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Lil thing I wrote for TwistandShout.com: Bruce Springsteen
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b. dolan
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Joined: 17 Nov 2004
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Lil thing I wrote for TwistandShout.com: Bruce Springsteen  Reply with quote  

Little interview/piece I did for their blog. If you don't know, Twist & Shout is a dope record store in Denver. Check em out if you're in the mountains.

"You know, this Michael Jackson thing got us to thinking. Why donít we ever pay tribute to our heroes when they are alive? I mean, why do these great people have to die before we wax poetic about them? Well, hereís your chance. Pick an living artist that you love and answer the following questions about them." -Twist And Shout

Artist:

Bruce Springsteen. Say word. I'm takin it there.

How did you get turned on to this artist?

I was turned on to Bruce Springsteen twice in life. First when I was about 10, by my Uncle Jack. That's not a metaphor for Jack Daniels. I really have an uncle named Jack. And anyhow I didn't meet Jack Daniels til I was 12.

The second time I found the Boss was almost 20 years later, on tour with Buck 65. He hipped me to the "Nebraska" album, which I'd never really heard, and I fell instantly in love with it. These days it's never far from my side, and I might even rank it among the greatest albums ever made.

What was the first record you got by this artist?

Uncle Jack gave me a dubbed copy of a concert recording that I've never been able to track down since. I used to fast forward through almost all of it, occasionally stopping to listen to the audience lose their minds when "Born in the U.S.A." happened. Come to think of it this may have been the first real recording of a concert I ever had. I used to lay in bed with headphones and imagine being onstage. All the girls I had crushes on from school were in the crowd. Aye.

Anyhow, I would fast forward through almost all of this tape except for "Born in the U.S.A." and "The River," and the latter was the song I really wanted to hear. I used to just rewind that song and play it over and over until I fell asleep. Even at 10 it crushed me. Without having any real adult experiences, I understood what that song was about on some level.

Have you seen the artist live? What was the best show?

I've never seen Springsteen live, but I do highly recommend the DVD of his VH1 Storytellers performance. My favorite Springsteen is acoustic, and the Storytellers performance offers some really great insight into Springsteen's songwriting process. I can say that I've learned things from that DVD that I've applied directly to the music I'm making now, and that it's made me a better songwriter for sure.

For real. Check this DVD out.

Have you ever met this artist? What would you tell them if you
were to have dinner with them?


Nah. I met Huey Lewis recently though. Unrelated.

I dunno man. I feel like me and Bruce wouldn't need to say anything. We'd just sit at the end of the bar and watch the 40 year old woman sway to the jukebox. Every once in awhile we'd look up from our beers at each other and go "Yep."

What makes this artist different than others?

For me, Springsteen epitomizes a certain kind of American experience better than anyone else. If you're interested in music about rural blue collar life then I don't think anyone is fucking with him. At best, he understands and communicates the poetry of that world without ever mucking it up or making it overwrought.

There's obvious overlap with people like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, but I feel like those two are taking the mundane to somewhere else a lot of the time. Many of the go-to Johnny Cash songs are taking that same experience and turning it into something mythic or archetypal, and a lot of the go-to Dylan songs are dazzling me with language and living very much in the mind, if that makes sense.

Not to take anything away from Cash and Dylan, but I think Springsteen has a very zen way of just leaving it all be, by comparison. I'm generalizing a lot here, but I think that's the distinction, for me.

"Seen a man standin' over a dead dog
lyin' by the highway in a ditch
He's lookin' down kinda puzzled
pokin' that dog with a stick
Got his car door flung open
he's standin' out on highway 31
Like if he stood there long enough
that dog'd get up and run"
-Bruce Springsteen, "Reason to Believe"

Why do you think this artist strikes a chord with you? This is a
question about you, not the artist.


Well, as I've said, I think Springsteen is the poet of a certain blue collar generation, and my parents and their friends fit squarely into that. Uncle Jack still swears by The Boss and The Stones, and still works in the same warehouse he's been working in for 20 years with my father.

So, Springsteen is forever tied to nostalgia and sentimental feelings about the place I come from, in that way. It's music that reminds me of the adults I grew up around, that coincidentally might as well be about the adults I grew up around.

Also, what makes the songs last for me is the lack of romance or re-imagining. Nothing is being smoothed over in these songs. Springsteen gets the simple beauty of that life but he also gets the brutal, soul-emptying sadness. That sadness is something so fundamental I understood it when I was 10 years old, and it's truer now than it ever was.

"Those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true
Or is it something worse?"
-Bruce Springsteen, "The River"

Tell em Boss.

Check out:

Bruce Springsteen - "Atlantic City"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEkyaoPdar8

Bruce Springsteen - "The River"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAB4vOkL6cE

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Last edited by b. dolan on Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:20 pm
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R. Kamidees



Joined: 15 Sep 2003
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Location: where the wild things are
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seems like a pretty succinct explanation of what is great about the Boss.
Post Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:30 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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"I'm On Fire" has always been my go-to Boss song. The wailing at the end really seals the awesomeness deal for me, though the whole song is really powerful. Good man, that Bruce. Particularly loved the Super Bowl crotchslide.
Post Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:34 pm
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Mikal kHill



Joined: 29 Jun 2002
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I have a few awesome Springsteen Bootlegs. Springsteen is the bee's knees. That was better than any interview I've read with any artist in a long long fucking time.

-kHill
Post Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:39 pm
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al(phonic)



Joined: 12 May 2005
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Location: maine
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i love the boss

my story with him goes about the same, except it was my aunt sukie, the born in the usa album, and 15 years later with my friend jacob

hes a maniac live, but ive just seen dvds and tv runs

but yeah, amazing writer, soulful musician. amaericana at its best
Post Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:08 pm
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prolific memorie



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Eye opening.
Post Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:28 pm
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the mean
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
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Big fan of the Boss.

I think "Ghost Of Tom Joad" is my favorite. Like "Nebraska" but with more instrumentation, and a focus on California stories.

Got to see him play a solo show a couple years ago. It was great, despite the lack of songs from "Ghost Of Tom Joad". Just an hour and a half of him playing songs and telling stories. No opener, no backing band.

"The River" is a great song. I also love "The Ties That Bind" off of that record.

Need to pick up the new record.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:40 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19373
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Captiv8 wrote:
"I'm On Fire" has always been my go-to Boss song. The wailing at the end really seals the awesomeness deal for me, though the whole song is really powerful. Good man, that Bruce. Particularly loved the Super Bowl crotchslide.


Me too.

And Nebraska is definitely one of the greatest albums ever made.

When I was in Seattle a few several years ago they had an exhibit on Springsteen at the rock and roll museum thing there, and it was really cool. Lots of neat pictures, and quotes painted all over the walls, with music listening stations for all of his albums. It was a lot of fun. I spent a whole afternoon in that room just reading all of the diffrent bio things, and listening to all of the albums.

Looooove Springsteen.

My association with Springsteen started for me in the middle seat of a mini-van on a long family road trip. We had picked up my step brother in Arizona, and he had two tapes with him a Blondie album and Springsteen's Born in the USA. And I basically monopolized the walkman playing both of those albums over and over. I think I probably subconsciously know all of the lyrics to Born in the USA. I was probably 6. So when I think of Springsteen I always have that memory of him and me on a long road trip going through batteries on my walkman.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:46 am
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erich



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my mom is from jersey and used to see him at asbury park before he even really took off. when my sister was born when i was three, i sang born in the usa in the hospital, im told. definite familiar associations with the boss.

also, my mom really liked michael jackson. i remember thriller and born in the usa very distinctly in early childhood.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:41 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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erich wrote:
my mom is from jersey and used to see him at asbury park before he even really took off. when my sister was born when i was three, i sang born in the usa in the hospital, im told. definite familiar associations with the boss.

also, my mom really liked michael jackson. i remember thriller and born in the usa very distinctly in early childhood.


Your mom sounds just like my mom. I remember listening to Born in the USA and Thriller time after time with her in the van, as well as healthy doses of Don Henley, Amy Grant, and Garth Brooks.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:43 am
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zagadka
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That was a great summary on why I think so many people relate to The Boss and love him so much. It took me a long time to understand why people were nuts about him, for some reason I was always under the impression that he was some sort of Team America Fuck Yeah type guy until I actually listened to the lyrics and resonated on them.

I had this really awesome Contemporary Novels teacher in HS- he was short, bearded, wore cowboy boots, had polio and walked with that weird polio leg drag hobble thing but was still a pretty amazing wrestling coach (or so I'm told).

I went to Catholic HS. Aside from the whole awesome uniform thing, we also had to start every class with a prayer. Most teachers just did the whole Hail Mary/ Our Father deal, very unoriginal and very Catholic, but this teacher would use lyrics from The Boss as prayers. If prayers were going to be said, these seemed more fitting, honest and legit to use.

He also was absent a lot because he traveled around the country following him on tour. ha.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:31 am
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Stumbleweed



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
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I'm big on "Ghost of Tom Joad" as well. "Straight Time" is my favorite song on that one.

I actually saw him in concert on the first E-Street Band reunion tour. It was at the Pepsi Center, which sucked, but it was a typical epic 2+ hours Bruce set.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:04 am
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jehu



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nebraska is some next level shit. and dolan, your breakdown of cash & dylan in comparison to the boss is spot on, imo.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:08 am
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Basilisk



Joined: 03 May 2004
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Several years ago in high school I had a friend who loved Springstein. I knew nothing about the guy, but becasue my friend was so passionate about Bruce I couldn't help but make fun of him. I lost touch with that friend after high school, and subsequently never thought about Springstein again.
That was until last weekend, when a girl asked if I wanted to see him in concert. It's well established that a guy will do most anything to spend time with a new girl, so I of course agreed.
It didn't matter though, becasue the show was awesome. I didn't think I could be so psyched at a concert for someone I'd never listened to. They played for two and a half hours (which is short, apparently), and did an encore of NINE songs. I was stoked. I'm hooked now.
Even more psyched after reading this. Thanks Dolan!

Edit: I forgot the point of the intro story. In the end I felt obligated to hunt down my buddy on facebook. The first thing I've said to him in years, and it was an apology for making fun of he and Bruce. He hasn't replied though, so my apology might not be accepted


Last edited by Basilisk on Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:10 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Captiv8 wrote:
erich wrote:
my mom is from jersey and used to see him at asbury park before he even really took off. when my sister was born when i was three, i sang born in the usa in the hospital, im told. definite familiar associations with the boss.

also, my mom really liked michael jackson. i remember thriller and born in the usa very distinctly in early childhood.


Your mom sounds just like my mom. I remember listening to Born in the USA and Thriller time after time with her in the van, as well as healthy doses of Don Henley, Amy Grant, and Garth Brooks.


My mom listened to a lot of Led Zepplin, Jethro Tull, The Doors, Jim Croce, Bon Jovi, Journey, and Genesis a lot while I was growing up. Ha.
Post Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:23 pm
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