As the final show of his fall tour approached in his home state, Pete Yorn was feeling the pressure from fans wondering about that other New Jersey rocker.
"I had pretty much stopped playing Springsteen, and I didn't want to do it," Yorn recalled. "Everyone was asking all day [about a Boss cover], and I said, 'No, I'm not doing it.' "
Well, not only did Yorn cover Springsteen, he's releasing the performance to the world.
The singer/songwriter's version of "Atlantic City" is among the highlights of the two-disc Live From New Jersey, available on www.peteyorn.com and due in stores this spring.
The concert, recorded October 29 at the Community Theatre in Morristown, also includes a cover of the Elvis Presley-popularized "Suspicious Minds" and such Yorn hits as "Life on a Chain" and "Crystal Village" (see "Pete Yorn To Tour With Foo Fighters, Gets Misty-Eyed On 'Crystal Village' ").
"It's a pretty good mix of both albums," Yorn said recently from his Los Angeles home. "The live show is very different from the records, more powerful, and by the end of the tour the songs have taken on new life."
Yorn was especially amped on the fall tour after having just opened several dates for heroes R.E.M.
"I always check out the other bands, but that was the only tour I've been on where I stood on the side and watched every song," he said. "I loved it. They were such a part of how I grew up. I took a lot of them with me when I started my own shows."
In New Jersey, Yorn played some songs the way he began his music career: solo and acoustic. He hopes to release one of them, Day I Forgot's "All at Once," as his next single.
"I totally broke down [inside]. I was like, 'Sh--, dude, don't start bawling,' " Yorn recalled. "I held it together and apologized: 'Sorry, I got a little emotional there.' It's just very personal for me for some reason."
The lyrics suggest why. The song ends, "When he comes around/ Do not tell him nothing/ Do not make a sound/ 'Cause if he knows we're there/ He might tear his heart out/ And beat us to death with it/ I was too young to understand."
Yorn is writing his next album, and while it's too early in the process to elaborate, he said he's "having fun with it." The album will probably be released in the fall. In the meantime, fans can look forward to the "Shrek 2" soundtrack album in May, which will feature Yorn's cover of the Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love," produced by Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Good Charlotte).
"I'm very picky about how people record drums," said Yorn, a drummer himself. "But [Dave] Grohl gave him a great review on our Foo Fighters tour."
Beside the Buzzcocks song, Yorn also recently covered Albert Hammond's "It Never Rains in Southern California" for the "Stuck on You" soundtrack.
"Both were requests," Yorn said. "I'd never even heard of the Buzzcocks song, but it's fun. Usually I'll do covers kind of different. These I did more straight-up but still made them my own."
Yorn's also been busy putting out other people's music through his Trampoline label (see "New Deals Give Bounce To Pete Yorn's Trampoline Records"). Along with releasing Trampoline Records Greatest Hits, Vol. II, which features actor Minnie Driver's recording debut (see "Minnie Driver Launches Music Career With Pete Yorn Assist"), the label recently dropped Minneapolis rockers the Hang Ups' eponymous album.
"I've known about that band since '97," Yorn explained. "I was driving out to Malibu one weekend and liked the artwork on one of their albums so much I bought it. It ended up becoming my favorite record of the summer."
Trampoline Records also just released the DVD "Live From Los Angeles: The First Waltz," a collection of performances shot at Trampoline Records Revue concerts in October 2002 and February 2003 at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. Yorn, Dauer's Jukebox Junkies, Minibar, Peter Himmelman, Rusty Truck (featuring Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger), Jeff Trott (who co-wrote and co-produced some Sheryl Crow hits) and the Hang Ups are among the bands on the video.