“Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock n’ Roll,” a new documentary exploring the roots of the New Jersey sound, is hitting theaters worldwide for an engagement on May 22 and 29.
The film chronicles the town’s founding, its Jersey Shore heyday and dark periods like the race riots of the 1960s. Helping to dig deep into Asbury Park’s history are local luminaries Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Van Zandt (aka Little Steven) and Southside Johnny Lyon. The theater run was facilitated through a partnership with Jersey Mike’s Subs and Halo X Media. The two companies are teaming up to donate a portion of the profits to promoting and creating music education programs for children, according to a release.
“Jersey Mike’s is also an iconic part of the Jersey Shore and a great supporter of the community,” said the film’s Director Tom Jones. “Their heartfelt desire to make a difference makes them a dream partner and is a part of what makes them a great American brand. It is inspiring.”
The film, which premiered on April 28, at the Asbury Music and Film Festival at the Paramount Theatre, includes concert footage of Springsteen joining Van Zandt at a performance in 2018.
Speaking to an audience at the festival after a screening of concert clips from the Thrill Hill Archives, Springsteen joked that after seeing a rough cut of the film the previous year, he wondered: “Why am I not in this? I should be in this.”
That tremendous oversight was rectified as Springsteen sat down inside the old Upstage Club for an on-camera interview. Springsteen said he was amazed that the interior looked “exactly the same” as it did the last time he was inside the building.
“Something happened here that wasn’t happening any place else,” Bruce Springsteen says in the film. “And that mattered.”
Other E Street Band members and musicians in the film include: David Sancious, Garry Tallent, Edward Carter and Max Weinberg. Additionally, Jones assembled interviews with historians, a former mayor, and musicians from every background.
“You’d go to Ocean Grove to pray and Asbury Park to party,” Southside Johnny Lyon remembers in the film.
“We are pleased to support this project which shares an important part of our home state’s history, and have the opportunity to support youth music education programs at the same time,” said Rich Hope, CMO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “At Jersey Mike’s, we have always believed that getting children involved in activities, from the arts to sports, builds leadership, confidence and resilience.”
“Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock n’ Roll is a story about a community pulling together in trying times and finding common ground through music,” added Kymberli Frueh, senior vice president of programming and content acquisitions North America, Trafalgar Releasing. “It is remarkable to see companies like Jersey Mike’s recognizing the importance of music education and supporting initiatives that help to connect children with their passion and each other.”
Watch a trailer for the doc below: