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Clarence Clemons’ Death Still Haunts Springsteen and E Street Band, According to Nils Lofgren

Clarence Clemons and Nils Lofgren
Vince Bucci/ Diana Taurasi, Getty Images

Guitarist Nils Lofgren says in a new interview that there’s still quite a bit of sadness on E Street regarding the unexpected death of longtime Bruce Springsteen saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who passed away in June.

The importance of his general presence and musical contributions to Springsteen’s sound, both live and in the studio, continues to reverberate in the memories of his band mates and the global Springsteen fanbase.

How Bruce and the band will proceed without Clemons has been one of the biggest questions in the wake of his passing. Lofgren tells the Chicago Sun-Times there’s not an answer for that question yet. “I think everyone is way too heartbroken. It’s an impossible, inappropriate subject. I know fans wonder.”

“Honestly, I’m too grief-stricken for it to even be a topic,” Lofgren continues. “It’s too soon for it to be a topic for us. I just can’t go there.”

Lofgren has been out on the road playing solo shows, which was a difficult move for him personally.  “Afterwards, I always go out and sign CDs for the fans. I almost didn’t want to go out this summer. I knew everyone would be talking about Clarence.”

“But I did go out and commiserate with everybody,” Lofgren says. “This is also devastating for the fans, who use the body of work from the band and Bruce as a landscape for their lives.”

Clemons was a valued friend to Lofgren, both on and off the road. He spent some time remembering the moments the pair shared together while on tour. “I’d go to Clarence’s room with my guitar and try to second-guess what songs Bruce would pick out. It was a healthy, beautiful friendship.”

Nils is wrapping up work on a new solo album which he plans to release sometime around Halloween. He’ll also be sharing his knowledge with hopeful musician wanna-bes this fall as part of the Rock N’ Roll Fantasy Camp.

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