Has Bruce changed my life? Absolutely.
I'm 100% positive I wouldn't be the same person if Bruce had never been in my life.
My father was a huge fan, so Bruce has always been in my life. I grew up with Bruce in one way or another. From the time I was born (1984) it's been non-stop Bruce. Some of my earliest memories involve scooting around to any number of Bruce albums. Long trips in the car with nothing but Bruce on the stereo. It didn't click with me at that age. I knew it all, but I didn't get it. I was too young to appreciate it.
Fathers and sons. It's a big deal in the Springsteen mythos. And it was a big deal with me. I had a really tough time relating to my father growing up. Very similar circumstances as Bruce. I first started really listening to Bruce when I was in Junior High, mostly to try and relate to my dad. I wanted to understand what he saw in Bruce's music that I hadn't yet figured out. I thought it would help bridge the problems that kept us apart. And while it never really did that to the extent I wanted it to, something else curious happened. I fell in love with Bruce's music and his message. The music I had always known consumed me in a whole different way. It became a mantra for my entire life and something that would follow me for the decades to come. And that, ironically, has perhaps been my own father's greatest gift to me.
It's because of Bruce. All of Bruce, that I became the man I am today. I developed my sense of empathy, my social conscience , my integrity because of him. He was the teacher, the father figure, the friend I needed. And all of this, even though I've met the guy only briefly, all of once. That invisible bond we all share with him. The one that keeps telling us we know him and he knows us. I believe in who he is as a person. I believe in his politics. I believe in his passion. It's all a part of his music and message, and the mythology he's presented to us since the early 1970s.
He's been with me my whole life. And I've doing the hardcore fan thing for 20+ years now. All the shows, the relationships, the memories. There's simply no way I'd be the same person without him. Doesn't mean I'd be a bad guy, just someone else.
So if you just dig the guy's music, I could see how it would be strange to think he'd be able to change somebody's life. But when you believe in the entirety of the person, everything he stands for and all that comes with it, it's pretty hard for him not to change your life.