Toledoans pay tribute to ‘The Boss’ in new bookWritten by Alissa Romstadt | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledoans Chris Kozak and John Rockwood have been to a combined 19 Bruce Springsteen concerts.
Both men have been fans of “The Boss” since the ’70s and both have passed on their appreciation to their children. Most recently, they each contributed memories to Lawrence Kirsch’s book, “The Light in Darkness.”
Kirsch, of Montreal, Quebec, created the book to be a touchstone or reference point to Springsteen fans across the globe. He works as a productions coordinator for a graphic arts and communications company and said he has spoken to many fans in the 30-plus years since his first Springsteen concert, part of the 1975 “Born to Run” tour.
“We’d all go into concerts feeling like we had a few friends there,” Kirsch said. “And we’d leave with bran-new friends.”
Kirsch’s first book, “For You,” chronicles Springsteen’s journeys from 1975-2006, as seen through the recollections and personal photographs of fans. “Light in Darkness,” focuses on the “Darkness at the Edge of Town” tour in 1978.
Kirsch said “Darkness” is his “favorite album, favorite tour, favorite song.” Following the grand symphonic “Born to Run,” it is a coming of age album, a darker album with harsh, guttural guitars.
Kozak’s favorite song “Badlands” is the opening track on the CD. His essay, “Poor Man Wanna Be Rich” is a comparative reflection of the relevance of his favorite lyrics on the economy of 1978 with the situation today.
“Poor man wanna be rich,
Rich man wanna be king
And a king ain’t satisfied
Till he rules everything”
He said Springsteen’s lyrics open themselves up for interpretation and are still relevant years later.
Kozak was approached by Kirsch after he had written an article for Toledo Free Press on April 5 about the Springsteen exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“To write about something I love and get it out to more people, it was a no-brainer,” said Kozak, community relations manager for Columbia Gas of Ohio. “I said ‘I could have it done this afternoon.”
Kirsch left the topic entirely up to Kozak, as he did with all his authors. He accepted submissions through his Web site.
Rockwood, a project coordinator at Hines, has photographed bands from the Rolling Stones to B.B King and said he has always been a fan Springsteen. He recalls a concert at the Toledo Sports Arena in 1977 where Springsteen grabbed his chest and fell on stage. Men in white coats came out, put him on a stretcher and said, “Bruce had a heart attack and the only way to bring him back is to scream.”
Rockwood, who contributed photos, said that the four-and-a-half-hour show was “the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
He had pictures featured in Kirsch’s first book, after sharing them with a contributor to “For You.”
Kirsch, who has seen Springsteen more than 80 times, presented a copy of his first book to Springsteen. Kirsch said Springsteen was amazed to see how many of his fans wrote their comments.
“[Springsteen is] an unbelievable performer and humanitarian,” Kirsch said. “He’s so selfless in terms of his time and charity.”
Rockwood and Kozak are passing their appreciation of Springsteen to their children.
Rockwood remembers his kids yelling, “Hey Dad, Bruce Springsteen’s on T.V.,” and Kozak hopes to take his 8-year old and 10-year old to a concert in a few weeks.
“The Light in Darkness” is available online at www.thelightindarkness.com. Kirsch said he has had orders from as far away as Lebanon and Turkey, places Springsteen has never played, but where people are still affected by his songs.