The Boss bares all at Tribeca Film Festival

Bruce Springsteen said he had seen his music as a life preserver and safe space, but has realised that no artist can live only within his art.
Bruce Springsteen said he had seen his music as a life preserver and safe space, but has realised that no artist can live only within his art.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK • Rocker Bruce Springsteen has spoken about his struggle to live in the real world rather than escape and take shelter in the lyrical songs he has composed over his 40-year career.

The musician, whose 1975 album Born To Run marked him out as a visionary and who revealed in a memoir last year that he had struggled with depression, called rock songs "three minutes of bliss and life compressed".

He told a Tribeca Film Festival audience in New York during a conversation about his career last week that he had sometimes seen his music "as a life preserver and as a safe space - you think you can live there".

But Springsteen, 67, who has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide, said no artist could live only within his art. "At the end of the day, it's just your job and just your work and life awaits you outside of those things.

"So, that took me a long time to learn that lesson - thanks Patti - and it was a tremendous struggle for me," he added, referring to his wife of 25 years, Patti Scialfa.

Springsteen spoke of his early days in music in New Jersey, buying his first guitar at age 15 and being a "stone-cold draft dodger" during the Vietnam War - a period that informed much of his writing, including one of his best-known but most misunderstood songs, Born In The USA.

Springsteen said he has come to terms with people misinterpreting the 1984 song as patriotic.

It was played, without his permission, at Mr Donald Trump's rallies during last year's United States presidential election.

In rock songs, Springsteen noted: "People hear the music, the beat, then they hear the chorus and if they have the time or the inclination, maybe they get into some of the verses.

"That's the way the political rock 'n' roll ball bounces. It's one of those things."

The musician said he will never be in denial mode in his songwriting.

"I think the writer tells a story to save his life, to experience his life to the fullest. But, also, your motivation is to keep yourself afloat.

"It's what I wanted to communicate to my audience - that life awaits you, but taking it is a rough-and-tumble business."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'The Boss bares all at Tribeca Film Festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe