I know who Bruce Springsteen is. I know what Bruce Springsteen does but now I understand why Bruce Springsteen is after his keynote address at SXSW in Austin, Texas today.
Bruce Springsteen delivered a keynote address about the history of music and told his parallel story as it unfolding.
And Bruce was funny to.
The Boss told us how Eric Burdon & The Animals were one of the earliest and biggest influences on his career. “The great thing about The Animals is that there were no good looking ones. They were all ugly. Eric Burdon was a shrunken man in a suit,” he said.
Bruce picked up his guitar and sang ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’. He then played a bit of ‘Badlands’. “It’s the same riff. Watch how easily theft is achieved,” he said.
Then seriously he added. “That’s every song I’ve ever written. That’s all of them. That’s ‘Born In The USA’, ‘Born To Run’ and all of the new ones.
He pointed out how ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ was made in 1977, the same year as the Sex Pistols. He said The Animals had “an unforgiveable name” and kept it until the Sex Pistols came along.
He paid tribute to Motown and Stax. “Motown filled the airwaves when you couldn’t have needed it more and that is where I learned my craft”.
Bruce recalled how he, John Prine and Loudon Wainwright were all signed at the same time because Columbia Records was looking for the “new Dylan”. “The old Dylan was still 30,” he said. “I don’t even know why they needed a new fucking Dylan.”
Springsteen articulated the importance of Dylan. “The 50s and 60s were fucked up and then Bob came along and gave us words to what we were feeling. ‘How does it feel to be on your own’,” he said. ‘He wrote about everything that happened in every song”.
Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ debuted at no. 1 in America this week.