K, so I think one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century (thus far) is satellite radio. Any time I’m in my office, Sirius is on in the background. For a musicphile like myself, or a news junkie or whatever your pleasure, there is simply something for everyone.
Lately, because of all the happenings in the Middle East, I’ve had Sirius tuned to news and commentary. Of course, this bleeds over into political commentary with the upcoming election. And, while I try to stay up on current events, I am sick of politics, mudslinging and, frankly, the entire political process with two parties. But, as always, I digress….
Anyway, sick of political chatter, I switched over to one of my fav stations, E Street Radio. All Bruce Springsteen, all the time. Anyone who knows me well knows I’ve been a huge fan of The Boss for the last couple decades. In addition to just being good American rock and roll, I’ve gained so many motto’s for life from his lyrics. Things like:
“ You’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above”
-Tunnel of Love
“Fear is a powerful thing, it’ll turn your heart black, you can trust”
-Devils and Dust
A month or so ago, The New Yorker did a massive article on Bruce. Even for a dedicated fan like yours truly, there was a ton of info I’d never heard before. Two things stuck out from this spread.
First, Springsteen came from a pretty dysfunctional family. His father, according to him, suffered from mental illness. Because Bruce had an inkling how hereditary mental illness could be, he has never indulged in any type of substance abuse. Simply put, he knew he was walking a fine line with his father’s psychiatric issues trickling down to the next generation, so Bruce has protected himself against any exacerbation of this. Very, VERY smart. That takes a huge amount of personal insight and understanding and, what do ya know, it’s worked! At 62, he’s now on his umpteenth world tour.
Which leads me into the second standout point I took away from the New Yorker article. The dude is 62. That’s roughly the same age as my mom. To go on this world tour and to prepare for performances, Bruce doesn’t just get together with the E Street Band to practice music. Instead, he does physical training. I’m paraphrasing here, but he described a concert taking up so much physical energy that it’s like trying to run a marathon at sprint speed while screaming at the top of your lungs the whole time. Think about that. That is some incredible output of energy. And, keep in mind, he’s doing this at 62.
To me, this just shows such a dedication to his craft of music and performing. I’ve been lucky enough to catch two Springsteen shows in the last five years, one here in Orlando, the other at Madison Square Garden. I’m in my mid 30s, in fairly decent physical shape and, by the end of the show, just from standing for three hours and yelling and clapping, I went home tuckered out. Imagine the output of performing for three hours, dancing, jumping off pianos, playing guitar and piano and simply running back and forth across the stage. The guy is simply amazing.
What’s the take away?
#1. I always want to recognize the genetic and physical elements passed down from my ancestors. Good and bad. Bruce does this, too, and acts accordingly. Should be a lesson to us all.
#2. Instead of settling into retirement years where we can get fat and lazy, Bruce has instead challenged himself to stay relevant and as energetic and provide the entertainment fans have come to love since the mid 70s. After nearly 40 years, most people are trying to get out of their profession and retire. Not Bruce. That kind of passion is the kinda thing I want to hold onto forever, too.