In addition to being a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band for three decades, the Chicago-born guitarist, singer and songwriter has played guitar with Neil Young and Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, among others, and enjoyed a successful solo career.
Last year, Nils Lofgren released the career-spanning box set Face The Music. He talks to Classic Rock prior to a rare UK tour.
**These are your first solo dates in the UK for three years. **
I’m sorry for that, but I’ve a good excuse – a twenty-six-month [touring] run with the E Street Band. I love playing those beautiful theatres in the UK. It’s one of the few times my wife Annie comes along for the whole tour.
Multi-instrumentalist Greg Varlotta assists with an acoustic segment of the show, but elsewhere what can we expect in the set list?
[Laughing] Greg tap dances, and I’ve become an amateur tap dancer so I’ll give it a go too. The set is based on my ten-disc box set Face The Music – 169 tracks hand-picked by myself – but we also do requests when we can.
Face The Music is a précis of 45 years of recording, but which is the ‘must own’ Nils Lofgren album?
That’s tough. I’m still excited about making music, so I’ll say Old School . I made it with my sixtieth birthday approaching, and wrote with humour and rage about the pros and cons of being around for so long. Of my better-known records I’ll pick the ‘Fat Man’ album [his eponymous solo debut from 1975].
You’ve voiced frustration that it took until 2014 for the E Street Band to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Does their selection policy seem arbitrary to you?
Of course they should have figured it out before the band started passing away. Clarence [Clemons, saxophonist] and especially Danny [Federici, keyboards] both took our exclusion hard, and neither is with us any more. So it was a bittersweet night.
How did you personally feel about being overlooked?
I almost wore it as a badge of honour that we weren’t in the Hall Of Fame. By the time I got to my front door the paint [on the award] had started chipping. Twenty cents more would have bought some better paint. But that’s the yin and yang of such an honour.
The tour begins in Milton Keynes on January 8.