Bruce Springsteen has posted the complete foreword to his upcoming autobiography, “Born to Run,” on his website, brucespringsteen.net. Let the speculating on what the book will be like begin!
Significantly, he starts by telling you he comes from the town where his career was launched (Asbury Park), not the town where he actually grew up (Freehold). In other words, I would expect the book to focus on his life as a musician, and not his personal life.
Springsteen reinforces this notion by writing “I’ve taken as my parameters the events in my life I believe shaped that story” — i.e., the story he tells in his music — “and my performance work.” In other words, he’s going to write about his personal life, but only as it relates to his music.
He then says basically the same thing in a different way: “One of the questions I’m asked over and over again by fans on the street is ‘How do you do it?’ In the following pages I will try to shed a little light on how and, more important, why.”
I would also expect the tone of the book to be conversational. The ellipses in the third paragraph and the “it begins with a setup. So . . .” in the last paragraph suggest he will be writing in his own speaking voice, not a more formal, literary voice.
It’s interesting that in this relatively brief forward, he takes the opportunity to deflate several myths. In Asbury Park, “everything is tinged with a bit of fraud.” He himself was “no race-car-driving rebel” — in other words, not exactly the person you would expect him to be from his songs.
As an artist, he writes, he “lies” in the service of the truth. And that art is, in fact, a “magic trick.” The “us” feeling he creates among his fans is “elusive” and “never quite believable,” though he still, clearly, believes in it.
It should be a wild ride, this book.
The 528-page “Born to Run” will be released on Sept. 27, four days after Springsteen’s 67th birthday.
Here is the foreword, as posted on brucespringsteen.net:
I come from a boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a bit of fraud. So am I. By twenty, no race-car-driving rebel, I was a guitar player on the streets of Asbury Park and already a member in good standing amongst those who “lie” in service of the truth . . . artists, with a small “a.” But I held four clean aces. I had youth, almost a decade of hard-core bar band experience, a good group of homegrown musicians who were attuned to my performance style and a story to tell.
This book is both a continuation of that story and a search into its origins. I’ve taken as my parameters the events in my life I believe shaped that story and my performance work. One of the questions I’m asked over and over again by fans on the street is “How do you do it?” In the following pages I will try to shed a little light on how and, more important, why.
Rock ’n’ Roll Survival Kit
DNA, natural ability, study of craft, development of and devotion to an aesthetic philosophy, naked desire for . . . fame? . . . love? . . . admiration? . . . attention? . . . women? . . . sex? . . . and oh, yeah . . . a buck. Then . . . if you want to take it all the way out to the end of the night, a furious fire in the hole that just . . . don’t . . . quit . . . burning.
These are some of the elements that will come in handy should you come face-to-face with eighty thousand (or eighty) screaming rock ’n’ roll fans who are waiting for you to do your magic trick. Waiting for you to pull something out of your hat, out of thin air, out of this world, something that before the faithful were gathered here today was just a song-fueled rumor.
I am here to provide proof of life to that ever elusive, never completely believable “us.” That is my magic trick. And like all good magic tricks, it begins with a setup. So . . .