Who knows how rock music would have changed if Bruce Springsteen was known to history as “The Coordinator”, “The Big”, “Superior” rather than “The Boss”. His figure would have had the same impact? To his concerts there would habe been people holding signs saying “I always dream of you, Coordinator”? Those are the only questions that Bruce Springsteen didn’t answer in his autobiography, Born to Run, published worldwide in the last days of September.
Few days ago “The Boss” in the center of London, just three hundred meters from the house of another Boss (the Queen). He was struggling with the first book tour of his life. Although he’s used to tour (2500 concerts since 1968, points out Antoine de Caunes, in conversation with him), it is the first time that Springsteen has to shake hands to his audience one by one.
He had to sign his name “Seventeen thousands fucking times”, but he could get used without problems to a feeling like this, because they “do not usually have the opportunity to meet the fans one by one – and even if it is a ten seconds greeting, they give you an idea of the kind of people they are.”
The respect that Springsteen has for his audience is well known, as is its propensity to prove it with four hours long concert. His conversation with the audience, Springsteen says, is a “huge part of my life, a part that I take very seriously. When I started my career, I had an idea of how the music influenced me and it gave me an idea of how the world was outside my city. The music gave me a sense of joy, of sadness, of opportunity. All things that I have tried to communicate too, and the public reflects these feelings, it gives you a chance to see if you really sent these emotions. ”
His autobiography, as his career as a singer-songwriter, is made of pure and musical prose and imagery of the dusty american town.
He Speaks of jumping on a piano with old boots, he speaks of himself as a child, entering a bar to retrieve his father, and in doing so also enters into the mystical kingdom of men.
Devotee of Bob Dylan (“the father of our nation”), passionate of the great American authors (Cheever, James M. Cain, Flannery O’Connor – “I just finished reading Moby Dick – is not as difficult as they say, but you learn more things about whales than necessary “), Springsteen does not expect to soon re-wear the writer’s role. Initially, he took a liking by writing a short essay on the concert of the Super Bowl, and since then the idea of an autobiography was no longer a surreal idea. If he were to produce a second book, however, it would be like the Difficult Second Album: “When you write the first album you have twenty five years of life that you can draw from, and in those ten songs we throw them all. Then comes the second album, and at that point you have about six months of life experience to tell. And then you’re there you hope, for heaven’s sake, not to have wasted all that you had in the first record. ”
Born to Run is also, and above all, an honest autobiography, in which Springsteen talks about his living with depression, his relationship with his mother and with his father, semi-mythical creatures of which he spoke in verse in his songs. But he wanted to do further justice: “it was an opportunity to talk in more detail the complexity of the relationships that I told in the songs. My father’s life was much more complex than I sang, and so I wanted to portray him as more complicatedly human”.
No frills, with humility, he says he wouldn’t have made sense to write an autobiography that wasn’t honest. The characters of the songs are always the result of a meeting between fantasy and personal experience, but an autobiography is an autobiography. Springsteen wanted to write something useful, informative, for his children and for his fans. He’s one who at fifteen – with pimples in the face and music in his head – daydreamed to go and see the Rolling Stones in New Jersey, to find Mick Jagger sick and to be invited to come on stage to replace him. “And the crowd, of course, goes mad, and nobody at all misses Mick.”
“Richly rewarding…Bruce Springsteen proves that he has taken on life fully engaged both in living and examining it, and in doing so, he’s delivered a story as profoundly inspiring as his best music…It’s alternately brutally honest, philosophically deep, stabbingly funny, and, perhaps most important, refreshingly humble.” — Los Angeles Times