Known as one of the originators of the heartland rock style of music, combining mainstream rock musical style with narrative songs about working class American life, Bruce Springsteen has had quite a career which spans six decades and counting.
Recently, the singer and songwriter opened up about his life in an in-depth interview with Howard Stern revealing not known details about his marriage to his wife of 31 years, Patti Scialfa.
A heartthrob loved by many, Bruce has stolen millions of hearts over the years.
Among the rest, Bruce spoke of the final meeting he had with Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist of his backing band, the E Street Band, and a very dear friend.
On Clarence’s deathbed, Bruce played him “Land of Hopes and Dreams.”
“I had a feeling he could hear me because he could squeeze your hand when I first went to him. There was some response to your voice and to you being in the room,” the musician said with an emotional voice.
“I took a hunch, and I knew he was going to die, so I had brought the guitar in and strummed the song called ‘Land of Hope and Dreams.’ Yeah, ‘Land of Hope and Dreams.’ It’s a about passing to the other side. It’s about life and death,” Bruce explained.
At the time he turned 19, the New Jersey native stayed at his home town while his parents moved to California. Left all by himself, Bruce faced many challenges, but there were always people out there who lent him a helping hand when he needed it the most. Speaking of those times and asked whether he missed a father figure in his life, the 73-year-old musician said, “I always had father figures, right from when my parents left. Sort of outlaws. I was living off the grid. My parents left in 1969, and I stayed in New Jersey and was living with the band, so you’re not meeting any conventional people.”
At one point in his life, he met this guy, Carl ‘Tinker’ West, who ran a surfboard factory in New Jersey/ Carl took Bruce under his wing and let him live in the factory for a couple of years.
Bruce then opened up about his mental health and how his current wife helped him overcome the depression he was struggling with. He believes his condition was a combination of inheritance and the experience of being left behind by his parents.
After facing mental health problems for quite some time, he realized that no one could help him but himself. His physical health was suffering as well, mainly due to the fact that he lived on fast food at the time, so he made a decision to push himself towards a healthier life style. Bruce changed his diet and started exercising regularly.
However, although that change felt good, it didn’t help with his depression much.
“I’ve developed some skills that help me in dealing with it, but still — it is a powerful, powerful thing that really comes up from things that still remain unexplainable to me.
“My depression is spewing like an oil spill all over the beautiful turquoise-green gulf of my carefully planned and controlled existence. Its black sludge is threatening to smother every last living part of me.”
One of the things that helped him fight his depression was the feeling of self-realization.
“Just naming it [helps]… What most people tend to want to do is, when they feel bad, name a reason why you feel that way: ‘I feel bad because…,’ and you’ll transfer that to someone else ‘…because Johnny said this to me,’ or ‘this happened.’
“And, sometimes, that’s true. But a lot of times, you’re simply looking to name something that’s not particularly nameable, and if you misname it; it just makes everything that much worse. So my ‘skill’ is sort of saying, ‘Okay, it’s not this, it’s not that — it’s just this. This is something that comes; it’s also something that goes — and maybe something I have to live with for a period of time,’” the singer added.
As of the role his wife Patti played in his fight, he said it helped a lot that she remained stable enough and strong enough and never left his side.
“Patti will observe a freight train bearing down, loaded with nitroglycerin and running quickly out of track… she gets me to the doctors and says, ‘This man needs a pill.’”
The experience only made their love stronger and deeper.
“She had a lot of understanding of where I was coming from and some of the choices I make and a little bit about the twisted parts of my personality that she knew how to handle and live with better than some of my other relationships,” Bruce told BBC.
Asked about the commitment issues he dealt with in the past, Bruce said jokingly that his wife still does not completely trust him to stay in their marriage. He said, “the question should be, how long since she’s been able to trust you ‘enough’ to keep you in house!”
One thing about their lost-lasting marriage is sure; it is rock-solid.
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Love and Peace