Springsteen talked about this song in detail on an episode of VH1 Storytellers
.A lot of the references are personal, to include people he knew or had met on the Boardwalks, or had grown up around, or were just direct personal references to himself:
"Madman drummers bummers" - Vinnie "Mad dog" Lopez, the first drummer in the E Street Band.
"Indians in the summer" - Bruce's little league baseball team as a kid.
"In the dumps with the mumps" - being sick with the mumps.
"Boulder on my shoulder" - a "chip" on his shoulder.
"Some all hot, half-shot, heading for a hot spot, snapping fingers clapping his hands" - Being a "know it all kid growing up, who doesn't really know anything."
"Silicone Sister" - Bruce mentions that this is arguably the first mention of breast implants in popular music - a dancer at one of the local strip joints in Asbury Park.
He wrote this song in his bedroom, primarily using a rhyming dictionary. Or as Bruce put it, "the rhyming dictionary was on fire."
John - Columbus, OH