Today I co-hosted Dave Marsh’s morning show on E-Street Radio, a Bruce Springsteen radio station (yes, such a thing exists), talking about my essay that will be pubished in a book about the rock musician in May. (You can listen to it here.)
My contribution was based on a presentation I gave at a Bruce Springsteen Symposium in 2005.
My relationship with Springsteen’s music has changed since that time but the essay gives a snapshot of how my fandom developed.
Some have viewed my fandom with mocking scepticism. Why turn to a rock star who is so far removed from your day-to-day life for inspiration and guidance, some would say to me? Isn’t that what we all do as teenagers and then grow out of it?
I can understand this point of view but Springsteen’s music is not just for teenage phases – or only for men for that matter, the gender that makes up most of his audience. I believe it is for anyone stuck in a spiritual rut.
Springsteen once said it wasn’t his job to carry the dreams of his fans, only to inspire them to carry their own. I am sure he feels the pressure from fans and his own image to act a certain way. Who knows what it’s really like, for it to be routine to have hundreds of thousands of people screaming out your name, on a regular basis since you were 25, up to your sixties?
It’s a completely different world to the ones fans usually inhabit despite Bruce’s regular Joe Schmoe image. But Springsteen never asked us to trust him in the same way he asked us to trust his music. I feel some fans find it hard to extricate the two – not that it’s an easy thing to do.
My relationship with his music has changed because I have. I don’t listen to his music manically anymore and I don’t feel the need to queue for three days to get a front row position at one of his gigs. But his music is a tool that I have used to find my place in the world.
In a way, that’s what all art should do. Rather than try to enchant us with the cult of personality that surrounds its maker. Even if this is so enmeshed with art in modern times – and, I realize, in this blog post a little…