Jersey Shore Club, The Stone Pony, is Subject of New Book

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The iconic Jersey Shore music venue, The Stone Pony, is the subject of a new book. I Don’t Want to Come Home: The Oral History of The Stone Pony, from author Nick Corasaniti, follows the rise, fall, and rebirth of shore town Asbury Park, via interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt, Southside Johnny, members of the E Street Band and Asbury Jukes, Patti Smith, and the Ramones, along with more recent artists the Jonas Brothers, Jack Antonoff, and others. The book, via Harper, was published in the U.S. on June 4, where it’s available here. It’s coming to the U.K. on July 18, where it’s available for pre-order here.

The book features a foreword from Springsteen, its most famous performer, plus exclusive, never-before-seen photos from Danny Clinch.

From the publisher’s announcement: In 1970, Asbury Park, New Jersey, was ripped apart by race riots that left the once-proud beach town—an hour away from Manhattan—smoldering, suffering and left for dead.

Four years later, a few miles down the coast in Seaside Heights, two bouncers, Jack Roig and Butch Pielka, tired of the daily grind, dreamt of owning their own place. Under-prepared and minimally funded, the two bought the first bar they considered, in a city where no one wanted to be, without setting one foot in the place. They named it The Stone Pony, and turned it into a rock club that Springsteen would soon call home and a dying town would call its beating heart.

But the bar had to fight to survive. Despite its success in launching and attracting rockers like Stevie Van Zandt, “Southside” Johnny Lyon, The Stone Pony—like everything in Asbury Park for the past half century—could only weather the drags of a depressed city for so long.

How did the venue beat the odds to survive? How did it become an international rock pilgrimage site, not just for fans of Springsteen, but for punk rockers, jam bands, pop, indie, alternative and many other musicians as well? And how did it continue to inspire and influence a hall-of-fame list of New Jersey and national rock stars? The story of The Stone Pony is the chronicle of a proud and unique cultural mecca blooming in a down-but-not-yet-out tough town. As Corasaniti reveals, the stories of Asbury Park and The Stone Pony are that of modern America itself—a place of battered hopes, big dreams, and dogged resilience.

Watch some classic footage at The Stony Pony from Best Classic Bands’ friend, music industry veteran Dick Wingate

In its review, Publishers Weekly wrote, “Corasaniti vividly portrays the “The House That Springsteen Built” as a microcosm of the changes occurring across blue-collar America over the past half century. Springsteen devotees and fans of ’70s and ’80s rock will be captivated.”

Author Nick Corasaniti is a domestic correspondent covering national politics for the New York Times. He has covered four presidential cycles, along with countless congressional, gubernatorial and mayoral races in more than 15 years at the paper. He was once the Times’s Jersey correspondent, tracking the politics, policy, people, trains, beaches, and eccentricities that give the Garden State its charm. He is a born and raised New Jerseyan, who splits his time between Asbury Park and Brooklyn.

Corasaniti talked about the book on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in early June.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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