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Tribute band carries the Boss' mojo

Checking In With...Josh Tanner

'Springsteen' will play Newport Beach on Sunday.

July 25, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Josh Schreiber leads the tribute band Springsteen.
Josh Schreiber leads the tribute band Springsteen. (Don Leach, Daily…)

Is Josh Tanner possessed by the spirit of Bruce Springsteen?

An observer at a show by his tribute band, Springsteen, might casually say yes. But as far as the Irvine resident is concerned, the Boss literally anointed him backstage one night. Given Tanner's vocal and physical resemblance to his role model, the soul may have been the last part missing.

Tanner — real name Josh Schreiber — will bring his enterprise to the Newport Beach Civic Center on Sunday and the OC Fair on Aug. 8. Each show will spotlight a different side of Springsteen: the Top 40 hitmaker at the civic center, and the early-1970s Jersey rocker at the fair. Wednesday afternoon, Tanner spoke to the Daily Pilot about his life as a tribute artist. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

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I understand that you grew up in New Jersey. Were you a big Bruce fan growing up?

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Yes, absolutely. You know, just like you're born into being a Yankee fan if you're from New Jersey, you're born into being a Springsteen fan if he was there before you.

Do you remember the first Bruce song you ever heard?

That would probably be something off of "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle" or ["Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.," his 1973 debut]. Maybe, I would say, "The E Street Shuffle."

Good song. Has Bruce himself ever seen your show?

I don't know, but I have a feeling he might.

Where do you get that feeling?

I was backstage at a sports arena show, and I was standing in a hallway with the organ player in my band and I said, "Let's go stand by the hallway because this is going to be his last song." The organ player said, "How do you know it's his last song?" and I said, "Well, 'cause I would do that as my last song." [laughs] So we went there thinking we would get a jump on it when he came out off the stage and going to his locker room. So we go out there and all of a sudden there's 100 people standing in that same hallway, all celebrities, comedians — every L.A. celebrity you can possibly think of was in town. And they're all screaming and yelling, "Bruce!", and the security pushed us up against the walls so he'd have room to walk.

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