I Disagree with You Steven Van Zandt!

Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball Tour Promo Photo 4

Open Letter to Little Steven Van Zandt | You Don’t Believe in Mental Illness?

Dear Mr. Steven Van Zandt

I try not to rant. But sometimes it can be hard. I though about 4 days should I write this or not. I hope you got the time to read what I got to say.

I could have a been a school shooter

In many cases behind the school shootings, the shooter had been heavily bullied. Does it justify the things he had done? No! Should guns be banned? Yes! Does the mental illness card played too often? In some cases, yes. With this case? No. He was beyond mentally ill.

I don’t believe in politics. I believe in common sense. There is never a common sense party in politics. With politics you can’t support all the things you like. You’ll choose the side your political party believes in. It’s not always the subject(s) you’ll believe in. They’ll go forward anyway.

I can tell you something about getting bullied. I think I have enough experience from the subject.  You can decide later on, if something like this can turn someone mentally ill and/or a school shooter.

If you are heavily bullied like I was. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose anymore. You will fantasize killing all the bullies. That’s what many people who have been bullied have done. I did that so many times when I was a teenager. On the darkest days, I’m sure with easy access of guns, I could have been a school shooter. Me, one of the nicest and calmest person you’ll get to meet (that’s how people describe me). I don’t like the word bullying. It doesn’t describe the hell you have gone through. I call it a torture, a worst kind of violence. It’s both psychical and a physical violence at it’s worse.

I’ll walk you with my typical high school day:

1. You’ll wake up, you can’t eat anything, because you’ll feel sick in your stomach soon as you wake up. You don’t want to got to school. It’s the last place on the planet you’ll want to go.

2. You’ll check your school schedule. Not to check what school subjects you’ll have. You’ll make a survival plan based on the school schedule. Which door is safe to use, which way to go after each class. How to get the home the fastest route.

3. You’ll go to school and the bullies are there waiting for your everyday on the way to school or at school.

4. You’ll get verbally or physically attacked on every single place you’ll go outside of your class room. I did get bullied inside the class room tp, but it was was much milder. Classroom would win every time, if I’d got to choose, even that I rarely finished my homework. Take the yells from teachers, or bullies. Choice was easy.

5. You can’t go to school cafeteria to eat your free daily school meal, because the bullies are there waiting. (I tried once. I got kicked in the nuts so bad, I got gasping for air for 5 minutes) I rather stayed hungry. I was a skinny kid.

6. In gym class, you hoped there won’t be any teams sports. People would kick you to legs, if we “played” soccer, or hit you with a stick on ice hockey and floorball. Not because you were good, only because it was you.

7. When you somehow survived the 7 hours there. It was time to go home. Oh, yes. If you wasn’t the fasted kid leaving the place they would be bully your way home.

Free time:

There was no “free time”, there was this time when you weren’t at school. For me those three years was a dark period. But sometimes I wanted to go out. How crazy is that? For example in the winter time. You’ll decided to go play ice hockey with few of your friends you’d have left. Of course the bullies were there also playing hockey. Option would be go home, and stay home. Or you can stay with your friends and play some hockey. It’s always fun to play when the opposite team thinks that you are a chopping wood, that can be hit like a lumberjack. They think you do not feel a thing, because you are public domain. I remember the endless bruises that would heal slowly. Stress makes your body heal slower. I was on a constant stress.

Some extra stuff to deal with

– At winter you hope it doesn’t snow, because you will face a rain of snowballs. You know they “could throw that speedball by you”.
– You can’t ask anyone out, because you don’t want to drag anyone to that hell.
– You can’t tell anyone that you’ll get bullied (no one encourage you to do that), when you have over 30, 40? bullies. I have no idea. Sometimes it felt like it was half the school. There’s not a single person who can stop it. I lived in small town, and only way I could be saved would have been a witness protection program in a different country.
– Once the front wheel of my bicycle got loosen, so it would have fallen off while cycling to home. I found it out just by a pure luck, when I was leaving the school. I had one of those 6th sense moments. There was this huge downhill on the way home. I was lucky.
– It’s always nice to notice that windows of your house had been thrown with eggs.

…and many other things I don’t want to go and remember. I’m sure you’ll get the idea.

Think all the above. How to save your sanity? That was my life for 3 years on every single school day. If that would be your typical work day? Or you tour life? What would you end up doing? You can leave your job, but if you are underage kid, you’ll have to go to school.

Bullied Person Is a Menace to Society

How does it feel that the bullied person gets tagged by the feds, but no one cares about the bullies? There are people working to prevent these kind of things, and the citizens hope, that someone will jump in the line of fire, and magically prevent this stuff from happening. Cutting of the bad branches. That’s the wrong way to do it. It’s a narrow minded view. It’s the root of the problem that needs to be solved. Banning guns is part of the solution, but it won’t end bullying. Nor does chasing the bullied persons.

Bullied person has to change too school to stay in peace, bullies can do what they want. In modern times you’d rather say that you sell drugs, or rob banks, than saying that you are depressed. Is that the world you want to live in?

How My High School Story Ended

I survived (not completely from those days). For me the pressure valve was music. That’s what I used as self therapy. I was a broken vase that needed to be fixed. Even after the “fix”, the cracks will remain. And some pieces missing. I can never be completely fixed. I will be broken the rest of my life. When I admitted that to myself. It fixed up many of the pieces. Florida shooter is beyond fixing. The real person died years ago.

My home was a safe haven. There are kids that are living in fear in their home and in their school. They can also suffer from bullying from a much longer time. Those are the years that will shape you the most. As adult you can change work, school, job, house.. as a kid your options are limited.

High Suicide Rate

In Finland we have a high suicide rate among young men. Those are the ones that are often down and out of the society. I don’t know what is the perfect English word (Left out?). Luckily we have a very strict gun laws (compared to US). Otherwise we’d see an endless count of school shootings. I’m sure there are plenty of time-bombs ticking in the USA. There has been total of three school shootings in Finland, and each time the shooter had been badly bullied. One of the shootings was in the same county. About 10 miles where I lived. It was a huge hit to our community.

I also know that the depression can kill you. My best friend walked under a train 1½ years ago. He was my cousin, brother from another mother. He had a severe depression. Not a day goes by, without thinking about him, and wondering if I could have done something to help.

Did you know that depression is a mental disorder? Your buddy Bruce Springsteen is mentally ill. It’s not a nice term. We can argue about the correct term. It’s much more stronger term than “bullying”, but there are no alternatives. I haven’t seen any rock concerts for anti-bullying, or support for those that are mentally ill. It’s not fashionable. Do you know what bullies often of are? Narcissists and/or psychopaths. Those are the types of people who are often in high places. Sometimes leading their country. I’ve seen plenty of anti-rallies against them, but that’s not the root of the problem.

World shouldn’t be the survival of the fittest. We all start from a different point. We should help each other along the way.

I surely hope you are not one of those, who think people should grow a tougher skin, and depressed people should, “just snap out of it”.

Best regards


PS. If you wish to know more. I’m here. You can find my contact details from this blog.

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Dancing in the Dark | The Concert For Valor Video


Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark (acoustic version) Video| The Concert For Valor

When I wrote the autobiographical blog post about “how the Dancing in the Dark saved my life“, I did my best to find an acoustic version of the song. I didn’t know it was such a rarely played track acoustically. There are only couple of versions of YouTube. Never been a big fan of Tom Joad tour or Devil’s & Dust tour, so I had no idea about the rarity of the acoustic version. Maybe one day I’ll dig deeper to those tours.

Bruce Springsteen 2014-11-11 – The Mall, Washington, DC (The Concert For Valor)

I liked the concert for Valor version the most. Not only it’s a pro-shot, but also slower and a little different arrangement. Lyrics are more on the spotlight. Message gets delivered better.

Previous version of the The Concert for Valor was not technically perfect. The one that’s on YouTube is low resolution, and the volume is really low. Luckily I was able to find a DVD bootleg copy. I fixed the volume levels, and added 4k upscaling. It should now look much better now, than the other version(s) on Youtube.

No idea how long it will be on YouTube or will it be taken down like many TV broadcasts. Hope it stays there a while. Enjoy while it’s still available. 🙂

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New Life of the Brucetapes Blog

Bruce Springsteen

Brucetapes Bruce Springsteen Blog Finally Resurrected

Bruce Springsteen

Status of the Brucetapes blog:

I promised to myself that I would be a more open person in 2018. I’m an introvert. So, it’s much more conformable for me to talk openly online, rather than be in social situations all the time. How did I, or the others introverts like me, survive before the Internet? I’ll never know.

Here are some proof that this blog is active again. 7 blog posts under one month must be my all time record!:

1. Dancing in the Dark Saved My Life – Article that I thought I never would write and share. Too many painful memories from the past. Turned me into a huge music fan with a big cost. Longest blog post (or any text) that I have ever written.

2. Bruce Springsteen – Chain Lightning – I love unreleased songs. I’m going to write more about them, and get the Youtube Channel working as well! I rarely promise anything, because I find it a huge burden to carry, if I fail to keep my promise. I want to share more videos with best possible quality.

3. Tom Cochrane – Songs of a Circling Spirit – New series of “Albums That Bruce Springsteen Fans Should Own”. Great album to start.

4. Bruce Springsteen – Largo 1978 Blu-ray – I have gotten so many questions and request about Largo 1978 Blu-ray, that I had to make a blog post of it. Should answer most of the questions.

5. Darkness on the Edge of Town sounding Country Album? – One of my all time heroes, Lee Clayton made couple of great country records that has a very familiar sound.

6. Andy McCoy Channeling The River Album? – Listen a song by Andy McCoy (Hanoi Rocks) that sounds like an outtake from The River album.

7. Bob Dylan Backed by the E Street Band – If you were like me, and didn’t know that the E Street Band played on one of the Bob Dylan’s studio tracks. I suggest to take a look.

I hope I can keep a similar pace.

Blog Updates:

I have also slowly began to update this blog. There are still plenty of stuff I need to update (like the description, info etc. they are all outdated). Currently I’m focusing more on new blog post.

You can now comment using Facebook (I hope it works). Theme, wordpress etc. are also updated. So there are plenty of under the hood updates also.

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Dancing in the Dark Saved My Life

How Dancing in the Dark Saved My Life – Another Misunderstood Song by Bruce Springsteen

Dancing in the Dark, a life saver? How can this light upbeat hit song Dancing in the Dark can lives? Out of Bruce Springsteen’s song catalog, many fans would replace this song with a rarity, rather than hearing it on every concert. To explain how much this song means to me. It’s not an easy task.

Dancing in the Dark

Caption: Bruce Springsteen – Riverdance

For me it’s really hard to be an open person. It’s something I want to learn. I want to break the emotional silence. Reason for this follows later on. I never thought I would write this article. But I had to get this off my chest. This is a very personal autobiographical blog post, but it will tell you why Dancing in the Dark is one of the most important songs of my life. This is the story how I rediscovered Bruce Springsteen’s music. I rarely share anything about my personal life, whenever it’s on the Internet or face to face. But now I can do it somewhat “anonymously” to my fellow Bruce Springsteen fans.

Short Answer:

Short answer is the typical “I went through hard times”, and the song helped me. But that doesn’t explain much. It doesn’t include the depth of hard times, or what type of hard times I was dealing with. If you are curious how the song Dancing in the Dark “saved my life”, then there is some reading ahead. We have to start from the beginning.

Early Years

I was born in Finland in 1981. My first introduction to the Springsteen’s music was, when the Born in the USA album came out. My father said it was my favorite album back then. It was also the album that taught me how to flip and play a cassette tape. I played that tape over and over again. In 1990, I wrote that Bruce Springsteen in one of my favorite artists on a school assignment, where we had to write a short bio of ourselves. Early 90’s we’ll also got the CD version. I made fairly well in elementary school. Before my high school years I was a chill, relaxed and a funny person, who was highly positive about the future, and curious to learn new things. I did occasionally get bullied thanks to my front teeth (rabbit, bunny, beaver…). OK. “laugh’s on me”. It was a big deal for me back then. In a second and third grade I did hold a hammer occasionally at home and ready knock those front teeth broken. Thankfully my teeth evened before high school.

High School – The Horror Begins:

It was all about to change in high school (1995-1997). I have no recollection from the first days. All I know, that suddenly I’ve found myself surrounded by dozens of bullies daily. I didn’t even know those people! All total strangers. In high school there was absolutely no reason why I got picked. Reason would have helped me to deal with the situation (in my head), no matter how small, big or ridiculous the reason was. The level of bullying is still beyond me. On the way to school I was bullied, in school I was bullied, way to home I was bullied and in free time…You’ve got the pattern. Outside of our house, I lived in a constant horror everyday. I didn’t want to leave our house alone. I even had notes on my school schedule on which door is safe(r) to use and go into our school. If I missed the bullies on the way to school, they certainly were waiting me there. I wanted to be invisible.

I don’t have many good memories from those school days. Most of the time, I’ve escaped from the real world, and lived in a bubble in my room. That bubble was music. It was the only place I felt safe. Music transferred me to totally a new world. Now that I think of; “Was it on a healthy level?”. I don’t know. It shaped me a lot, and later I would eat, sleep, and breath music. And of course playing video games.

If there had been no music that would tame my anger and hate. I don’t know what I would have ended up doing. Nowadays I would fit a profile of a possible school shooter. Suicide wasn’t an option. Well, I did often though about it, but I wouldn’t want give them that satisfaction. I didn’t do wrong, they did. Wish I’d knew the line; “It’s a town full of losers. I’m pulling out of here to win” back then.. Born to Run was an unknown album for me at the time.

I wasn’t listening Bruce Springsteen at all in those high school years. It was all about punk and loud heavier stuff to make me numb: Offspring, Bad Religion, AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine…and only one lighter band; The Presidents of the USA, which took me to this creative, fun and goofy world. Kinda reminder that the funny kid that I used to be, is still hidden there somewhere. Of course I didn’t tell about this band to no one. It would give them a reason to bully more. It’s still one of my Top 3 bands of all time, which I listen regularly. Like in the movie “Happy Gilmore”, it transfers me into that “happy place”. We all need a reminder who we are, and music is a great tool. Works for me!

Other Life:

Music wasn’t always the only thing I liked. I was also a very talented football goalkeeper. I’ve practiced with small a group of other talented goalkeepers. There were some of the best goalkeepers from a county. There was a national team goalies, and then there was me, a young kid who dreamed about hitting big one day. Before high school I loved football. It was also about to turn worse. Slowly I felt like I was a robot that had to do what other people told me to do.  I continued few years for an obligation to my father who paid all the expenses, and had high hopes. I didn’t want to let him down. I wasn’t living my dream anymore, I was living his dream. To be a professional athlete, you’ll need to have a high confidence level, passion and motivation. I’ve didn’t have them all. There was a reason for this. Balancing between the horror in school, and a professional training finally ripped me apart. It wasn’t me anymore. When I was 15 or 16 it was time to quit. It was hard to say no to authorities. Years later the song Glory Days was one of the soundtracks of my life. There is more to that, but that’s another painful story for another time.

Big Scars:

School left a big mark on me. All the verbal abuse, kicks, punches, stalking, people throwing me with things. All these shaped me into very cautious, insecure, privacy first, person who never trusted no one. High walls, emotional blocks…List is endless. I didn’t became a stronger person, like when reading other people’s experiences about surviving from school bullying. Maybe I just wasn’t bullied enough. Some people forgive, but I will never forgive what they did to me, they’ve stole my teenage years, and a big part of adulthood. I’m still dealing with that stuff everyday.

Today I’m honest, keep my word, kind, joke a lot (gets me out of unwanted things), come along with pretty much with everybody, setting everyone else first, always willing to help (still learning to say no, it really can be a burden), got a little of that self-confidence back… So, you don’t think that there is a total mess behind the screen.

Where is the Dancing in the Dark “Saved Me” part?

I’m slowly getting there. When the high school ended in the summer of 1997. I was happy for a while. No more horror. I can finally live rest of my teenage years. I went to a trade school. Fresh start. Well, that’s what I thought it’s going to be. It was the first morning that I noticed, that the same bunch of bullies were there too! Like they’ve been waiting me all that time. Did they all want to study the same line? Jesus…I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I only lasted three days there, and then I’ve quit. There was no way in hell I would return there. After the high school, there was no legal obligations anymore. So, it was time to find something else.

What I didn’t known, was the darkness and void that followed soon after. One would thought you’d be finally free, after all those years. At least in school I knew what the next day was going to be. I was on a constant survival mode. That’s what I got used to. When you could finally put that shield down, you’ll notice that you are also totally alone. Zero friends, no future, nothing but absolutely loneliness and emptiness waiting. Who is going to miss me…Nobody.

It was time to find a relief from a music again. This time the same music that kept me on that survival mode wouldn’t help. It was time to discover something new. I’ve had the Born in the USA CD in my music collection all those years, but I never touched it. It was time see what it had to offer. It was something I needed to listen. Why I did pick just THAT album. Guidance? Divine intervention?

I’m no religious person. I believe in karma, and that things happens for a reason, and I think “The Golden Rule”: “Treat others how you want to be treated” is an universal thing (like a common sense line). At least I hope it is. In Finland we have to pay a tax to be a part of the church. I don’t think “a club membership” should be required to determine, whenever you are going to heaven or not. No place for you, you didn’t pay your membership!

I still remember listening the Born in the USA album in my room. Reading the lyrics from a booklet, and not skipping one single song. There was just something that touched me in a good way. Maybe because it was from the better part of my childhood era. Listening all those tracks with a smile on my face. Born in the USA album got my system going. It was a long time since I felt so good!

Dancing in the Dark – The Most Important Track:

It was the Dancing in the Dark that touched my soul the most. When it got to the part:

“I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face”

I rewinded to that part over and over and over again. There is someone who have felt the same way! That’s still the most strongest lyric written, if you ask me. Since that day I listened to Bruce Springsteen daily. Lost soul looking for a guidance. It was time to seek all of his albums, and later all the bootlegs. Bootlegs are my dead sea scrolls.

Time to start a new chapter. Got a job at age of 16, started to collect music and and video games, later finding the Bruce Springsteen message boards (SPL and Greasylake), places where other fanatics would meet online. Some people find god, some people find Bruce Springsteen. I’ve seen the light! It had been there on my CD collection all time time. I’ve just didn’t know where to look at.

In different situation, and time. Would I have become a big Bruce Springsteen fan? I doubt it

Darkness, Night and the Struggle

In many times artists have used their best songwriting/creativity juice in their first few albums. Maybe it’s the level of success gained. Hunger has gone. With Bruce that didn’t happen with his first two albums. According to Bruce, it was early 80’s since he had the financial status on the positive side. Lack of money was the only struggle.

Struggle is one of the key terms within Bruce Springsteen’s music. In the Born to Run autobiography we got the answer about that struggle. No amount of fame or money will remove that struggle from you, if you suffer from a depression. You can usually live with the depression, but it will never leave you. It’s always lurking, waiting for the right moment. Bruce channeled his personal struggle to his music. Dancing in the Dark is a perfect example of this. It including the holy trinity of themes: Darkness, night and the struggle.

Dancing in the Dark: Song Out of Thin Air

I don’t believe the crap that this Bruce created this track, because a hit song was needed. It’s just a part of the story. What I think it was a great cover story, press wouldn’t ask if there was an autobiographical meaning behind this song. All the sugarcoat, and happy upbeat backing track left the true meaning behind. Why would Bruce Springsteen, the man at the top have such feelings. That’s what happens, when your struggle, proving all night has reached the point when there is no reason left to prove anything to anyone, anymore.

Bruce is known to have scrapbooks filled with lyrics and thousands of unfinished songs on a tape. For me Dancing in the Dark is a collection of his best lines taken here and there. Barebone of the song had to be there. It could be from the Nebraska era, if you ask me.

You can’t sing a line like “I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face” without truly meaning it. I think the line is most powerful on the studio version. We all had those “I wish I could be someone else” moments, but to reach that point, and tell the whole world about it; You’ve had it for a long time. You wanted it out from your system. What’s a better way that let it be, just a one line on a “lighter” song.

The official video of the Dancing in the Dark doesn’t really deliver the message. There is Bruce with his goofy dance moves, and young Courteney Cox joins the stage. All happy, smiling and dancing. What is this song really about? A house party?

With acoustic version, the focus is more on the lyrics:

Endless Seek for a Normal Life

There are an endless count of songs by Bruce that sets the scene at night. I can relate to that. When you are seeking for that normal life, that “you should have”. You’ll spend your day feeling like you should be like everyone else. Start a family, get a 9 to 5 job. Find your place in a society. Be somebody from morning to evening. Prove your worth to everyone. All that outside pressure builds in your head. I call it “an invisible claimant”. We all have it. It never gets satisfied. Some people have it worse than others.

It doesn’t help when other people ask about when your are going to get a job, education, kids, getting a girlfriend, getting married, why don’t you have a car…. Don’t be that person that build the pressure to others. We all have our own path to discoverer. I’d became a master of dodging questions, I hated all sort gatherings. I didn’t want to answer a single personal question. If I did, I only gave them pleasing answers.

At night, you’ll feel more alive. You can be at home and be creative without pressure. You can go outside and be anonymous, masked in the dark. You can do pretty much anything without feeling guilty. Night opens endless opportunities. You are no longer trapped, and feel the building pressure. It’s a stunning feeling as long at it last. Next morning the cycle begins again. Endless wait for another night. It’s suffocating. At night you got all figured out. You’ll leave this place for good. You’ll have the confidence. Every single night in my teenage years I kept saying I’ll leave this small town forever when I’m older. That took me 20 years to finally do it.

“Man I’m just tired and bored with myself / Hey there baby, I could use just a little help”

That’s what you seek. Thinking that it will cure all the things. It’s a temporal solution. That is what you feel that you’ll need to do. Go out, like other people do. That’s the invisible claimant talking directly to you again.


One Song Can Literally Change Your Life

All that from the one song only! When making this blog post I did some research about the song.  To my surprise Dancing in the Dark is his most played song on Spotify. I was sure it was going to be Born in the USA. Song must have been felt in universal level. There is also a nice “analysis” of the song on the songmeanings.com (here’s the article). I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling the same way about the song.


Not bad from a person who end up deleting most of the written text. In school I barely managed to write a one handwritten page. I always used big letters, extra long spacing and stretched words, just to barely write the minimum amount. Kids take a notice!

My wife always asks why I leave stuff unpublished, and keep pressing the delete button all the time? It’s my lack of confidence. What if people laugh at me? What if I’m not good enough? Do I get bullied online? Yes, the wounds are deep.

My high school English teacher told me that I was a hopeless case. No amount of remedial instruction would have helped me. I’m sure she was right at the time. I couldn’t learn anything. I wasn’t in a shape of learning anything. I hardly did any homework, I was too busy blasting music and leave the real world behind. I felt like there was no point for homework. Music was the only thing that mattered back then.

“We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school”

My English education came purely from music, video games and later from movies. That’s why my English is not perfect. School wasn’t my place. You can see plenty of music references and endless song titles on this blog post. Like I said, that’s where my English comes from.

Thanks for reading all that!


PS. Of course the teenage me would like to send this to Bruce Springsteen, but I’m sure he is getting letters like this everyday.

PPS. If you wish to comment anonymously. Here is my  My contact details

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Bruce Springsteen – Chain Lightning (Unreleased Outtake)

Bruce Springsteen – Chain lightning (Unreleased Studio Outtake)

When the track list for The Ties That Bind: The River Collection was announced, I was happy to notice that one my all-time Bruce Springsteen outtakes; “Chain Lightning” was on that list. After the collection came out. I was little disappointed, as it was a totally different version. Not that there is anything wrong about the “The Ties That Bind” version. I just prefer the raw garage rocker version:

Starts like a rockabilly track. In a half minute mark the whole band kicks in, and it’s pure sweaty thunderous rock’n’roll. Real garage rock gem from the 1980. Hopefully one day this version will be officially release. Track 2 Anyone? Best part of these unreleased and unfinished mixes are the errors. Notice the coughs in 0:02 and 1:35 marks. 😉

Some notes about the video:

I did some remastering to the audio track about 10 years ago. I didn’t like the original version, which was too flat and narrow (no thunder!), and the vocals were buried really deep (the vocals are still distant, and I don’t have the multitrack recording. So, this was the best I could do). I really hope that the Windows Movie Maker and Youtube Encoding didn’t kill all the fidelity. I can’t tell. Currently I only have an option to use either laptop speakers, or headphones (left side doesn’t work at all). One day I’ll buy a new headphone set.

Photo is something I’ve just slapped together with photo editor in few minutes.

It’s been over 4 year since a released a whole song on my Brucetapes Youtube channel. Maybe I’ll release something sooner next time.

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Albums That Bruce Springsteen Fans Should Own – Pt. 1

Tom Cochrane – Songs of a Circling Spirit – Review

Tom Cochrane’s Songs of a Circling Spirit is one of those albums every Bruce Springsteen fan should check out. I’m going to warn you: This is not a typical review. This “review” also includes a story of how I’ve discovered this album. There is a story behind every album I own. I rarely or never sell anything I have bought…or at least when it comes to my music collection. I’m a hoarder of music. If you are not interested about the backstory, just scroll down to the review part.

Discovering Tom Cochrane’s album “Songs From a Circling Spirit”

Living in Finland late 90’s (maybe in 1996-1997), only major music resource back then on the Internet was a site called AllMusic guide. Believe it or not, it’s still alive. AllMusic Guide website was like a bible to a music fan like me. It was also one of the rare resources that gave a list of related artists you’d like. Of course the first artist I typed was Bruce Springsteen…

…Jackpot! Whole new world opened for me. I carefully wrote down a list of all the Bruce Springsteen related artist to a yellow post-it note.  Artists like Tom Cochrane, Southside Johnny, Joe Grushecky, Eddie Money, John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band and a long list of other artists I had never heard of. Just by clicking name by name, more and more bands opened. Next thing was a real challenge. I had to find records from these artists. I needed to hear all these artists. Buying albums back then was pretty much a lottery. Sometimes you’ve ended up buying an album from a familiar name, album that had a raving review or purely based by the look of the album cover… When you got back home, you’ve hoped that you’ve ended up with something good. 

In 1998, I’ve found the album “Songs of a Circling Spirit” from a used bookstore that had a small selection of used CDs for a sale as well. I had no idea at the time what I was buying. All I knew that Tom Cochrane was a Bruce Springsteen related artist, because his name was on the post-it note I was carrying in my wallet. I had never even heard his hit song “Life Is a Highway” previously. It was not included on the “Songs of a Circling Spirit”. So, it took me a year or two to finally hear it. Second album I purchased from Tom was the “Xray Sierra (1999)”, but that’s a whole different story.


Warning! This review finds me transforming between present and the past.

From the first minute you could tell this was a different type of rock album. Songs stripped down to barebones. This is not a fully acoustic album, it’s more like a semi-acoustic. I love the stereo separation of the instruments. Tom sings the songs like he is playing in an intimate club. After the songs finish, you are waiting for an applause. Maybe because there is no annoying fade outs. Each track actually has an ending.

I really like the dynamics and the sound that this album has to offer. It’s timeless. It might have been ahead of it times as well. Ten years later the whole acoustic indie folk/rock was booming, and still is?

This is not an album for midday, this is the stuff you listen on evenings. Close your eyes, have a glass of wine, and really enjoy. If you just press play and leave the album playing in the background, you’d say this is an easy listening album, which it isn’t! Lyrics will capture you.

When I purchased this album, I had no idea that this album was a collection of his previous work. Only redone in an “acoustic” form. After years later purchasing the albums “Mad Mad World” and “Ragged Ass Road” (Albums where majority of the songs comes from), I totally get the reason why Tom must have been re-recorded these songs. All those loud instruments buried all the great lyrics.

It’s like Bruce with his song Born in the U.S.A, the essential meaning of the song got lost behind the stadium sized rock track, and it’s the main reason why the whole song was badly misunderstood by many people. Big drums and guitars sometimes takes the story away.

Out of Tom Cochrane’s discography. This album holds the number one spot for me. I would love to see more semi-acoustic albums from other artists as well.

Allmusic Guide gave only 2 and ½ half stars to this album. This was an eye-opener for me at the time. There can be great music, even if the rating is low! Before the Internet kicked in and you could preview the tracks. Music critics were like gods at the time. You’ve trusted them. It’s kinda sad that Wikipedia only has one “professional” review of this album, and it’s the damn 2½ stars one!

Now it’s too easy. Just click on play and judge the album yourself!


20 Years Later

Still 20 years later I remember buying that album like it was yesterday. That’s the power of buying physical albums. Finding a good album was a like finding a treasure box. Spotify really changed the game. I don’t recall any magic moments of discovering something new from a streaming service. I no longer had to buy albums blindfolded.

Here I am talking about the good old days, like an old man. Those times ain’t coming back anytime soon for me at least. Now as a family man, there’s not enough time to spend a day at record shops (I have to admit that I have no idea where the nearest one even is), nor have the extra funds to buy albums anymore. You’ll also have to justify the purchase. I laughed at this thing when I was younger. I get it now! 

I have a retirement plan though. It includes both, a record player and a CD player. I haven’t owned a CD player since 2006. One day I will spend more time actually listening music. This means really LISTENING music, not just adding some background music to keep me entertained while doing my daily deeds.

Bruce Springsteen sharing the stage with Tom Cochrane:

“Bruce Springsteen & the E Street band with The Trews and Tom Cochrane. Magnetic Hill Concert Site, Moncton, NB, August 26, 2012”

Thanks for reading!


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Bruce Springsteen Prove It All Night – Largo 1978 (Blu-ray)


Bruce Springsteen – Prove It All Night Video from Capital Center, Largo, MD – August 15, 1978

I can’t believe it. My Bruce Springsteen YouTube channel has a video that has nearly 500 000 views! and the whole video started as joke. What makes it a joke? Because it’s not really taken from a Blu-ray source. It’s been remastered to “death” by me. If it would taken from the master copy, it would look 10x better, and the sound would be better too. I’ve simply just wanted to give the Bruce & Co an idea how there is this great unreleased show available, and it would look great on Blu-ray (well, 500k views proves the point that there is a demand for the release?) Maybe one day it will get an official release date. Who doesn’t? Remastered master copy would look superb!

Prove It All Night video from Largo is one of my all time favorites.

How did I Remaster the Video & Audio?

I did remove a lot of  video noise. YouTube killed all the fine details, so there is not much comparison to give, and I don’t have the original files any more.  It was taken from one of the circulating DVDs and run with multiple filters: sharpening, color correction, noise removal… I did dozens of different renders until I was happy with it. Sadly the YouTube encoding is not the best, and I wish I’d still have the raw output material. Original video was not in high resolution, so I converted it to Blu-ray resolution. Even VHS sourced videos looks many times better on YouTube when upscaled to 1080p, before uploading. 1080p simply adds better encoding, and there is less quality loss on YouTube. If I would render this today, I would use 4k resolution. It was simply not available 6 years ago. Only thing I regret is that the picture went too dark. 🙁

Sound was good to begin with, but it was a little dry. The guitar solo is bigger than the life. I wanted the sound to be bigger than life too. If you listen with headphones you’ll notice the difference. I’m really proud about the upgraded sound, and wish I’d had the whole concert with the same quality. I’ve been doing audio remastering as a hobby for 18 years.

Blu-ray | Download Link and more

People keep asking me about this Blu-ray regularly, and I’m sorry to say that this is all there is, and I don’t hold any sort of Blu-ray of this show.

I wish I could have more focus and strength in my life (currently struggling with depression), and I could bring more videos to my YouTube account, but maybe one day you’ll see more videos. I’m glad I get this blog back and running. It was a huge step! Good therapy to write something down.

Now I need to find my YouTube account details, so I can upgrade the original video info.

Please do not ask me where to download this show. I have no idea, it’s been way too long since I downloaded the original torrent.

Best regards


PS. I live in Finland, and I’m not a writer. My English teacher told I was a hopeless case.  I’ll do my best with each blog post. Thanks to spellchecker I can fix most of the errors. I’ve learned my English from music, movies and from video games.

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Darkness Album Has a Long Lost Country Brother

Long Lost Country Brother of the Darkness on the Edge Of Town Album

Lee Clayton, one of the underrated country stars who started the whole outlaw country “movement” with his song “Ladies Love Outlaws” (made famous by Waylon Jennings). Clayton recorded some of the best music of the late 70’s. Well, that is if you ask me.

Lee Clayton is one of the artists I keep listening regularly. There aren’t many country artists that I listen. Lee Clayton, Johnny Cash, Tom Rush, Waylon Jennings and Shooter Jennings comes to my mind first when asked for my favorites.

Why should a Springsteen fan listen to Lee Clayton?

First of all. Album Border Affair had the Darkness on the Edge Town sound, before the Darkness album was even released. Border Affair was released in early 1978. Months before the Darkness album came out. Album also features ripping guitar solos by Philip Donnelly with a very Springsteenish guitar tone. From the first minute you’ll love the album. Starts like the Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. album, and shortly transforms into Darkness on the Edge of Town. Lee Clayton has a strong unique voice. It’s not the most versatile, but gets the message delivered. Voice takes a while to get used to it (like with Bob Dylan). 1979 follow up album Naked Child continues with the same type of sound. Maybe a little darker and a harder sound.

I also love the honest and autobiographical lyrics, there nothing fake behind the great music. Great songwriting. Really an artist everyone should check out. Even for those who doesn’t prefer country music.

Sadly none of the albums are not currently available on the major music streaming services, and all the albums are also out-of-print and really hard to get in CD format (unless price is not an issue). Only affordable CD is the The Essential Lee Clayton 1978-1981 Collection 

Luckily there is YouTube. So, you don’t have to just believe my word.

Lee Clayton – Border Affair (full album):

Lee Clayton – I Ride Alone (from the album Naked Child)

Lee Clayton’s Latest studio album is from 1994. One can only wish that Lee Clayton’s career would be resurrected by Jack White, Rick Rubin, Quentin Tarantino…or anyone who has notoriously resurrected music careers. I don’t hold my breath while waiting that to happen.

How I first got introduced to Lee Clayton’s Music?

Between the Napster and Torrent era there was this thing called Usenet (it’s still alive and well, but not as popular). I’ve downloaded random songs from various Usenet groups, and one of the songs was Clayton’s “If I Can Do It”, and I was sold the very first minute. Like there was someone talking directly to me. Since that I have purchased every album in a vinyl and CD format (and some singles and promos). Illegal downloading made me purchase huge amount of records. When I got introduced to Spotify music streaming service, my music purchasing days were over. I still miss the experience of finding something new to listen. Times change. Maybe one day I’ll go back to old methods of listening music.

Thanks for reading!


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