If you haven’t noticed, the last two post are decorated with titles that are spin-offs of Bruce Springsteen records. I mean, it wasn’t that hard to notice. But just in case you didn’t, now you know.
Anyway, my first memory of Bruce’s music is a kindergarten performance my class put on for our parents at the end of the school year. I wore an American flag t-shirt and red shorts, big tube socks and white sneakers. I even wore a red bow. C’mon, I was being patriot. And we were singing Born in the USA. At 5-years-old, I was a rock star, waving a miniature American flag across the stage. Smiling and waving and singing.
That’s about the extent of my Bruce Springsteen music affair. Until I was a junior/senior in high school in that infamous AP Humanities class. We were given an assignment: decipher the lyrics of Born to Run. This is difficult to do for anybody’s song lyrics, let alone wrapping my hands across Bruce’s jet engines like the tramp I am. I remember spending a great deal of time of that little interpretive essay, it really pushed my intellectual songwriting limits. One might even call it a suicide rap.
So that’s about the extent of my Bruce Springsteen lyrics affair. Until I wrote an article about Monmouth University housing 15,000 historic artifacts in a collection in his name. He hasn’t changed much since his high school photo and even his poems were impressive then as they are now. The things people collected, my goodness. It told an entire story with multiple narratives, from his starting point to wherever it he he’s run to.
Which lead me on last-chance power drive down Broad Street in Red Bank, where Jack’s Music Shoppe opened its doors for a midnight release party for fanatics, local and statewide, who came to celebrate (and buy) his new album Wrecking Ball. The stories of how they fell in love with Bruce were pretty funny (to me, who did not share those sentiments. I spent most of my time nodding my head and saying yes, yes, that song whenever someone spit out another favorite record that I’ve never heard before). Many of these folks were hoping to see Springsteen himself sneak in the back door of the shop and sign autographs (as he did in 2001) and hang out with all the people who feel like they know him through his music.
Me? I was just another reporter with a notepad and pen, sticking my voice recorder in people’s mouths to get their Bruce story while keeping my camera ready with the flash just in case the man himself did show up in the flesh. I’m sure that’s not how I was, but that’s sure how I felt. I couldn’t relate to everybody. At least not to that extent.
And maybe this is because I’ve never been a die-hard fan about anything, let alone another human being. The most I’ve ever done was simply like something or somebody else, especially when it comes to people who do different things than me such as make music. I’d rather not surrender my own capabilities to make something for myself by idolizing someone else. However, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy their gifts. I appreciate Bruce, sure I do. But I’m also trying to figure out how I can apply their methods for success to my own personal style, hence the titles to the last two posts.
I don’t want to just say, Wow, your album is great. I want to be able to say, Now look what I’ve done.
And maybe someday down Thunder Road we can collaborate on a socially conscious album that just wrecks complacency for any status quo.