Bruce Springsteen names favorite Bob Dylan songs, interviews Killers, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, more
Ahead of the Friday (October 23) release of his forthcoming album and film, Letter to You, Bruce Springsteen made an appearance on A Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night. During their discussion, he and Colbert covered a number of different things, including the upcoming release.
Bruce noted that it is a tribute to the E Street Band, who he has amazingly worked with for years on end, and who, of course, appear on the record and throughout the documentary. "I always tell people, imagine this: You’re going to high school right now," Bruce began. "When you’re 70 years old, those are the exact people you’ll be working with and will have worked with them for the past 50 years. The only place that happens is in rock & roll. And it doesn’t happen much for the very simple reason that people can’t stand it. They can’t stand each other for that long. It’s a miracle!"
During his appearance, Bruce also named his three favorite Bob Dylan tracks ("Like A Rolling Stone," "Visions of Johanna," and "Ring Them Bells"). "You've got to put 'Like a Rolling Stone' in there because it's a history, culture-changing piece of music," he said. "And it's also really a fantastic rock and roll song." He also took some time to give praise to Lana Del Rey (who he has lauded once before during one of his SiriusXM DJ sets). He noted that he really enjoyed her latest album, Norman Fucking Rockwell: "I just love her writing. It's cinematic. Her album's great." You can view snippets of his Colbert appearance below.
Aside from participating in interviews, Bruce has also been conducting a few of his own via his five-episode Apple Music radio show called Letter to You Radio, a series dedicated to different time periods in his career. In the most recent episode, The Killers' Brandon Flowers chatted with Bruce about their individual songwriting processes, some of their career milestones, and the presence of their respective mothers in their lives as heavyweight rock'n'rollers.
In one part of the interview, Brandon gushed over his love of Bruce and the impact he had on his career, including after he heard Born To Run for the first time:
It would have been on a classic rock radio station in Las Vegas, and I knew the voice and I knew this image, probably because of the success of 'Born in the U.S.A.' It was so ubiquitous and humongous, and so I was just aware of who you were. My ears kind of perked up. I knew this voice and I started to gravitate towards it and do a little research. And so, in a lot of ways, the success of something like 'Born in the U.S.A.' was a gateway for me into your other stuff [...] I was in a transitional phase. We were coming off the heels of our first record, and I was very influenced by a lot of British music. And all of a sudden, this new sound started coming into my heart, and you were leading the way for that.
The Brandon Flowers episode followed episodes with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl. Among other things, Bruce spoke to Eddie about the unique making of Nebraska:
Nebraska in its entirety is slowed down from its actual recording pitch. It had a lot to do with some of the darkness of the record because I did go in the studio and try to both re-record it, remix it. And every time I did, I made it worse. When I brought the pitch up to where it should actually be, it brightened a record up and took away a lot of its mysteriousness. So Nebraska was this totally haphazard, happy accident that occurred over a few weeks with just whatever equipment we had laying around and the whole record cost us, including the price of the tape, it cost us about a thousand dollars to make.
Bruce also opened the floor up to his guests to tell their stories, like when he asked Dave Grohl about the difference between his journeys with Nirvana and Foo Fighters:
When Nirvana first became popular, Kurt obviously was an incredible songwriter, and he was in touch with himself, and the listener was in touch with what he was singing. But we still functioned like one of those bands driving around in a dirty, old van, playing those dive bars. Really, with no idea that what was to happen was even possible. I loved playing in a band, but I didn't think that it would become what it became. And so, it was entirely pure. It was just kids banging on instruments. And then, when Kurt passed away, there was a period where I just didn't even want to play music, man. Even sitting behind a drum set, broke my heart. And then, I realized that music was the thing that healed me when I was young, so music has to be the thing that's going to heal me now. And so, that's when the Foo Fighters began, it was kind of like starting over.
The series continues with two more episodes, one with Jon Stewart today, and the final with E Street Band's Steven Van Zandt on Friday. Tune in at 4 PM EST each day, and listen to previous episodes on-demand, at Apple Music.
In other news, Heart's Nancy Wilson just released a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising," this being the lead single off her forthcoming record, The Lab. You can listen and watch the accompanying music video below.