Bruce Springsteen wrote this instrumental around September 1969 (refer to the 20 Sep 1969 show notes below). The song was played in concert up until mid-1970, and a couple of live performances are in circulation. Allegedly a variation of this song was performed by Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band during a few shows early in the Greetings From Asbury Park NJ Tour (which started in Oct 1972 and ended in 1973), although there's no audio or setlist verification.

Child or Steel Mills probably recorded KT88 as part of ongoing rehearsals at Challenger Eastern Surfboards, Wanamassa, NJ, a surfboards manufacturing facility (and Bruce's home between late 1969 and late 1970) that was also a makeshift studio environment of sufficient standard to produce reasonable quality recordings. None of these Challenger Eastern Surfboards audio recorded during 1969 and 1970 is currently in circulation. Due to financial restrictions the Reel-to-Reel tapes were often reused. Consequently there is a distinct possibility that much of what was recorded at Challenger no longer survives, even in Bruce's personal archive.

Below is a list of "known" performances of the song:

  • With Child, on 20 Sep 1969 at Free University, Richmond, VA
    Audience recording of only fair sound quality is in circulation. Bruce Springsteen can be heard introducing KT88 as a new creation.
  • With Steel Mill, on 23 May 1970 at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
    Audience recording of only fair sound quality is in circulation.
  • With Steel Mill, on 13 Jun 1970 at Ocean Ice Palace, Bricktown, NJ
    Audience recording of weak quality is in circulation.
  • With Steel Mill, on 14 Aug 1970 at 7Th And Marshall Street Parking, Richmond, VA
    There are three audio sources for this show in circulation. An audience recording of only fair quality, another more complete audience recording of very good quality, and a soundboard recording which is missing two tracks and is not nearly as good as the better of the two audience sources.

Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez had begun drumming with Bruce Springsteen in 1969, playing in the bands Child, Steel Mill, Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom, and The Bruce Springsteen Band, before what would become known as The E Street Band came together in 1972. He played drums on Springsteen's first two albums, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle. He then left the band in 1974 after being asked to resign because of his opposition to Mike Appel, Springsteen's ex-manager.

After leaving the E Street Band, Lopez became one of Jersey Shore's most popular bandleaders, and still ranks as one of it's best drummers. In 2001, he had the idea of forming a new band who performs and records Steel Mill music as its main line business, music that was not performed for over 40 years, and that has never been officially released (with the exception of Robbin Thompson's HE'S GUILTY (THE JUDGE SONG)).

During The Rising Tour, Lopez met backstage with Bruce Springsteen at the 21 Jul 2003 show at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, and approval was given to perform and record Steel Mill songs. Vini then joined Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band onstage that night, playing drums on SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT.

In 2004, Lopez forms his new band, Steel Mill Retro, who mostly performs Steel Mill songs in the New Jersey Shore area. In 2005, they released The Dead Sea Chronicles, a 9-track album, 8 of which are Springsteen compositions from the Child / Steel Mill era. The album was relased on their own record label, on Steel Mill Retro LLC. In 2007, "Retro" was dropped and the band's name became "Steel Mill". In addition, a remastered reissue of The Dead Sea Chronicles was released by Mega International Records, and was credited to "Steel Mill".

Most of the info on this page are taken from Brucebase. Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the help.

Available Versions

List of available versions of KT88 on this website:


Page last updated: 18 Sep 2007