Commonplace Book #6

…if you want to burn bright, hard, and long, you will need to develop some craft and a creative intelligence that will lead you farther when things get dicey.  That’s what’ll help you make crucial sense and powerful music as time passes, giving you skills that may also keep you alive, creatively and physically.  The failure of so many of rock’s artists to outlive their expiration date of a few years, make more than a few great albums and avoid water treading or worse I felt was due to the misfit nature of those drawn to the profession.  These were strong, addictive personalities, fired by compulsion, narcissism, license, passion, and an inbred entitlement all slammed over a world of fear, hunger, and insecurity.  That’s a Molotov cocktail of confusion that can leave you unable to make, or resistant to making, the leap of consciousness a life in the field demands.  After first contact knocks you on your ass, you’d better have a plan, for some preparedness and personal development will be required if you expect to hang around any longer than your fifteen minutes.

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run213.

3 thoughts on “Commonplace Book #6

  1. John,
    After I saw your suggestion, I checked one of the playlists on my iPod. On a longer playlist for intense running, I have Born to Run and Born in the USA. I think those two are fairly early in his career but might be wrong on that. Both of them are good dongs and do well for me when I need a pump of adrenaline on an extended uphill course. Nevertheless, I don’t think I will trade those two of Bruce for Crossroads or Born Under a Bad Sign by Cream. Ha ha. I did find it interesting that the Animals influenced Bruce. They had that “angry young man” sound which was also evident in British film and literature of the late 1950s and early 60s. On the other hand, Springsteen never seemed all that angry.
    I also have a CD where Bruce does traditional American folksongs with the late Pete Seeger. Thankfully no political stuff———just fun songs like I learned in elementary school in the late 1950s. It’s a pretty good CD.
    By the way, I always did like the singing of old Seeger despite his political views. What he had in common with Bruce is that they were/are both genuinely enthusiastic about performing their music. That sort of enthusiasm is not scripted as we unfortunately so often see in other entertainers.


  2. John,
    Although I fail to see Springsteen’s high appeal as you do, I have to give him credit for this brief excerpt you quoted. (Of course, I don’t know if he actually wrote it or if the ghostwriter paraphrased Springsteen’s sentiments.) Regardless of the actual authorship, Bruce’s name appears on the book cover so we will give him his due.
    When anyone surfs around the old, satellite radio offerings, it isn’t hard to be reminded of the broken lives littering the rock music landscape. Equally telling is the physical appearance of some of these guys today. Forty years of hard living takes a toll on the countenance.
    Getting back to Bruce and his singing, I probably don’t appreciate him because I am a few years older than you, John, and can distinctly remember the British Invasion of the middle 1960s which ushered in arguably the most creative period of rock music. This British sound was set on top of the American folksong revival of the earlier 1960s and the rhythm and blues/Doo Wop sound. Most of that fusion had petered out by the time Springsteen come on the scene. I have one or two of his songs on my fitness iPod, but he will never match The Animals, The Spencer Davis Group, The Yardbirds, the old Rolling Stones or any of those guys. Ha ha


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