As Clarence Clemons’ oldest son and name sake sat segregated from the elite, though proudly wearing a jacket his dad gave him, he looked below at his 2 brothers, sitting at the privileged big buck tables, and listened and watched a woman accept his father’s induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She began her speech with innuendo about the size of his father. She ended neglecting to mention anything about two of four of Clarence’s sons. One of whom was Nick.
“I didn’t want to go. I knew it was going to be painful. I went back and forth, but regardless of being given a last-minute ticket without any credentials to even be able to communicate with my brothers, I had to go to honor my father. When Victoria was up there giving the speech, I found it disrespectful that she spoke of his size. I think it was obvious she was bragging about his big cock. She even referred to his size 17 shoe, after the blatant innuendo. She proceeded to mention my two brothers, and how proud he was of them, and how much he loved them. Then she moved on to my cousin, Jake. My brother Christopher and I were left out. I left before she finished her speech.”
Q: WHERE DID YOU GO?
A: I went straight to the men’s room and cried for about a half an hour. I felt so disrespected. I knew it was going to be that way, which is why I dreaded going. I would have punched a wall, but I have a gig coming up. I took off my jacket and threw it in the trash.
Q: WHY? IT WAS VICTORIA WHO GAVE THE SPEECH.
A: I was just so hurt and angry. My father was always hardest on me.
Q: DO YOU THINK YOUR BROTHER, CHRISTOPHER, IS AS HURT?
A: He’s very shy. Bruce is actually his Godfather. I don’t think my brother cares as much about it.
Q: ARE YOU JEALOUS OF YOUR BROTHERS? THEY WERE INCLUDED IN THE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, AND SAT AT HIGH TICKET TABLE ON FLOOR.
A: I wouldn’t say jealous, now. But in earlier years, Dad invited my three brothers to The Superbowl and other events. They went on vacations together without me.
Q: WHY DO YOU THINK THEY EXCLUDED YOU?
A: I don’t know. I don’t know. I. Don’t. Know.
I’m disappointed that no one stepped up to the plate for me on Thursday. Not my brothers. Not the Hall of Fame. And not Bruce. My brother, Charles, wrote me and apologized for leaving me out, which made me feel a little better. This came after we had a big fight. (This was in response to my facebook posts, expressing displeasure at the seating situation at the ceremony.) He said I was a joke. I was done. His apology emphasized his regret for not sticking up for me. “I couldn’t believe she didn’t mention your name. I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t let you on the floor!”
Q: IF YOU COULD SAY ANYTHING TO YOUR DAD’S WIFE, VICTORIA RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A: You don’t deserve my father’s last name.
Q: DO YOU THINK SHE LOVED YOUR FATHER? A: No. Not at all. I think she loved my last name; the power and the money.
A: No. Not at all. I think she loved my last name; the power and the money.
Q: ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN, HOW HARD WAS IT BEING AT THE CEREMONY ON THURSDAY?
A: A nine. I didn’t want to go at the last-minute. Crappy seats. No credentials. Had to look at my brothers on the floor. And capped off when she didn’t mention my name or my brother’s.
Q: ONLY A NINE? WHAT WOULD HAVE MADE IT A TEN?!
A: The only reason it wasn’t a ten is because they were honoring my father. It was still a great honor. I feel the band took away my father. I can’t be the only child of a rock and roll band that feels that way.
I admire Max, and even Danny came around to be a good father. Gary, excellent father. I admire Bruce for being an excellent father, too. I just wish my Dad would have taken after him that way.
Q: IF YOU COULD ASK; OR SAY ANYTHING TO BRUCE RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A: Bruce, why do you hate me so much? What did I ever do to you? And whatever I did, how can I make it up to you?
Q: DO YOU LIKE BRUCE?
A: I like Bruce, but I go through battles, wondering why he hates me. After the funeral, we hugged. I would feel like less of a man if I actually asked him the question. If I cried and bitched in front of him, I was brought up not to expose that sort of emotion. I know there are people who have life a lot worse. I’m no angel. But I don’t think I deserve to be treated as I have been.
Q: YOU SAY YOU ARE NO ANGEL, CAN YOU ELABORATE? DO YOU THINK BRUCE DISAPPROVED? THERE ARE ACTUAL RUMORS THAT YOU HAVE BEEN VIOLENT WITH WOMEN:
A: I’ve done some things I am not proud of, drugs, just had to survive, pay the bills. But I have never been convicted of any crime, and I certainly have never hit a woman. Those rumors are just spread by scorned hearts.
Q: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR BRUCE SAY TO YOU?
A: I Don’t know. I have no clue. I don’t want anything. I just want to play music. I don’t want to hang on to animosity. He’ll want me to beg for it. I always begged for my Dad’s love.
People ask me all the time. Why doesn’t Bruce like you?
Q: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOUR DAD RIGHT NOW IF YOU COULD?
A: Why would you put me through this shit? You know what you did. You couldn’t see what you did, cuz you were fucked up and high.
Q: WHAT WOULD YOU WANT YOUR DAD TO SAY TO YOU?
A: I’m sorry for being a cocksucker.
Q: WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED YOUR DAD TO HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY WITH YOU?
A: Show me some love and kindness. I watched my father be a father to my brothers. And me? Never anywhere. But I’m the only one who went to college and got a degree. But I’m the dick. I’m a jerk. I’m the only one with a son. I did the right thing to name him after Clarence.
Q: DESPITE ALL OF THIS, DO YOU STILL LOVE HIM?
A: Of course. He’s my Dad.
Q: WHAT WILL YOU TELL YOUR SON ABOUT YOUR FATHER WHEN HE IS OLDER?
A: I will tell him that I loved him. He doesn’t need to know anything else. He doesn’t need to feel my pain. Dad left him a good amount of money, which makes me happy.
Q: BUT IF YOU WRITE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE WITH YOUR FATHER, WON’T HE FIND OUT ABOUT THE TRUTH? (Clarence has shared stories with me that are jaw-dropping for the book.)
A: Yeah, but he’ll be an adult by then.
Q: WILL THERE BE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOUR DAD IN THE BOOK?
A: Well, yeah! I’m not there just to slam him. He was a rock star. He was just a selfish man. I think the Eulogy Bruce wrote for my dad was really for me.
Q: NAME YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT YOUR DAD.
A: I don’t know. He had a smell that was so sweet. I carry his clothing that has his scent, and I smell it all the time. And although I mention that he was selfish, it was mainly with the family. He was very giving to other people. And I feel like I got that trait from him. One example is that I never wanted to let anyone down when they asked for tickets. It’s kind of funny, but that’s where the trouble began with Bruce and the band, and my dad.
Q: WHAT HAPPENED?
A: People would always bug me for tickets. And at some shows, like in San Diego, there were even unsold tickets, so I would be asked to move them! It was a lot of responsibility. Bruce does not do as well in California. But this one time in Philly, I had provided like four or five tickets to this guy, and he ended up scalping them without my knowledge. When he got busted for it, he said he got the tickets from me, and said that I also scalped them! That’s when everything changed. That’s when I started getting treated badly. I became the bad seed. The shadow was cast. I was no longer welcome. And my Dad did nothing. It really hurt.
There was also a huge conflict with my wife at the time. She would get angry when she felt I was disrespected….like when I couldn’t get backstage to see my own father. She got inappropriately violent. And I feel Bruce does not like her, and neither did my Dad. Unfortunately, the mother of my child was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, and it has been a real struggle. My priority is taking care of my son. But it was never the same as the old days when I would have a blast on tour.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR FONDEST MEMORY WITH YOUR DAD?
A: (…long pause) Circle Bar, LBI. (Long Beach Island) He wasn’t with Bruce. No pressure. Just us. My band opened for the Red Bank Rockers. He would watch me play. I was so happy.
Q: DID YOUR DAD EVER SIT IN WITH YOU?
A: I toured California 1991 Marin County. Jammed with us for 2 nights. We all stayed together in my brother’s basement apartment at Dad’s house. He let the band stay there. Good time. That was a proud moment of mine. It was the Sweetwater, that Bob Weir owns. I love the Grateful Dead. When Bruce forced my dad out of the band, he almost joined The Dead. In fact, he toured with them for a year. Dad was good friends with Jerry.
Q: I GUESS WE’LL SAVE THAT FOR THE BOOK. WHO ARE YOU CLOSEST WITH IN THE E STREET BAND?
A: I love Gary. He’s always been kind to me. Gary brought the band together. Gary was the baddest fucking white guy around. Gary met my dad first. Back in the 60’s, Asbury was racially divided. Dad would play with Richie Blackwell at Soul Clubs. (Soul Clubs were for the black people.) Whites could go to black clubs. But Blacks couldn’t go to white clubs. Dad would go to both, and jam.
Q: BUT HOW DID HE GET INTO THE WHITE CLUBS?
A: His saxophone did the talking. Plus he was a big motherfucker…And because Gary was that baddest ass of a bass player, he also played both clubs. Gary merged the cultures and color barrier. He was influential.
Q: YOU MENTIONED MAX A FEW TIMES, ARE YOU CLOSE TO HIM?
A: I have a lot of respect for him, like I said. I really like all of the guys. Nils taught me how to play guitar. I feel close to him. And I was happy for them at the Hall of Fame.
Q: IF YOU COULD DO SOMETHING ALL OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A: I would have turned my back on anyone whoever asked me for a ticket. I would have said, no. Getting into trouble was embarrassing. It felt like an excuse to keep me out.
END OF INTERVIEW. (There was a ton of more fascinating information that will have to wait for the book.)
…And keep him out, the powers that be, certainly did. Nick squirmed in the balcony as a virtual stranger disregarded his existence.
Watch the video for yourself, and come to your own conclusions. But I think Clarence Clemons III was the BIG MAN for showing up.
And I am sure if anyone finds that jacket Nick threw away, it should end up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for a real story about the cost of Rock and Roll on real children.