Nils has toured with both Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen

Nils Lofgren, the renowned guitarist, singer, pianist, solo artist and member of both Neil Young’s band and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band is coming to Vicar Street on November 2.
Speaking to The Gazette he said he hasn’t been to Dublin for a number of years and is looking forward to his return.
“My wife Amy and I insisted we get up there. We’re excited to get back to Dublin and Belfast and hopefully do some good shows up there for everyone,” he said.
Having turned pro with his band Grin at the age of 17, after seeing The Who and Jimi Hendrix perform in Washington, Lofgren has been on the road touring and recording for 47 years.
His most recent release was a 10-disc greatest hits collection called Face the Music in 2014, which includes a wealth of unreleased tracks and alternate takes and he says that this tour will see most of these performed with varied track-lists from show to show.
He was picked up by Neil Young around 1968 when he was 18 after he blagged his way backstage at a gig and played a few of his songs for him.
“Realising I knew nothing about the music business, I’d sneak backstage at every concert and try to ask for advice.
“In this particular instance, Neil Young heard me out and asked me if we had any songs. I said yeah I write the songs and he said sing me one and handed me his Martin guitar.
“I sang him a song and he said, I like that, sing another, so I ended up singing him about half of the first Grin album.
“He bought me a cheeseburger and a coke at this nightclub because I was underage and I spent two days visiting with him and singing four shows on the first Crazy Horse tour,” he said.
He ended up joining Young’s band, recording and touring for several albums, the first of which was After the Gold Rush.
Between 1971 and 74 he also recorded four albums with Grin and began recording as a solo artist in 1975. Between now and then he has released over a dozen solo albums several of which are underground cult classics.
However, unlike many solo artists, Lofgren has no problem playing in a band under someone else’s leadership and he continued to record and tour with Young in the 70s and 80s. One man he met during this time was Bruce Springsteen.
“Way back in 1970, his band Steel Mill and my band Grin did an audition night for Bill Graham’s Fillmore West, and I was a big fan of his music and used to go and see his shows and we had a friendship. We just kind of had a common sense of purpose of what music could do and what it was supposed to mean.
“Bruce and I had long talks about music, including my early songs with Neil Young, and how much I really liked being in a great band and not being the leader, and I think he filed that away.
“Long story short, in 1984 when he needed a guitarist he called and asked me to come up and jam with the band. We jammed for two days and it felt beautiful and they asked me to join, and this was literally like a month before the opening of the Born in the USA tour,” he said.
Lofgren continues to tour with Springsteen and the E Street Band to this day, most recently in 2012. When he got back from this tour, he began working on Face the Music.
“As I assembled that box set, I had forgotten a lot of the things I had done, and I’m so conscious of what’s going on today or tomorrow that it was a great stroll down memory lane. There’s two bonus discs with 40 out-takes, basement tapes and unreleased demos,” he said.
Lucky fans will have the opportunity to meet Lofgren after the show as he plans to spend an hour meeting and greeting and signing autographs.
“Traditionally what we’ll do, [unless there’s some extraordinary bus ride after the show], is I’ll dry off and come out and sign for people, shake their hand, look them in the eye and thank them for showing up. It’s kind of the show after the show,” he said.
Face the Music is available online at Nilslofgren.com along with details of his guitar school where budding musicians can download lessons tailored by Lofgren.
For more information on Lofgren live at Vicar Street on November 2, visit www.vicarstreet.ie.