Does the young drummer in this photo look familiar? He's definitely not Bruce's long-time drummer The Mighty Max Weinberg. He is, however, a Weinberg, Max's son Jay.. I learned about this from my own son, who IM'd
"Did you know that Max Weinberg's son is now the drummer for the E Street Band? It's a great story - little coverage. Seriously - he is 18 and no one has picked up that an ageless band now has an 18-year-old on drums."
He's right. It's a wonderful story, for many reasons. Just because it is, first of all. But also because all parents love it when their kids go into the family business; at least I think they do. That's not all, though. To be fair, Jay is only going to tour with them when his dad has to stay in LA to help launch the new Conan O'Brien Tonight Show. Even so, there's something lovely about Bruce calling and inviting him to join the band. Anyone who's ever watched a sound check or read about Bruce knows he's got high standards; this was NOT a sentimental decision. Jay can play the drums.
So why do I love this? A demonstration of that kind of trust by a national legend close to three times his age is pretty impressive. The idea of two generations on stage together as peers is an example of something that's been important to me for years: alliances across generations in all manner of venues.
I've been writing both here and on SVMoms about the tensions between Boomers and Millennials. There is a growing stress between us. Just a month ago I heard a young political social media genius - a serious one - mock the Boomers who claimed they helped to end the Vietnam War. "Dead soldiers ended the war, not you guys." he said with determination. Permutations of that attitude abound; although perhaps less so in families where parenting was respectful and strong and included a history of those times and a modest explanation of what we were trying to do.
President Obama, whose attitudes and capabilities I admire, tends to imply that it's time to ditch, at the least, a lot of the rhetoric and style of that time. I don't disagree. All that I want is for those of us in my generation and the younger people whose core values we share to be free to travel across the boundaries of style and execution to be allies and friends rather than adversaries. That kind of sharing emerges from respect in both directions, from engaging younger people more as peers than acoytes. That's what the Obama campaign did, and look what happened.
I've been fortunate, because of my relationship with my sons, because I've worked in the Internet world for ten years -- so much with younger people, and because I am part of a community full of young families, to be able to do the same. But the divisions are growing for many of us, and they're sad.
So when Bruce, who has so often spoken for so many, crosses two-thirds of his life to, at 60+, add an 18-year-old drummer to his band, it's an example and a message for which I am grateful. No one who knows his music would ever think he would add a drummer to send a message; he takes his music, and his fans, too seriously for that. He is, however, reminding us all that, 18 or 80 - talent, music, dreams, ideas, faith or fun, the walls need not be so high. Whether it's campaigning for a candidate, working for women's rights, writing a poem, cooking a meal, building a house, growing tomatoes or making music, we are all pooer for the walls we build, and richer for the gifts we share.