Inside Stories

Who Was That Guy?

by Capitol Theatre co-founder Al Hayward

This is my favorite story. It didn’t take place at the Capitol Theatre but producing concerts there was directly responsible for this “mind blowing” event.

Back in those days concert promoters like me and John Scher could supply our own opening acts to play before the headline acts. This gave us a great tool to sign young upcoming talent. We could promise instant exposure at the Capitol, before a big audience and billing along with a big name band.  

John, who was not much of a bar person, would visit the coffee houses in the Village looking for talent. Since I was 12 years older than John, I felt more comfortable in the bar scene. If we could sign up a future star as their manager and  then have them open for a big name group at the Capitol it was a win-win situation. The performer could get great exposure and we could some day make a lot of money.

One night I checked out a bar and a band at the Jersey Shore. I believe the club was called “The Stone Pony” in Asbury Park. After watching them play I was very impressed. Especially with one of the band members. I thought that he had a load of talent and I asked him if he had a manager. He said no, so I told him about John and me and the Capitol Theatre. He said he was very interested in talking to us.

A few days later I set up a meeting with John, me and this musician at Monarch Entertainment, which was then located in East Orange. We spoke for awhile and he left. John said he would go listen to him play and let me know what he thought. He went and listened and told me that he didn’t think we should offer to manage him.  I didn’t agree with John but we were partners and he was in charge of booking the acts. I called the young musician and told him the bad news. Just in case you are wondering, his name is Bruce Springsteen. You know the rest!!!