HISTORICAL RECORDING: “Chain Smokin ‘”, the original demo by Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen
Recorded in 1993 before Springsteen production
of American Babylon,
by Joe Grushecky & The Houserocker
which features two co-written by Joe & the Boss
October 29 is the release date for Joe Grushecky’s 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition and Legendary Houserockers Album. American Babylon. It’s a powerful and historic album, due to Grushecky’s alliance with Bruce Springsteen, who produced the original album, and performed on it.
Joe and his band, the Houserockers (originally the Iron City Rockers), were a beloved Pittsburgh bar band who had performed throughout the Northeast. The son of a coal miner, Joe remains one of Pittsburgh’s most beloved natives, just as Springsteen was sanctified all over New Jersey, and for good reason. Joe had traversed the Northeast for 20 years before befriending The Boss.
In 1993 Bruce had the idea to produce Joe’s next album and invited Joe to come over to his home in LA and play some of the new songs. Joe played “Chain Smokin ‘” first. Bruce loved it, as he did all the new songs Joe played on him.
But “Chain Smokin” was the first. To explore their chemistry in the studio and even crank things up several notches, Bruce invited him to meet up in the northeast of Bruce’s tiny studio in Colt’s Neck, New Jersey. , Thrill Hill Studio.
It was on October 25, 1993 that Joe and Bruce met at the studio and got to work. Joe and Bruce are both longtime studio cats, who could easily play guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards, and sing on their own. Together, although they didn’t really have a plan in mind, they quickly recorded a demo of “Chain Smokin” together. They were both playing all the instruments (although who was playing what wasn’t. documented).
It sounded so good and was so fun to create that they jumped on that energy and did more. Suddenly the entire album was produced by Springsteen. They agreed to do the entire album, on which Bruce even co-wrote two of the songs with Joe, “Homestead” and the album’s opening, “Dark and Bloody Ground”.
Now comes the release of the 25th anniversary edition of this historic album, expanded to include this original demo of Joe and the Boss, just the two of them, completely rocking together on “Chain Smokin ‘”.
Ahead of the album’s October 29 release, this demo was released to remind people of this rocking alliance between Joe and Bruce. We’re happy to share with you today, the Springsteen-Grushecky duo’s Thrill Hill rocking demo from “Chain Smokin ‘”.