Bruce Springsteen talked on Friday about his struggle to live in the real world rather than inside the lyrical songs he has composed over his 40-year career.
The “Born to Run” musician, who revealed in a 2016 memoir that he had struggled with depression, called rock songs “three minutes of bliss and life compressed.”
He told a Tribeca Film Festival audience during a conversation about his career that he had sometimes seen his music “as a life preserver and as a safe space – you think you can live there.”
But Springsteen, 67, said that no artist could live only within his art.
“At the end of the day it’s just your job and just your work and life awaits you outside of those things. … So that took me a long time to learn that lesson – thanks Patti- and it was a tremendous struggle for me,” he added, referring to his wife of 25 years, Patti Scialfa.
Springsteen spoke of his early days in music in New Jersey, buying his first guitar at age 15, and being a “stone-cold draft dodger” during the Vietnam War – a period that informed much of his writing, including one of his best known but most misunderstood songs, “Born in the U.S.A.”
Springsteen said he had come to terms with people misinterpreting the 1984 song as patriotic. It was played, without his permission, during Donald Trump’s rallies during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In rock songs, he said, “People hear the music, the beat, then they hear the chorus, and if they have the time or the inclination, maybe they get into some of the verses.
“That’s the way the political rock and roll ball bounces. It’s one of those things,” Springsteen said.