Welcome back to another random musings post, or perhaps not so random?…
By now you know I write, I love MMA and Dave Grohl is the coolest man in rock. I think it’s time I share my first love with you all. Yes, I said love. Because it was love at first sight. The serious face on that double album on my brother’s records shelf and that long and difficult to pronounce name. That was the reason I believe, or the main one anyway, for me being here. How come? It might require a post (or a series of them) to explain the chain reaction, but in a pretty straight forward line it goes something like this:
The river -> Rock music -> English -> Story telling -> Aspiring writer. I know. It’s almost as complicated as pronouncing the name Bruce Springsteen when you’re a 10 year old Israeli kid who just learned the English alphabet…
As I trust you can deduce, I just watched the premier of “Springsteen & I” and yes, I’m excited. A little emotional. I actually cried (and laughed at the same time).
So, this is not a movie review, just so we’re on the same page here 🙂 The movie is a collection of fans experiences with regards to the boss and I’m sure that Bruce’s fans would absolutely love it, as I did. People who are not fans? it might be a coin toss. You might fall in love, who knows?
But the common thread woven through these tidbits was no doubt the sense that Bruce Springsteen music had profound effect on the fans’ lives. In ways that you can only appreciate if you at least know who he is and what he sings about.
How big of a fan am I? I can sit and tell you Springsteen stories over five long evenings around the camp fire. I’ll settle for saying that at high school I was a lousy student (perhaps because I was too busy making the grooves on Bruce’s records deeper…), but I did take advanced English and for the final oral exam I came up with a fictional story of me attending a Springsteen concert. I did not practice. I only had that concept in my head and I needed to talk for 20 minutes to be graded. I got 80% on my oral exam, cause I used a lot of present progressive (Just to show you that I lived the moment :)). But as for performance? I had the examiner convinced I was there. She believed every word I said. Now I’d love to say that it’s because I have great story telling skills. The truth is, I really was. In my head, I really saw a Springsteen concert at the time.
I want to share with you the effects Springsteen had on my life.
My brother is 5 years older than me. When I was 10 he had full control of the Yamaha stereo system and his room was off limits. One day, I gathered the courage to sneak into his room and go through his records. I saw quite a few which would influence me (wait for an upcoming post about that), but none to the effect that The River did. I listened to it from start to finish in awe. Rock wasn’t such a scary music after all… it could be happy and funny, like in Sherry Darling, sad like Point Blank or The River, and it can simply be fun and groovy like Cadillac Ranch. Love at first sight.
Born in the USA was the first Springsteen record I bought. well, technically my parents bought it. But it was for me and not for my brother. 13 years old I was excited for a new record by that great singer I loved in The River. And yes, I completely missed Nebraska. But not for long… Having a much better command of the English language, I was simply amazed by his lyrics and between that album and the next, I went back to Asbury Park and Darkness and Born to Run and completed the full catalog. Including the dark Nebraska.
Again, not reviewing albums here. Simply stating a few observations about my growing up.
A lot of the early Springsteen dealt with his dad, and I really felt for him and wanted to identify with him. This coincided with the beginning of my own rebellious years. There was only one problem… My dad was a great father… Yes, he “didn’t understand me”, but what father does? I sure as hell don’t fully understand my teenage son. But the thing is, even living with a father with whom I had a great relationship, I was still able to “get it”.
I was a teenager and fell in love like the rest of you, and had my (un)fair share of rejections. Well, mostly rejections. But I had a great friend. He was always there and would talk to me whenever I needed him. Comforting and providing hope and even an outlet for some tears.
Growing up, I listened to Bruce every day. I listened to a lot of other music, but the boss is the boss. It helped shape some of my views about life. I enjoyed his story telling and learned a thing or two about romance. I learned (at least I hope I did) about compassion. About redemption. About the gray in life. No black or white, but gray. And, Oh yeah, I totally got Born In The USA at age 13. unlike a certain president… see? Gray stuff.
My political views were impacted by the boss. You cannot love the boss and be a bigot or racist. You can’t love this music and not want to live in peace. You can’t listen to so many Springsteen songs and not want freedom, or learn to appreciate it. You absolutely cannot love Springsteen and not be outraged at the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the weight that the “blue-collar” working people carry on their shoulders.
After 9/11, like the rest of the population living in North America at the time, I was shocked. Saddened. It was too big a thing to digest.
I finally had my dream come true. Twice.
I saw Bruce Springsteen twice in the span of 3 months after waiting for this for about 20 years.
Two concerts in the tour following The Rising.
There is where I think Bruce and his music had the biggest impact on me. Hope. No matter how deep the sorrow is. No matter how bad things look right now. There’s hope. “It ain’t no sin to be glad that you’re alive”. It says so, right there in Badlands.
The movie was based on describing Bruce Springsteen in 3 words. Here are mine:
Hope. Redemption. Rock N’ Roll (That counts as one, damn it!).
Well, that might have been as long as a Springsteen concert. If it was half as fun to read as it is to be in one of his shows, I’m happy 🙂
Feel free to describe Springsteen in 3 words if you’re a fan. Watch the movie too.