Clarence Clemons, 'Big Man' of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Dead at 69

Clarence Clemons

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The Big Man is "very happy" with "Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales," Clarence Clemons' new memoir. But how does The Boss feel about this look inside his usual close-knit camp?

"He loves it," the saxophonist tells Billboard.com about Bruce Springsteen's reaction to the book. "I was getting the manuscript together and one day I was reading it on the plane, and (Springsteen) asked...'Do you mind if I take at look at it?' And he took it to his seat and he came back about 45 minutes later and said, 'Man this is fantastic. This is great!' And that was the best thing I ever heard. It thrilled me so much that he accepted and appreciated what I was doing, and he gave me his blessing. That's the big key is getting the blessing from above in doing something like this."

Springsteen also wrote a forward for "Big Man" and has been hyping it at his shows, referring to Clemons as "the author" during his concert introductions.

In "Big Man," Clemons and his co-writer, TV veteran and good pal Don Reo mix each of their autobiographical remembrances with "tall tale" sections that Clemons describes as "stories that could be true or are true in a certain aspects" -- although Reo introduces a couple of them as complete fabrications. But Clemons says those chapters only add to the overall flavor of the 400-page book.

"We look at ('Big Man') as something entertaining," Clemons explains. "It's not just hard facts or a biography. We mix it in with stuff that makes it more entertaining and interesting. I didn't want to write a flat book about my life because it could be boring and my life is anything but boring." He adds that there are many stories he and Reo left out that may appear in a second book. "The next book could be an X-rated book about the life," Clemons notes, "although some of the stories we didn't go into deeply in this one we'll just go through in a little more detail."

Clemons is also starting to eyeball his musical life beyond the E Street Band, which wraps up its Working On A Dream tour on Nov. 22 in Buffalo. He expects to record another album with his Temple of Soul band, but he's also confident that this won't be the last time we see the E Street Band and, like many Springsteen fans he's excited to see what his employer and friend decides to do next.

"Whatever it is, it is going to be fantastic," Clemons predicts. "That's one thing I've learned in all these years we've been together, that whatever change he makes, whatever route he takes, it is going to be fantastic."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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