I finished reading Bruce Springsteen's memoir, "Born to Run." A beautiful, powerful book. No surprise. Springsteen worked on it over 7 years. He is not afraid to delve into the dark places of his life, his soul, his psyche. It's quite the epic American journey. Unlikely, inspiring, insightful.
When you think of Springsteen you recall the 3 hour plus r&r extravaganzas. Blood, sweat and tears splashed across the stage. Exuberant, thrilling, rocking, balls-to-the-wall. I was lucky to catch Springsteen and the E Street band in their glorious prime on "The River" tour, circa 1980? One of the great shows. No doubt.
Listen to the records. It's all there too. The darkness. The exuberance. The pain. The joy. The contradictions of being a human being. Springsteen's music has always been grounded to a time and place, but at the same time those times, those places were difficult places to be:
Oh-oh, Baby this town rips the bones from your back,
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
You end up admiring the man's work ethic. His commitment to his art, his life. You marvel at his ambition, determination and ability to risk everything for his r&r dream. At the same time you are kind of stunned to find that the man also suffered from supreme indecision, crippling depression, deep rage, and an ability to swim in the deep dark places.
Springsteen was able to "escape" from his childhood dead-end in the "swamps of New Jersey," but there is no escaping the life-long demons we all have to contend with. Maybe that's why Springsteen and his music has always spoken to me. He embodies all the the light, and all the darkness, and he's fearless in showing everything.