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Bruce Springsteen Chats With NPR Music's Ann Powers

NPR MUSIC INTERVIEW: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON NEW ALBUM AND CAREER

Conversation with Ann Powers Available Now at NPR Music

January 15, 2014; Washington, D.C. – In one of a handful of interviews given for the release of his new album, High Hopes, Bruce Springsteen speaks with NPR Music about its making, and also opens up about his long, storied career. During a conversation lasting more than an hour, Springsteen and NPR Music writer and critic Ann Powers casually discuss a wide-range of topics, including his writing process, playing with the same band for decades, how the Internet has changed the business, and whether retirement is in the cards. The Boss even digs through music on his computer to find songs by bands he likes, including Savages and Jason Isbell.

Both audio and a transcript of the full interview are available now at NPR Music; excerpts follow.

Asked about how he started writing about social issues, Springsteen says: "When I was very, very young, I decided that I was going to catalogue my times because that's what other people who I admired did. That's what Bob Dylan did, that's what Frank Sinatra did, Hank Williams did, in very different ways. You know, The Beatles did, The Rolling Stones did. So I enjoyed artists that engaged in their worlds and then created some reflection of it that people could meditate upon and think upon."

On what it's like to play with the same band for decades, Springsteen says: "The only way I can explain it is imagine if the people you went to high school with, you have worked with those same five people that were in your math class and you're 60 and those are the same exact people that you've worked with every single day of your life."

Discussing the Internet and his use of it, Springsteen says: "We sold 40,000 seats like the first day in Johannesburg. We've never been there. But you've been there somehow because someone wants to come and see you. So the Internet, now, is something that I'm becoming very interested in and trying to find ways of just, you know, getting more music out there. I mean, I'm not going to be tweeting. Somebody tweeted – I think I have someone that tweets for me, you know. Real men don't tweet or something. But someone has tweeted in my name."

Asked if he sees the end of the tunnel in regards to his career, Springsteen says: "I believe the band's going to be playing for a great deal longer, alright, but not forever anymore, as you felt when you were 32 years old. You realize, okay, there's a finiteness. There's a moment now when we go to Europe and there's a new group of 16-year-old kids who I know are seeing the band for the first time, or people in their mid-30s and 40s never saw the band until 2000, who, you know, I've seen at 50 shows already. So now, when I go and we get these really young kids and we get a lot of them overseas, you know, I realize, these kids will have never seen the band with Clarence or will have never seen the band with Danny and they will outlive us by many, many years, you know, and so tonight is our night with them. And so you're playing for an audience who will significantly outlive you now which is kind of both wonderful and bittersweet and I look forward to doing that a lot longer."

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