Bruce Springsteen: What I Know Now
The Boss discusses his new memoir, his family ties and his path to mental health
Life as an open book
I didn't start writing the book with any grand plans. I thought maybe it would be something for the kids [Evan, 26; Jessica, 24; and Sam, 22]. I took about seven years. I had some ambivalence about whether I really wanted to get into it. I've been pretty private for most of my life.
I write about my family and how it affected me. My mother was a tremendous source of positivity and joy through the toughest times. When people hear "Rosalita," they're hearing my mother's spirit. My father gave me another perspective that I've used to write some of my darker material. The person you're distant from, like my father, whose love you want, you try to get close to by emulating. Eventually, I had to understand that something that might be positive in my writing could be destructive in real life.
Jersey state of mind
The first 18 years really shape you forever. It's like a glass of water filled with mud. You can pour clear water in until it appears clear, but there's still mud there.
Battling the blues
When I first started to get help for depression and anxiety, I was very uncomfortable. I was 32. I look back and think, What was all the fuss? Now it's something I don't mind talking about. Therapy has been very helpful, along with psychopharmacological medicines that allowed me to be more effective in my family life and more present in the world. It's been a huge part of my life experience.
Love and marriage
I'd experienced a lot of failure in my early relationships. Patti [Scialfa, the E Street Band singer he wed in 1991] was something very different. She was very smart and very tough. When we got together, we decided this was something we wanted to make work. She had a pure kind of love you couldn't argue with — and I was ready to have something permanent.
Raise 'em up
We never made a fuss over what we did professionally, and the kids grew up to be solid citizens. The house wasn't full of musical mementos. They'd go to the shows when they were young. They were interested for a few songs, then they wanted to go backstage and play video games, which was fine with us.
Still on fire
If I don't do anything stupid, my body will do everything I need so I can put on the kind of show I did when I was 35. It has a lot to do with what I do when I'm not onstage. I work out carefully to the needs of my body. The rest of the time, I try to give it a break.
—As told to Edna Gundersen
Bruce Springsteen's memoir, Born to Run, was published in September by Simon & Schuster.