Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist saved by an old bar mitzvah gift

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — Bruce Springsteen’s longtime guitarist Nils Lofgren found himself in a pickle on Friday night: Just hours before a sold-out solo show in Dallas, he discovered that his four vintage guitars had been stolen.

Lofgren, who has also toured with Neil Young and Ringo Starr, tweeted that he was “devastated” by the robbery, but he promised fans that the show would go on.

Thankfully the search for a replacement axe didn’t take too long. Lofgren remembered that his old friend Howard Kweller — now a doctor, formerly Lofgren’s bandmate in middle school — lives in north Texas. A little over two decades ago, Lofgren gave Kweller’s son Ben a guitar for his bar mitzvah. Ben Kweller — who is a noted indie rocker himself — was more than happy to let Lofgren borrow the old bar mitzvah gift.

“Nils knows that guitar and he’s played it before,” Howard Kweller told CBS DFW. “He’s the ultimate performer. I have no doubt he’ll have an amazing show.”

Ben Kweller has never talked much about his Jewish identity, but he does sing the Hebrew word “Dayenu” (“it would have been enough”) on his 2002 song “Lizzy.”

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The search is still on for the guitar thief, but Lofgren got to enjoy the show — and the company of an old friend.

(In the photo below, Ben Kweller is on the left, next to Lofgren, and Howard Kweller is on the other end.)