Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jokes on me, it's gonna be ok.

Today is Bruce Springsteen's birthday. He turns 60. It has now been 31 years since last he played the state of West Virginia, which seems an awful long time for a guy who poses as a genuine American icon. I've been bitching about this now since 2004. I won't be stopping until one of us drops over.

Recently, I had a conversation with Isaac Slade from The Fray. He, like me, is a Springsteen fan. Seriously, I'm a fan. If I wasn't a fan, I'd be okay with the old guy playing the meadow lands for the rest of his natural life. Anyway, he was telling me how once upon a time, Bruce had a problem separating his personal life with his professional life. He started slipping into being The Boss on stage and off.

Anyway, for his own sanity, he supposedly had it worked out that as soon as his boot heel touched the backstage step on his way out, he was supposed to become plain old Bruce Springsteen, not super rock star Bruce. When he was done, he was done.

We both laughed. It makes for pretty good rock and roll mythology, but first of all, it was ridiculous. You don't switch on and off like that. Nobody does. Going from demigod to regular guy takes some decompression. Second, Bruce was almost raised to be a rock star. He was never a regular guy, started young, never really had a lot of work outside of playing music. He was kind of a prodigy. He's also been known to send his extended family to pick up awards and citations people want to give him and for fun, will supposedly sit in with Bruce Springsteen cover bands.

This is not regular guy behavior.

However, to his credit, he couldn't be who he is and be a regular guy. One of his strengths as a storyteller is that does stand outside the working class, but can disconnect in such a way he can sketch it more clearly than a lot of people who come up from that. I will always be a little in awe of what he's capable of, but I get that Bruce is a product, sold not unlike a bottle of beer.

So, the story was full of shit. I think we both knew it.

Anyway, Slade laughed and said something to the effect, "Well, of course we know as far as regular guyhood, Springsteen is screwed to begin with, but whatever makes him happy, whatever makes him think he's a regular guy."

So, here's to the least regular guy I can think of, outside of maybe David Bowie or John Waters, happy birthday. And here's a tip for you. If you want to be a regular guy, the cake ought to come from Wal-mart. It won't cost so much and will look better than it tastes. There's some truth in there somewhere.

1 comment:

zen said...

This day ranks up there with halloween, thanksgiving, and and st patricks day for me just for this annual roasting. thanks for another good one, bill!