Bruce Springsteen dedicated a park in his New Jersey hometown over the weekend in honor of a resident who supported the town's youth and took in the Boss' first band.

Bruce Springsteen dedicated a park in his New Jersey hometown over the weekend in honor of a resident who supported the town's youth and took in the Boss' first band. Former Castiles bandmate George Theiss joined Springsteen at Saturday's ceremony in Freehold, paying tribute to Gordon "Tex" Vinyard, who in the 1960s let the fledging group practice their repertoire of Beatles and Rolling Stones tunes at a duplex he owned.

"Tex was someone who opened his house completely and let us come in and turn it up as loud as we wanted when everybody else was trying to get us to turn it down," Springsteen said of Vinyard, who died in 1988.

Theiss said the band's association with Vinyard and his wife, Marion, began in the opposite fashion. Theiss and the band's drummer were practicing next door when Vinyard came over to complain about the noise. "We just started talking about music, he took an interest and became our manager," Theiss told the Asbury Park Sunday Press.

The Vinyards were like second parents to the band. "They fed us, talked to us, bought us guitar strings and whatever else we needed to make music," Theiss said.

Springsteen said the couple's influence on his musical development is immeasurable. Vinyard cosigned a loan so Springsteen could buy a decent guitar and amplifier. "They are the unsung heroes of rock 'n' roll without which we wouldn't have had a place to practice and hone our craft," he said.

Marion Vinyard remembers when her husband brought the Castiles home. "I said OK. I guess it's because I never had kids, and I enjoyed them," she said.


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