A founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Garry Tallent stands alone as the bassist that has helped guide the course of one of the most cherished acts in music history.
Nearly 50 years later, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tallent, now 67, has released his long-awaited debut album, “Break Time.” Offering a collection of a dozen original compositions, the record showcases Tallent’s creative energy beyond The E Street Band as multitalented musician, songwriter, producer and vocalist.
“The making of the record was a great experience,” says Tallent, from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. “I’ve never really had a need to do this because I was busy producing other people, especially during the 10-year hiatus from Bruce. I had a lot of things to keep me busy. I finally decided at some point what else can I try? So, this is where we are today. Things have changed now. You don’t need a big record company behind you. I enjoy writing. I have my own studio and did most of the record there so it makes it possible to do things that couldn’t have been done 30 years ago.”
“The players on the record were all pros,” adds Tallent. “They were chosen because they understood the music that I was planning to put across. It was all pretty simple. Everybody came in and just played the songs and it’s done. I have a lot of friends that are great players in this town. The idea was to have a lot of different sessions, a lot of different players and a lot of different friends to appear on the record. The first session I think we probably cut half the album. It worked so well I ended up using the same people on the whole album, which is a great thing. Things don’t work out the way you plan sometimes but that was a good thing.”
“I sing and play guitar and it’s basically back to early days of rock and roll recording,” says Tallent. My goal was to go back to my love of ‘50’s rock and roll and choose songs that I have to kind of fit that mold and do those. I’m not trying to create any kind of new music. I’m really trying to pay homage to the things that excited me. The effort for me was stepping up as a singer and singing my own songs — that’s what the challenge was. I’m very lucky that I had people that I chose to start the record that made my part very easy.”
Standout tracks include “Bayou Love,” “Tell ’em I’m Broke,” “Today’s the Day,” “Promise To My Heart,” “Ants In Her Pants,” “Say It Out Loud” and “Stay Away.”
Released in the spring of 2016, “Break Time’s” supporting concert tour was put on hold by Tallent when the Boss came calling.
“This tour that we’re playing was actually planned for last year when Bruce called,” recalls Tallent. “When Bruce calls, we have to go. I’ve been with the band 45 years and it’s my first loyalty absolutely. We were going to do 21 shows and it ended up being 9 months, so I’m starting all over again. Luckily everybody has been supportive and they’ve come back and here it is a year later and we’re going to do it.”
“I’m not looking to sell out but hopefully people are interested enough to go to check it out,” adds Tallent. “I’d like everybody to give it a listen and decide if they like it, come out and see it live. Much like the E Street Band shows, it’s going to be more live. It’s going to be a great show all the way around, back to basics. Certainly, it’s put me out of my comfort zone as a sideman and stepping up to the spotlight. It’s a great experience. I’m just hoping to get some people out and have some fun with us. I’m looking forward to it.”
Born in Detroit, Michigan before relocating to the East Coast where he grew up in Neptune City, New Jersey, Tallent started playing with Bruce Springsteen in 1971. One year later the formation of The E Street Band came to fruition and the rest is history. Tallent has appeared on nearly every Springsteen album between 1973 and 1987 including “Greetings from Asbury Park” (1973), “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” (1973), “Born to Run” (1975), “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (1978), “The River” (1980), “Born in the U.S.A.” (1984), “Live 1975-1985” and “Tunnel of Love” (1987).
In addition to his long history with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Tallent has produced and played with numerous artists including Marshall Crenshaw, Steve Forbert, Garry U.S. Bonds, Jim Lauderdale, Sonny Burgess, Steve Earle and Southside Johnny among many others.
In 2013, the E Street Band was forever immortalized with their well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“When I was 12 years old I imagined being Elvis,” recalls Tallent. “You seize the opportunities that interest you and you follow your heart and your skill and you do what you can with all of your might. One thing gathers into another.”
“Music has been so much a part of my life,” adds Tallent. “If I’m not playing it, I’m listening to it. If I’m not listening to it, I’m reading about it. I enjoy reading biographies of the people that influenced me. It really has dominated my life. Hopefully there’s always something to accomplish. I’m proud of what we’ve done as a band and love that, and have enjoyed the whole process.”
With deep ties to the region, Philadelphia holds a special place in the heart of Tallent.
“Philadelphia was very good to us in the early days,” recalls Tallent. “It really was a second home for the band and we appreciate all the years of support. You appreciate your fans, as we do. I know they’re mainly focused on Bruce, which is how it should be. I’ve always enjoyed my anonymity. I’ve had a great life without all the pressures that come with being Bruce Springsteen. I’ve always had a lot of freedom musically. I’ve always been left alone to play whatever I felt was the song and I feel that has been very satisfying. The other satisfying thing is to be able to live a normal life and not be recognized and not be so in demand. I’ve really had the best of both worlds. The fans are definitely appreciated. I would like them to know how thankful we are because we’d look pretty silly out there without them.”