A poster for the “Ernie the Chickin’ Festival” at Newark State College in Union, N.J. on May 15, 1971 recently sold for $650 on eBay. The main reason? The poster featured an act on the bill named “Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom with Bruce Springsteen.”
According to Brucebase, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom evolved out of the open jams Springsteen had been having at the Upstage in Asbury Park. The band featured original E Streeters David Sancious, Garry Tallent and Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez; Miami Steve Van Zandt, who would join in 1975; and Springsteen’s old friend “Southside” Johnny Lyon. The band also featured a percussionist two saxophone players and a seven-piece vocal group called the Zoomettes.
Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom only performed twice, at the ‘Ernie the Chickin’ Festival’ and the night before at Asbury Park’s ‘Sunshine In.’ The nine-song set included covers of Bob Dylan‘s ‘It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,’ the Shirelles’ ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ and ‘Jambalaya’ by Hank Williams.
Later that night, the core of the band also performed as the Sundance Blues Band from 9:30PM to 1:00AM, proving that even then Springsteen played long sets. The gig took place at the Student Prince in Asbury Park, the same club where, several months later, Springsteen would meet saxophonist Clarence Clemons.
The poster is pink with red lettering and a drawing of a chicken playing an electric guitar. Three bidders were after the poster, which was eventually sold for $650 after being originally listed at $50.