Writer says media twisted meaning on Bruce Springsteen suicide quote
(CBS News) The author of a wide-ranging, revealing profile of Bruce Springsteen said a quote describing the singer as "feeling suicidal" in the early 1980s has been twisted by the media.
Friday on "CBS This Morning," The New Yorker editor David Remnick, who wrote the piece, said, "In the interview, he (Springsteen) talks about depression. I think some of the press has gotten a little ahead of itself in talking about being suicidal and kind of twisting a quote from (Springsteen's biographer and friend) Dave Marsh, which was well-intentioned."
Marsh told Remnick, "He was feeling suicidal. The depression wasn't shocking, per se. He was on a rocket ride, from nothing to something, and now you are getting your (behind) kissed day and night. You might start to have some inner conflicts about your real self-worth."
Of the quote, Remnick said, "I think that was taking his emotional temperature, rather than something about he's going to do himself in."
Remnick said Springsteen looked deep inside himself in their conversations. "He...is very honest about the struggles that he's been through."
The writer said he's been fascinated by the artist since he was 14 years old. "What interested me was, how do you have a creative career in pop culture for so long? When the band starts to get old, when you change. When people in your band die," Remnick said. "And Springsteen said, 'What this is about is the ride. And we're in it for a long ride.' That doesn't normally happen in any art, much less rock 'n' roll."
And part of that "long ride" is continuing to create new music. Remnick said, "He could fill arenas and just go on playing 'Born to Run' and 'Thunder Road' and 'Jungle Land" and people would be very happy. ... You would have a nostalgia trip and feel your New Jersey youth bubble up into you again. That's not what an artist is about - not a real artist. He's not a cover band for himself, so the new album, "Wrecking Ball,"is deeply political about the American moment that we're in for all its trials and tribulations, economically, politically, and it's extremely personal. To perform that and integrate that with something new, and make it part of a whole is what an artist is. This representation of his inner life and outer life."
An enduring theme in Springsteen's music is his father. Remnick said, "At the moment he's writing about the industrialized towns but not just as a political tribute, but what that does to a human being. This is why his father is important to him. Not just because he was a defeated man and depressed man and troubled man. But because he couldn't hold a job very well. And his inability to hold a job very well had a terrible effect on the family. And so, for Bruce, that father is a representative person in a very tough time."
But Springsteen's intention with his music these days is to make fans feel "more alive," Remnick said. "Look, all of us, even us lucky ones, really lucky ones, have things in our lives that are completely unlucky and hard and dull and so on. I think the opportunity to spend the night in the presence of...not just Springsteen, but (other performers)...to feel more alive, feel more of the possibility of life, three hours, four hours later than you did before going in, that's worth a ticket."
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