Studio Time: La Bamba, Tom Waits, and Southside Johnny

Grapefruit Moon: The Songs Of Tom Waits Remastered

Pacific Records, March 12th, 2021


Back in 2006, when I was young and cool, I had the chance to play with some rock icons and it was one of the greatest times of my life. Richie Rosenberg, famously known as La Bamba, starred as trombonist and bandleader on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and was a longtime member of Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes.

Over the next fews years I played a few gigs with La Bamba and the Hubcaps, and then started playing with Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, which took the rock element to another level. Along with Bruce Springsteen, Southside is a godfather of Jersey rock and paved the way for bands like Bon Jovi. Former band members include Jon Bon Jovi, Steve Van Zandt, Earl Gardner, Mark Pender, and countless others. He's a master showman, writer and singer.


My favorite memory of playing with Southside Johnny was my first gig with the band up at Mohegan Sun Casino. La Bamba called me several months before and said I needed to have the show memorized. I’d memorized concertos so the memorization didn’t scare me - what scared me was that Southside called the show from any of his albums, and I didn’t get the trombone book until a week before the show! I memorized maybe 20 of the biggest hits, and in a masterful fit of being a young, green trombonist, I went to his manager’s dressing room before the gig and gave him a list of the tunes I’d learned.