The first ever Bruce Brunch show on 105.7 The Hawk was 15 years ago today.  December 7, 2003. Infamy of a different sort.

15 years burning down the road…

15 years doing the same thing on the same radio station is not the norm.  I get that part of it.  And respect it and appreciate it.

For 2 hours every Sunday morning, I’m Lou Gehrig, Jr—the luckiest man on the face of this earth.  What could be better than playing two hours of Bruce Springsteen’s music on the radio?  Nothing, as far as I can tell.  Add in some quality music from assorted associates and Jersey Shore heroes, and that’s that.

First Bruce Brunch Playlist
First Bruce Brunch Playlist

People will often ask about “favorite guest” or “best guest” and that’d be like trying to pick a favorite child.  Can’t do that.  But I would say that anytime that someone from The E Street Band is on the show is extra special.  When David Sancious was on in April 2017, it was magic and an interview that I felt like I’d been preparing to do since 1973.  There’s one other one that I’ve been preparing for since 1973 that I’d like to take a crack at…  I’m always proud to have had Danny Federici on the show.  Clarence Clemons was on three times and was unfailingly great.  When Patti Scialfa came over and hung out when our studio was still in Ocean, we had a blast.  Nils Lofgren is a sweet soul and articulate and a gentleman.  When Roy Bittan was finally on the show in December 2014, he was as great as I’d always hoped that he would be.  I asked him one of the best questions that I’ve ever asked anyone (Mr. Modesty on line one) and when I had the chance to talk to him before the show in Baltimore a couple of years later, he had a vivid memory of that as well.  Beyond cool.  Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg and Stevie Van Zandt have all always been extremely generous in numerous ways.  Nuff said!  The first ever E Streeter on the show will always be the Mad Dog Loper himself, Vini Lopez!  I will always be glad that I was in the house the night in Brooklyn that all of those folks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

There have been too numerous to mention live performances on the show to discuss in the depth and breadth that they deserve.  Imagine, asking hard-working musician people to show up at 10 o’clock on a Sunday morning and sing live—on the radio.  More often than not on the heels of some gig somewhere the night before.  Sincerest thanks and heaps of unmatched love!!

Photographers who put out books and such are my kind of people.  Can’t imagine life (or the show) without Danny Clinch and Frank Stefanko in it.  Not to mention Eric Meola & Deb Rothenberg & Ryan White.  Marsh, Santelli & Carlin could be a high-priced law firm…instead, Dave Marsh & Robert Santelli & Peter Carlin are extraordinary writers, especially when the topic is Bruce Springsteen.  And they were all great guests on the show.  I will always admire what Lawrence Kirsch did with his For You book.  Actually, the book isn’t his so much as it is ours, and the great fans who made such amazing contributions.

The guy who put the Bruce Brunch on the radio was Dr. Phil LoCascio (may not be an actual doctor).  To him, I will be eternally grateful.  Same with Steve Trevelise, who put Phil and I together and opened the door for me.  And my friend Race Taylor, who made sure that I actually had something to walk through the door with.  My friend Dave Hoeffel keeps me grounded (mostly).  My friend Rich Russo reminds to sometimes look into the sights of the sun (cause that’s where the fun is dammit!).  Flynn McLean rules!  So do Gary Titus and Marc de Bruin.

Chris Phillips from Backstreets is an invaluable friend and ally and sounding board and one of the most knowledgeable Springsteen fans on the planet.  And a good man to boot.

Speaking of Springsteen fans, one of the great gifts and blessings of my life has been to cross paths with so many passionate people.  People who get it and then some.  As we’ve done our live broadcasts over the years, the chance to hang out in so many fun places with so many faces.  This past summer it was cool to add Sunsets in Neptune to the list.  And how great was it of Bruce to schedule his birthday on a Sunday this year!  Our live broadcast from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City was epic and then some.  Thanks to YOU (not to mention John Eddie & The Dirty Ol’ Band).  Can’t wait to see what the new year will bring in that regard.  The Hawk started streaming in August 2005, just in time (as fate would have it) for a 30th Anniversary special that I’d put together for Born To Run.  Since then it’s been a blast to share a little slice of the Jersey Shore every Sunday morning with folks from literally all around the world.  And, yes—that’s as cool as it sounds.  The invention of social media is an obvious game changer.  It’s all been good—except for the Fake Dead Guy on BTX (who can STILL kiss my ass).  I’ve met people in the smallest of clubs and the biggest of stadiums and the ties that bind are always instant and immediate.  Thank you for that.  Together we’ve raised thousands of dollars for various charities—and had fun doing so.  From the FoodBank (Fulfill) to Ocean of Love to Light of Day, and plenty more, it’s always humbling to continually see how Bruce’s music brings out the best in people.  One of the absolute highlights was the 2016 Songs Of Springsteen vinyl charity release.  Extra special thanks to all at JLM, especially Jon Landau, Barbara Carr & Jan Stabile.  Not to mention the nice people at Columbia Records who have so graciously helped over the years.

None of it would happen without the fine folks at the Townsquare Media Shore group.  They give me plenty of rope, and thankfully an extra large ledge.  Our leader is Steve Ardolina, he’s both talented and patient, two very admirable qualities.  Andy Chase keeps the ship (boat?) moving in the right direction.  Thanks, Andy.  Thanks to our chief—Dennis Lamme.  He’s a broadcaster’s broadcaster and a visionary.  Love that!  Our engineer Tom Trembly is the best in the business and a huge asset and advocate.  Thank you, Tom!  Thanks, Pete Caruana.  Thank you, Dan Alexander!  I’d be remiss not to mention both Bill Sauer and Don Dalesio too. Same goes for Race Thomas.

Bruce Springsteen & Tom Cunningham
Bruce Springsteen & Tom Cunningham

Oh, and thank you, Bruce Springsteen.  The man, the myth the legend.  The man whose art transcends and keeps on coming.  The man who walks and talks it.  Our Local Hero.  At its best, Bruce’s music is about community and that’s what it always comes back to for me.  That this music is able to continually bring so many people together at shows both small and large is testimony to the power of it all.  Add in the connectivity of the 21st Century and the world is a much smaller place.  And when we’re in the arena or club or stadium or theater that world is always a much better place.

This Sunday I’ll open the show with the same two songs that I played first back in 2003.  This is the 4th (and best) Hawk studio that we’ve been in in my 15 years.  Somehow—the music always sounds a bit better inside those four walls.  As today is First Friday, I’m thrilled to have a brand new release from the vault to dip in to—from The Roxy in LA 10/18/75 (early show)

Thanks always to Joyce & Meghan & Kevin.  The ultimate in living proof.

Here’s to the next 15+!

Tom Cunningham

December 7, 2018

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