Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin


There is no other artist who is mythological as Bruce Springsteen, no other band or artist comes close. There are are times when I love Bruce and his music dearly and times when he frustrates me to no end. Carlin tries to dispel some of the mythology, but Bruce refuses to come off the pedestal. Much of the book mines the same story told earlier and better by Dave Marsh (“Born To Run” and “Glory Days”). Carlin’s “Bruce” does well after 1985 as the book brings us up to date. Patterns emerge and Bruce becomes more complete – more fixed in my mind. We see a guy who is probably bi-polar (like his father), but who was focused/fixated on Rock n’ Roll to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. This includes sex and drugs- surprising considering the times he lived through.
Carlin was able to obtain interviews with Bruce and many of the musician’s closest friends, school pals, band mates and family. This access makes for an clear intimate portrait but unfortunately it also builds in a little distance to the reader. Springsteen is a hard worker often writing hundreds of songs between albums, working harder than anyone to get the sound right- not only on his album but in concert. Springsteen is aware of his mythology and is as wrapped up in it as tightly as his craziest fan. He’s also responsible for the myth-making and it has come to define him. At times it works against him. Springsteen was fairly ruthless about his music. If Springsteen was in a bad mood this could cause a lot of grief. This led to dissension within the E-Street Band. The band knew well enough to just let it blow over. Springsteen knew he needed the band not so much to for his music or his career but for his mythology. More surprising is Springsteen self-doubt. It seemed every album was a disaster that Springsteen thought to scrap, even the classic album “Born To Run.” Mike Appel had to convince Bruce to release it.

512 pages

My Kindle Notes From The Book

For the editors of the magazines, the dueling stories became a game of chicken. – location 3401

there really was magic in the night, and for a lot of fans, no matter their reasons, Bruce was it. – location 3422-23

Somewhere else in the crowd, Monty Python’s Flying Circus member Michael Palin agreed with a friend that “We came expecting the Messiah but got Billy Graham instead.” – location 3497-98

Trying to mix in a specific political agenda, on the other hand, too often reduced what should have been art into dogma. – location 4422-23

“I never heard anyone talk about politics in my neighborhood,” Bruce says. “It might have come up once in school, because I came home one day and asked my mother if we were Republican or Democrats. She said we were Democrats, because they’re for the working people. And that was the extent of the political conversation in my entire childhood.” – location 4626-29

“He definitely had a major psychological crisis right about that time,” Marsh says. “I could’ve been clearer in the book, but wasn’t because I wasn’t comfortable with it at the time. But I felt comfortable with his depths to say the guy in ‘Nebraska’ isn’t Charlie Starkweather. It’s him.” – location 4839-42

Magic Tour Highlights, music EP, – location 7311-12

Dora led the way into her cozy living room, pointing out the spinet piano her nephew ran to as a boy, reaching over his head until his little fingers could press the keys. “He’s just an ordinary person that has a beautiful talent and loves his music,” she said. “He’s just a nice, ordinary boy to me.” – location 7399-7401

Bruce Springsteen: The Rolling Stone Files – location 7562


About craigmaas

I do a little web design work and support a couple web sites and blogs. My primary focus is lighting and energy consulting where I use a number of computer tools to help my customer find ways of saving money and improving their work environment. See my web site for more information:
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