John Eddie Emerald City

Let me tell you about a place, somewhere up NJ way … Cherry Hill to be exact. The home of the legendary Emerald City. I had been there quite a few times to see shows, with and without my then girlfriend Dorothy. This particular evening my friend Geoff Hoover and I were there to see John Eddie & The Front Street Runners. They were opening for Gary US Bonds.

Gary was having a comeback of sorts. He had a new album out that Bruce Springsteen had written three songs for, played and sung on, Miami Steve Van Zant, played, sung, and wrote “Daddy’s Come Home” for this LP, and the Asbury Jukes horn section got in on the action too. It was truly the “Asbury Park Mafia” helping out one of their heroes.

I knew John Eddie and met him through Dorothy. I had been to other shows, I had even worked on his road crew for “a week once … but luckily I got the boot”. Well not so much the boot … as I had school to contend with back in Long Island. But that night I was there to have fun, take photos, and also see Gary US Bonds. I always thought it was great that John & the Runners got to open for Gary.

As always … John and the boys played hard and gave a lot to the audience. Back then they had such a big following all over New Jersey. And with a contract with Columbia records, they were being heard nationally.

The funny thing was, the next afternoon I saw the Clash at Bonds. Now I didn’t put the two together until I started searching for the date of this John Eddie gig. Some guy listed every single concert he went to, even in clubs! Now that’s a memory, or he saved every ticket stub he ever bought. That’s how I found out the date to this gig. Add to that, that the last roll I was shooting backstage at Emerald City also contained the outside shots of the Slits and Mick Jones at Bonds …. the next day. Amazing! I’m telling you … it was all one big blur. Thank god for other people’s memories! ;)

Hoover and I had a blast. It was a lot of fun. Enjoy the photos.

If anyone remembers the guitar player Bobby Joe’s (?) last name, or the bass player Kim’s last name … leave it in the comments.


John Eddie @ Emerald City 05.29.1981
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Gary US Bonds Emerald City 05.29.1981
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Joe Streno
artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing in asbury park nj with his two cats rocky & rose & living to tell tales about it

19 thoughts on “John Eddie @ Emerald City 05.29.1981

  1. finally discovered your site, thanks to friend and fan, Dave Norton.

    what kind of camera did you use? shots are excellent.

    as suggested by prior posters here, that first national record was released in 1986 so the national attention was a few years away at the time of this Bonds show. In fact, 1981, I believe, was the year John created the band so this was a very early gig. And the better-known incarnation of The Front Street Runners came about around ’82 and by ’83, John had made it to Big Man’s West, was occasionally joined by Bruce, and then The Pony and by Summer ’84, was the Friday house band at The Pony, which brings us to June 8, 1984 and the opening of the Born in the USA tour, which John opened that night at The Pony …,. But don’t get me started. Anyway, my JE/Bruce 6/8/84 story is on Page 111 of the “For You” coffee table book.

  2. That Emerald City show was the first time I saw JE and the Runners as well. The lead guitarist was Bobby Jay. He left later in 1981 and was replaced by Joe Sweeney. The bass player left shortly after that show and was replaced by Mike Vogelman. John Eddie was eventually signed by Columbia in 1985 and he dumped the Runners and went to LA to record his first album. I believe Joe Sweeney continued to play with him for several years. Gary Gold (an outstanding drummer) also played with him off and on over the years.

  3. Yea! Fukn A! I knew Joe . Washingtom Twp. boy from Whitman Square! I was actually a year behind his brother Dave. Right before I went into basic training,I helped the band out at ‘Philly’s down the street from Penns Landing.John called me and a couple friends up to sing “Louie Louie” near the end of the show! It was friggin cool! Two days later I was in Texas in Boot Camp. What a send off! Thanks to Joe Sweeney, John and Tom Boberick, and of course John Eddie who called the night for our military before it was cool to do it !

  4. Bobby Jay was the guitarist at this time. I remember how excited we were to get this gig. This was the first big gig my mom came to and I think that she saw that this could actually be more than a hobby and she became more of a supporter after that. The pics bring back great memories! I wish I could save them. Would love to see more.

    1. @Gary :

      Thanks for clearing that up. I knew it was Bobby ‘something’. ;) Glad to see you found my little place on the net.

      I have more picts. You guys opening for Mink Deville @ The Fast Lane. You guys opening for Ronnie Spector @ the Fast Lane. I just have to get the time to scan them & get them up. If you remember dated for either of those gigs … let me know.

  5. No, I wasn’t there on that particular night but many others. I was always around to see the bands that defined that era in that area. I was a huge fan of a band called Quincy that played at the same time. Emerald City was the big show, but we spent many an evening at the Backstreets Cafe in Cherry Hill, the Galaxy in Sommerdale, etc.. The pic that really made me smile was seeing Billy Talerico, just because it reminded me of all the friends that would be hanging out as well as the bands themselves. The timing was just amazing,that’s why I said what I did in the earlier post. I had just been feeling very melancholy about time passed, and almost being able to picture a group of the people that I used to know just hanging around the asteroids machine just inside the front door of the Backstreets (Kim Benson, Billy,) when I googled “Front Street Runners”. And Viola! There were my memories in stunning black and white! Thanks again. Priceless……….

    1. @ Greg

      You are welcome. Where you there that night?

      There are also plenty more where that came from. I just have to get back to scanning all the negatives & posting them.

      I have John Eddie @ The fast lane opening for Mink DeVille, and opening for Ronnie Spector too. And those are the two shows I can remember off the top of my head.

      I can also see through my blog stats there are a lot of John Eddie fans that have been here to check this post out. :)

      So keep checking back or sign up for eMail notification on new posts to my blog (top of the right hand column).

  6. I remember the Gary U.S. Bonds show…I was working at Emerald City doing lighting as the house light tec with the best sound guy i ever worked with Bobby Harper. I had never heard JE before that his band and him blew me away.I did a lot of shows with them after that,they always left it all on the stage. GREAT MEMORIES OF A GREAT BAND
    Jack Medes

  7. JE’s guitarist was “Baby Joe” (not Bobby Joe) Sweeney. When JE signed with Columbia, it thought JE had the goods but didn’t think much of the Front Stront Runners. It forced JE to get rid of the band (which caused many long time fans to turn their back on JE; they thought he should only sign with a record company that would allow him to keep the band). Columbia also didn’t like the name (it didn’t want potential record buyers to confuse Front Street Runners with E Street Band). Columbia didn’t like the idea of having two bands on its roster from NJ with Street in their name. Although the FSRs got the boot, Sweeney played in JE’s live band until the early 90s.

  8. So I get in my elevator one day and I’m wearing one of those little green Emerald City buttons and some guy starts talking to me about it….we back and forth a couple of times, and I say (I think it was mesaying it, or were you with me streno and you said this…?) “Well, you know who gave it to me/”

    And the guys says “Dorothy.”

    Me…I’m like “duh wha huh how did you know that?”

    Finally the whole Wizard of Oz thing clicked….. Not always the slickest guy around….

    Geoff Hoover´s last blog post..John Eddie @ Emerald City 05.29.1981

    1. Yeah Hoov … I barely remeber that night. Or the events after. I know we had to have driven to my Mom’s. There are photos to prove that theory. And I know I had to have driven into the city to get you home. Or did I drop you at Post? Probably not. I saw the Clash that Saturday. That much I do know. Again … photos to back that up.

      I just talked to Dorothy, and we figured out that I met her in the city in front of Bonds. ‘Cause you know it was Brenda that got us into Bonds. We also surmised that you didn’t come because Dorothy had only one more pass. And we also concluded she didn’t come to NJ because given the choice between The Clash vs John Eddie … you know who won out in Dorothy’s world. :)

      (Sorry John … but Hoov and I came to see you.)

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