Happy Birthday to Bruce Springsteen, who turns 64 today (September 23rd)!!! Springsteen and Roger Waters have been announced as the headline performers on November 6th for the seventh annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit. Since 2008, the annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit serves the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which provides aid to those who have sustained the "hidden injuries of war," and has helped over "one million veterans, service members, and their families since it began in 2008." The Daily Show's Jon Stewart will return to host the event, which will also star Jerry Seinfeld.
On February 5th, "The Boss" and the E Street Band will kick off their first dates of 2014 with a 13-date tour of Down Under, kicking off with the first of three performances at Australia's Perth Arena.
In March 2012, Springsteen scored his 10th career Number One album with Wrecking Ball, which sold 196,000 copies in its first week on sale. The album's chart placing tied Springsteen with "The King" himself, Elvis Presley, for the third-most Number One albums in the history of the Billboard 200.
Bruce Springsteen says that there's always been a form of interactive journalism in his songs, in which his fans can experience situations that differ from their lives first hand: "My job was always to put you in somebody else's shoes and have you walk a while in those shoes. You're out there, and you feel what's in the air out there, and you feel what's on people's minds. People are looking for ways to try to get a handle and make sense of what's happening."
Springsteen, who's released three acoustically-based solo albums over the years, admits that it's a different process writing for himself versus writing for an E Street Band project: "There's just something -- it's a different thought process when I think about writing for that group of musicians, and it tends. . . I think I tend to be more direct in some ways, y'know? I expand, maybe, my scope in some fashion. It's something just about what the band is after all these years that makes me think a little bit differently, so I'm, I'm excited about doing that."
He says that he still takes pride in the fact that since the band's reformation in 1999, they've consistently played to the top of their -- or any other band's -- game: "It's the long, long ride that it's all about. It's that I've had these guys and these ladies at my side and we've made it this far, and that we're here to do it. It's the consistency. . . Professionalism is alive and well, we hope. We just want to carry on and give some people some smiles and some inspiration."
Steven Van Zandt says that Springsteen and the band are just as committed to each other and their fans as they were upon forming: "We are an ongoing concern here, still creating things. Bruce is still writing, y'know, fantastic things and vital things and he's very, very much inspired and motivated to continue doing things as we have all along. We don't go onstage with a different attitude. We're the same as we were when we were 25. It's great, it's a tribute to our audience that they really support that."
Max Weinberg began drumming for Springsteen in 1974 and rates it far above any other musical experiences he's ever had: "Well, there's only one Bruce Springsteen, and what he does is singular and unique. And as a member of his band, I got to see that up close, and most of the time from behind. But it's so much fun to play with Bruce and the E Street Band, you have no idea. For me, as a drummer, as a young kid growing up, playing with Bruce all those years, and the band, it was every little kid's dream come true for me."
In 1999 Bono inducted Springsteen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and paid tribute to "The Boss" both as an artist and as a man: "For me and the rest of the 'U2-ers,' it wasn't just the way he described the world, it was the way he negotiated it. It was a map, a book of instructions of how to be in the business but not of it. Generous is a word you could us to describe the way he treated us. Decency is another, but these words can box you in. I remember when Bruce was headlining Amnesty International's tour for prisoners of conscience, I remember thinking, 'Wow, if ever there was a prisoner of conscience, it's Bruce Springsteen.' Integrity can be a yoke, a pain in the ass, when your songs are taking you to a part of town people don't expect to see you."
The Raspberries' Eric Carmen and Springsteen have enjoyed a mutual admiration society for years. Carmen says he considers Springsteen not only an inspiration, but a kindred spirit: "The thing that I like most of all about Bruce is that he totally gets it. Y'know, he totally gets what rock and roll is. And you go back and listen to the Born To Run album and it's like, he learned from all the same records we did.'
Photo Courtesy of Jo Lopez