Say It Ain’t So
Problem is, it isn’t true, according to The Boss’s camp.
The Post ran an item June 22 describing how Springsteen, tour manager George Travis and some security guards took a “five-minute walk around the Garden” about an hour before showtime. On this awfully brisk walk, an “infuriated Springsteen pointed out eight scalpers, who were selling tickets to his show for up to $500,” according to the Post story.
The details were not attributed to any source, nor was it explained how Springsteen knew they were “scalpers” or what they were charging for tickets.
A small detail, to be sure; Springsteen is known for discouraging ticket scalping at his shows. A larger detail – one that sent up red flags among those familiar with the Springsteen camp – was the Post‘s inclusion of a direct quote from Travis. It’s well known in music business circles that Travis likely hasn’t given a quote to the press in more than 20 years.
A source in the Springsteen organization told Pollstar that Travis didn’t suddenly break his long press silence to speak to the tabloid. However, the source said that the Post has been informed that its June 22 item was untrue, and it appears the Post was the likely victim of a prankster or impersonator.
The source said in no uncertain terms that there was no interview, no walk around the Garden, no hunting for scalpers by Springsteen and no arrest demands to New York police. The bogus story had legs, though; it was quickly picked up worldwide by other media, Web sites and Usenet postings. The controversy over Springsteen’s performance of “American Skin (41 Shots)” in Atlanta and New York contributed to the heightened interest, and allegations that The Boss attempted to enlist the NYPD to arrest scalpers on his behalf gave the story a touch of irony.
“American Skin” seems to refer to the killing of Amadou Diallo by NYPD officers who were looking for a drug dealer. When he pulled out a wallet to identify himself, police fired at him 41 times, with 19 bullets striking him. City and state police officials quickly denounced Springsteen, and called for a police and security boycott of his Garden shows in protest.
The Springsteen source refused to speculate why the Post decided to run the story, bylined by three reporters, other than to say the paper was likely duped.
The Post was purchased in the 1970s by Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch, who also owns several British tabloids as well as Fox News, and has a decidedly conservative – but feisty – bent. It has published several opinion pieces since Springsteen debuted “American Skin” in Atlanta in May, generally denouncing the song.
The New York Post did not return calls from Pollstar asking for comment.