January 22, 2024
Happy 75th Birthday, and best wishes for many, many more Happy Birthdays ahead, to the E Street Band's original drummer, Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez. "You cannot imitate the style of Vincent Lopez," said Bruce Springsteen at last October's 50th Anniversary Of The Release Of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle symposium. "It simply can't be done." As many fans can attest after a first-hand, in-person encounter with Vini, over the years he's also matured into one of the gentlest, kindest, and most personable figures in rock-and-roll, about as far from his legendary "Mad Dog" nickname as one could get. Until he starts attacking his drum kit, that is.
To celebrate this landmark birthday, here's your moment of "Lopez zen" from an event that also will celebrate its own landmark birthday a bit later this year, when it officially turns ten years old. The April 10, 2014 induction of the E Street Band - including, of course, its original drummer - into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame featured performances from Springsteen leading a rare configuration of his legendary band, with both Vini Lopez and Max Weinberg on drums. Below is official Hall of Fame video of the first song they played that night, "The E Street Shuffle," the title track of the second and final Springsteen album to feature Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez on drums. And Mad Dog certainly pounded those skins that night like it was '73 all over again. (In case you're wondering, this video hasn't been cut. This is the complete performance of "The E Street Shuffle" from that night, but as you can hear Bruce tell the band, he decided to skip the song's second verse and jump straight "to the bridge!")
Enjoy, all you E Street brats. Happy Birthday and many, many more, Mad Dog!