George Theiss passed away this past Friday, July 13.
GEORGE THEISS, 1949-2018
George Theiss died on Friday after a two-year battle with lung cancer. He was 68. Theiss was Bruce Springsteen’s bandmate in their teen-years band The Castiles; Springsteen is now the last surviving member of that band.
Theiss formed The Castiles — named after the shampoo that he used — in late 1964 and was the band’s lead singer. He had been dating Virginia Springsteen for a while before learning that her brother could play the guitar; George soon invited Bruce to join the band. In his Born to Run autobiography, Springsteen identified The Castiles as “my first real band”…. He also described George Theiss as “the best vocalist we had. He had a real voice and charisma and did the job well. I was considered toxic in front of a microphone…
The Castiles actually got as far as playing New York City’s famous Café Wha? and doing a bit of recording. Their two-track recording of “Baby I,” a song that Springsteen and Theiss wrote together, was featured on Chapter and Verse, the 2016 compilation released in conjunction with the Born to Run autobiography. After The Castiles broke up, George Theiss remained a fixture on the Jersey Shore music scene through the 1970s and 1980s, later leading Cahoots and The George Theiss Band, and continuing to write and perform.