These Springsteen interviews can get repetitive. This is certainly true about his recent interview with Rolling Stone, but we do get some additional insight into the Boss.
Here is a taste:
There have been other books written about you. What do you think of them?
I haven’t followed them that closely. I mean, I read Dave Marsh’s book [Born to Run] a long time ago, in the Seventies. And Peter Ames Carlin’s book [Bruce] that came out recently. They’re all good, if you’re interested in different sides of me and different parts of my story.
I thought it was sort of hilarious that you name-drop your first manager Mike Appel’s book, Down Thunder Road, which is pretty negative.
I mean, if you’re interested in that, that’s there too. I don’t have a problem with all the different portrayals of me.
I looked at that book again. There’s a caption, “Bruce in 1989. Too old to rock.”
[Laughs] I love that.
You used to say onstage that your mom wanted you to be an author. True?
Yes. She did when I was young.
Your talents weren’t recognized in school, so what did she see in you that suggested that direction?
I did start to write the songs when I was very young. I was 15 and I was already scribbling some things down, and I suppose to her it was a respectable way to be a writer of some sort. I happened to be good at it. While I wasn’t very good at much else in school, in my creative-writing classes or when we had to do some writing in my English classes, I tended to do better at it.
You’ve had what seems like a pretty serious and rigorous self-education. How did that work for you?
It came very naturally. I never set out to hit the books or anything. I was always curious, but I was too young in school to take advantage of it, and things were presented a little dryly. When I met Jon [Landau], he was a conduit into film and books, and I started to read things that touched my soul. A lot of them were by noir writers – James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, Flannery O’Connor. And then I started to read history books. I was curious about the big story. I read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and one by Henry Steele Commager [A Pocket History of the United States]. One thing led to another, and I became quite a self-educator.
These days, I actually find myself more missing college. I missed the chance to live in the world of ideas when I would’ve been ripe to take advantage of it. A few years ago, my friend Robert Coles had a class at Harvard about Walker Percy, and I sat in. It was fun and I felt very at home. Made me wish I went to college!
Read the entire interview here.