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November 9, 2022 62 mins

Bruce Springsteen joins Questlove Supreme to talk about covering classic Soul and R&B songs for his new album, Only The Strong Survive. The Boss also discusses his approach to creativity, album-making, and putting on one of the best live shows in all of music. 

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Quest Love Supreme is a production of I Heart Radio.
What's up? Hello? How are you doing? Whatever? What up? Good?
How are we okay? Good? Do good? Thank you for
doing the sports man? Of course? How are we? We're great?

(00:27):
Where are you right? Man? To see? I'm at my home.
It's my studio. Okay, it was the background. I don't know.
It was a hockey rink er. Yes, I now see.
It's a studio. It's a studio. I got it all right,
ladies and gentlemen. Uh, this is Quess Love Supreme. I'm
Quest Love where with Team Supreme. Take a little brother.
How are you doing? Good man? Good man? Sitting with

(00:49):
the boss? Yes, pretty damn good? Hello? How are you?
I am living the American dream? Friend, living the American
I stook a Steve? Yes, how's everybody doing? I've got
a couple of bosses in here in this so I'm
gonna behave. I got a few bosses too in here.

(01:11):
Shout to my boy John Landau. Who Who's who's listening? Wait? Wait,
is I'm bing bilt? Like? Did he go out for
cigarettes and didn't tell us? Or I'm just saying the
man is working? Man. I think he's just working on
another Tony Award winning production that's coming soon. I think, yes,
I know, okay, okay, Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is
uh quest of supreme and I will simply say that

(01:35):
um our guest today is one of the great master storytellers.
He is one of the most respected and well loved
craftsman of song. He's literally the embodiment of the working
class hero, the everyday American, you know, representative of the people.

(01:57):
And he's basically giving us the honor today of celebrating
with him the release of his one one album entitled
Only the Strong Survive. And if that idiom is familiar
to you, uh, and you're a soul record aficionado, and

(02:18):
then you pretty much know that that classic was pinned
by I'm from Philadelphia, so any chance to pick up
Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff uh and of course Chicago's owne
the ice Man, Jerry Butler. That's where that song title
derived from. That classic song. And you know, our our
our guest today has basically been bestowed with every honor

(02:42):
worth having in this field. Over one five million, the
LP sold twenty Grammys. He has an oscar, a Tony
two Golden Globes, um ship all all he needs is
the Emmy to get his egot. That sounds like I'm
in trouble. My wife just won one, alright, so he's

(03:05):
all right. So as a combination at one they we
we got egot status. Here. You're also in the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame,
Kennedy Center Honor. Um. You receive the Presidential Metal Freedom.
All this before the ripe old Age, so everything, yeah,

(03:26):
pretty much. Let me let me just say, let me
just say that I literally my very first Springsteen show.
I literally saw this man climb the speakers and the
wall of the Apollo Theater to the balcony level and
twenty years my senior, So that means I gotta step

(03:48):
my game up. And gentlemen, please please please please welcome um,
the one and only the Boss, Bruce Frederick Joseph Greensteam.
You got my Yes, you have my and you have
my confirmation name name. I come from a long line

(04:11):
of Fredericks. That was my dad and my grandfather. We
were all Fredericks. So first, first of all, you know,
congrats on the new album. I always wanted to know,
how do you determine the the pivot or the direction
of how an album will go. Like, I love an artist,

(04:36):
you know, they feed their fan base what their fan
base needs and what what what their fan base wants,
and then sometimes you have to give them what they
need and what they don't expect. And you're often known
you know, it's it's almost like a pushing pool where
we will get that classic Jersey Springsteens sound, but then
you'll do a departure record like a Nebraska or The

(04:57):
Ghost of Tom Jone, that sort of thing. So for you,
what was what was the sort of mind state of
where you wanted to go for this album? Uh, well,
I knew I was done writing for a while, so
that had a lot to do with it. I made
a record with the Eastreet Bank Hold Letter to You,
and and uh, I hadn't written for the band in

(05:18):
quite a few years. And then I wrote most of
that record in about a week and a half for
two weeks, and we made it in four days. And
it was very Yeah, it was very summational and others
it was sort of like this was my story up
to this point, and uh, it just felt like and

(05:39):
we made a film that went with it, and it
felt like after that I just felt like, well, I'm
I'm done. I I don't have anything I feel I
want to write about at the moment. So uh, we're
in the middle of COVID. And also I enjoyed the
act of recording. I I like being in the studio,

(05:59):
you know, making sounds and and so uh basically I
started it's like, well, maybe i'll record some things I
haven't written, which I haven't done very much. I I
did a sort of an Americana record called Seeker Sessions
a while back, but I but I hadn't you know,
I'm usually writing my own material, so uh, this was instant.

(06:22):
I said, well, I'm gonna try and sing some other things,
you know, And so I just started doing that, just
coming in the studio, taking a song and and seeing
what my voice sounded like like like on it. And
uh I made a record with basically sort of singer
songwriter over tones or some rock overtones, and I put

(06:42):
it away. It was it. We pretty much I recorded
all of it. We didn't mix it, but when I
listened back to us, it wasn't focused enough. So uh,
some way or another, I ended up recording this dude,
Frank Wilson's do I Love You? And if people know Motown,
they know Frank Wilson was more in the back line
of Motown, but he did sing and perform, and he

(07:05):
was a great singer, songwriter and and producer and performer.
And so we had this, uh, this this cut that
was a hit in the northern soul scene in England,
right where they sort of dig up a lot of
unusual motown records and unusual soul records, and so this
was a was well known in that scene, but in

(07:27):
the States it really wasn't known at all. So and
I s this is an incredible song. So I'm just
gonna see if I can get up in that vicinity
where Frank Wilson was singing and see if I can
sing it, and if we can get a production that
is powerful enough to stand up to, of course the
fab incredible Motown records, you know. So uh, we cut

(07:48):
that and and I felt like I touched onto something.
And then we did a few other I think I
did when she was My Girl the four Tops, the
Tops record that they had a big hit after they
left Motown, and I said, oh, that's fun. I had
a little disco thing to it, and and and Uh,
I'm kind of in the range of Levi. You know

(08:10):
of Levi stubs. I mean, I can't sing like him,
but I'm I'm in his range. So yeah, I got
that gruff Barratton, so I can sing those songs in
those keys. And uh So I started it just you know,
I cut two or three soul things and and and
and it felt very focused and fresh and like I
hadn't done it before. And it also focused on my voice,

(08:32):
which is something I haven't given a lot of focus to.
Usually on the records, I'm I'm focusing on my songwriting,
if the lyrics are any good, if the song is
powerful enough, and then my voice is there in service
of that material, of of my songwriting and of my production,
and and it's it's usually I don't start voice first

(08:53):
and think, oh, what's gonna sound great me singing? But
in this case, I got a chance to say, Okay,
I'm gonna just use my voice as as the measuring
stick of where I'm gonna go, and if I can
sing something well in this genre, I'm gonna take a
swing at it and have some fun with it. But
it really began as a result of sort of feeling
like I was done writing for a while, and uh,

(09:15):
I finished sort of what I had to say with
with my band for a moment, and and then looking
just for something to do, stay active and and engaged
and and and keep the conversation going with my audience
and my fans, and and just has some fun. Just
has some fun with it. Okay. So you mentioned something
with the when you talked about the Secret Sessions, which

(09:38):
was that you recorded it in four days. Now that
was a letter to you. I recorded yet secret sessions
we actually recorded very quickly also, but but uh, and
and live as a letter to you. So I have
a question about that process because you know, currently right
now I'm probably in the worst place where an US

(10:00):
can be, which is like I'm on the ninth year
of working on the same album. I've been there, not
nine I haven't been nine years, but I've been years.
So I have a little bit of a feeling where
you're coming from. Uh. But the thing is is that
when you when you turn in an album in four days, well,

(10:23):
first I gotta know is that your own accord or
is that John on your shoulders? Like, yo, you got
a weekend to finish this ship. And then we never
play it like that. We we always play it like
nobody cares how quick you made that record the day
it came out. If you rush to make a bad record,

(10:45):
why would you do that? I mean, that's all. What's
it mean to your fans and yeah, and your your
audience if you if you're hurrying up and get a
bad record out there, why so you can go on
to you know, it just doesn't. It never made sense
to me, and I never did it right from when
I was in my early twenties. If it took me

(11:06):
a year, I took a year. If it took me
a month, I took a month. If it took me
a few days, I made it in a few days.
And I made records all across that spectrum where it
took me years and where it took me just days
to put them out. And it depends on the album,
the record itself. It's quality. When I feel like I've
achieved what I was after, then I put the record down,

(11:27):
like at least with me, I feel like at least
need to let it simmer for maybe a month or
so before I feel different about it, like I'm excited
about it. When I you know, when you drive home,
and you got the in the final mix, and you're excited,
and you played a billion times, and you you tested
for everyone. And then there have been times where like

(11:49):
maybe two months later, I don't I don't get those
goose bumps anymore. And then I readjust the song and
then do something different. It doesn't it doesn't scare you
too quickly execute something that fast. And well, I listened
to my ears, you know, my ears are telling me

(12:10):
it's good. Then I believe them, you know. And then
I have I also have John is my is my
sounding board. So I'll play something for him and he'll
say yeah, yes, no, He'll give me his opinion about it.
So we've had a forty five year partnership where we've
done that every single record, you know, for a very
long time, you know. And so we've you know, so

(12:34):
we have a sort of a system. And of course
I have the band and and you know, they have
their feelings and opinions and and so I just play it.
I play it like that. And and also you have
a certain amount of time it takes just for the
record company to get ready to release it, whether it's
two or three months or so. And if I'm not sure,
I'll just sit on it. If I'm sure, I put

(12:55):
it out and if it's good, then I'm sure. But
if I'm not sure, if I'm sort of like I'm
in the middle, I just sit on it and I wait.
I wait for it to speak to me. I'm always
just listening, listening, listening, listening for the music to speak
to me, to tell me what it is, what it
wants to be. What's the relationship between my fans and

(13:16):
I that the record is gonna inspire or instigate? Uh?
You know, where is it gonna take our conversation next? Uh? So?
I you know, I I reasonably trust my ears, and
if I get it done in a short period of time,
then then it's all all for the better, you know.
But if it takes time, I'll take it. Okay. So

(13:39):
you're a band leader of not just these arbitrary group
of musicians, but you know you're probably want to be
last acts in which your fan base knows every last
band member, almost every solo you know, like, you know
they they have their favorites and whatnot. So, as a

(14:00):
band leader that has a well loved fan base of
people that have mind your musicians, how exactly does your
band get the news you wanna that you want to
do a solo flight, you know, like even I guess
the first time he did it was with Nebraska. Correct, Yes,

(14:23):
you know, and that was by accident, so I didn't
know I was doing it at the time, but I did.
But I made him thinking that record. Yeah, but I mean,
do you just tell them like he laid back guys
like I'm gonna I'm gonna do this one alone or
do you have to have a meeting? And I think
this record came up where it was like, um, we
we cut Letter to You. Had an incredible time, probably

(14:45):
the best sessions I've ever done with the Eastreet Band
in the studio. We made it in no time. We
did two songs a day every day, and we very
very minimal, minimal, minimal overdubs. A guitar solo here, a
guitar solo there. So of course, yeah, all live singing, vocals,

(15:06):
vocals too, everything, everything, everything is cut live in the studio,
singing playing no overdubs. It's just how it worked out.
I was assuming I was going to resing the vocals,
and then when I went to resing them, they weren't
as good as what I cut live, and so I
left them. You know, it was pretty basic, you know.

(15:27):
So uh after that, I assumed, well, I'll do something
else with the band, because you know, we had such
a great time, but the music just doesn't work like
I have to. Like I said, I'm not telling I'm listening,
you know, I'm I'm not I'm not telling my talents
where to go or or I'm listening to where they're
telling me they want to go, you know, and what

(15:49):
I might be good at next. So on this record,
I remember having a little conversation with Stephen just you know, Steven,
he said, when we were gonna you know, we're talking
about how we were gonna do covers record, and then
I realized, well, the covers record was a whole other thing,
and it was once again I'm back into cutting a
lot of material and choosing some of it. Like on

(16:12):
the band record Letter to You, I used everything I cut,
but on this on this record, I cut a lot
of material and I choose just some of it. You said,
you just want a lot of times to figure out
which records you wanted. I was wondering how you narrow? Yeah,
you know, So this was a record where I know
it was gonna take me a lot of concentrated studio time,

(16:33):
and the guys at this point sort of we don't
go in and spend a year in the studio like
we used to. You know that that sort of so
so ended up being me and my producer Ron and
Yellow and our engineer robble Bray, and uh uh we
kind of just started doing quote of course demos and
the devils end up being what you end up releasing.

(16:54):
You know this, This has happened to me many times.
The band is used to this happening to me at
this point, and uh, it's it's a give and take
a process that we're used to recording with the band
recording some solo music, you know, And I don't know
where it's going next myself, Like I said, I'm listening
to find out. Also, like the audience is, I just

(17:16):
want to know how many songs are on the floor,
Like how many didn't make it a lot and problem
on this record there was probably well there's fifteen on
I don't even want to think how many or how
many were off any idea? Rob huh pay that again?
Forty yeah, so there was so there was forty so

(17:38):
in other words, I put out fifteen and I left
forty down. Yeah. So I you know, I've been trying
to find out what is going to be the best record,
you know, or have to make the most sense to
me and my audience. You know. So that's not unusual.
I've I've I've made records where I've cut seventy songs,
eighties songs, and you know, they come out on sets

(18:00):
in different places where. But on this particular record, there
were forty forty songs we left we left in the camp. Okay,
So since this album, it's essentially kind of, at least
the spirit of it is a return to the music
that you kind of fell in love with in your childhood.

(18:22):
I guess I'll start with the first question I asked
every guest on the show, even though this is like
the fourth question, Um, what was your what was your
very first musical memory? My first musical memory was Disney Records?
What was the seven snow White and the seven Doors?
Hi Ho, Hi ho. It's so my first recollection was

(18:48):
something like that, you know, or uh, you know those
little yellow records that played on seventy eight speed. I
don't know if you guys are old enough to remember
these remember, but they were a little seventy eight. It's
you know, a little kid colors, red, yellow, blue, and
they played at seventy eight and they were basically themes

(19:10):
from movies. So that would be my first real musical
memory as a child. But after that, my mother was young,
she had me when I was when she was in
her early twenties. She played the radio. She had the
radio on all time, every day, you know, in the
car and in the kitchen, and she listened to Top
forty and so right from a very young age, I

(19:31):
was exposed to, like, uh, the great music of the fifties,
and and that sort of was where what kind of
inspired me? You know, And and really I'm a I'm
basically a Top forty influence musician. That's how I kind
of grew up. And I started there, and then I
went searching in blues and folks in a lot of
different other places for influences. But really I started out

(19:53):
just listening to Top forty on the radio. That's that's
a little unusual though, because I would think, well, I
mean I would consider you maybe like the second generation
of rock and roll, So you're not I mean, you're
not exactly a greaser. And I know that you in
your teen years. You know it. It was the late sixties.

(20:14):
But it's very usual for me to see not not agreeable,
but at least an amicable musically amicable environment in the
household because normally, like the music of the kid is
rebellious music and turn you know that, right, But you're

(20:34):
you're saying that your your parents weren't like that at all,
like they My dad was a bit like that, but
my mother, no, she was a young woman and she
was into Uh. You know, we're Southern Italians, which means
we like music, we can sing, and we can perform

(20:55):
when that comes from you know, if you're coming from
southern Italy where I'm where I'm from only a generation
or two removed, so I'm on that side of my family.
I'm a I'm a new American, okay, and you know, so, uh,

(21:16):
if you're coming from there, and as the whole side
of my family did, they were all you know, singers
and dancers and and and all of that went on.
You know. So, um, since you mentioned it, of those
forty songs that are on the floor, is one of
those songs? What's the song? Seve wiggle wabble. Oh no,

(21:37):
wiggle wobble, Man, wiggle wobble. You play the hell of
a version of wiggle wobble in the air that night.
To this day, I'll say that, you know, I've been
on I've been on The Tonight Show for for you know,
thirteen years, and of course you and I know that
what was weird because I don't think he does his

(21:59):
Springsteen impression in front of you as much as you
when you're not there, but that that wiggle wobble moment
during the commercial. Uh, now gonna explain back when um,
I think you were celebrating, um was it was Darkness
were Born? It was a box that was the anniversary

(22:20):
and Darkness. Yeah right, And so you know, you, you
and Stephen were basically just reminiscent of like the singles
and the forty fives that really bonded you two together.
And that to me, that was the first time that uh,
you know, usually when and when a guest mentions a
song or that sort of thing during the segment, the

(22:43):
roots basically have like one minute to learn that song,
Like I'm already one YouTube and we're depressed, right, But
that was such a that was such a moment for Jimmy,
Like he still tells I hear that. I hear that
story like once a week for the last there, like
literally he tells that story about how excited you were

(23:05):
about it was. I mean, come on, it's not that
well known a record, even though it was a hit,
and you guys nailed it in about sixty seconds. So
that for a band leader. For a band leader, that's impressive. See, well,
you know, I'm also a kid of hip hop, and
would you have to know songs you know, as a
producer and so like Herbie Hancock did a cover that

(23:27):
on one of his uh one of his albums. So well,
speaking of which, do you remember the first album that
you purchased with with your own money? Not like album
that's already in the house, but like I gotta have this,
like first album in first forty five, first album, believe

(23:49):
or not? I think I bought an album of surf
rock because, uh, I like the picture on the cover
there was a guy surfing some hundred foot wave and
and and so it was it was like a dollar
ninety nine or something. It was really it was a
knockoff record and it was really kind of cheap and Uh,

(24:11):
it might have some Dick Dale on it, you know,
the King of It might have had some It might
have had some Dick Dale. So I brought that home
and that was my first album, I think, uh after that, really,
my my album buying began with the British Invasion, I
would say, you know, that was when I started to really,

(24:32):
you know, my album buying began when albums began to sell.
It's really which really was mid sixties. You know, when
suddenly albums became the currency of the day and of
the moment, and if you were gonna make a name
or for yourself, you know, you were you were putting
out not necessarily concept records, but but full records, records

(24:55):
that where you know where it wasn't filled with a
lot of uh fodder, you know. So uh and and
plus it was a time when I started to have
to get a little money of my own because I
was playing in the band, so I had a few
bucks and I was able to purchase a record on
my own back in the in the mid sixties when
I was fifteen, sixteen years old. Okay, since we're on records,

(25:17):
um me and quest big record collectors and so forth.
As your the records you brought back down. Have they
survived to today? What does your record collection look like now?
Does it include all that old stuff? No? You know,
I had my forty five for a long time, and
they were at they were at my mother's house for
many many years. I could go in and visit my

(25:38):
little stack of forty five. And then at one time
I had a obviously a huge album collection. I have
no idea where it went, where my socks went. Wherever
my record collection is, that's where all my missing socks are.
So so it's it's somewhere, you know. I it's all

(25:59):
gone now now I'm like a lot of people. Hey,
I got my entire record collection from when I was
thirteen to when I'm seventy three in my pocket at
all times, your streaming guy, I keep it, uh, I
keep it with me. Yes. I had a specific question. Um,
just tell me about how you met Clarence Clemens and

(26:22):
y'all's creative relationship over the years. Man, I was looking
for a saxophone player because I my roots came out
of you know, out of show bands which visited the
Jersey Shore in the midsummer. Because Asbury Park was like
a cheesy sort of Fort Lauderdale, and so there was
a lot of top forty music. There were a lot

(26:44):
of show bands, and uh, a lot of our influences
came and they were playing a lot of soul music.
So a lot of our influences came out, came from
those places. And so, uh, Clarence was in a band
called Little Melvin and the Invaders, and they played in
locally in clubs. I think Gary Tallant played bass with

(27:05):
my bass player, and uh, but I was looking for
a saxophonist and and it was hard to find somebody
who was really into blowing rhythm and blue saxophone or
rocks rock and roll saxophone. Uh. And there were a
couple of guys in the area. You know, one guy
is too crazy and other guy's not quite good enough.

(27:26):
And uh so I had sort of I had a
couple of R and B influenced tunes that Clive Davis
got me to write at the last minute before we
put my first record out, because he said I had
nothing that would be played on the radio. When I
went home and I wrote two songs from my first record,

(27:47):
and they were both you know, they were both R
and B influenced and and uh a song called Spirit
and the Night and a song called Blinded by the
Light there on my first album, and I found Clarence
to play on those two songs. He had been missing
in action the entire album until finally one night he
walked into this place I was playing called the Student

(28:08):
Prince in Asbury Park and he just came from the
back of the room, this big presence, and he walked
up to me. And I was just on this little,
tiny stage with my guitar. I said, can I sit in?
I said, sure, he got up, he sat in. It
was a stormy night. There was nobody there in the club,
you know, thirty people, twenty people. And the minute he
started playing beside me, I said, okay, we we have

(28:33):
some there's some connection going on here. This is the
guy I've been looking for for a large portion of
my life. And maybe he felt the same way, you know,
because we just connected. And uh so we just met
rainy night, Asbury Park. And after that he came to
the studio and and and sat in on those two cuts,

(28:53):
and then you know, we eventually joined the band. I
love how you just casually mentioned Linded by the Light
like that's not a staple. It's just like yeah, and
you know, I had a song called when Deve Score.
I don't know if you guys heard her, right right right, No,
But I personally want to know, like I know, the

(29:14):
story of at least how the blues had an effect
across the pond. You know, for a lot of your
contemporaries that were part of the British invasion. Um, you know,
these blues men are now finding second when second life
over touring in Europe during the Army basis and whatnot.

(29:35):
Of course, like teenage Stones, teenage Beatles see this and
then suddenly the British invasion music and foreign But you know,
I don't think I've ever had an interaction with someone,
you know, on American soil on how what music affected them?
So for me, it's I always wanted to know, um,

(30:00):
for your for your formative years, at least, what effect
did uh motown and soul and James Brown and all
of these, all these songs by like black artists have
on you in Jersey at the time, Like was it

(30:22):
controversial to have or was it you know, because you know,
you're also coming of age in the civil rights period
as well right right, you know, and well here's how
it went on your bi monthly dance at the high school.
Right you go, everybody's in their corners of the room. Right.
You got the raw Rods, the college bound kids over here,

(30:44):
you got your your black kids over here, you got
your leather greasers over here over there, you know, and so,
uh do Optics play? The greasers come out and they
got their girls and they're they're on the floor. Get
surf music are some of the top forty early beatles.
You get the raw ros they come out on the floor,

(31:04):
you know. Um, But when Motown played, everybody came out, everybody.
It was the miracle of that music. It remains a
miracle of that music to this day. Everybody danced, you know.
So and our job at the time, we're Top forty
cover band, just like everybody else. You know, we're not

(31:25):
necessarily playing all the top forty. We're playing a lot
of blues, and we're playing a lot of soul music
and uh things that we're just picking up from our
albums also, but we're also playing a reasonable amount of
top forty music just to get gig book that your
high school dances. When they would call you to book
you they would say, can you play soul Man, can

(31:46):
you play Satisfaction? Then if you can't play those songs,
you're not gonna get the gag. You know, somebody else
who can play him is gonna get them get it.
And so, you know, every week you learned a two
of soolving door of two or three new things, depending
on what hit that week, and whether it was black

(32:06):
white music or white music, you just learned what was hitting,
you know. And of course you know, so Motown was had,
I mean, Holland does your Holland and they had incredible
you know, so so uh uh it was it was
kind of basically like that. You didn't even give that
much thought to it at the time. You just played

(32:27):
what was hitting and uh and but through doing that
you learn how Holland does are Holing, You learned Lenen
Leararan McCartney, are Gamble and Huff. You had to learn
their songs, that's it. You learned their structure, you learned
their chord structure, you learned their production techniques. You learned

(32:47):
you know, and and so uh one of the greatest
times we had on making this record was we had
to produce them all again. We had to, and and
I didn't try to make them different. I tried to
make them the same, you know, like I was sticking
to the original string parts, the original horn parts, the
original vocal parts. You know, really we we changed obviously,

(33:12):
you get a chance for a greater sound quality today.
And my singing, that was all we really did differently.
I wasn't interested in reinventing the wheel. That was kind
of perfect as it was, you know. So, uh so
learning your craft came through, uh, studying and learning week
after week after week all of these songs. The best

(33:32):
bands to this day are bands that that maybe began
as cover bands almost because you had to learn all
different kinds of music. Everybody's different writing techniques, everybody's different
production techniques. And uh, we had so much fun making
this record because we were just remaking that. We got

(33:52):
to remake those were records and going in and do
a big string section with a you know, players from
the New York Philharmonic and in Washington play. Uh, only
the strong survive or or or or or some someday
we'll be together, you know. So it was just a tremendous,
tremendously good time just relearning that those incredible records. Again,

(34:16):
did you track and mix your entire album in your
home studio? Yes? All right, I gotta know what kind
of board are you using, because even with the mixing
of the album hints towards one could say a vintage
sound to it. What are we working on most of

(34:37):
the time? Rob? This SSL? Yeah on SSL board? Really? Okay?
You thought what I thought? It was ane? Yeah, I
was gonna say that, but I've worked on many knees.
But this is an SSL you know. So uh but
the guys were really good at getting good sounds, you know,

(34:57):
and and getting authentic sounds, and uh uh. The whole
record is is it's just us three guys in the studio.
Can I ask the question? I'm curious because I know
that in the process usually when people do cover songs,
there's no contact between the initial writers or artists or anything.
But this is you. This is Bruce Springsteen doing covers

(35:18):
of Motown, Gamble and HUF and everything. So I'm curious
if and shout out to Diana Williams who kind of
put this in perspective in the sense of this being
a beautiful homage, because also all these writers are receiving
the royalties from this, you know, this project, which is
a beautiful thing. But yet but has there been any contact? Dude?
Did they know like ahead of time that you were
doing anything? Again, No one knew ahead of time because

(35:40):
I'm afraid of telling anybody what I'm doing because I'll
record something and then i'll throw it out a month
or two later and it doesn't happen, you know, So
I don't like to tell anybody. I've received a little
connection with Gamble and Huff, so I'm gonna I haven't
met them, but I'm going to meet them because they
they heard the kind of record I was making, and
so and some of their and their influence, of course,

(36:01):
is is well on it, you know. So it's it's no,
it's mostly it's just just three guys in the room.
I was. I was curious to know, Bruce, you worked
with Jimmy Ivine very early in his career as a producer.
Whether any lessons that you kind of learned from him

(36:23):
that you carried either into this record or any of
your other records that you produced. No, Jimmy learned all
his lessons from me. Say that say that, okay? And
not just Jimmy, John and then Jimmy was a sponge.
He's a sponge learning. He always was. He was just

(36:45):
one of the smartest, one of the quietest, quietly smartest
guys in the room is Jimmy Iven. You know, he's
still my great, great friend. And uh, but when Jimmy started,
you have to understand when I walked in to do
my first session and at the record plan, all Jimmy
was doing was pushing pushing the start and stopped button
and putting the tape on it off. He wasn't engineering

(37:07):
or producing any records. He hadn't done that yet. Is
it shocking to you to see, like, hell, he's now
like a supermogul or you know that's got your coffee
and whatever like and now he's like it's it's totally shocking,
and it's remained shocking to all of us to this day.

(37:28):
You know, Is that okay, Jimmy, I mean he's doing
what he made, what he's got what There's a lot
of that that goes on. But but Jimmy was just
a super talented guy, you know, he was and he
was a brave thinker, you know. Uh, his partnership with

(37:52):
Dre incredible, you know, and uh, you know. He was
just he was just a smart young guy, you know.
And and so I walked in one night and he
went from the UH press in the start and stop
button on the tape deck to UH sitting at the board.
And I said, John, what's he doing at the board man?
You know? And John says, well, he says he can

(38:16):
do it, so and that and that was it. Jimmy
Ivan ends up engineering Born to Run. Yeah, Yeah, I
like Jimmy. Jimmy's technique was very simple. He mixed until
you liked the way it sounded, you know, And that's right.

(38:36):
He mixes and he just mixes until you liked the
way it sounds. And and he just figured it out,
you know. So uh you know. But but so Jimmy,
we were all really beginners together, you know, honestly we
we we and he like the first time he was
at that board, I walked in and said, I wasn't
this guy like over just can you do it? You know?

(38:58):
But obviously he could, you know. Okay, Oftentimes I'll say that,
you know, most artists, and I'm one of those, like
I'm so uber obsessed with writers that you know, this
is basically my chance to play journalists. But you know,
oftentimes artists really aren't aware of their critical claim and

(39:24):
you know, of course, the main narrative of your journey
um into rock stardom was definitely through a connection of
you know, our our pal John Landau, who's who's your manager? Uh?
Landau course famously, you know, wrote for Prime, Rolling Stone
and you know, all these publications, and you know, he's
definitely the one of the first generation critical thinking journalists

(39:47):
out there. And of course he famously wrote that, you know,
he saw the future of rock and roll back when
you first saw you play. I don't know, Boston whatever,
but he saw the future rock and roll and his
name is Bruce Springsteen and always wanted to know like, okay,
So from from my side of the fence, those words
in print could be super crippling to an artist. I've

(40:11):
I've known artists that are, you know, twenty seven years,
twenty eight years in the game, and they might have
three records out I know artists that have given up
after their first record. For you, at the time when
literally the entire world is declaring that you're gonna pick

(40:32):
up this this, this batime, this this be time. That's
sort of like the remnant leftover of the folk movement
and the singer stonewriter movement and the rock movement and whatnot.
Was that any pressure on you or were you just
strugging it off, like, Okay, that's cool year old kids.
So so I felt tremendous pressure, you know. But I

(40:55):
felt two things. You know, I think good artists always
feel in the same way. One they go I am
a complete phony. To the I am the greatest thing
you've ever seen, and they believe both things. Now, Believing
that they're a complete phony keeps them working, right, It
keeps you chasing your craft and trying to get better

(41:18):
and uh and keep you working after it, you know,
and thinking you're the greatest thing you ever said. Well,
you need you gotta have some of that swagger if
you're gonna make it. And no matter how humble you're
gonna fake it, you're gonna need some of that swagger
to make to get yourself through, you know. So uh uh,
but at the time, I felt tremendous pressure around it,
and it shook my world. And uh, you know, I

(41:41):
just hunkered down and sat in and we just played
night after night after night after night after night after night.
We played our hearts out and the best we could
for year after year after year after year. At the
end of the day, I was gonna let the work
speak for itself, you know, come and see me, come
and listen in me, check my songs, and and that's

(42:02):
pretty much. That was my approach to it. But there
was a lot of pressure at the time, and I
went through a lot of you know, uh, mental mental
anguish about it. One question I had man was regarding, uh,
one of my favorite records, you did the song you
wrote for the wrestler Um Mickey royd Uh. He talking

(42:22):
to me about like, when you're writing for film, do
you get a copy of the film that they show
it to you beforehand? Do they sing you notes? How
do you approach writing songs for for film? Well? It varies,
you know. Jonathan Demi called me in one time and
said he was making a film I was dealing with
the AIDS crisis, and he was looking for a song.

(42:43):
So I didn't see the film. I think I saw
a few minutes of its opening because that's where he
was looking for a song for. So I spent a
couple of days and I ended up writing and recording
his song Streets of Philadelphia. That was one approach to
the other approach. I just uh, sometimes somebody will send

(43:03):
me a small piece of film and they'll say, this
is the ambiance of the movie, or this is where
we're thinking of a song coming in. And and then
Mickey's case, Mickey Rourke, you know what. I've been friends
with him for quite a while, and he said, man,
this is this is a big movie for me, and
and and do you think you'd have anything that might work?

(43:23):
You know? So I said, okay, what is this a
guy about? This is a song about a guy whose
the whole thing is living with pain, you know, living
with pain. That that that's how that's how he processes
his life. And so with that in mind, I just
sat down and I think I wrote the song pretty quickly.

(43:47):
That's what's up. Now. If it if it the movie perfectly,
man like you did a great job. It really spokes
to the character. Wait was was that song nominated for
an Oscar or there? Could you? All right? I'm only
asking what happened, to be honest with you, because I
won a Golden Globe for it, right right, I want

(44:10):
to go and Mickey wanted to go and globe for acting,
you know, So I had my thoughts on why Mickey.
You know, when when Mickey Rourke gave his speech at
the Golden Globes about his dog dying and everything, I
knew instantly that was going to freak out the Academy
and us. No, I still say that Mickey should have

(44:30):
won that award, but I know how the Academy thinks.
They're like, he ain't making them full of us on
our stage. We're gonna give that to the swanpinn. But
I I was wondering, but I wanted to know why
because they only have three songs in the category, and
I was like, what the fun is Bruce this song?
And why is that? Did you how many writers were
I was told something at the time that if the

(44:53):
song wasn't within the body of the movie, it couldn't
be nominated if it was just in the credit. I
mean I I got told some sort of thing like that.
Whether that's true or not, I don't know. All I
know is is it didn't get nominated for that, So okay,
there's I don't know, if you read The Friendship of

(45:15):
You and Little Stephen, to me is like, you know,
one one for the history books and the relationship that
you two have with each other. Um and the way
that he you know, when his book came out, there's
one of my favorite rock memoirs ever because he's almost
a poet in describing, like especially the early days where

(45:39):
you guys were playing these teen clubs like the hello, yeah,
yeah can so can you? Because the thing is we
don't necessarily have that today. But what were the team?
First of all, were these team nightclubs at night or
were they like afternoon things where you guys would play
these nightclubs with teenage them. That's what it was. Here

(46:01):
was the shocking thing and it remains to me shocking
to this day is that that doesn't exist anymore. But
there's there's kind of a reason. And if you think
about it, like nineteen sixty six, Halla Blue on TV,
Shin Dig on TV. You know, American bands, then birth.
You know, there's all sorts of soul training, you know
it's coming into there's all sorts of different uh music

(46:23):
shows on and uh. But at that time, if you
wanted to hire a rock and roll band, you had
to hire children. Teenagers. Yeah, yeah, teenagers are who played
rock and roll. He wasn't the forty year old men
playing rock and roll in nineteen sixty six. A right,

(46:45):
it was just fourteen year old men, not forty. Now
you want to hire rock and roll band, you gotta
hire fifty year old men, you know. But but at
that time, at that time, you know, you it was
it was you. It was youth oriented. And so there
were all of these clubs that were on either two

(47:07):
or three nights a week. Sometimes there certainly open on
the weekends, and they were for teenagers only. Really, there
weren't even people in their twenties in them, and there
was no booze served. But there were rock bands playing,
you know, you're there were local rock bands and sometimes
national acts where you honed your craft night after night.
You know, I played in Steven and I both played

(47:30):
and who knows how many of these places, but they
were all over the shore, uh, probably all over the
country at that time. You know. But what people forget
is rock and roll bands were teenagers in those days,
and and and there weren't there was no such thing
as like I said, the four year fifty year old
played rock music, you know. But uh, but the what

(47:52):
shocks me now is that that sort of venue no
longer exists. These were places where everybody made their bones. Everybody,
you know, everybody played. You played five hours a night,
you played five sets. You know, you played fifty minutes
on and ten minutes off for five sets in a row.
And you did this, you know, weekend after week after

(48:14):
week after week after week. And so you know, Steve
and I we're craftsmen. You know, we're old school craftsman,
like shoemakers, you know, or like seamstresses or you know,
we're we're were were those kinds of guys. You know,
we we learned a craft bit by bit, piece by piece,

(48:35):
song by song. Uh and and and basically that's how
we perform on stage two this day. The Eastere Band
is a band fill full of craftsmen, guys who came up,
you know, learning their craft from first how to put
it onto two and four and uh So that's that's different.

(48:57):
Today we have a kid in his bedroom. Two months later,
he's got the biggest hit in the United States and
he's on the radio. But he may have never played
a gig in in his life. You know, there's something
cool about that, and that and that's sort of it.
It being they're available to all is a wonderful thing,
you know, and it was totally out of any type

(49:18):
of You couldn't even record yourself in nineteen sixty six
unless the people didn't have studios or they didn't have
tape players. I was gonna ask, do you feel as
though you're the father or the yes? And I know,
like Todd Rundren and sly Stone and Stevie Wonder, we're
all like whatever, the bedroom musician or whatever. But the

(49:40):
kind of legacy that is the Nebraska record, even though
you said it was an accident and you were just
you know, just putting some songs down on tape, But
do you sometimes credit yourself with the Nebraska album being
like the really one of the first early examples of
that that type of low fi home recording. Yeah, yeah, uh,

(50:01):
just you know, I can't claim any credit for it
because I wasn't planning on doing anything that was unusual
at the time. I was simply trying to hear if
I had any, uh any, any good songs to record
with the Street Band when we went in the studio,
and I was sick of wasting all my money with
endless hours of studio time, throwing out forty songs, leaving

(50:23):
them on the floor. And so I said, well, I'm
gonna find out if I have some good songs that
I'm gonna go in and record those songs. But of course,
the minute you you hit the start button, things happened,
and things happened that aren't gonna happen again. They're only
happening right now in this particular moment in time. So

(50:44):
I'm in my bedroom and I just set my guitar
take out to get a little four track TC cassette player,
which you know, previous to that, all I had was
my boom box to record that rehearsals on. You know,
we we're recording at rehearsals on the boom box. And
so I sat down and I started to play off
these songs, and you know, I played a certain amount,

(51:05):
and then suddenly I went to record it with the band.
It didn't sound as good. I went to record it
by myself in the studio. Didn't sounded better, but it
was worse. And suddenly I realized that the little cassette
I had in my pocket, that was my album. You
know who talks to you into So you yourself said
the cassette this is this is the final album. This

(51:25):
is all debated, but if you read Steve's book, Steve
says he said it was. If you read, I'm sure
he said it was. And I think I think that's right.
I think it was my idea. But who knows. You know,
the promise of of a rock god is is coming
in the seventies, and you know, I mean, you delivered

(51:47):
with these records. You know, the River and and Born
to Run and and and and Darkness. But do you
often find and especially with how Born in the USA
was received, do you often find that sometimes you might
have a fan that's more in love with the idea

(52:07):
of Bruce Springsteen than the actual Bruce Springsteen. I mean,
I know that you've had many a situation where like, uh,
this particular unsavory political figure wants to use Born in
the USA, fully missing the fact that the song has
nothing to do with type of patriotism. So you know,

(52:31):
when this album comes out, are you at all aware
or are you even in the in the mind space
of knowing that you're about to go to like God
levels that Born to Run wasn't taken you yet, Like
before before Born in the USA, did you just think, like, Okay, well,

(52:52):
I'll just coast out and do whatever. Or was there
still a hunger and you to grab the brass ring. Yeah,
that's that. That's been that's never gone away, you know.
And uh started when I was young kid, And I
always tell people more than rich, more than good looking,

(53:14):
more than uh, I wanted to be great. I wanted
to make great music. I wanted to inspire people the
way that I felt inspired. And if I could do that,
that's my life's work, you know. I want to want
to inspire you with with what I created in my music,
the way that I was inspired by the people who
touched my heart and my soul and my life with

(53:34):
their music. That's really what I like doing. You know,
everything else great. You know you wanted to throw the
money at me back dynamite, you know, that's all fabulous too,
But uh, I just love. I love doing what I'm doing,
and I love I still love pursuing that golden ring.
It takes a lot of different shapes as life. As

(53:55):
life goes on, you know, sometimes it's in Nebraska, or
it's a born in the US day, or it's it's
The Rising or something else or some other record, you know,
speaking speaking of born in the USA. What were your
thoughts on band in the USA? By two? As they
asked me about and I forgot that they asked me

(54:17):
about it, and I said, sure, go ahead. You know
wait there the reason the reason why I asked you
that question about were you trying to grab the brass ring?
Or did it just happen and it it occurred, you
know without your planning? Is because I so this this one.

(54:39):
Of course, you know, I'm one of the twelve million.
This is the first Springsteen album I ever owned, and
I always wanted to know. So you know, there's six
singles from this record, but for me, I always wanted
to know why the monster ones were always just at
the end of side too, Like in my mind, like

(54:59):
Glory Day, he's dancing in the dark. Yeah, even my
hometown closes it like that's buried at the end of
side to it. Normally, the way that albums are structured,
it's like you're heavy hitters at first, and you're okay,
I'll let you write your song or whatever, like right,
that would be the Landaus here. The Landau theory is

(55:19):
heavy hitters come first usually, you know. My theory is
I'm looking for a narrative in the record. I'm I'm
I'm taking the intellectual I'm taking the intellectual point of view.
I know, John John in this instance is taking the gut,
is using his gut to make his judgments, and I'm
going the other way. I'm thinking, like, well, what's kind

(55:40):
of what am I trying to say? What I'm the
hell am I saying? What's so? I knew my hometown
was gonna close it. I knew Born in the USA
was going to open it, and everything else I didn't.
I don't know how it ended up where it was.
It just did. Just man, it's just always to this day,
like I just I've never seeing an album. I'm I'm

(56:02):
a guy that that obsessed over sequencing and songs and all. Yeah, yeah,
it's important. I just never seen an album built that
way that it's such a staple of yours. But it's
almost like whatever, It's just Stow the song where I
always wanted to know why, Like your heavy hitters were
like way buried at the end of the of the album.

(56:22):
But I probably didn't know they were heavy hitters. I
just thought there were another it was another cut, you know.
I mean, I knew when I wrote, I knew when
I wrote Dancing in the Dark that that sounded like
what I thought was a hit for me, you know,
and I don't you know, and which I do. Not
have many other records I've cut where I said, oh, yeah,
that's gonna be a top forty. I'm generally not a
top forty hit artist. I'm more of an album artist,

(56:44):
you know. But I knew when I cut that, when
I said, well, if I was ever to have a hit,
it would sound like, yeah, yeah, that's right. And so
uh uh it's sort of uh uh, that's a song
that's just sustained. It's off with your John Legend does
a version of it. Sounds like Gershwin incredible. He does

(57:04):
a beautiful version of it, you know. And uh but
I'm so, but why the thing ended up at the
bottom of the second side, I really don't know. It
doesn't make any sense. Lastly, um, I'm gonna ask you
you know you did? You did? You did a string
of dates at Master Square Garden and I got to

(57:25):
witness about five of them, and each show is you know,
your your typical gargant Win three and a half hour,
a fair whatnot. All the songs were different orders. It's
almost like a new show at night. How How how
are you able to to to all that text, all

(57:47):
those pore changes, all those arrangements, And you know, at
one point I decided, I think on the third night,
I decided, I'm just gonna walk in the stadium and
watch the audience watch you and singing everything verbatim, so
it wasn't even like you were missing a step or
missing a lyric or anything. How much pressure is it
and putting those shows together and those songs, and how

(58:10):
do you even crap your show? Well two years my
band would have been together for fifty years. So we've
got a lot of history and we've got a lot
of experience, all right. And on the last tour we
played two hundred songs different two hundred different songs. You know,

(58:30):
we'll pull things out of the audience or or you know,
I'll just my thing is on. Usually when once the
tour gets rolling, the show is regularly different on a
night tonight basis, you know, And uh, I'll you know,
I'll get with the guys. I'll send notes into the
guys before showtime. I'll say, refresh yourself on this one

(58:52):
from that album, this one from that album, this one
from that album, because we might play it tonight, so
the guys will have, you know, hopefully they'll have an
hour or half hour to to prepare themselves a little bit,
and then we rehearsing the afternoon. Also, we don't just
play three and a half hours a night. We're there
in the afternoon and I've will do We have done
two hour sound checks just just trying to learn something

(59:14):
new or or or you know, the sound checks can
go from ten minutes to two hours, you know, but
it's it's just because it's fun, you know, it's just
all it's just it's still all just fun, plan on
plan surprising that audience here and there is is just
it's fun to do. It's wonderful, you know, it's wonderful.

(59:36):
I look what am I doing. I'm standing looking in
your face all night long every night. I'm watching how
you're responding to what I'm doing, and then I'm responding
to you. So there's this huge circle of energy going on.
I'm You're watching me, I'm watching you, You're watching me,
and then I'm watching you. And this is going on

(59:58):
all night long with the with the beautiful faces in
front of you, and it's a it remains an honor
to play for our audience. And that's the way that
I approach it, and that's where I insist from the
band on a nightly basis, as you come out, your
name is on the line every single night. I don't
care how long you've been doing it, right, your name
is on the line that night. You have an opportunity

(01:00:20):
to impact somebody's somebody's life tonight, I don't care how
long you've been doing it, and it's somebody's first time
seeing you. That could be someone's first time seeing you
that night. It's somebody's first time. That's right. Every night
is somebody's first night. I want to play like it's
my first night. Yeah, So that's that's a mine drop

(01:00:40):
right there. I'll say to our audience that you know,
if there's ever a show or a comfort zone that
you have to leave and and see someone that you've
never seen before or someone outside of your zone, I absolutely,
twelve thousand, twelve million percent record mend that you see

(01:01:02):
a Springsteen show because literally the show like you perform,
like your life depends on it. And I've seen you
at least in the last ten years I've seen you
about fifteen times and like each each and I'm the
guy that doesn't know everything by heart, like I'm I came.
I've learned stuff backwards. I know well enough to now say, yes,

(01:01:25):
I'm a Springsteen fan. But even at the time when
you know, when I first saw you, like I only
know a few albums and a few cuts. But yeah,
I highly recommend. It's it's an education just to watch
someone that passionate about their craft, um service a bunch

(01:01:47):
of fans in the audience, which you you know, and
I'm I'm going to shows now and I'm I'm not
trying to be the old guy that's just like a man.
I'm not not connecting anymore like I used to. But yeah,
for me, uh you know, you're You're one of the
last Mohicans left. So I highly recommend, and I thank
you for doing this. Thank you, thank you, Thanks guys,

(01:02:08):
thank you, Thank you. Man on behalf of Layah and
Fontikolo and Sugar Steve and Unpaid Bill. This is what's
love and we will see you the next go round
of West Love Supreme and thank you Bruce Springsteen. All right.

(01:02:31):
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