Farewell Mr Lou – WeLoveYou #louedemartino

If in the end, we are measured by the smiles we provoke and the laughter we create, Lou E. DeMartino was a skyscraper of a man.

Gord Hunter

Lou1pic by Candyce Cohen

Today we share the sad news of a great loss for the New Jersey music scene: Lou E. DeMartino, bass player for 20 years in Joe d’Urso Stone Caravan has passed away. Mr. Lou was a gentle man, a kind soul, and a great rock’n’roll aficionado. I first saw him on stage on 2000 during my journey to the USA to see the Madison Square Garden shows, it was a long rock’n’roll night in Sea Bright featuring Willie Nile, Joe Grushecky, John Eddie and Joe d’Urso and his band. I didn’t know much of their music at the time, but I remember the energy and happiness they brought with their set, and Mr Lou onstage was a thing to see: big smiles, his Rickenbacker bass played down by the knees, blowing up across the stage with jumps and leaps, and his faces, boy, do I have to begin with the faces he made on stage?


Then we met him a few years later in the first trip of the Stone Caravan overseas, they stayed a few weeks, big pizzas and pasta and fish (oh, the horror of the Americans drinking a cappuccino after the “fritto misto” 🙂 ), rock shows, trips to the shore with big laughs seeing them ogling the nudities on the beach prohibited in America.They came back many times, and I kept going to the States to see Bruce, and our paths crossed sometimes: I cannot say that we were friends, but if we met he always insisted on buying us a beer (“Because you’ve come all this way to see some rock’n’roll!”) and share some small talks on music and rock’n’roll. 

Lou2Paolo Negripic by Paolo Negri

I wrote him when I started this page, asking an opinion, he very kindly answered me, always with his trademark signature “LLU” which he explained meant “Lou Loves You.” I know, this sounds corny, because you didn’t know him, but the guy was real, a man who smiled big big smiles that could light up your day.

I remember that one night after a gig the bar put on some music, precisely the Grease soundtrack, and some of us were tired but we rushed the dancefloor anyway because, you know, it’s Grease!

Mr Lou joined us, we spent twenty minutes rocking and rolling at the sound of John Travolta and Sha Na Na, ending with We go together as grand finale, where Mr. Lou picked me up and danced with me.

I think life sometimes doesn’t get better than this, a summer night, some rock’n’roll, cold beer and a gentle man who wants to dance with you.

Tonight I’m gonna go home and listen to some Stone Caravan music and have a cold beer for Mr. Lou, a great man, a gentle and sweet man, who touched so many lives from that stage.

Thanks for the ride Mr. Lou, it was too short and we have to let you go, but you left a gentle mark on us, and you will not be forgotten.


Loupic by Candyce Cohen



Maximum rock’n’roll

the boss2

I think I’ve seen this picture for the first time in the nineties, maybe around the time Access all areas from Lynn Goldsmith was published. It’s from Stefanko, and it’s one of those pictures, like the ones miss Goldsmith’s took, I look at it and I think this, THIS was what they were, this is the myth itself, Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band.

This is THE Band, seven men on a rock’n’roll mission, and no-one ever after that, that’s the reason why it took me so long to even accept Nils, go figure, for years and years he was the “new” guitarist, and don’t let me start with the last line up, choirs, bells, castanets, tambourines, piffaros and jake clemons. I respect the new years and the new artists on stage, even love them, I understand that changes were inevitables, but I learned to love them on other rock’n’roll standards, and if you grew up with a Cain raised from an Adam, and with the Clarence’ side onstage opposite to Stevie’ side, you can’t forget. Life is abut going forward, not back, and that’s it: but we don’t forget.

The picture that will always be Bruce and the E Street is this one, or one of those around the 1978 era, years in which they went out playing onstage so charged they felt they could kill the public to the sound of drums and guitars, and not just one night, every night, all night. That was when the legend took form, concerts played to conquer the world with guitar blows, with no party time, no politics, no girls onstage, no entertainment debate, no useless global discussion on the set list.

I had a friend once, he was 29 when he attended his first Bruce’s show, it was on the Reunion tour, I bought him the ticket to make him understand, and as it is said, he saw him onstage and he understood, and became a fan. Still, he did not grew up with Bruce, he never spent nights attached to his headphones with some bootleg on, alone in the dark listening to a rockn’n’roll singer because you needed that singer to explain something to you about your existence, to make a sense to all the pain, the rage, the boredom, the dispair in your life. You needed Bruce to help you make a little sense in that complete mess your life had suddenly become, and if you did not grow up year after year with this, if you never hanged on to Bruce and his music like it was your last chance of passion and happiness on Earth, than you cannot understand, I’m afraid. I tried to explain this picture to my friend, that thing Clarence said about going out onstage completely charged on rage and passion, ready to burst into flames at the first notes, and he asked me :”Why? why did they have to do that?”


Because that’s what the people wanted, not just the band onstage: maximum rock’n’roll power shooted directly into your veins, every night you wanted, all night long. That’s why this picture is Bruce and the E Street Band, and will always be, and no-one other, ever.



On a rock’n’roll mission in the USA


I’m a musician, a blessed one because I fullfilled the dream of a lifetime when I fled to the United States last january to play at the Light of Day Festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey. I played an acustic set at the Stone Pony, and ended up on stage with all the crowd and musicians singing with Bruce and Bob Benjamin at the main event at the Paramount theatre. And later, I even get the chance to enter the private party at the Wonder Bar, and have a beer and a little talk with Bruce.

The really amazing thing is not only the good luck of meeting your idol, of course, because that is not impossible, with a little gimmick  and some stalking. It’s the chance of sharing your passion for rock’n’roll music with the person who put you in that path when you first listened to his songs, many many (but not too many, you’ll never get old enought to fulfill your dreams!) years ago. After the week end in Asbury Park I played at the New York City’s legendary The Bitter End, and I found myself walking at night for the streets of the Greenwich Village, just happy and grateful. That was the end, it was time to prepare the suitcase and the plan tickets, I was going home. And I was there in the night thinking that the days at the Asbury Park Festival have been like entering a purifying ocean of rock’n’roll, and you know who always preaches on stage of the healing power of rock music, right?

For me, it really has been a blessing, also for the energy and warmth that my friends at home were sending my way overseas with their sincere happiness for what was happening to me, that was real and precious, to me. And ending up onstage with the man who, after my parents thought me how to walk and stand tall, showed me how to run towards your dreams, that is just priceless.

And I just want to say thank you to my wife, who had to stay home, and who understood all these things even before they happened. I DID IT, PAOLA!