In recent weeks, an earlier post of Your Friday Bruce Fix received a couple of comments from Lisa Manniello, the daughter of Vinny Manniello who played drums for Bruce Springsteen's first band, The Castiles. Prior to The Castiles, it seems Bruce may have practiced with a band called 'The Rogues', but was not a full-fledged member.
It was great to hear from Lisa and her comments inspired me to dig into the archives and feature the first two songs Bruce ever recorded, which he did with The Castiles. Lisa, if you happen to see this post, please let me know if you can confirm or correct any of the details I've pulled together below.
While it was Elvis Presley who first inspired Bruce to pick up the guitar at the age of 8, it was the Beatles and the whole British Invasion of the early-mid 60s that really infected Bruce with a love of rock 'n roll. So, at around age 13 or 14, while growing up in Freehold, NJ, the music bug bit Bruce hard, and he started playing guitar with a conviction bordering on obsessive.
Meanwhile, also in Freehold, George Theiss was bitten by the same bug and he eventually formed a band named The Castiles (named after a popular shampoo). At that time, George happened to be dating Bruce's sister Ginny. The band needed another guitar player and I imagine George felt that it would be good for his standing with Ginny to have Bruce in the band. No idiot that George Theiss. I wonder if George had any sense of how special this kid Bruce was. Was his talent and charisma obvious at that early stage or did it slowly emerge in following few years?
Bruce joined the Castiles and, as it turned out, it was pretty good for the band, too. Before long, the Castiles earned a reputation as one of the best bands on the New Jersey shore and unlike most of their contemporaries, they even managed to extend their reach beyond the Jersey shore and score a number of gigs at the Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village.
One day, their manager Tex Vineyard suggested they make a record. Bruce and George co-wrote two songs in Tex's car on the way to the studio. Tex paid the $50 fee for one hour of studio time at the Brick Mall Shopping Center in Bricktown, NJ. The recording took place on one of the two dates I've seen cited, May 18 or May 22, 1966.
One source indicates that there are 4 known copies of the acetate pressings made that day, and that recently a two-track tape recording of that session has recently been found. Perhaps these songs might find their way onto a 'Tracks II' box set.
I believe this first clip features George Theiss on lead vocals on 'That's What You Get' , followed by maybe both Bruce and George singing on 'Baby I'.