BRUCE sightings: The Vatican, NPR and Jake Clemons’ book bag

Some fun/exciting developments on the BRUCE front. And Dec 20 seems like the most perfect day to bring it up — it’s the 35th anniversary of the first Springsteen show I ever attended, at the Seattle Center Arena on December 20, 1978.

A stand-out night for me, and when I described the experience to Clarence Clemons in early 2011, and got to the part where my pal Bill Becker and I were hanging over the railing bellowing Bruuuuce! above where he and Bruce were walking arm-in-arm back to the dressing rooms Clemons nodded excitedly, as if some long mystery had just been clarified: “Ohhhh, that was you guys!” Didn’t crack a smile either, even after I started to laugh.

But anyway.

This week’s issue of The New Yorker features James Carroll’s profile of Pope Francis, which includes this surprising revelation about Antonio Spadero, one of the Vatican’s top Jesuits and editor of La Civiltà Cattolica:

“Before leaving Spadaro’s office, I looked again at the book on his table: it was “Bruce,” a biography of Bruce Springsteen. The book next to it—the breadth of a Jesuit’s interest!—was “Ratzinger: Opera Omnia.”

So that’s something.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star Tribune had a quick chat with Jake Clemons recently, who revealed that he’s been filling in his knowledge of his employer by reading you-know-which biography. Jake added some nice thoughts about the book but even I’m not narcissistic enough to re-type them and put them here, so I’ll just say: Thanks, Jake.

Lastly: I’ll be on National Public Radio’s “Here & Now” at some point after Christmas talking about “Born to Run” and that sheet of lyrics that sold at auction for nearly $200,000 the other day. I’ll post the airdate when I hear it, but also check yer local listings.

Video of the day: Springsteen’s “High Hopes”


By now you probably know: 1. That Bruce Springsteen’s new album, his 18th long-player of original(ish) recordings and compositions, is called High Hopes. 2. That it includes 12 songs, including several cover songs including the title track. 3. Which track has been released online today. 4. Along with this strikingly cool video, which takes the fractured mosaic visual style from the last few videos to new levels of action, imagery and symbolic whiz-bangery. 5. The album will be released on January 14, 2014, two months shy of the 2nd anniversary of Wrecking Ball‘s release date in March, 2012.

What strikes me at first viewing: That Tom Morello is the most (only?) visible band member; That the wah-wah guitar thing that happens about 2/3 of the way into the tune is “Shaft”-ing its way to the tippy-top of my heart; That the stop-motion/repeat-motion thing that happens at the same time, showing Bruce ripping at his acoustic guitar, captures the tension/fire in his performances in a new and striking way.

Check it out here:

BRUCE at Seaside, Oregon Public Library, Nov 21

Don't be late!

Don’t be late!

The weather’s great in Oregon today — blue skies, gentle breezes and okay so it’s pretty cold but hey, it’s nearly December so just bundle up and stop yer whining — so come on out to the coast and we’ll talk Springsteen at the Seaside Public Library.

The action starts at 7 pm and runs for 90 straight minutes. Readings, questions, answers, all in the key of ‘B.’ See what I did there? With the ‘B’?

So you should come. We’ll hang out.

Just published: Largehearted Boy ‘Book Notes’ piece on my unofficial soundtrack to BRUCE


Check this out: A track-by-track list and analysis of the songs I put on my highly unofficial soundtrack CD for BRUCE. Unavailable anywhere except under very, very special circumstances.

Here’s a taste of the essay:

I listened to a ton of music while working on the book – not all of them by Bruce Springsteen, of course. The work of Brian Wilson (with and without the Beach Boys), Gaslight Anthem, Wilco and a score of alt-country bands touched on ideas and feelings that resonated with my sense of the work.

But when the book was finished I put together this quasi-soundtrack on my iTunes so I’d have something special to give to friends and family, and also to accompany books I donated to charity auctions and such. I thought it would be cool to build the list out of rare live recordings, outtakes and other rarities, so nothing here is available in wide release. Each of these songs connect to particular stories, eras and/or performances that figure in the narrative. They’re sort of chronological, but not entirely.

Go here for the rest.

Hey Greenville, SC: Get your drink on with BRUCE!


What’s better than a BRUCE reading, signing and Q-and-A session? A BRUCE r,s + q&a in a bar. Which means the author will be drinking before and, let’s face it, throughout the proceedings. Did I mention that all this will be taking place in Greenville, South Carolina? Yeah baby, everything’s up for grabs now. What will I say? What won’t I say? You gotta come to find out. Send me a shot a tequila and the real fun stories may come out.HBD_Greenville_03

It all goes down at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 23 right here at the Handlebar, 304 East Stone Ave. Tickets are free.