A crime against Rock & Roll and humanity

I have a story that features Bruce Springsteen as a character. The story has been kinda bugging me lately, which means that it’s time to re-write it. That’s how I know when it’s time, the characters or the plot or something in the story start to worry the edges of mind.

The story was inspired by a dude I met when Joshua Furst came to read at The Loft. The dude, who is a handler, told us how he brought Bruce Springsteen to Grumpy’s to shoot pool before a concert. Thus, it made perfect sense that some handler would take Bruce to a bowling alley before a concert, right?

Since Bruce is a character in this story that I cannot remember the name of, I decided I needed to become a little more familiar with his music. I know a very little bit, mostly the stuff off of “Born in the USA.” In fact, the song “Glory Days” still kind of makes me want to barf because it was so overplayed the summer I was 13.

It’s not as though I have anything against the Boss. It’s total ignorance on my part.

This afternoon I asked my cubemate, Trip Shakespeare, if he had any Bruce. He rattled through a bunch of albums that I do not own.

“I only have Born to Run,” I said.
“I noticed you didn’t have a lot of Springsteen,” he said. Earlier in the day he had dug through Gideon’s iTunes library making requests for ‘Mats rarities, Westerberg live stuff, and some other songs. “You have Nebraska, of course.”
“No,” I said. “I only have Born to Run.”

Trip put down his iPod, rested his head on his desk, and began to weep. Or fake weep. He does that a lot.

“What?” I said, giggling.
He popped his head up, put his hand in front of him, and closed his eyes shaking his head.
“So, I don’t have Nebraska. You don’t have Blue Valentine.”
“I just, I just can’t believe it,” he said.
“Shut up.”

Since part of my job at The Nerdery is to be the main Twitterer, I made a crack about how Trip was weeping over this alleged misstep.

Holy cannoli! I think that one quip shook the very foundation on which Rock & Roll has been built. I had no idea that Nebraska was so well-regarded by the music geeks in my life. Nobody ever talks about this album. Is this some secret? Some music-geek only information that gets passed down from geek to geek? Perhaps this is how you get in the club. I am mystified and a little miffed that I’ve lived for 36 years having no idea that Nebraska is held in the same esteem as Blood on the Tracks and Exile on Mainstreet.

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  1. JSkunk 26.Jan.09 at 9:51 pm

    Nebraska is considered his musical turning point. He was known as the quintessential Stadium Rocker. Nebraska showed that he had depth and country music roots.

  2. Doug 27.Jan.09 at 1:56 am

    Hold on. This “Bruce Springsteen” is a real person, and not just some character in your story? Well, I can buy that, I suppose, but you’re making up this “Nebraska” place (for which he apparently named an album), right?

  3. bakiwop 27.Jan.09 at 9:23 am

    that’s okay. we forgive you and hope you have rectified the situation.

  4. tito 27.Jan.09 at 3:21 pm

    guilty. What is this “Blood on the Tracks” you speak of?

  5. Jodi 27.Jan.09 at 3:32 pm

    tito, surely you jest.

  6. tito 27.Jan.09 at 3:57 pm

    I do jest (though I do not own Blood on the Tracks).

    Funny though. I just bought Exile on Main Street a few days before your tweet that set the internet on fire, because I could not justify a world where I did not own it.

  7. AC 27.Jan.09 at 4:18 pm

    Just yesterday I came out to my music friends as an avowed Springsteen hater. Our timing is uncanny!

    And no, no one can make me like him.

  8. Jodi 27.Jan.09 at 4:22 pm

    I am not a hater, just a not-knower. I will get back to you if there is any hate developing.

    Why do you hate?

  9. Placemat 27.Jan.09 at 5:41 pm

    Y’know I’ve dabbled with Bruce’s music over the years, & I like his stuff OK, but just OK.

    Seems like I dig his stuff best when it’s a stripped down, 1st take. For this reason I recommend listening to the “Tracks” box set.

  10. jenji 27.Jan.09 at 7:00 pm

    Precisely the reason I make a concerted effort to avoid discussing the particulars of Bruce Springsteen with anyone.

    It’s like discussing religion with a born-again: one wrong word and you’re considered a blasphemer.

    neat blog site.

    be well,

  11. AC 27.Jan.09 at 8:55 pm

    I hate Bruce because I heard these lines at PRECISELY the wrong time in my pre-adolescent life:
    “hey little girl is your daddy home …. I’ve got a bad desire…. sheets open wet….” etc.

    Skeevy skeevy skeevy!
    ugh, ugh, heebie jeebie! Heebie jeebie!

    And, at least one of his band members looks like a molester.

    Bruce Springsteen = creepy old guy rape feelings

    Molester music.

    (thanks for reminding me.)


  12. RJ 27.Jan.09 at 9:09 pm

    Why critics line up to kiss his feet is beyond me. He is no bigger, no better, no more significant or important than any of his contemporaries (think Bob Seger, Tom Petty, John Cougar) yet the music press would have us believe he is the second coming.

    I own thousands of CDs, not a single one by Bruce, and I think I turned out OK.

  13. Monkey 28.Jan.09 at 10:12 pm

    Love the Boss but I don’t quite get the all-consuming critical love for Nebraska (aside from “Atlantic City,” which rules), much prefer The River and Darkness on the Edge of Town.

  14. Muuurph 29.Jan.09 at 8:50 am

    I second the recommendation for Tracks. Stripped down versions, including his audition for Columbia records. Hearing the demo of “Born In The USA” will completely change your perception of the song. Listening to all of Tracks will make you understand why is one of the greatest songwriters to ever come along. Ironically I don’t own Nebraska, or any other corn belt state, for that matter.

    RJ: Comparing Springsteen to Seger is like comparing Remy Martin to Kesslers. They’ll both do something for ya, but the former is far more enjoyable than the latter.

  15. tito 30.Jan.09 at 4:43 pm

    to beat this horse some more, you may want to check out


    You get the nice double-whammy of a The Hold Steady in-studio, followed with a takedown of Bruce Springsteen’s latest.

    The Hold Steady interview is nice (w/ tab quick to throw some love for Ted Leo as soon as the topic of Thin Lizzy comes up).


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