Bruce Springsteen and George Theiss, a former
bandmate in The Castiles, were among a group of
about 100 people who watched as a sign was
unveiled naming the playground park in honor of
the band's manager, Gordon "Tex" Vinyard.
"Tex was someone who opened his house
completely and let us come in and turn it up as
loud as we wanted when everybody else was trying
to get us to turn it down," Springsteen said.
The dedication ceremony was held at the
Freehold YMCA Community Center, across the street
from the park where Vinyard's home used to stand
at Center and Jackson streets.
Springsteen stepped from the crowd wearing a
gray baseball hat, a jacket and jeans, and spoke
lovingly of the couple who meant so much to many
"I thought it was beautiful. I was really
honored," said Tex's widow, Marion Vinyard, 67,
about the dedication.
"He would have been very excited," she said
about how her husband, who died in 1988, would
In the 1960s, the couple opened their hearts
and their home to The Castiles, Springsteen's
first band, and to other up-and-coming musicians,
But the band's association with the couple
began on a different note, Theiss said yesterday.
"When I first met Tex, he came over to yell at
me for making too much noise," said Theiss, who
was practicing next door at the home of drummer
Bart Haynes at the time.
"We just started talking about music, he took
an interest and became our manager," he said.
Characterizing The Castiles as "just a kid
garage band," Theiss said they practiced Rolling
Stones and Beatles songs at the Vinyards' duplex
and played at venues such as CYO dances, the YMCA
and even at the local ShopRite.
Yesterday, Springsteen told the audience of
about 100 that he could not measure the impact the
Vinyards had made on his musical development.
"They are really the unsung heroes of rock 'n'
roll without which we wouldn't have had a place to
practice and hone our craft," Springsteen said.
"They fed us, talked to us, bought us guitar
strings and whatever else we needed to make
music," Theiss said, adding the couple acted as a
second set of parents for the band members.
"To me this is like our 'Penny Lane,' " he
Springsteen joked that the park should have
been named "St Marion's."
"I'd say Tex was a famous grump, only in the
best sense," Springsteen joked as he cut cake
alongside Marion at a small reception following
"He was a tough but nice man," Marion said.
Tex Vinyard even "co-signed a loan for me for a
decent guitar and amplifier," Springsteen said.
The couple's kindness and compassion "was an
important part of this time in my life," he said.
The idea to name the park after Tex Vinyard
came about because he "helped so many kids back in
the 1960s," said Freehold Mayor Michael Wilson,
who himself had a band that practiced at the
Marion said it all started when Tex brought The
Castiles home one day.
"My husband just brought them in, and I said
OK," she said.
"I guess it's because I never had kids and I