Ross and the Boss - a once in a lifetime opportunity
Date: 4/26/2010 April 26, 2010
By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor
LONGMEADOW -- April 15 was a day that will forever be in Ross Gruet's memory.
It was on that date that he had a once in a lifetime opportunity very few people have had - Gruet got to jam with "The Boss," Bruce Springsteen.
Gruet grew up in Longmeadow and graduated from Longmeadow High School in 2002. He started playing guitar in third grade by taking private lessons and later on joined his middle school's jazz ensemble and accompanied various vocal groups in the high school.
"I want to play something with a cool factor," Gruet said of his decision to pursue the six-stringed instrument.
He went on to study and graduate from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2007, majoring in music business and management. Gruet said the music industry had always intrigued him and after graduating from Berklee he interned in the A&R (artists and repertory) department of Epic Records in New York City.
Soon after that, Gruet joined the band Automatic Loveletter on the label. "After realizing it was not a band I could see myself being a part of for a long time, I moved back to Boston after about a year . . . and joined an indie rock band called Shanghai Thrills," he explained. "Both bands have been on multiple national tours and I have professional studio recordings with both bands. After a few years with Shanghai Thrills and a short stint in San Francisco last fall, I moved to my girlfriend's hometown of Durham, N.C., and got a job at an amazing recording studio and boutique guitar and amp showroom called Sound Pure Studios."
It was at the studio that Gruet got the chance to not only talk with rock legend Bruce Springsteen but also to play with him.
Gruet said he received a call from his girlfriend that day, who said she had just made a milkshake for Springsteen at the store she works at in Durham called Ox and Rabbit Soda and Sundries. He was in town for a tour of Duke University with his daughter and son. Gruet's girlfriend told Springsteen that he worked at a guitar boutique and that he should stop by.
"Not only did he stop by, but I got to jam with the boss!" Gruet said. "When he mentioned his other son was attending Boston College I told him I graduated from Berklee College of Music a few years ago. He said, 'Well, Ross, let's see what Berklee did for you.'"
Gruet said he and Springsteen played some blues in the studio's showroom for about five minutes.
"I was way too nervous to play anything impressive, but when Bruce Springsteen asks if you wanna jam, you just do," Gruet said. "He told me and my co-workers stories about his early career, checked out a bunch of guitars and invited us to be VIPs at the next North Carolina show he plays."
Gruet said he thinks the experience will be a story he'll be telling the rest of his life. "It was an unreal experience," he told Reminder Publications
. "I have met other musicians in the past but I feel privileged to have spent time with someone of that caliber."
And, while Springsteen already has a solid career under his belt, Gruet feels he is just starting. He is currently finishing his training for the position of boutique guitar and amplifier expert and salesperson, and also works on artist relations for Sound Pure Studios.
"It's hard to say what my future may hold, but I will definitely keep playing music," Gruet said.