A number of years ago, I unloaded a small pile of rare and not-so-rare records via eBay prior to moving to London. Amongst the items auctioned off for SERIOUS CASH was a 12″ picture disc of AWA mainstay “Jumping” Jim Bruzell’s “Matlands”, a rather turgid-reinterpretation of Bruce Springsteen’s “Badlands”. Though I’ve never found myself wondering how this questionable cover version came to be, a recent interview with Brunzell’s son, Jim Brunzel III, director of the Twin Cities music film festival Sound Unseen, sheds a little light. From MusicFilmWeb’s Andy Markowitz :
MFW: I found a picture of your dad in his prime wearing tight trunks and a Springsteen t-shirt. What were his musical tastes, and did they influence yours?
Jim Brunzell: Growing up in the household, the only music [my parents] listened to was Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand. Occasionally a few other things, but basically it was Bruce Springsteen and Streisand.
Was it a dichotomy? The stereotype would be, your dad was into Springsteen, Mom was into Barbra.
Yep. My dad has told me the story on how he got involved with Springsteen. He traveled so much, and he remembers being on a plane and hearing “Jungleland” for the first time and playing it over and over and over again. My dad was a rock ‘n’ roll guy growing up. He wanted to be a musician up but he got into sports, football and baseball. Springsteen was someone my dad idolized, and when he was on the road he just listened to his music all the time. There was even a point where my dad’s opening song when he’d walk into the ring was called “Matlands.” It was a riff on “Badlands” and my dad wrote the words, and the music was done by a local band.
Has he had any contact with Bruce?
Yeah! The video for “Dancing in the Dark,” the one that features Courtney Cox that Brian DePalma directed, that was done at the St. Paul Civic Center, and I think it was then that they met for the first time backstage. Bruce was a wrestling fan, so he knew who my dad was, and my dad idolized his music. Every time Bruce came to town we’d always go backstage and get to hang out and take pictures and shake his hand. I guess, to bring this full circle, I am a Springsteen fan. I’m not quite the diehard my father is. I leaned more towards rock and Bruce instead of Barbra Streisand.