January 25, 2024
EDITOR'S NOTE: Another highlight of the Light of Day Foundation's Winterfest 2024 was last Friday night's Asbury Angels induction ceremony at the legendary Asbury Park, NJ music venue The Stone Pony, which featured the induction of the late, great Holly Cara Price in the "Guardian Angels" category. We at Letters To You are pleased and honored to publish contributing writer Lisa Iannucci's special remembrance of Holly, who was a friend of Lisa's and - truly - of all of us in the fan community.
On a frigid, snowy evening in Asbury Park, my friend Holly Cara Price was inducted as an Asbury Angel, an honor she richly deserved, but one of which she probably would not have considered herself worthy. Holly was a humble, self-effacing person who went from being just a fan pressed against the front of the Stone Pony stage with all the others to an actual employee, a member of the mostly unseen army that made sure the E Street Band tour train ran on time.
Usually you would see her just before showtime, hustling from backstage to concert floor of some venue or another, nailing down last-minute details, and you’d smile and ponder how far she’d come, how hard she’d worked to get there, reflect on all the great times shared together in those sweaty bars and all the miles all of us had traveled on our rock’n’roll journeys. Just about everybody knew Holly on the Jersey Shore music scene, and we were so proud to see her name in liner notes or book credits. She was one of us, she was a fan, and she had made it to "the big time."
I first knew of her as the writer/editor/publisher of the seminal Voice of America newsletter, which covered all things Steven Van Zandt; probably read her in Backstreets Magazine, too. I am pretty sure I first met her at (where else?) the Stone Pony, most likely at a John Eddie show. Holly could always be found at the front of any concert she attended, always blissfully in the moment, smiling, singing, dancing, enjoying life.
She was a great writer and photographer, and was always busy working on a million things, but somehow always found time to drop everything and take to the road when the music called. Later on, when she worked for Steven, you’d inevitably bump into her at a show somewhere, and she was always so happy to see you no matter where you were sitting, but always especially happy to see you if you were seated near the stage. Many demands were made on Holly’s time, and many people asked her for favors, but I never did. Just being her friend was enough.
Back in 2020, her ashes were supposed to go into the ocean in Asbury Park as part of her memorial celebration, but COVID restrictions did not permit. That part of the event was supposed to be rescheduled, but I don’t think it ever was. Instead, many of us celebrated her at a distance. We watched and heard remembrances from friends and family on a Zoom call, and immersed ourselves in some of the music that meant so much to her. It wasn’t what originally had been planned, but somehow, it was just what was needed. Holly would not have wanted “a big fuss” made over her anyway.
Being at a Springsteen show on the most recent tour and knowing you were not going to see her was a jolt, another in a long list of reasons to always try to be present in the here and now, as Bruce always urges us to do – because really, you never know when that might be the last time you are hearing that music, dancing that dance, hugging that friend.
Happy trails to you, Holly, until we meet again.