Hoffman on the Houston area teenager who rocked with Bruce Springsteen
Five years ago, a Spring resident and sophomore at Texas A&M Matthew Aucoin brought a dream, a lot of courage and a homemade sign to his hero Bruce springsteen‘s and asked, “Can a college kid play’ No Surrender ‘with you?”
Why not? This sort of thing happens all the time. But, when The Boss finished playing “Rosalita”, he of course noticed the sign, whispered something to his E Street Band mates and waved to Aucoin on stage. A machinist strapped a guitar to Aucoin and Springsteen kicked 1-2-3-4! in “No surrender”.
Aucoin didn’t just strum a guitar with the band, he stood front and center, sharing a microphone and exchanging vocals with Springsteen. He succeeded. Springsteen smiled as he watched Aucoin mimic his every step. The teenager with no musical experience – apart from playing the guitar in his dormitory – ripped the roof off the joint.
The sold-out crowd gave him a standing ovation. Springsteen gave him a hug and they took a selfie on stage, just two regular buddies wearing t-shirts and jeans. Aucoin has returned to the audience and life is back to normal, with a moment that will never be passed or even imagined.
I wrote a column about Aucoin’s magical experience with Springsteen, shaking my head in wonder watching the Youtube video of him swinging with the legend. Who can live their fantasy like this?
Last week I received an email from Aucoin: “Do you remember me?
CultureMap: From the way you traded your vocals on the mic, it sounded like Bruce Springsteen and you rehearsed the song. Tell the truth, has it been set up in advance?
Matthieu Aucoin: It was not repeated! A lot of people think it was. I tell them I wish it was because then I could have had conversations and stuff with him.
CM: Fill me in, what happened with you the last five years?
MY : I was 19 when I took the stage with Springsteen. I am currently 24 years old and still live here in the spring. I graduated from Texas A&M with Honors in Business Administration in Spring 2019. I currently work for my father’s business and hope to someday run his business, unless my passion for business changes. music.
CM: Now that you’ve had a few years to calm down, how would you describe this experience?
MY : This is something that I am eternally grateful to Bruce for. I cannot thank him enough for taking my chance and allowing me to have a unique experience with my hero. It just gets crazier and crazier in hindsight because I can see how much I’ve aged since.
Thinking about everything I’ve been through since then and where I am in my life now is crazy to think about! I wouldn’t have met so many amazing people and connections without this experience. It changed life.
CM: Have you repeated No Surrender a thousand times at random that he invites you on stage?
MY : I think I may have played it once in front of a mirror. I came prepared nonetheless and felt confident in case it happened.
CM: What exactly did the sign say?
MY : The sign said, “Can a college kid play without giving up with you?” And at the bottom of the panel, I wrote all the chords for the song to prove to Bruce that I knew how to play it. I really think that’s what made him bite into it and let me play with him.
CM: It took some incredible nerve or confidence or something – what was it?
MY : It was a bit of everything. I was also on about two hours of sleep. My brain probably couldn’t understand what was going on! All kidding aside, as cheesy as it sounds, I really do experience times like this. I have discovered over the years that I love to play for people and that I love to play.
If you put Bruce Springsteen next to me, I’m not going to allow myself to go back to that moment and be disappointed that I didn’t take advantage of it. I gave him everything I had. Looking back, I’m very happy with what I’ve done.
CM: What did he say to you after the song?
MY : He said, ‘Dude, that was too good! It was so good! ‘
CM: How many times have you seen Bruce Springsteen in concert?
MY : I think I saw Bruce 13 or 14 times. It becomes difficult to count! I saw it on Broadway for the last time, and man what an amazing show! I can’t wait for him to go on tour again.
CM: You released an album, your first, with all the original songs. Tell me about it.
MY : The chain of events that led up to this moment is pretty amazing, from the way the project was started to how the project was executed. It was such a daunting thought, to create an entire album. I had recorded on Logic Pro X for a few years, but I didn’t know anything about mixing and mastering. So basically I was doing demos.
In the spring of 2019, I did a demo of a song from the album called Like we never met and tried my best to make it as pro as possible, but just couldn’t. I knew it was not up to me, so I decided not to check in until I got the help I needed. I continued to write songs and record demos on my phone, but never tried to produce them. Writing was really just an outlet for me, just an occasional hobby.
Then one evening the song ‘Only You’ came out of my guitar. I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t mention the amount of credit owed to the girl I wrote this song about, because that song was the first domino to fall in this whole process.
This is what triggered my desire to record and write again. All of a sudden I found myself throwing songs left and right. A friend said to me, “Hey, I have a guy who sees potential in your music and wants to talk to you. His name is Matt Tipton. He’s a producer and looking for someone like you to work with.
He was very honest with me. I remember him saying “your music has a lot of potential, but it needs more production to be more memorable”. I knew it was the truth, and I knew I needed to hear it. I continued my songwriting tear. Matt and I started producing 14 songs. I submitted the album for release last month. I am proud of the work we have accomplished. It is the most rewarding achievement of my life so far.
CM: Where can we find your album?
MY : The album is called In the past, available on Spotify, Apple Music and all other major streaming platforms. You can also buy CD from me if you contact directly on Facebook.