Chief Curator Jim Henke talks to Bruce Springsteen.
This is the seventh clip in a series of eight interview audio clips with Springsteen.
In this section of my interview, Bruce Springsteen talks about his songwriting process. He describes songwriting as a “meditation,” adding that “it works best when you go into a light, trance-like situation.” Later in the interview, he calls it a “magic act”: “You literally pull something from thin air.” He adds that when he started out, his success-to-failure ratio was “five percent success to 95 percent failure.”
A significant portion of the Bruce exhibit at the Hall of Fame focuses on his songwriting. The first floor of the exhibit includes a songwriting notebook from his early band Steel Mill, as well as numerous lyric manuscripts from his first three albums. The second floor of the exhibit features one entire wall of lyric manuscripts, including his notebooks for Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, Born in the U.S.A. and The Rising. It also features a table and chair. According to Bruce, he wrote many of his most famous songs while sitting at that table, which was in his house in New Jersey.
Chief Curator Jim Henke talks to Bruce Springsteen
This is the first in a series of eight interview audio clips with Springsteen that we will post over the next several weeks. Be sure to check back here weekly to listen to the newest clip.
In March, prior to the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s new exhibit, From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen, I had the good fortune to go to New Jersey to interview Bruce. When I arrived at his house, Bruce was in a small studio room off the kitchen, wailing away on his guitar. His recording engineer, Toby Scott, was behind the board. Toby had played a major role in putting the exhibit together, serving as my main point person in the Springsteen camp to help me select the many artifacts for the exhibit. They finished laying down the track, and Bruce and I sat down in his living room to do the interview. He told me stories about several of the items in the exhibit. Everything went very smoothly, with one exception: Bruce’s rather large cat kept running into the room ...
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Yes, the music festival that had such an impact on our culture took place 40 years ago! Those babies who were born at Woodstock are now 40 years old! And nowadays, it seems like everyone you ask claims they were at Woodstock. Well, I wasn’t there. I was still a teenager, too young to drive. And I’m sure my parents would not have let me go even if I could have driven. But, like so many others, I watched the coverage on the television and read the stories in the newspapers. Then, when the movie was finally released, I was able to experience the great music that was made at Woodstock. Yes, there were music festivals before Woodstock, but none of them had the cultural impact that Woodstock did. It was a cultural milestone, the coming of age of the peace and love generation. It was no longer our parents’ world. It was our world. We were against the war in Vietnam. We loved rock and roll and we proved that three days of peace, love and music among half a million dirty, hungry young people was possible. Yes, Woodstock ...