Story By: G. H. HARDING
Bruce Springsteen

“THE BOSS” IS BACK--- Is it possible that Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band could be releasing a new album before the end of the summer? The sources are less than concrete, but rumors of just that scenario are running rampant on the Springsteen fan site BlogItAllNight, as follows:

“I heard that Bruce Springsteen has finished recording his new album and it is now in the mixing stage. The best part of it all was that I was told it would be released this summer! It seems unprecedented for Springsteen to release a new album without a few months’ notice but after all, he is The Boss. As for what the album consists of, I was told it was very different from what Springsteen has put out before. So with my grain of salt, here is to hoping that this particular rumor is true!"

His last album, High Hopes (with the brilliant Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello), was among my favorites–and that’s a lot to say, as his output has been nothing short of miraculous. Darkness on the Edge of Town; Nebraska; Tunnel of Love; Born in the U.S.A. . . . all of it just exemplary.

Clearly, this remains a less-than-solid lead at this time. But in the current day and age, anything has to be considered—even if it is with a grain of salt. The blogger cited above is irrefutably correct on one crucial point, though . . . if it does in fact exist, a new Springsteen album should theoretically be one of the most hyped releases of 2015. Come to think of it, several of the biggest albums of the last few years—including Beyoncé's self-titled album, and Drake's fourth album If You're Reading This It's Too Late—have been released without any previous fanfare . . . so it remains tough to say for sure whether or not the Springsteen camp might look to attempt the same stunt.

If anything makes one skeptical about the notion that Springsteen might release a new LP during 2015, I would say it would be the gap between it and Springsteen’s previous album, High Hopes. Over the past two decades, “The Boss” has not exactly lagged in between new releases. However, he has always had gaps of at least two to three years between releases. High Hopes was released during January of 2014, less than a year-and-a-half ago.

Of course, that could be the perfect false flag for Springsteen. Until the end of the summer, all we can do is hope. High hopes indeed!

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

SAN ANDREAS --- Sure, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new movie San Andreas is just a modern-day variation on the “disaster movie” in the style of the 1972 classic The Poseidon Adventure and 1974’s The Towering Inferno (both films produced by the late great “Master of Disaster” himself, Irwin Allen). The action literally starts in the first sequence, and continues pretty much from there—spreading damage to L.A. as well as San Francisco. Johnson portrays an L.A. Search and Rescue officer, who is driven amid all the chaos to locate both his estranged wife (the always reliable Carla Gugino) and his daughter, played by the fetching Alexandra Daddario (from the Percy Jackson series) and it all works reasonably well. There are some terrific stunts and, in the final third of the movie, a seemingly indestructible boat takes them to safety. I saw the screening with a friend who is an avid boat aficionado, who told me that the motor on the boat would have been damaged long before that cataclysmic on-screen escape is over. So much for suspension of disbelief!

The great character actor Paul Giamatti essays the Caltech-based earthquake nerd who predicts correctly what in the film is about to hit California. And Archie Panjabi (Kalinda from CBS-TV ‘s The Good Wife) is brilliant. Truth be told, she’s the star surprise of the movie.

Believe me, the movie (which opens today) will have an epic weekend!

BRIAN’S SURF --- The new Brian Wilson solo album, No Pier Pressure, is amazing . . . perhaps (alongside Bob Dylan’s Shadows in the Night) one of my favorite albums of the year so far. No one makes a solo album like Brian Wilson; damning the trends, he always does exactly what he wants to do.

The back story on this album is that it was half of the next Beach Boys album, which he hoped to make with the re-assembled group two years back during their 50th anniversary tour. Well, cousin (and holder of the band’s name) Mike Love scuttled that project—so Brian returned to the studio to finish an entire album.

In a way it’s a slightly schizophrenic album. Half the songs sound like the Beach Boys, while the other half is distinctly Brian. I guess that’s a good thing, as we get the best parts of each. I hope Love realizes what a great album he could have been a part of realizing under the Beach Boys name!

What’s most amazing to me, though, is how good Brian Wilson sounds. After nearly three “lost” decades, followed by his active participation in that 50th anniversary tour of the Beach Boys—he sounds all over again like the proverbial surfing teenager out in Malibu.

On the track “Saturday Night,” sung with fun frontman Nate Ruess, Wilson sounds positively happy . . . concerned only with Saturday night!

“Sail Away” is a little too “Sloop John B”-ish for me, but “Guess You Had to Be There” is a wry commentary on the continuing flurry of ‘60’s nostalgia works and live shows.

The old-school track, “The Last Song,” is utterly beautiful. A report was that he had recorded this with Lana Del Rey, but she’s not here on the finished track. Instead, Wilson’s ghostly vocals amid strings and piano come together in a huge orchestral finale. “Don't be sad . . . there was a time and place for what we had.” Brilliant album.

CLOSING NOTES --- Amazing to see Entertainment Weekly‘s editor Jess Cagle at Wednesday's all-media screening of San Andreas. You rarely see the heavyweight guys at a screening like this. Usually, they're gifted with an advance-DVD weeks before. Also there was former Village Voice mix master Michael Musto and PR pasha David Salidor . . .

John Leguizamo

Also happening this week has been the Book Expo America (BEA) at the Javits Center. Starting a day earlier this year on Wednesday (as opposed to running last year from Thursday to Saturday), the show had its usual share of foot traffic. Word from our publishing sources, however, seem to indicate that the show continues to become more about the perceived glitz of the big houses than the actual work and endeavor to network and create viable channels for book sales. A publishing executive who wishes to remain anonymous observed that actual industry members seemed more interested in standing in line to meet notables like Jane Goodall or John Leguizamo (and don’t forget Snooki) than in working to make sales and place orders.

Next year, the BEA is moved back to Chicago after several recent years here in NYC. Whether or not next year’s BEA is an improvement over this year’s will be determined by those who actually attend it.

We are, however, happy to report that the great Dr. Ruth Westheimer was cited again at the BEA—it’s never a BEA without her!

Micky Dolenz

Here's our shot of Micky Dolenz speaking at LATTC. Somehow it went missing from Monday's column. Micky and daughter Georgia attend the Dwell On Design-conference Saturday in L.A.

Dolenz Photo Courtesy Of: Steven Harvey Photography