Asbury Park and Legendary Jersey Rock Club Gets Big Screen Treatment
Back in 1974 along the Jersey Shore in Asbury Park, a music scene was born through the opening of The Stone Pony. Many people throughout the world have a Stone Pony story about seeing some great band there, and may Jersey residents will spin their tales of having seen Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi performing there by surprise one evening. Now Hollywood is finally giving the legendary venue the big screen treatment it richly deserves.Pre-production has begun on a film to be released sometime in late 2012, named after the live music venue. Scott Caan, whose career has been surging playing Dan-O on the rebooted Hawaii 5-0 on CBS, and former child star Thomas Ian Nicholas, who will return to his American Pie roots with American Reunion due out in April, will be involved along with a talented group of veteran actors (James Woods, Teresa Russell, and Chazz Palminteri who lives not far from Asbury Park), telling a story that has long needed to be told about the beginning of The Stone Pony, reflect on the time period like an American Graffiti, and the people around Asbury Park to make up the intrigue.
This film will surely be a must for anyone who has ever taken a trip down to Asbury Park to see a show there. My last trip there was a few years ago with my girlfriend who always wanted to experience walking the boards there while listening to Springsteen’s “Tunnel of Love”, and walking into the venue for a drink- she did all that (just so happen she had the song programmed into her phone)!
Asbury Park has changed dramatically over the last few years, with condos along the boardwalk, new restaurants and shops along the water, but a few remnants of its historic past still stand: The Berkeley Hotel, Convention Hall, the Paramount Theater, The Wonder Bar and of course The Stone Pony.
Hearing that this project is finally about to start to become a reality had many memories rushing back. Having worked for the former alternative rocker FM 106.3 (WHTG) in central NJ, we were involved with many different shows at the venue. Two still stand out above all, and they do not involve Bruce Springsteen.
Jersey rockers Dramarama debut a new concept at the Pony back in the day – a concert inside a big top tent adjacent to the main room. Thousands showed up to see John Easdale and his group put one of the best rock shows I ever experienced. The energy of the crowd, many friends and family of the band, and a band who fed off that energy created an event not seen in that town in quite some time.
The Goo Goo Dolls played The Stone Pony in 1996, just as “Name” had exploded into a mega pop hit. The band had waited a long time for this success, and so had their loyal fans. Yes there were many new fans of the band, but many who had first heard the group as early as 1990 with their CD “Hold Me Up”, and their “Superstar Car Wash” release of 1993 (my old station supported both releases heavily). I have been lucky to have introduced the Goo’s on stage about 10 times in my life, but what was happening that night in that room was like nothing I had experienced ever. I had gotten to know Johnny and Robbie from the Goo’s pretty well, and I had always been a fan, but that night I saw these guys become legit rock stars in front of my eyes.
Everyone who has ever been to The Stone Pony or Asbury Park has a story to tell. So much history here that why did it take Hollywood so long to finally tell this tale? Better late than never!