Every time anyone mentions Bruce Springsteen’s name, everyone who knows me has to call me to tell me. Well, okay, not EVERYONE. The people who know me WELL usually text me instead because they know how much I hate talking on the phone if I’m not driving or shopping. (Don’t judge, it’s an ADD thing.)
For example, when Bruce played the Super Bowl halftime show a couple years ago, I got approximately 987,426 text messages saying “It’s Bruce!!!!!”
Which meant that I spent the entire second half of the game typing “Thank you, Captain Obvious,” approximately 987,426 times.
No, not really. I’m nicer than that in real life. Which is why I actually have some friends. (Yes mom, I have friends. Real ones.)
But that happens every time Bruce’s name is mentioned in conjunction with anything. And while I appreciate that people think of me, it makes me feel like everyone is convinced I’m a crazy stalker fan.
Which I’m totally not.
Stop it right now.
Granted, I’ve been to Asbury Park so many times that the bouncers at the Stone Pony know me on sight. And I can find Bruce’s house on Google Maps. And three of the coolest moments of my life were the two times he called me “sweetheart” and the time he pointed at me on the line “where the girls are pretty” in “Darlington County.” And yes, the characters in my first novel meet following Bruce on tour (because they say to write what you know). And I named my dog Rosalita so I could say “Rosie come out tonight” when it’s time to take her out. And you can see me right in front in this video.
But it’s really not as bad as people think.
In fact, I’m going to tell you a little secret: my current playlist that I’ve been updating and listening to for months now only has two half Bruce songs on it.
(I count a half song as when he guested on someone else’s album, but it’s not his song and he’s just doing some of the vocals/guitar work.)
(And the two songs are Jesse Malin’s “Broken Radio” and the Dropkick Murphys doing “Peg O’ My Heart,” both of which are awesome and you should check them out if you don’t already have them.)
Right now you’re probably asking, “What happened, Sara? I thought that Bruce was all you listened to!”
Well, you thought wrong. Sorry to disappoint. But while Bruce bootlegs make up a huge percentage of my iTunes library, his music makes up a small percentage of what I’m actually listening to these days.
Now okay, that’s subject to change when there’s a new album coming out and/or he’s on tour. But right now, with nothing new officially in the works, he’s not getting a lot of airtime in my house or car.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love him and always will. He was my first musical love, and he’s always going to hold a special place in my heart for that reason. (See my blog post about how I got into his music and what it’s meant to me over the years if you want that story.) But before I got into Bruce, my favorite bands were Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20, and Better than Ezra. I know, I know. Fail on all counts. Even trying to explain that it was the mid-late 1990s doesn’t really justify it. All I can say was that I was a dumb kid who didn’t know any better. Although I should have, considering the chick on the cover of the first Third Eye Blind album was literally smacking herself in the face like she's thinking "WTF am I doing on THIS album cover?!?!?!"
And then I met Bruce (metaphorically. Still haven’t really MET him… and I’m 100 percent positive that I’ll make a fool out of myself when I someday do… they’re probably going to need security to pry me off of him. Although I do think that most 61-year-old guys wouldn’t mind getting a hug from me… but I digress). And everything changed. And I’ll admit, for a few years there, he was pretty much all I listened to. It’s like how it always is in your first REAL relationship. You get totally wrapped up in the relationship, spend every waking moment together, and forget all your friends. We’ve all done it. I did that with my first serious boyfriend and I did it with Bruce. Unlike with John, however, Bruce and I have stayed close even once we were no longer exclusive. And I will always love him.
But I think the most important thing that came out of my relationship with Bruce is that he opened the door to the world of music for me. He was my gateway drug. And that may be the only place in the world where you see Bruce compared to pot. But you get the idea.
I was asked recently if I’d listened to the Bruce and Little Steven interview from a few weeks ago yet. And I actually haven’t. In fact, and I’m going to get blasted on BTX for this (the Bruce message board for those of you who haven’t had an all-consuming relationship with Bruce), but I haven’t even watched the Houston concert from the Darkness box set yet. (Don’t worry, I watched the Paramount footage—I just haven’t found the time to invest in watching a full concert yet. I’m sorry. I’ll watch it soon, I promise. Please don’t shun me, BTXers!)
And to be fair, a lot of what I’m listening to right now could be considered to be derived from Bruce. My current playlist’s top artists (based on having more than five songs on the playlist… there are a lot of others on there too) are Jesse Malin, the Gaslight Anthem, Frank Turner, and Fake Problems. Let’s trace the genealogy here: I started listening to Jesse Malin because Bruce guested on his album Glitter in the Gutter in 2007. I started listening to the Gaslight Anthem (who have a million Bruce references on their second album, The ’59 Sound) because Jesse Malin talked them up on Facebook when they were on tour together and because Bruce played with them in London. And I started listening to Frank Turner and Fake Problems because they both opened for the Gaslight Anthem at shows that I was at. And I’m loving every song that I’m listening to.
Will I ever stop loving Bruce? Doubtful. He’s been a tremendous influence in my life and I can’t imagine that would ever go away. But we’re both allowed to see other people now. So if you stop by my house or ride in my car (and in either case, I truly hope I know you… if you’re one of my like six random fans who I don’t know, please don’t suddenly show up in my house or car one day. Seriously. I’m totally pepper-spraying you if you do. Nothing personal. It’s just creepy.) and Bruce ISN’T playing, don’t worry. I’m not going through some weird existential crisis. I’m just experimenting with the other music that Bruce turned me on to.
And to all of my Bruce fan friends, don’t worry, I’ll still see you further on up the road… as soon as he’s touring again.