Bruce Springsteen makes four-hour shows look easy, but he revealed the secret behind his drive in an illuminating interview on CBS Sunday Morning.
“I believe behind every artist [he] has someone that told him that he wasn’t worth dirt, and someone that told him they were the second coming of baby Jesus, and they believed them both,” he told Anthony Mason. “That is the fuel that starts the fire.”
That fire includes his recent marathon performances at East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium and Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, marking his longest shows ever in the United States.
“I’m conditioned to do it from many, many years of experience,” he said. “Don’t try it at home, kids.”
“It’s amazing how you can do it every night when it calls you,” he added later.
Springsteen gave the reporter a tour of his native Freehold, with stops at St. Rose of Lima — where he cracked he “didn’t do particularly well” as he “didn’t fit in a box” — and a stroll along the street where his entire family lived.
Why does he often return to Freehold?
“Well, they say you are looking to make things all right again,” he said.
In his forthcoming memoir, Born to Run, Springsteen writes about his relationship with his father — “He loved me, but couldn’t stand me” — and told Mason he returned to that time because he felt he was being unfair to him in his music.
Springsteen said while he painted the elder Springsteen as a “domineering” figure that could be “frightening,” he was actually more complicated than that.
A thaw in relations came after the birth of his son, Evan, when his father “showed up at my door” and the two shared a couple of beers in the morning.
“He said, ‘I wasn’t so good to you,'” Springsteen said. “I said, ‘You did the best you could.'”
“It changed our relationship immediately,” he said. “It was a lovely gift. A lovely epilogue,”
Other subjects included writing the record Born to Run.
“I was trying to make the greatest record you ever heard — a record that after you heard it you didn’t have to hear another record,” he said.
His musical relationship and friendship with late saxophonist Clarence Clemons was “very primal,” he said, and while the Big Man lived his life with gusto, Springsteen was “more conservative.” What they had in common, he said, was they were both “insecure.”
“He was such this huge force while at the same time very fragile,” he said. “When we were together we felt very powerful.”
Losing Clemons to complications from a stroke in 2011, he said, was “devestating.”
“There is no replacing Clarence,” he said. “You have to do something else.”
The addition of Clemons’ nephew, Jake Clemons, was “like the weight of the world was off my shoulders.”
On his battle with depression, he said, “It lasted for a long time,” but “didn’t affect my playing.”
“It sneaks up on you,” he said, adding that his wife Patti Scialfa played a big role in helping him through it, advising him that he was “going to be okay.”
On whether or not he plans to continue touring, Springsteen was positive.
“I am still in love with playing,” he said. “I want to do as much of it as I can.”
But will they be shorter shows?
‘I suppose I could,” he said. “Nahhh.”
Born to Run will be available in bookstores Sept. 27.