The Jersey Rock scene, particularly Asbury Park, has experienced a lot over the last half century. From the heralded 70’s and 80’s to the dark times of the 90’s to the resurgence of today, the City By The Sea has acquired an amazing wealth of Rock history. While Asbury Park has seen champions come and go, it’s also witnessed some who have stayed; individuals who have inspired and helped to cultivate new generations of musicians to perpetuate the scene’s already rich legacy. One of those individuals is Lance Larson.
Lance Larson’s story in many ways mirrors that of the Asbury Park music scene. He rose to acclaim in the mid 1970’s with his band Lord Gunner, a driving, power Rock group that was once the house band of The Stone Pony. At its peak Lord Gunner was regarded as one of the most popular unsigned acts on the east coast, opening for the likes of David Johanson, Sly And The Family Stone, and John Cafferty And The Beaver Brown Band. Following the breakup of Lord Gunner, Lance Larson continued to write and record songs for other artists as well as television and film projects. His work was halted in 1993 when an attack from a group of robbers nearly ended his life.
After a long, hard-fought recovery Lance returned to the Asbury Park music scene. In 2003 he and his longtime girlfriend Debbie Delisa purchased The Wonder Bar. It was a time of building revitalization for Asbury Park. Still a far cry from its heyday, when Lord Gunner played alongside the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, the music scene was beginning to show signs of life as the city began its own restoration. The Wonder Bar would serve as one of the pillars from which the revived music scene would be built. Its importance in the resurgence of Asbury Park cannot be overstated.
Today The Wonder Bar is one of the most active venues on the Jersey Rock scene. Its Happy Mondays series has allowed countless local acts the opportunity to gain greater exposure, while allowing audiences to experience original local music at no charge. The venue does an excellent job of fostering homegrown talent, while also drawing nationally touring acts and providing K-9’s an outlet for socializing with its famed Yappy Hour.
While The Wonder Bar is a great contribution to the local music scene, it is not Lance Larson’s only contribution as of late. In 2007 he put out a great collection of tracks to honor our veterans called “Songs For The Soldier” and in December he released his latest album. Lance Larson’s “The Bridges We Cross” is a hard-rocking, soulful, shining example of the New Jersey sound.
Tune to Jersey Rock on 95.9 The Rat on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 11:30 pm to hear selections from “The Bridges We Cross.” Lance Larson will join us in studio each night to talk about the disc and share a story or two from The Asbury Park music scene, like where that red hat in Bruce Springsteen's back pocket on the cover of "Born In The USA" came from. It's going to be an awesome week on Jersey Rock with a legend of the local music scene!
Check out some awesome videos of Lance Larson in action: