A Marijuana Bust Broke Up Bruce Springsteen’s First Band

Bruce Springsteen skyrocketed to fame in 1975 as the gravel-voiced frontman of the E Street Band, but he actually broke into the music scene years earlier in a garage rock band that broke up after bandmates got busted with marijuana.

Back in 1965, The Boss was the lead guitarist for a band called The Castilles, named after founder George Theiss' favorite type of shampoo: Conti Castile. The group of teenagers started out playing a trailer park BBQ before moving on to teen clubs, school dances and wedding receptions in the New Jersey area. 

Then in 1967, the band began gigging at Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village, which had helped launch the careers of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and many other artists. The Castiles might've been the club's next breakout group if a few bandmates hadn't been busted for marijuana that year. Getting caught with cannabis wasn't unheard of in New York, but it was an unprecedented scandal in the small Jersey town of Freehold — the band's home base.

Backlash following the bust soon combined with internal tensions in the group to break up The Castiles before they got a big break.

"Our band was fraying anyway," Springsteen reflected years later. "George and I had begun to have some tension between us and the bust gave us all a final out. My epic elementary school of rock was closed forever."

It was a tough break, but definitely not Springsteen's worst bump on the road to success. That happened in years earlier when his very first band — The Rogues — booted him from their lineup because his cheap guitar couldn't stay in tune.

But Springsteen got the last laugh by immortalizing that guitar years later in the retrospective song 'The Wish.'

h/t Rolling Stone


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