Archive for Wrecking Ball

SXSW Keynote Address: Bruce Springsteen

Posted in News with tags , , , , on March 15, 2012 by 30daysout

Bruce Springsteen conducts a music lesson. (Photo courtesy of SXSW)

by George Kovacik

AUSTIN – Thursday’s keynote address at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference was not conducted by Bruce Springsteen the rock star, it was delivered instead by Professor Bruce Springsteen the music historian.

Springsteen, perhaps the most important rocker of his generation, showed up a half hour late while close to 2,000 conference goers lined up hours early. “Why are we here so f**king early,” laughed Springsteen, when he finally appeared. “How important can this speech be if it’s at noon, when most musicians are still asleep?”

Despite his mock complaints, Springsteen was energetic and engaging. He said the “amazing and a bit overwhelming” atmosphere this week on the streets of Austin had him a bit in awe. “In 1964, when I picked up my guitar there probably wasn’t 10,000 bands in the country because there weren’t 10,000 guitars (in existence),” he said. “But now you have at least 10,000 acts in one place.” He mentioned his great history with Austin over the years, and name-checked the Armadillo World HQ where he first played in 1974.

“I’m going to tell you a little bit about how I got to where I am, and what influenced me,” Springsteen continued.  “Bill Haley concealed his age because he was older, not a teenager, when he sang ‘Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay’ he didn’t realize he was going to be terrifyingly f**king right.”

Springsteen was first influenced by rock and roll when he saw Elvis on TV. “People might have influences today like Public Enemy, Madonna or Pearl Jam, but it was 1956 when I saw Elvis. That was the genesis of power and creativity in rock and roll.  Never again will everybody be brought together by one single person. Elvis showed too that there is no right way to create – you just have to go out and do it.

Bruce Springsteen cites the influences that brought him to this place. (Photo courtesy of SXSW)

“Elvis brought a new way of experiencing and hearing music,” he continued. “After that show my parents took me to the Five and Dime in Freehold,  N.J., and bought a guitar, but my six-year-old hands would not fit around the neck. All I did was stand in front of the mirror and beat on that thing, and beat on that thing, in front of the mirror… and I still do that!” When this drew a big laugh, Springsteen asked in mock shock, “Don’t you guys do that? You gotta check out your moves!”

Doo-wop, Springsteen said, was “like the stockings on the back seat upholstery, bras were snapping across the USA.”  .Then, he said, it was the “blue ball limp” back from the dance.  At this point he asked for a guitar, and when one finally materialized he played the notes.

In a G and C doo-wop voice, he said “out of that came ‘Backstreets.’ When you listen to Roy Orbison, when you met that girl and you told somebody you loved them at that moment, you were starting to go down and that’s what Roy Orbison’s music was,” Springsteen continued.

Phil Spector was “three-minute orgasms by oblivion, chaos in sound and it all came together.” About the British Invasion Springsteen said “that shifted the lay of the land, no more it was going to be a singer, a songwriter and a producer … you had these guys doing it all. At the Five and Dime there was the album, Meet The Beatles, and I realized I’d never get there. But when I saw a picture of the Beatles in Hamburg, wearing pompadours and leather jackets,  I realized these are just kids. They were cooler than me, but when I saw that picture I felt like I could get to where they are.”

Springsteen also name-checked the Animals, also from the British Invasion. “It was the first time I heard about class consciousness in rock and roll. Their music mirrored my home life; I loved the cruelty in the music.” Springsteen also said the Animals were the ugliest band in rock and roll. “Eric Burdon had this man face on an 18-year-old body. I couldn’t believe that voice was coming out of a kid! He couldn’t dance either!”

But Springsteen sang a pitch perfect few bars of “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,” and cited the central lick driving “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” “That became ‘Badlands,’ ” he revealed. “The art of successful theft!”

He listened to a lot of punk records, and bought the Sex Pistols’ album. “Frightening,” was the only word he used to describe it. He spoke more lovingly of soul music, citing the line from “Soul Man”: “I learned how to love before I could eat.”  Springsteen said Motown was great, he loved the social consciousness of Curtis Mayfield and said about James Brown, “He’s still  underrated … what I learned from James Brown was how to bring it home live. Because if you do, the audience will always remember you.”

And there was Bob Dylan. “Dylan gave us the words,” Springsteen said. “When Dylan said ‘how does it feel, to be on your own?’ if you were a kid in 1965 you were on your own. Parents just didn’t understand what was going on. Dylan is the father of my musical country.”

As he got into his late 20s, Springsteen said he wanted to write music he could play when he was 40. He listened to Hank Williams over and over again, and he understood that country music was about “Saturday night hell raising and Sunday morning coming down with guilt.”

Springsteen reminded the audience that this year is Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday year and said his focus changed when he read the Guthrie autobiography. “Guthrie never sold a million copies, never had a platinum album and was never on the cover of Rolling Stone but he was the big ghost in the machine.”

He ended the nearly hour-long talk by speaking directly to musicians. “Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive,” Springsteen said, “and treat it like it’s all you have.”

Austin Chronicle story about Bruce Springsteen’s Armadillo appearance in 1974

Austin American Statesman: Bruce Springsteen joins Alejandro Escovedo at Austin Music Awards

Springsteen week kicks off tonight

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by 30daysout

Bruce Springsteen charges into Austin on Thursday. (Photo by Jo Lopez)

If you’re a Bruce Springsteen fan, life is very good right now. With the release of the excellent new album, Wrecking Ball, comes a bevy of appearances before the world tour begins.

Lets start with a biggie tonight. For the first time in Bruce’s 40 plus year history, he and the E Street Band will grace the stage at The Apollo Theater in Harlem. It’s part of Sirius/XM’s tenth anniversary celebration of satellite radio (once you get it, you will never go back. Trust me.).  This will be the band’s first full gig without the “Big Man” Clarence Clemons, but if the appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week are any indication, the horn section, featuring Clemons’ nephew Jake, can cover his parts nicely.

What they can’t do is replace Clemons’ massive presence, and his interaction with Bruce. That will be sorely missed. It will be interesting to see how Bruce handles the band introductions (if he does them at all) because Clarence was always “last but not least.” The show is set to start at 8 p.m EST with a pre-show featuring Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh at 6 p.m.

If you don’t have Sirius/XM, you can get a seven-day free subscription by going to their website. You can also win tickets to that last show of the U.S. leg in Newark,  by tweeting a photo of your “Springsteen Apollo Listening Party.” You can enter that contest here.

Update: Video from the Apollo show

Next Thursday, Bruce will be the keynote speaker at the SXSW Music Conference in Austin. The format of the presentation is kind of up in the air. My guess is that he will have someone interview him, then take a few questions from the audience, then pick up the acoustic guitar and play a few tunes. That scenario would be ideal, but it remains to be seen what will actually happen. We here at 30 Days Out will be there to provide complete coverage and if you want to experience it live, NPR will stream the keynote address. Check NPR’s website for the schedule.

Later that evening at a secret, intimate location in “Live Music Capital of the World,” Bruce and the band will do a private show for badge holders and media who are lucky enough to win a drawing to get in. Our guess is he will play Stubb’s BBQ, a venue that is no stranger to big acts during SXSW. Metallica played there three years ago and John Mayer and Train are set to play there on Saturday.

We are hoping for this location because if we can’t get in, we can at least listen to it “out in the street.” There is also a chance he will play the new ACL Live venue, but that seems unlikely unless they were going to tape for TV or DVD or do an Austin City Limits show, which would be great if that happens. However, if he wants to create a huge buzz, Stubb’s would be the best place to do that. Also, we bet Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine will hop on stage with the band at some point. He’ll be in town doing his own shows during the four-day weekend.

Other possible sightings around Austin might include an appearance with friend and manager-mate Alejandro Escovedo at the Austin Music Awards on Wednesday night or with his buddy, Garland Jeffries, at Antone’s on Thursday. Should we cross our fingers for a surprise acoustic set at Waterloo Records ? Not likely, but we’ve got nothing to lose.

Finally, the Wrecking Ball World Tour kicks of March 18 in Atlanta, then heads overseas and hopefully back to the states in the fall. Like I said at the top, it’s a good time to be a Springsteen fan.

Bruce Springsteen official website

Backstreets magazine

Bruce Springsteen News on Facebook

Review: “Wrecking Ball,” by Bruce Springsteen

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , on March 5, 2012 by 30daysout

Image Detail

On May 8, 2006, my boss called me into his office. “We have eliminated your position,” he said. “We are letting you go. It’s not because of your work, it’s because…” By this time I had tuned him out, and the only thing I could think of was… how am I going to feed my wife and children?” When I listened to Bruce Springsteen’s grand new effort, Wrecking Ball, this past week every emotion I felt at the time came flooding back.

I was the man in the reflective “Jack of All Trades,” who kept convincing himself that everything is going to be alright even though he isn’t sure how his family is going to make it. I was the lost man in the haunting “This Depression” who told his wife over and over he is hopeful even though he can’t see anything on the horizon. I was the pissed off guy in the powerful “Death to My Hometown” who felt betrayed and stabbed in the back by the “robber barons” who put his family jeopardy because of their ineptitude. I was the guy in the spiritual “Rocky Ground” who discovers the moment when everything is going to be alright and I was the guy in a great new rendition of “Land of Hope and Dreams” who finally sees new possibilities.

Wrecking Ball is simply outstanding. Springsteen has always had the unique ability to tap into the emotions of what is going on and the people who are going through it. His lyrics of despair, depression, hope, and redemption are thoughtful and strong, and are enhanced by powerful instrumentation and rhythms rarely heard on a Springsteen record. Producer Ron Aniello really captured Bruce’s live power on disc for the first time in a long time.

From the opening rocker “We Take Care of Our Own” to the closing “We are Alive” where the narrator rides off into a much brighter sunset, we see a 62-year old rocker still doing work that is relevant and powerful. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying Wrecking Ball is truly some of Springsteen’s best work. He is an artist that continues to evolve and get stronger with each album and I couldn’t be happier.

You can stream Wrecking Ball at Bruce’s official website.

Clips from “Wrecking Ball”

Posted in Bruce Springsteen, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2012 by 30daysout

Bruce Springsteen met with the foreign press in Paris yesterday.  He spoke about his forthcoming album Wrecking Ball, and how the death of Clarence Clemons was like losing the rain. Included in this video are some clips of “Easy Money,” “Shackled and Drawn,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “Land of Hope and Dreams.” We here at 30 Days Out are eagerly anticipating a Springsteen gig in Austin during SXSW. We will be there to cover his keynote address and, if we’re lucky, a live performance.

Bruce Springsteen official website

Backstreets magazine

Bruce Springsteen News on Facebook

Springsteen set list “wish list”

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , on February 16, 2012 by 30daysout

Everytime Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band hit the road I put together a wish list of songs I would love to hear them play.  Songs that I love that rarely see the light of day like “Restless Nights,” “Fade Away,” “Streets of Fire,” “The Promise,” “Lonely Night in the Park,” etc. Now if you’re a diehard fan, you of course want to hear them play a good chunk of the new album, Wrecking Ball, but here’s hoping they break out some of these gems on the nearly year-long trek across the globe.

Restless Nights/The Price You Pay/Stolen Car (Bruce, Roy, Charlie)/Drive All Night/Lonely Night in the Park/The Promise/Gotta Get that Feeling/Racing in the Street (’78)/Streets of Fire/Many Rivers to Cross/Prove It All Night (’78 version)/You’ll Be Coming Down/Local Hero/Real World (solo piano)/I Wish I Were Blind/Dream Baby Dream (solo organ)/Don’t Look Back/My Lucky Day/30 Days Out/All the Way Home/Lucky Town/Valentine’s Day (solo piano)/Downbound Train/Nebraska/State Trooper (full band)/Back in Your Arms/Your Own Worst Enemy/Save My Love/Rendezvous/The Brokenhearted/Nothing Man/Paradise/My City of Ruins/I’m A Rocker/Fade Away/Secret Garden/Dollhouse/Thundercrack/My Love Will Not Let You Down/Frankie/Trouble River/Blood Brothers/Mona w/She’s the One/Backstreets w/Sad Eyes/When the Saints Go Marching In/Fire (acoustic)/Roll of the Dice

Bruce Springsteen official website

Backstreets magazine

Bruce Springsteen News on Facebook

New Springsteen single drops – “We Take Care of Our Own”

Posted in News with tags , on January 18, 2012 by 30daysout

The new Bruce Springsteen album is called Wrecking Ball and the new single is “We Take Care of Our Own.” The album will be available March 6. In addition, Bruce is set to speak at SXSW on Thursday, March 15, and there are reports that he plans to perform there.

Marking his 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball features 11 new Springsteen recordings and was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen and executive producer Jon Landau.

Bruce is ready to hit the road. (Photo by Danny Clinch)

1. We Take Care of Our Own
2. Easy Money
3. Shackled and Drawn
4. Jack of All Trades
5. Death to My Hometown
6. This Depression
7. Wrecking Ball
8. You’ve Got It
9. Rocky Ground
10. Land of Hope and Dreams
11. We Are Alive

A special edition of ‘Wrecking Ball’ will also be available including exclusive artwork and photography and two bonus tracks:

12. Swallowed Up
13. American Land

Said long-time manager Jon Landau, “Bruce has dug down as deep as he can to come up with this vision of modern life. The lyrics tell a story you can’t hear anywhere else and the music is his most innovative of recent years. The writing is some of the best of his career and both veteran fans and those who are new to Bruce will find much to love on ‘Wrecking Ball.'”

While this morning’s press release does not specifically address U.S. tour dates, it does confirm: “Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be touring extensively in the US and Europe in 2012.”

Friday is Boss’ Day: Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” available at iTunes

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , on October 23, 2009 by 30daysout


Columbia Records has released Bruce Springsteen’s new song “Wrecking Ball” exclusively on iTunes. The bundle features the live track newsWreckingBallCoverand video, both recorded at Giants Stadium a few weeks ago. Check out all the details at Backstreets magazine and Bruce’s official website. Any new Bruce is good, so enjoy. By the way, I was listening to Howard Stern this week and Clarence Clemons mentioned that he will be “retiring.” Not exactly sure what that means, but if you haven’t seen the band in a while, now is the time.

“Wrecking Ball” – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 5, 2009 by 30daysout

We posted a version of “Wrecking Ball,” Springsteen’s ode to the end of Giants Stadium, the other day, but here is a complete and much better version. This is taken from night two of a five-night stand. Enjoy.

Bruce Springsteen Official Website

Backstreets Magazine