8 things we learned from Brian Hiatt's excellent new Rolling Stone cover story on Bruce Springsteen
First of all, you should drop what you’re doing right now and read Brian Hiatt’s excellent new Rolling Stone cover story on Bruce Springsteen in full. (And maybe consider buying a copy? Print needs you!)
Hiatt does an excellent job of teasing out the genesis of “Letter To You,” from some unexpected muses to what sounds like a joyous recording process. (He also acknowledges that meeting with Bruce feels "as though one of the heads from Mount Rushmore peeled itself off the cliff to hang out," as we all suspected.)
Anyway, to hear Hiatt tell it, the process of getting the band back together to record in person resulted in an end product that “happens to be the most classically, unabashedly E Street-sounding album since at least The River.” Is anyone else hyperventilating?
If you’re waiting to curl up with a copy of Rolling Stone at a later date but are interested in the breaking news out of the profile, meanwhile, here’s what you need to know now:
1) They actually recorded the entire album in four days, not five. “We basically cut the album in four days. We booked five days and on the fifth day we had nothin’ to do, so we just listened to it,” Stevie told Hiatt.
2) There’s another album from the period prior to “Letter to You” that’s “in the can,” but Bruce declined to provide details.
3) It was the death of Bruce’s Castiles bandmate George Theiss -- leaving Springsteen as that group’s last surviving member -- that spurred him out of his fallow period for writing music for the E Street Band. “We were very close at a very intense period in our lives,” Springsteen said of Theiss.
4) The entire album was written on a guitar given to him by a fan at his Broadway show. “Without warning, ‘all the songs from the album came out of it,’ he says, full of wonder.”
5) This is not a pre-election collection of anti-Trump protest songs. “‘That would be the most boring album in the world,’ Springsteen says, a wrinkle of annoyance appearing between his eyebrows.”
6) Don’t hold your breath waiting for a tour, which, pre-COVID, had been slated to start spring 2021. “My antenna tells me, at best, 2022. And I would consider the concert industry lucky if it happens then,” Springsteen told Hiatt.
7) There’s a movie! Filmed by Thom Zimny, natch, during the recording process, the 90-minute film will be out “to accompany the album,” Hiatt reports.
8) Bruce is by no means done:
“I plan,” says Springsteen, “to have a long road in front of me.… Some of my recent projects have been kind of summational, but really, for me, it’s summational for this stage of my work life. I’ve got a lot left to do, and I plan to carry on.” … He’s got “a lot of projects” in the works, including all of that work on his archives, which include various full “lost albums” along with more scattered outtakes.
Did someone say lost albums? We’re listening, Bruce -- keep ‘em, coming!