Bruce Springsteen Discusses 'The Promise' At U.K. Film Fest
Bruce Springsteen hopes that fans will get a kick out of his forthcoming 'out-takes' album "The Promise," which makes its U.S. bow Nov. 16 via Columbia Records.
Due to be released in several formats, including a 6 disc deluxe box set, "The Promise" is exclusively made up of unreleased material recorded during sessions for Springsteen's 1978 studio set "Darkness on the Edge of Town." Having lingered in the artist's archives for over thirty years, Springsteen spent the past summer compiling the 'lost out-takes' album -- which has attained almost mythical status among Springsteen fans -- alongside long-time producer and manager Jon Landau.
The record will be released in two formats: a 2 CD set featuring 21 unreleased tracks, and a deluxe 6 disc version entitled "The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story." Alongside the previously unreleased material, the deluxe box set includes video footage of rehearsal and stage performances from 1976-78, a digitally re-mastered copy of the original "Darkness" album, live concert DVDs and documentaries and an 80-page spiral notebook with facsimiles of Springsteen's original and alternate lyrics, recording notes and photos from the time.
"We made a lot of music [when recording "Darkness"]... and the music that was left out was a truly separate record," the singer told fans when interviewed onstage at London's BFI theatre for the annual London Film Festival on Oct. 29, following the U.K. premiere of film documentary "The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town."
Referring to "Darkness," which was originally released in 1978 and formed a starker, less commercial follow-up to Springsteen's 1975 breakthrough record "Born To Run," the artist said: "We stumbled our way to those ten songs and it's held up pretty well. [But] there's a lot of beautiful music that we left out and I had a chance to finish it over the summer, so I hope people get a kick out of it."
At the time of first going into the studio to record "Darkness" Springsteen said that he and the E Street band "were still were still very influenced with Brill Building writing and all this beautiful, big melodic... choruses, modulations and the music that comes with the box set is filled with elaborate arrangements."
"We spent so much time in the studio [recording Darkness] ... musically [it was] very particular arrangements and all of that had to go because it was too rich," Springsteen went on to say when asked why so much strong material was shelved.
"That was the stuff that went. There was too much melody. Too much richness of arrangement... at some point no matter how good some of that stuff was we just put it away and we went for something that I felt was going to establish our band as one that was interested in documenting the moment and having that conversation with you," he continued.
"Just as there was a pattern and clear criteria to the songs that we selected that actually went on the 'Darkness' album, there was a clear integrity and unity to the songs that we didn't put on," added Landau, who joined Springsteen onstage alongside filmmaker Thom Zimny, who directed "The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town."
"When we assembled them what we were aiming for was not something that sounded like miscellaneous outtakes but something that had the integrity of its own album," Landau added.
Appearing in a jovial, talkative mood, Springsteen also took the opportunity to discuss the thought processes and methods behind the marathon, sometimes fraught recording sessions for "Darkness," which he told the audience drove his band members crazy and resulted in approximately 70 songs being recorded in total.
"I was so filled with doubt that the only way that I knew how to get to something was to slog away for hours and hours," said Springsteen. "Just learning how to record. How to get sounds, how to write and of course we had nothing better to do at the time and we had the energy of youth and a one-track mind: that [feeling of] if we don't do this we're going to die."
"We were interested in making not just the best 10 songs but making a record that was essential and that meant a record that captured the times in some way and we were trying to sniff that out," he went on to say, before leaving the stage to a standing ovation.