Growing up in south New Jersey, Rick Murphy heard a lot of BS, as in Bruce Springsteen.
But when his manager called about four years ago to suggest a tribute band for the singer, he had a different "B.S." in mind - Bob Seger.
Those who saw Murphy lead Hollywood Nights at the Warren Community Amphitheatre in June know why the suggestion is made. With his long dark hair and beard, Murphy is a dead ringer for mid/late '70s Seger, that ''Live Bullet/''Night Moves''/''Stranger in Town'' era when Seger was Springsteen's biggest rival for working-class hero status. And he has the vocal rasp to do justice to the Detroit rocker's music.
Rick Murphy fronts Hollywood Nights.
Bur Murphy admitted he didn't know Seger's music that well, outside of the hits, when his manager first suggested it. So he spent a month immersing himself in Seger's catalog and was impressed by what he heard.
''It's just good time, good music,'' he said. ''It crosses all generations. It doesn't insult anybody. I see 12-year-old girls singing along, and I see 70-year-old couples enjoying it.''
But he also realized it wouldn't be simple - or cheap - to do justice to the music.
Hollywood Nights has 10 singers and musicians on stage to recreate songs like ''Katmandu,'' ''Turn the Page,'' ''Rock and Roll Never Forgets,'' ''Night Moves,'' ''Feel Like a Number,'' ''Hollywood Nights'' and ''Old Time Rock 'n' Roll.''
That means traveling with a motor home and a box truck to accommodate all of the players and gear, including a baby grand piano.
Murphy said Seger's singing voice is deeper than his own, ''But rasp-wise and grit, I'm right there with him.''
And he needs to be, because he's discovered that Seger fans know his music well. Fans would come up to him after shows and tell him he didn't put in a little grunt in the same spot that Seger did on the record.
''Man, these guys know everything,'' Murphy said. ''I started digging deep on who he was and how he sang everything. Now I've gotten to that place to just become comfortable with it and let it go.''
Hollywood Nights' setlist spans Seger's entire career, but Murphy said he prefers that mid/late '70s phase.
''I like it when he was a hard rocker with a lot of grit,'' Murphy said. ''That's what we're going after.''
And he's happy to be returning to the amphitheater.
''We're humbled to be invited and included. 7 Bridges is just a good group of human beings. We've been waiting to do a show with them for two years now. I think the crowd is in for a good time.''