Dutch radio , 1993-05
D. Until early 92 we had not heard anything from Springsteen for 4 and a half years, then there were 2 albums out and this year we've got the plugged album as well, what was going on in between?
S. I was just getting my life together, y'know, my wife and I we had a couple of kids, got married again. I think you need some stability when you're doing all that stuff, which is hard to find when you're touring a lot. Its difficult, you know, you wanna set down some roots and let the kids get past that little 'sprout' stage, I guess (laughs) and so we stayed home a lot and concentrated on getting that part of my life together.
D. The more fanatical BS fans would regard Lucky Town as the better album, it took just 8 weeks apparently to write and to record. Was this just an instant burst of enthusiasm?
S. Actually I wrote and recorded the whole thing I think in about 3 weeks. Yknow its just one of those records that kinda comes pouring out of you and they always tend to be, I hate to use the word better, but maybe it was more direct, maybe the songwriting was a little better on it, maybe I was fishing around less to see what I wanted to see and I think I had focused in real well on it by that time and knew what I wanted to communicated and ah then it finally just kinda came out and it happened real fast, that's always the best way yknow. I've done it both ways, I've taken forever and I've taken just days or weeks to make a record and its always better if it goes fast.
D. Why did you pull the plug on unplugged in favour of the plugged in version of the concert?
S. I didn't really think about it, that was sort of Jon, my manager's idea. He said Gee everybody's playing sort of acoustically on the show, course that's why they call it unplugged (laughs). He said we better play with the whole band cos we've never played on television in a live setting like that, its something we've never done and that's what I was out doing at that time and it seemed like a good idea so that?s what we did.
D. Well its now 1993, are these better days?
S. What happens is everything turns into a clich? (laughs), whether its your family life, non-family life its a weird thing, you end up, musicians, songwriters, writers, you're in the process of selling yourself. That?s what you do. I've worked a long time on my music and I've been working on my own everyday real life as much and things are very good right now.
D. What about the mid 80's, BitUSA and all that, was that the peak for BS?
S. Not for me yknow, there was a lot of excitement and that?s when we sold our most records, I don't feel like I've peaked yet, I feel like that was just an interesting time in my work, a time when hey, lets just roll the dice and see what happens. I don't miss it and I'm glad I had it, both. I tend to enjoy a little lower profile is a little better every day. Also, the whole thing becomes so iconic that it doesn't leave room for enough humanness, maybe frailty or something. I would hope that the fans that come and see me now tend to be a little more long time fans who have been involved in my work way before that particular time.
D. Well you're out now touring Bruce with a brand new band. What happened to the E Street band?
S. Ahm, (pauses) we'd played together a long time and I think you get sort of both, yknow, I think out of everybody in the E Street band, they'd all done other projects yknow, I'd played with most of those fellows almost exclusively since I was 18 and I think I reached 40 and I said well, there?s a lot of other musicians out there I want I expose both myself and my music to other influences, people who came up at different times and people whose background is the 70's (laughs). I grew up with a great band leader, Sam Moore from Sam & Dave, James Brown, people who knew what putting "a show", not being afraid to call it a show, together that was mean to both inspire and excite people.
D. What do you think of U2's trend setting show, which travels like a TV station on wheels. Is that your scene?
S. I thought it was great. I saw it in both LA and NY, and had a great time. For me I've always kept my thing the same over the years (laughs), I have my music and I have my songs. It takes a lot of creativity to reinvent yourself like that, its not easy to do. I got a lot out of it.
D. So there's no truth in the rumour that 57 Channels was written for Bono, was there? (laughs)
S. (Laughs) I don't think so, no. Hey, I wrote it as a joke one night sitting in front of the TV.
D. There's the, by now legendary, story of BS jumping over the wall at Graceland. Did that really happen?
S. Yeah, unfortunately I did and now I got to fresh up to every kid that comes leaping across my lawn (laughs) cos they always say "well you y'know...." and say yeah I know but it was a bad idea. Yeah it was 75, we were in Memphis, I thought Elvis was home and I saw the light and I ran up to the house and the guards caught me and threw me out. I told them I was on the cover of Time and Newsweek at the time but they didn't believe me (laughs). But anyway its come back to haunt me many a time thereafter!
D. Well, you once said little babies change the way you look at everything. Have they influenced your music at all?
S. I guess I've written some songs about that, and I think it gives you a broader sense of things, it gives you a tangible investment in wherever your world is going, sort of tries to make you wanna live up to the things you talk about and sing about even though you never do. Kids do what you do, they don't do what you say, and it makes you think a little bit more about what you're 'doing' rather than what you're saying, but its tough yknow. Everybody says its one of those great blessings, but its a workout (laughs) too.
D. Are Jessica Ray and Evan James old enough to appreciate your rendition of Santa Claus is coming to town yet?
S. I think they probably, I don't think they think its unusual. They think everybody plays and sings. They know what my job is - they don't know that much more about it except that they don't like it when I'm gone.
D. You of course have your very own successful career, what about Patti's solo project.
S. She's a songwriter, writing since she was 19, she's lived in NYC and sang on the streets of NY with here girlfriends and she sang with Southside on his tour and on some Rolling Stones records. She's a real good songwriter and I think people are going to enjoy her records. Mike Campbell produced her record and she wrote all the songs herself, and, I think I played guitar on a cut or two when someone wasn't around and she needed somebody to fill in she'd come into the kitchen and say 'come on' and I'd come go over and I think I'd strum a guitar on a song or two and I play a little lead on one song.
D. Many artists have recorded a whole album of covers. Do you like the idea of that, any plans in that direction?
S. Mmm, I thought about it. I can't think of any good ones. The Band's Moondog Matinee I enjoyed. If I was going to do covers I would probably do some offbeat stuff, yknow, some country gospel thing, and it'd be like something I'd do in like a month or so just for fun and if the stuff was good enough yknow. Maybe sometime.
D. You said anyone who writes a song has an audience in his head whether its real or imaginary. Who do you see as your audience?
S. A lot of it is yourself but I think its when you get a committed audience and a committed performer. I can go out tonight and I can play as hard as I maybe ever play but if the audience isn't with you, I can only take it so high on my own. We just came out of Spain where really good audiences and just very committed audiences yknow, they come to surrender in some fashion. I think I probably was more in the traditional sense of some of the blues, country, and soul artists where I was always interested in what the song was saying, a little bit beyond whatever the current trend were is some fashion. Now we've got an enormous amount of young kids in Europe and that?s exciting for me because I know some of those kids weren't even born when I made my first album. It?s exciting to be able to bring my music to a new audience.
D. Irish audiences are often told by visiting rock starts that they're the 'best in the world'. How do you like Ireland? You've been here twice at the RDS and of course Slane as well.
S. Well, I remember that very very vividly because it (Slane) was the first outside show, maybe one of the first outside shows I ever did and it really scared me at the time (laughs). Its always soulful passionate people yknow, thats what I look for as a player when I go out at night.
D. One final question Bruce and thanks a million for talking to us. "Music could give you anything", that?s what you once said....
S. I was incorrect when I said that (laughs). It can give you a lot that?s for sure, its given me a lot. A sense of purpose, a sense of fulfillment. But you gotta make some real connections with some real people and try to sustain them, which is very difficult to do for anybody, try to sustain your commitments, your love, your faith, yknow the hope you have. And its always under attack from both yourself and outer elements in the world yknow. So I sort of strain and struggle to do that as best as I can and that?s something that the guitar can't do for you, it can kinda inspire you and move you along and give you strength. You gotta always have to turn to somebody, you gotta look in somebody's eyes and they gotta look into your eyes and you gotta find the rest of it there yknow.
Transcribers note: A DJ called Ian Dempsey interviewed Bruce at the Berlin airfield around 14th May 93. This is the edited version......boy can he talk!!! Enjoy!