I Don't Want to Go Home

The Oral History of the Stone Pony

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Pub Date Jun 04 2024 | Archive Date Jul 30 2024

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A captivating oral history of the iconic music venue the Stone Pony and of the rise, fall, and rebirth of Asbury Park, New Jersey—featuring interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt, Southside Johnny, members of the E Street Band and Asbury Jukes, the Ramones, the Jonas Brothers, Jack Antonoff, and other legendary musicians.

In 1970, Asbury Park, New Jersey, was ripped apart by race riots that left the once-proud beach town an hour away from Manhattan smoldering, suffering and left for dead.

 Four years later, a few miles down the coast in Seaside Heights, two bouncers, Jack Roig and Butch Pielka, tired of the daily grind, dreamt of owning their own place. Under-prepared and minimally funded, the two bought the first bar they considered, in a city where no one wanted to be, without setting one foot in the place. They named it the Stone Pony, and turned it into a rock club that Bruce Springsteen would soon call home and a dying town would call its beating heart.

 But the bar had to fight to survive. Despite its success in launching and attracting rockers like Stevie Van Zandt, “Southside” Johnny Lyon, and Springsteen, the Stone Pony—like everything in Asbury Park for the past half century—could only weather the drags of a depressed city for so long.

 How did the Stone Pony beat the odds to survive? How did it become an international rock pilgrimage site, not just for fans of Springsteen, but for punk rockers, jam bands, pop, indie, alternative and many other musicians as well? And how did it continue to inspire and influence a hall-of-fame list of New Jersey and national rock stars? The story of the Stone Pony—thrillingly charted in this detailed oral history—is the chronicle of a proud and unique cultural mecca blooming in a down-but-not-yet-out tough town. As Nick Corasaniti reveals, the stories of Asbury Park and the Stone Pony are that of modern America itself—a place of battered hopes, big dreams, and dogged resilience.

A captivating oral history of the iconic music venue the Stone Pony and of the rise, fall, and rebirth of Asbury Park, New Jersey—featuring interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt...

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ISBN 9780062950789
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Average rating from 4 members

Featured Reviews

As someone who grew up in NJ in the 90’s/2000’s I have very specific memories of Asbury Park. I also remember the first time my parents ever agreed to let me go to the Stone Pony … I was in middle school. It was a school night. Not sure how that happened. BUT I remember feeling the magic that so many describe in this book. There is something about the Pony that nobody will understand until they’ve experienced it themselves.

This book gave me so much more detail on things that I have heard bits and pieces of but spun it into easy to read interview responses while telling the entire history of the Pony and the city of Asbury Park.

The interviews are great and are a wide variety of people - performers, employees and government officials … those I never would’ve thought to include. Research was done. A lot of NJ musicians from various decades are included. I know Bruce is a basically New Jersey’s musical sweetheart (and I’m not knocking that at all) but seeing smaller artists who got to see a similar love for the venue was great.

I no longer live in NJ and often times miss Asbury / shows at the Pony dearly but reading this awoken something inside me and that desire is stronger than ever.

I’m buying this to keep in my living room the moment it releases for all my loved ones to peek at and enjoy.

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