagine, no "star" attitude, in fact no attitude. He seemed sincere, decent, and a really nice guy.
As for Clemons I love the fact of his being such an important part of Springsteen's band, and what their interracial blend did for the image of "rock'n'roll"—as we used to call it. But the truth is, as much as I admire Springsteen as a songwriter and performer and love some of his songs, I'm not crazy about his sound all the time.
His solo acoustic stuff is mostly great for my taste. But as much as I get where that carnival kind of overdone quality comes from (the boardwalk in Asbury Park when Springsteen and I were kids, me an older one) and appreciate the supposed R&B element Clemons brought to the band (Clemons himself said he preferred "rock'n'roll" to R&B or jazz) and can dig some of their tunes when I hear them, their music never got to me the way say Van Morrison's did.
But despite all the caveats, "the big man" passed too soon and will be missed even by those of us Jersey boys who weren't the avid fans so many here are. He was an institution, almost as much as his "boss" is, and their magic will no linger exist in live shows which I know is heartbreaking for their fans and marks the end of an era for all of us, fans or not.
As for Falk, I appreciated his work in John Cassavette's movies and I liked his role on Columbo the few times I watched him on it. But for my taste his most memorable roles were two cameos basically in two favorite films of mine, THE PRINCESS BRIDE and WINGS OF DESIRE. He was like the icing on the cake in both those flicks, in the former as the framing device, reading to his grandson before bed pretty much as the Columbo character that was his default persona, and as himself, but his artist side, literally, in the latter.
He had a good, successful, full life it would seem, and though he will be missed, how wonderful that he did and we got to share some of it.