A Collection of Interviews
By reading a collection of interviews with Bruce Springsteen, one realized all he wanted to do was to tell stories. Now after 40 years and over 17 studio albums and 30 plus books, Bruce Springsteen has created a culture that engages life events for the common man through his lyrics. Bruce wrote songs to identify these characters so that his “fans” could relate and have a similar journey. “My music, was always about identity, identity, identity. Who am I? Where do I belong? What’s the code I’m trying to live by?” quoted by Bruce Springsteen.
In the book, Talk About a Dream, The Essential Interviews of Bruce Springsteen and edited by Christopher Phillips and Louis P. Masur, illustrates Bruce Springsteen character development for the last 40 years. This book reveals personal interviews that can help any true fan who wants to understand the intensity of what drives Bruce Springsteen to continue to create and develop his art through his music.
Interview by Robert Kilburn
One of the earlier interviews was by Robert Kilburn, Melody Maker, August 24, 1974. In the early years, Bruce Springsteen was driven to write about songs for the working class, girls, cars, and escape. Bruce Springsteen would “compress a broad collection of scenes into a song, leaving the listener to draw his own truths, realities.” In the song, No Retreat, No Surrender, he stated, “We learned more from a 3 minute record, baby than we ever learned in school…no retreat, baby, no surrender He wanted his fans to draw their own conclusions about realities and search for their own answers from his songs. At that time, it was not black and white, an artist should not reveal too much about himself.
Interview by Mark Hagen
In the next 10 to 20 years, critics comments range from Bruce’ career was so hot that you can’t touch it to what every happen to Bruce. Yet he continued to create albums and interviews despite the discerning objections. In 1999 Bruce released Tracks, a four CD collection of unreleased recordings. In order to promote the album, he interviewed with Mark Hagen. In this interview, Bruce explain, “I found I had an audience, all of a sudden I had a lot of personal freedom, I thought, “What do I want to do with this?” And the irony is that moment, when you have an audience, is when you are separated and isolated. How you handle it from that point on has a lot to do with the course your music has taken.” Throughout the next years, with the 911 terrorist attacks, political issues, economic crisis, Bruce Springsteen felt his job was to connect to his audience. His job was to create an understanding to see yourself in his characters in the every day basic issues of work, faith, hope, family, desperation, exuberation and joy. “You’re trying to capture a piece of the world as you see it-that’s what the job is.”
This is my beginning of my journey to understand Springsteen fans and the culture that surrounds his stories through his songs. It is not just the study of his lyrics but also reading the 28 books that he read who in turn became one of the influential and celebrated musician in our twentieth century and who continues to influence and write rock ‘n’ roll songs.