I noticed a new name among the E Street Band members on Monday night (not counting fiddler Sister Soozie, as Springsteen explained Patty Scialfa's absence by noting they had three teenagers), but didn't know the reason for it. Now I do.
Danny Federici, the longtime keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen whose stylish work helped define the E Street Band's sound on hits from "Hungry Heart" through "The Rising," died Thursday. He was 58.
Federici, who had battled melanoma for three years, died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. News of his death was posted late Thursday on Springsteen's official Web site.
According to published reports, Federici last performed with Springsteen and the band last month, appearing during portions of a March 20 show in Indianapolis.
Springsteen concerts scheduled for Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Saturday in Orlando were postponed after news of Federici's death.
He was born in Flemington, N.J., a long car ride from the Jersey shore haunts where he first met kindred musical spirit Springsteen in the late 1960s. The pair often jammed at the Upstage Club in Asbury Park, N.J., a now-defunct after-hours club that hosted the best musicians in the state.
It was Federici, along with original E Street Band drummer Vini Lopez, who first invited Springsteen to join their band.