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Occupy E Street
Bruce and the gang have just unleashed what is their angriest and most politicised record yet, a scathing attack on the railroading of the American Dream by political and corporate fat cats. Stuart Clark journeys to Paris to meet The Boss who also waxes lyrical about Obama, Catholicism, Joe Strummer, Dylan, being a hopeless music fan and why it’ll take four people to replace Clarence Clemons
Stuart Clark, 20 Mar 2012
“I write to process my own experiences,” he elaborates, “and I figure if I do that for me, I do it for you. You write for yourself initially, just trying to understand the world that you live in, and if you do that well enough it projects to your audience. It’s not like being in elected office, you don’t have to come up with a plan every day. It’s pretty much a charmed life.”
The music playing in the bar when we arrived an hour-and-a-half ago was a mixture of classic soulsters like Ben E. King, Otis Redding and Ray Charles and such whippersnappery types as The Gaslight Anthem. All of which the nice young lady from Sony France informs me were personally selected by Bruce and his entourage. My potentially Pulitzer Prize-winning question being what are his magical moments as a punter?
“As a music fan?” he says dazzled by the brilliance of my query. “Oh gosh… I hate to speak it aloud! One of the greatest things about being a music fan is if you have another person who’s as fanatic about it as you are. So that would be Steve (Van Zandt) for me. Steve and I have shared an insane and intense love affair with rock ‘n’ roll music since we were teenagers. If a guy changed the way he combed his hair, if he changed his outfit… It’s a world of symbolism and you live and die by that sword for better or worse. The most important thing is that you’ve got to have a friend who’s alongside you in your insanity. I remember being on a bus to New York City with Steve and arguing for three hours whether it was Led Zeppelin or the Jeff Beck Group who were supreme. Old Elvis, young Elvis… it goes on forever, it goes on to this day. That’s a great blessing. I wish all of you a good rock ‘n’ roll partner!”
I’m thinking that’ll be the end of Bruce and I talking fandom but, nope, whilst enjoying a post-Q+A glass of champers – I’m still trying to get over that attempted mugging – who should suddenly materialise beside me but The Boss. After a shake of hands (he has a very firm grip does Bruce) I decide to indulge in some shameless name-dropping.