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A Grizzled Veteran Holds the Fort for Bruce

September 22, 1985|BOB BAKER | Bob Baker is a Times staff writer.

I have formed a terrorist group. Me and a few friends.

We call ourselves DEADS.

We are the Drive to Eliminate All Dilettante Springsteenites.

We're mad.

We're mad at you.

You know who you are.

You're the guys who are clogging up our concerts.

It may seem from the tidal wave of news coverage that Bruce Springsteen concerts, like the ones that will begin here on Thursday, are for every kind of fan--young, old, Republican, Democrat, hip, square, pinstriped, T-shirted.

We don't see it that way.

Since the Springsteen tour began last year, we of DEADS have suffered at the hands of a phenomenon that hasn't been reported: that thousands of you people jamming those concerts discovered Springsteen sometime last week, and have proclaimed yourselves rock-ribbed fans.

You're not.

You're leeches. Trendy leeches. People who didn't pay your dues in 1975 or 1978 or even 1980--people who didn't buy a Springsteen album or go to a concert because you thought he was just another guy with a guitar.

Some of you were even too young to know how to read, back when Time and Newsweek put Springsteen on their covers in 1975. (Are you listening, Miss Woodland Hills High School Sophomore With the Daddy's-Money Fourth-Row Tickets, who thinks "Jungleland" is a Disneyland ride?)

Some of you were too avant-garde for something as unadorned as stripped-down, nuts-and-bolts, real loud rock 'n' roll. (You know who you are, Mr. Let's Go to Tahoe to Catch Barry Manilow.)

And some of you were just too elitist or too elegant--or just plain too old. (Get our message, Mr. Ronald "I Don't Remember the Name, but George Will Says He Thinks Just Like Me" Reagan?)

Now, some of you may be asking, what's the problem? Why shouldn't we go to the Coliseum like everybody else?

OK, since you asked:

You don't know when to get up and dance. You can't figure out what songs he's playing until he's halfway finished. Think how foolish you'll feel when Springsteen breaks into "Spirit in the Night"-- you don't know when to scream back "all night." (The answer is: after he says "all night.") Hell, you don't even know the real songs. You think "Growing Up" is the new Gary Coleman series. You think "Prove It All Night" is the theme of this year's Jerry Lewis telethon. You think "Kitty's Back in Town" is a song from "Cats."

Now, some of you may be admitting, OK, but who does it hurt?


We who for anywhere from 7 to 12 years have dedicated ourselves to Bruce, the whole Bruce, and nothing but the Bruce, we who have been reborn, crystallized, fulfilled, transported, enlightened or galvanized by his music.

Now, because of you, we have seen Springsteen--slowly, imperceptibly--changing his concerts to compensate for you leeches. The concerts are just as long, but the spontaneity has had to fade. The concert sequence rarely changes. He has to do his Big Recent Hits for his Little Recent Fans because you only know about 10 numbers. He plays football fields instead of indoor halls so there's room for your ignorant ears.

Now, some of you may be asking, Hey, so what are the DEADS gonna do about it?

Okay, smart-mouth. Get out a pencil. Beginning Thursday, at the first Los Angeles show, me and 1,500 of my friends will encircle the Coliseum (you can tell us from the Hare Krishnas; we won't wear orange) and admit only those who can answer a simple 58-question test. Here are some samples, in case you want to cram:

Name four songs from "The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle."

What slams before Mary's dress waves, and who's singin' for the lonely on "Thunder Road"?

Where was the "pretty little place in Southern California" Bruce was going to take Rosalita?

What kind of car is the singer driving in "Racing in the Streets"?

You get the idea.

Study up, creeps. We'll be waiting.

And, hey:

Don't call him Boss.

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