WUNAW-FM, 1992-08-07, by:
DJ: What were the factors that went in to you deciding to open up the U.S. tour here in New Jersey?
BS: Actually, I think it was Jon's idea. (laughter) At the time, I was really busy just putting the band together and he has kind of putting the tour together. I know he mentioned that we should go to Europe because it had become a really good place for us over there and he said, hey, let's start right at home......and I said that sounds good.... great idea.
DJ: More pressure playing at home than starting somewhere in the mid-west?
BS: Yea, yea.....you know you always want to be at your best....it's such a.....my history here and it's just filled with a lot of resonance and a lot of complicated things and I think that when you come home you sort of always want to, you know, you always look....you want your best night to be that first night when you're back in town. It worked out really perfectly. I guess we went over to Europe and we had a real chance to kind of wind out the band and get everything feeling really good and by the time we hit here opening night....I think the opening night was probably one of the best opening nights I've ever had in my life. The intensity of the audience....just the emotion coming from the crowd....it was fantastic. It probably was one of the most satisfying nights of playing that I think I have ever had...ever had. (lead-in to song "Local Hero").
DJ: I was just wondering about the expectations that the audience must of had?
BS: That's what makes it fun. The whole thing...there is an element of like......suspense!!?? (laughter)
DJ: You could say...in one word.
BS: Yea, yea. I think I had been away for a long time, I hadn't played in a long time, you have a different band and your life's changed a lot. There was a lot of skepticism in the air and so it's something where there was a really charged moment. I felt relaxed because I knew that I had done the work, put the time in, both with the band and with the music that we had, and with the show itself. I had a real...I had a very, very focused idea about where I was coming from right now, which I've always had, so I wasn't concerned in the sense like, gee, I'm not sure what I'm doing. I knew exactly what I was doing at this particular point in my career or in my work and in my life. So, I felt real comfortable with it. Then you put it out there and I felt confident that the show we had was something that would reach people...I felt it would communicate.
DJ: Do you feel like you accomplished your mission?
BS: You know, I had a certain way of doing things for a long, long time. I've played very, very hard for a lot of years. I guess we hadn't been around in awhile and there was a moment when people kind of came out and said, gee, are you still there, are you still going to speak to me, are you still talking to me? Sort of a moment when...oh, basically, what it is after not having played for four years...you have to reacquaint yourself with your audience and with that own part of yourself that's involved in going out and playing and exposing yourself but it was a real happy.....(lead-in to "I'm a Rocker").
DJ: Was it a conscious statement to start with three new songs as opposed to going back with something else?
BS: Well, yes, the whole thing is for the most part...the shows here have varied a lot just because I tend to....I've kept the basic structure for all the shows here but we've come up with a couple of different tunes each night. I tend to pull some of the older stuff out...its kind of like playing for all of your relatives and friends...let's pull this one out and see how....I wanted the show to be set in the present, that's where my new music is coming from. It's something that I'm the proudest of and I feel that it's stuff that plays real well on stage...it rocks and kicks...it's as good as anything I've ever done and I wanted to contexturize(?) whatever I was doing in the here and now. I think we had "Born in the USA" up in the set in Europe for awhile but after we hit London, it became obvious that we would start the show out with the new stuff for awhile.
DJ: It's kind of a good statement that these are better days, too (lead-in to "Better Days").
DJ: What do you feel are the songs that are going down the best live? What are the most rewarding for you and
what are the ones that get the best reaction, as you see it?
BS: So far, everything seems to going down pretty well (laughter). It's hard to...you might be able to tell better if you're out in the audience. I think that the crowd we've had every night here has been...I'd be hard pressed to just pull ...to favor one over another....
DJ: I'd have to say there's a moment in the concert that seems to just really do it...that's when you do "Leap of
Faith", when you break that barrier....
BS: Yea, yea. That song....that's been going down real well. First of all, it's real simple, it has a good chorus and its kind of....I guess, maybe, if I had to pull one song out and say, ok what.....that might be the song that is sort of most directly expressing where I am at .... at the moment (laughter) (lead-in to "Leap of Faith")
DJ: Opening night you mentioned California and there were boos. (Bruce laughing). And you handled it great -- get it out....vent it. Were you expecting it?
BS: (Much laughter) Sure, of course. If was funny...it was great? it was like that's how old friends should...that's how it should be....people should boo here, cheer here... whatever they feel. You know, I guess my feeling was...it was just funny...actually it was a great moment because it was a moment where a lot of tension was released and everybody seemed to get real comfortable with each other after that. It was fun...like...yea, go ahead and that's why it was a great night. Because it was a complicated night...there was a lot of complicated feelings in the room but underneath it, I felt a tremendous sense of just real emotion and people just sort of....
DJ: The other moment I think came in "Born to Run" with the sax solo when Crystal did it. Did you feel that too?
BS: (laughter) Yea, oh yea...she can play it. (Lead-in to "Born to Run")
DJ: There seems to be...you've always had some kind of religious references throughout your music. There's also a gospel feel because you've got the great singers there, and all of that. It seems this time out you're embracing religion more than...before you use to sort of distance yourself.
BS: I'm not particularly....I don't have any sort of orthodox religious beliefs really or anything like that. I think I probably used some of the words and the imagery to express whatever spiritual feeling that I feel just from life itself. I don't have any...I think I said one time...to me it's all the empty holes and things, that's where the real spirituality is and when you start having to block everything out and say this is the reason for that and this is why we're here, it becomes an attempt to control things that are beyond you and, for me, it's...I guess I was reaching in this particular music for some sense of religious things or what people have come to call religious things or spiritual things or whatever you want to call them. It's definitely...that feeling is definitely in the show but it's not...I don't have any particular orthodox idea about things. (Lead-in to "Saint in the City").
BS: It's sort of just life...in enjoying and finding things that give your life meaning...that fill your life out and finding things that connect you up with the future and give you also a sense of your past. Kids definitely to that and it all just kind of comes out of living on just a really sort of everyday kind of basis.
DJ: You seem happier than you've ever been. Is that an accurate statement?
BS: Yea! Things have come around really well for me. It took a lot of work but at the moment I have a certain sort of balance in my life that I hadn't had in the past and hopefully it's been able to also broaden what I have to say on stage at night to the people that come out. (Lead-in to "Living Proof")
DJ: Were you ever worried that it could have the opposite effect...that artists sometimes when they are happy aren't as productive artistically?
BS: I don't buy that. I really don't buy all that stuff. To me there are always those sorts of cliches about art and artists and rock musicians and what's this and that. I don't believe that...usually by the time you're 42 or probably by the time you're l8, you've endured enough pain in your life to remember it forever. (laughter) It's like...that's always there and you're always kind of pulling from your whole self and so those things are always there. Just because you find a certain kind of peace or certain sort of fulfillment.... Hey, all the fear and doubts and those things are just a part of the human condition. You never lose that, so I think for me I found a real...just in trying to get some sort of balance in my life I found a really resourceful place and I found it was a place where I could go and get some real deep water from the well and have a new song to sing to the people. I really don't buy the whole suffering artist...like I said, everybody suffered plenty...it never goes away, I guess. But I found a lot of inspiration in...be happy is too one dimensional, but in trying to fill out my life it sort of felt like I was really here. (Lead-in to "With Every Wish")
DJ: Compare opening night here to that time you were about to go on stage at the Bottom Line for our broadcast in l975... that's like almost l7 years ago.
BS: (laughter) I can't remember it and no one else can either...so it doesn't matter. It was an exciting night..it was just one of those nights when you felt like...mmmmmmm, I think something is happening...I'm not sure what but you knew you wanted to be good. But this was a big night, our first night we had here. I think probably for me it was the most...if I had to pick a night from how many dates...if I had to pick one where I wanted us to be at our best, it would have been that night, you know. There was just a lot in the air....a lot in the air.
DJ: You just talked one on one with the audience. I know your music says it but without us here people that didn?t see you on the ll nights..... that won't get to see you, is there anything you want to say to them?
BS: At this point, I've been doing what I'm doing for 20 years or just about...making records for 20 years. I just appreciate people hanging in with you and, hey, I've been working my hardest to come up with something that feels real and new...like I said...to have a new song to sing. Because I always believe that people don't really listen to my music to find out about me, they listen to my music to find out about themselves. I guess all I have to say is that we've had a tremendous time here and I appreciate everybody's support that I've gotten and felt over the years and we're just kind of out there kicking it as hard as we can and thanks. We will continue to do so. Just want to say thanks to everybody and everybody that came down to the shows...we really appreciate it. Thank you very much and we are just going to keep on.
Interview conducted in Bruce's dressing room before the show on August 7, l992, at the Meadowlands